Public Direct Financial Support For Organic Farming And Its Development In Poland – The Assessment Based On The Empirical Study

Abstract :

Public support for sustainable agriculture is one of the priorities of the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy. Organic farming is an important part of this type of production. It contributes to the delivery of public goods and generates positive external effects from agriculture. That is why the EU and Member States implemented the system of subsidies for organic farms. The goal of this study is to assess the subsidies for organic farmers as factors influencing the development of the supply side of the organic food market in Poland. These were evaluated in the context of other factors of profitability of production. The authors characterised the system of these payments in the years 2003-2019 and presented the results of two rounds of empirical surveys (in 2011 and 2019) held with farm owners, holders of organic agriculture certificates. In the years 2003-2013, the payments contributed to a 1240% increase in the number of organic farms, and a 1078% increase in the utilized agricultural area. From 2014 to 2020, the production potential has been in regress - largely due to political failures (poorly designed regulations) related to the system of subsidies. In the opinion of the majority of respondents, difficult and unstable procedures were recognised as the most important barrier to the development of organic farming. The second obstacle was the low profitability (yields and revenues in organic farming are lower, while costs are higher than those in conventional production). Growth in the profitability of organic farms should be based on increased rates of subsidies but it must go hand in hand with the improvement of the procedures (including systems of certification and control), to reduce the bureaucratic burden and to improve its effectiveness. The largest opportunity for the development of organic farming can be seen in the growing environmental awareness of consumers, and the associated increase in demand for (and appeal of) organic consumption patterns.