Is Small Beautiful? The Debate on the Future of Small Individual Farms in Poland

Open access

Abstract

The main concern of this article is to collect and discuss cases that are advanced for and against small agricultural farms at the international level in the EU and the national level in Poland and to make an assessment of these cases in the context of sustainable rural development. Cases concerning small farms and put forward by different actors reflect their visions of agriculture and rural development. Taking a closer look at those cases is interesting in the context of sustainability considerations, as there is a widespread programmatic demand for sustainable rural development, but at the same time visions for rural development may differ widely, and the question what exactly is meant to be sustainable often remains unanswered. Before the various arguments raised for and against small farms are discussed, some evidence from two Polish rural regions is presented. The empirical research was conducted in April and May 2012 in Eastern and Southern Poland in the context of my PhD-thesis. After presenting statements made by Polish smallholders, an assessment of the initially collected cases is made in the context of sustainable rural development. A.comparison of cases made for and against small farms and findings from empirical research shows that small farms do in fact have the potential to contribute to sustainable rural development.

Abele, S. and Frohberg, K. (eds), 2003. Subsistence Agriculture in Central and Eastern Europe: How to break a vicious cycle?, Halle/ Saale: Institut fur Agrarentwicklung in Mittel- und Osteuropa.

Beaufoy, G., Jones, G., Rijck, K. de and Kazakova, Y., 2008. High Nature Value farmlands: Recognising the importance of South East European landscapes. Final summary report (Bulgaria & Romania).

Becker, E. and Jahn, T. (eds), 2006. Soziale Okologie: Grundzuge einer Wissenschaft von den gesellschaftlichen Naturverhaltnissen [Social Ecology: The basics of the science of social relations to nature], Frankfurt a. M./ New York: Campus.

Braun, J. von and Lohlein, D., 2003. Policy options to overcome subsistence agriculture in the CEECs’. In: Abele, S. and Frohberg, K. (eds) Subsistence Agriculture in Central and Eastern Europe: How to break a vicious cycle?. Halle/ Saale. Institut fur Agrarentwicklung in Mittel- und Osteuropa.

Buchhofer, E., 1998. Agrarsoziale Veranderungen in Polen seit 1988 in ihrer regionalen Differenzierung im Uberblick [An overview on socio-agricultural change and its spatial differentiation in Poland since 1988]. In: Buchhofer, E. and Quaisser, W. (eds), Agrarwirtschaft und landlicher Raum Ostmitteleuropas in der Transformation [Transformation of agriculture and rural areas in Central and Eastern Europe]. Marburg: Herder-Institut.

Chaplin, H., Gorton, M. I . and Davidova, S., 2007. ‘Impediments to the diversification of rural economies in Central and Eastern Europe evidence from small-scale farms in Poland’, Regional Studies. Vol. 41(3): 361-376.

Cooper, T., Hart, K. and Baldock, D., 2009. ‘The provision of public goods through agriculture in the European Union: Report prepared for DG Agriculture and Rural Development’, London: Institute for European Environmental Policy.

Czapiński, J. and Panek, T., 2011. Diagnoza społeczna 2011. Warunki i jakość życia Polakow (Social Diagnosis 2011. Objective and subjective Quality of Life in Poland), Warszawa.

Davidova, S., 2011. ‘Semi-Subsistence Farming: An Elusive Concept Posing Thorny Policy Questions’, Journal of Agricultural Economics. Vol. 62(3): 503-524.

Davidova, S., Fredriksson, L. and Bailey, A., 2009. ‘Subsistence and Semi-subsistence Farming in Selected EU New Member States’, School of Economics Discussion Papers, Canterbury.

Davies, N., 2005. God’s playground: A history of Poland, New York: Columbia University Press. EC DG AGRI/European Commission Directorate-General Agriculture, 2009. ‘Why do we need a European Common Agricultural Policy?’ Discussion Paper by DG Agriculture and Rural Development.

ENRD/European Network for Rural Development, 2010. ‘Semi-subsistence farming in Europe: Concepts and key issues’. Background paper prepared for the seminar “Semi-subsistence farming in the EU: Current situation and future prospects” Sibiu, Romania, 21st - 23rd April 2010.

EUROS TAT, 2010. ‘Agricultural statistics. Main results 2008-09’. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

FAD N/Farm Accountancy Data Network, 2010. An A.to Z of methodology, available at: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/rica/pdf/site_en.pdf (accessed 26 September 2012).

Farmer, M., Cooper, T., Swales, V. and Silcock, P., 2008. ‘Funding for Farmland Biodiversity in the EU: Gaining Evidence for the EU Budget Review. AR eport for the RSPB’, London.

Fredriksson, L., Davidova, S. and Bailey, A., 2010. ‘Determinants for, and barriers to, exit from subsistence food production: commonalities and differences among NMS’, Deliverable 6.6 from the SCARLED-project.

GUS/Głowny Urząd Statystyczny, 2011a. Rocznik Statystyczny Rolnictwa 2011 [Statistical yearbook of agriculture]. Warsaw: Zakład Wydawnictw Statystycznych.

GUS/Głowny Urząd Statystyczny, 2011b. Rocznik Statystyczny Wojewodztw 2011 [Statistical yearbook of the regions]. Warsaw: Zakład Wydawnictw Statystycznych.

Gorg, C., 1999. Gesellschaftliche Naturverhaltnisse [Social relations to nature]. Munster: Westfalisches Dampfboot.

Heidhues, F. and Bruntrup, M., 2003. Subsistence agriculture in development: Its role in processes of structural change. In: Abele, S. and Frohberg, K. (eds), Subsistence Agriculture in Central and Eastern Europe: How to break a vicious cycle?, Halle/ Saale: Institut fur Agrarentwicklung in Mittel- und Osteuropa.

Jackson, T., 2011. Prosperity without growth: Economics for a finite planet. London, Washington, DC : Earthscan.

Jaworski, R., Lubke, C. and Muller, M., 2000. Eine kleine Geschichte Polens [A little history of Poland]. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.

Jozwiak, W., 2006 ‘Funkcjonowanie i role społeczne najmniejszych gospodarstw rolnych’ [‘Functioning and social roles of the smallest agricultural farms’], Wieś i Rolnictwo. Vol. 131(2).

Keenleyside, C., Elts, J., Figeczky, G., Fišer, B., Galvanek, D., Hellicar, M., Lasma, I., Jobda, M., Koorberg, P., Kounnamas, C., Kurlavičius, P., Maderie, B., Medved, A., Metera, D., Pezold, T., Priednieks, J., Račinskis, E., Raudonikis, L., Szilvacsku, Z., Vaičiūnaitė, R. and Zamecnik, V., 2006. ‘Farmland birds and agri-environment schemes in the New Member States: A.report for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds’.

Kostov, P. and Lingard, J., 2004. ‘Subsistence Agriculture in Transition Economies: Its Roles and Determinants’, Journal of Agricultural Economics. Vol. 55(3): 565-579.

Larsen, A. F ., 2009. ‘Semi-subsistence Producers and Biosecurity in the Slovenian Alps’, Sociologia Ruralis. Vol. 49(4): 330-343.

Lerman, Z., 2002. ‘Productivity and Efficiency of Individual Farms in Poland: A.C ase for Land Consolidation’, paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Agricultural Economics Association, Long Beach, CA, July 28-31, 2001.

Majewski, E., 2009. ‘Dochody i jakość życia w gospodarstwach niskotowarowych z wybranych regionow Polski’ [‘Income and quality of life on semi-subsistence farms in selected Polish regions’], Roczniki Nauk Rolniczych. Vol. 96(4): 122-129.

Mathijs, E. and Noev, N., 2004. ‘Subsistence Farming in Central and Eastern Europe: Empirical Evidence from Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania’, Eastern European Economics. Vol. 42(6): 72-89.

Molders, T., Burandt, A. and Szumelda, A., 2012. ‘Herausforderung Nachhaltigkeit. Sozial-okologische Orientierungen fur die Entwicklung landlicher Raume’ [‘The challenge of sustainability. Socio-ecological orientations for the development of rural areas‘], Europa Regional. Vol. 18(2/3): 95-106.

Muller, M.G., 2009. Polnische Geschichte von den staatlichen Anfangen im 10. Jahrhundert bis zum Ersten Weltkrieg [Poland´s history from its national beginnings in the 10th century to the First World War. Country Report Poland]. In: Bingen, D. and Ruchniewicz, K. (eds), Landerbericht Polen. Bonn: Bundeszentrale fur Politische Bildung.

MRiRW/Ministerstwo Rolnictwa i R ozwoju Wsi, 2004. Plan Rozwoju Obszarow Wiejskich na lata 2004-2006 [Rural Development Plan 2004-2006], Warsaw.

MRiRW/Ministerstwo Rolnictwa i R ozwoju Wsi, 2009. Krajowy Plan Strategiczny Rozwoju Obszarow Wiejskich na lata 2007-2013 [Rural Development Strategy Plan 2007-2013], Warsaw.

MRiRW/Ministerstwo Rolnictwa i R ozwoju Wsi, 2010. Program Rozwoju Obszarow Wiejskich na lata 2007-2013 [Rural Development Programme 2007-2013], Warsaw.

Pautasso, A. (ed.), 2010. Reality check: Are Common Agricultural Policy subsidies paying for environmental quality?, BirdLife International European Division.

Petrick, M. and Tyran, E., 2003. Development Perspectives of Subsistence Farms in Southeastern Poland: Social Buffer Stock or Commercial Agriculture?. In: Abele, S. and Frohberg, K. (eds.), Subsistence Agriculture in Central and Eastern Europe: How to break a vicious cycle?, Halle/ Saale: Institut fur Agrarentwicklung in Mittel- und Osteuropa.

Pieniadz, A., Wandel, J., Glauben, T. and Hanf, J. H., 2010. ‘20 Jahre Transformation der Landwirtschaft in Mittel- und Osteuropa: Errungenschaften und Herausforderungen’ [‚20 years of transition in Central and Eastern European agriculture: achievements and challenges’], Berichte uber Landwirtschaft. Vol. 88(1) 118-146.

Rogers, E.M., 1970. Motivations, Values, and Attitudes of Subsistence Farmers: Toward a Subculture of Peasantry. In: Wharton, C. R . (ed.), Subsistence Agriculture and Economic Development, London: Cass. Rosner, A. and Stanny, M., 2007. Przyjęta struktura procesu badawczego poziomu rozwoju społeczno-gospodarczego [The research structure applied in examining the level of socio-economic development]. In: Rosner, A. (ed.), Zrożnicowanie poziomu rozwoju społeczno-gospodarczego obszarow wiejskich a zrożnicowanie dynamiki przemian [Differences in the level of socio-economic development of rural areas and differences in change-dynamics], Warsaw: Instytut Rozwoju Wsi i R olnictwa PAN.

Ruttan, V.W., 1988. ‘Cultural Endowments and Economic Development: What Can We Learn from Anthropology?’, Economic Development and Cultural Change. Vol. 36(3): 247-271.

Schumacher, E. F ., 2001. Small is beautiful: Die Ruckkehr zum menschlichen Mas [Small is beautiful: economics as if people mattered], Bad Durkheim: Stiftung Okologie & Landbau.

Seavoy, R.E., 2000. Subsistence and economic development, Westport, Conn.: Praeger.

Seidl, I. and Zahrnt, A. (eds), 2010. Postwachstumsgesellschaft: Konzepte fur die Zukunft [A.society of degrowth: concepts for the future], Marburg: Metropolis.

Swain, N., 1999. ‘Small-scale farming in the post-socialist rural transition’, Eastern European Countryside. Vol. 5: 27-42.

Tomich, T.P., Kilby, P. and Johnston, B.F., 1995. Transforming agrarian economies: Opportunities seized, opportunities missed, Ithaca: Cornell paperbacks, Cornell University Press. van Huylenbroeck, G., Vandermeulen, V., Mettepenningen, E. and Verspecht, A., 2007. ‘Multifunctionality of Agriculture: A.R eview of Definitions, Evidence and Instruments’, Living Reviews in Landscape Research. Vol. 1(3): 1-43.

van Zyl, J., Parker, A.N. and Miller, B. R ., 2000 ‘The myth of large farm superiority: Lessons from agricultural transition in Poland’, The Journal of Policy Reform. Vol. 3(4): 353-372.

WCED/World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987. ‘Our Common Future’. Available at: http://un-documents.net/wced-ocf.htm (accessed 26 September 2012).

Wharton, C. R . (ed.), 1970. Subsistence Agriculture and Economic Development, London: Cass.

Wilkin, J. and Nurzyńska, I., 2008. Rural Poland 2008: Rural Development Report, Warsaw. Wilkin, J. and Nurzyńska, I., 2010. Rural Poland 2010: Rural Development Report, Warsaw.

Wilkin, J. and Nurzyńska, I., 2012. Rural Poland 2012: Rural Development Report, Warsaw.

Wołek, T., 2009. Can we really talk about structural change? The issue of smallscale farms in rural Poland. In: Buchenrieder, G. and Mollers, J. (eds), Structural change in Europe’s rural regions. Farm livelihoods between subsistence orientation, modernisation and non-farm diversification, Halle/ Saale: Institut fur Agrarentwicklung in Mittel- und Osteuropa.

Zamečnik, V., 2008. ‘The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the environment: a reform agenda for the New Member States, BirdLive International, Czech Society for Ornithology’. Available at http://www.birdlife.org/eu/pdfs/ATF_brief_2008_CAP_in_NMS.pdf (accessed 26 September 2012)

Ziemer, K., 1987. Polens Weg in die Krise: eine politische Soziologie der „Ara Gierek“ [Poland´s way into the crisis: a political sociology of the “Gierek era”], Frankfurt am Main: Athenaum. Commission Regulation (EC) No 1121/2009

Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005

Dz. U. Nr. 170, poz. 1051: Dziennik Urzędowy Nr. 170, pozycja 1051 (Official Journal No 170, position 1051) European Council (Gothenburg), 15 and 16 June 2001: Gothenburg Strategy European Council (Lisbon), 23 and 24 March 2000: Lisbon Strategy

http://www.arimr.gov.pl/dla-beneficjenta/srednia-powierzchnia-gospodarstwa.html (accessed 26 September 2012)

http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/agriculture/data/database (accessed 26 September 2012)

http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/farm_structure_survey/ introduction (accessed 26 September 2012)

Eastern European Countryside

The Journal of Nicolaus Copernicus University, Torun

Journal Information


IMPACT FACTOR 2017: 0.182
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 0.596



CiteScore 2017: 0.35

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.205
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.665

Cited By

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 208 206 10
PDF Downloads 100 99 9