Organic Agriculture in Poland: Chances and Challenges

A Future Outlook for an Emerging Sector

Project Report 2010 10 Pages

Business economics - Offline Marketing and Online Marketing



1. Introduction

2. The Emergence of Organic Agriculture in Poland

3. A Highly Subsidized Industry

4. Organic Farms Locations, Size and Land Use

5. Certification Programs for Organic Foods

6. Market Share and Challenges

7. Future Outlook for the Organic Sector

8. Conclusion

9. Bibliography

1. Introduction

Just recently, a report of the Supreme Chamber of Control (NIK), Poland’s supreme audit institution, revealed that Polish organic products are of above-average high quality. Reviewing 50 producers of organic products between 2005 and 2009, NIK found that only 0,6% of all verified samples did not meet the standards set by NIK, which is a high score. Moreover, none of the samples contained genetically modified organisms[1].

The Polish organic market is growing fast and expanding despite the economic downturn. This paper describes the emergence and characteristics of this industry sector and investigates its future chances and challenges.

2. The Emergence of Organic Agriculture in Poland

During communism in Eastern Europe, farming was collectivised and controlled by the governments. When the regimes fell, some farmers began offering organic products. Just like in other regions of the world, these were in the beginning seen as a curiosity by many consumers, hence organic food became available in and accepted by the mass market rather slowly[2].

In Poland, organic agriculture started in the late 1980s. After the end of communism, privatization of agriculture was not an issue since most farms were already privately owned at that time. Large state-owned farms were split into small units and sold to private enterprises. In 1992, all remaining state farms (approximately 3.000) had substantial liabilities, such as large unpaid bank loans. To ensure continued productivity, Poland’s Farm Ownership Agency of the State Treasury temporarily took over all state farms in 1992 and leased them to Polish or foreign farmers.

Today, Poland is Europe’s largest producer of potatoes and rye, and one of the world’s biggest producers of sugar beets. Polish farms also raise dairy cows, beef cattle, pigs and poultry. Further important crops grown in Poland include: grains like wheat, barley and oats; potatoes, fodder crops, flax, hops, tobacco and fruits[3].

3. A Highly Subsidized Industry

According to the Warsaw Business Journal, there were 17.478 organic producers in Poland as of December 31, 2009. In 1990 there were only 27 Polish organic farms. Thus, the number of organic farms grew immensely in less than two decades. The country is tenth in the EU in terms of total area of organic farmland, hence far behind the leaders Estonia, Italy, Denmark and the UK. However, Poland has seen the highest increase in organic farmland area between 2005 and 2008. Over that period, Poland boasted a 94% increase, compared to a 21% EU increase on average[4].

According to figures from the European Union's statistical agency Eurostat, between 2005 and 2008 the highest increase in the total amount of land used for organic farming were found in Poland (+ 94%) and Lithuania (+ 89%). Industry monitors in individual countries have also reported large rises in organic food consumption across the Eastern European region in recent years. In Poland, the largest producer of organic food, Symbio Polska, claimed that its sales of organic food rose by 300% in 12 months between 2007 and 2008[5].

It is yet surprising that, compared to other EU countries, Poland ranks among the lowest countries with a share of organic farms of about 1% only (cf. Table 1)[6].

The rapid growth of Polish organic farming is not only owed to an increasing consumer demand in recent years but also to respective governmental and EU subsidies since the accession of Poland into the European Union[7]. Between 2005 and 2009 subsidies have provided over 609 million Zloty (around 156 million Euro) to this sector[8]. Further, the availability of products from ecological farming has improved considerably in recent years. National retail chains such as Sezam offer an organic range with hundreds of different products[9].


[1] Warsaw Business Journal (2010), Polish Organic Products Get Thumbs Up.
Online: http://www.wbj.pl/article-49097-polish-organic-products-get-thumbs-up.html?typ=ise

[2] Inter Press Service News Agency (2010), East Europe: Organic Farming Blossoms.
Online: http://www.ipsnews.net/print.asp?idnews=50882

[3] Poland Agricultural Briefing 2010: Major Crops, Industry Problems, Private Sector and State-Owned Farms
(2010). Online: http://poland.suite101.com/article.cfm/poland-agricultural-briefing-2010

[4] Warsaw Business Journal (2010), Polish Organic Products Get Thumbs Up.
Online: http://www.wbj.pl/article-49097-polish-organic-products-get-thumbs-up.html?typ=ise

[5] Inter Press Service News Agency (2010), East Europe: Organic Farming Blossoms.
Online: http://www.ipsnews.net/print.asp?idnews=50882

[6] Kociszewski, Karol (2010), The Development of Organic Farming in Poland under the Conditions of Integration
with the European Union. In: Economic and Environmental Studies, vol. 10, no.1.

Online: http://www.ees.uni.opole.pl/content/01_10/ees_10_1_fulltext_01.pdf

[7] Andrzej Szeremeta (2005), Organic Farming and Market in Poland, ENOAS Summer Meeting IV.
Online: http://www.enoas.org/pol05t/doc/Organic%20farming%20and%20market%20in%20Poland.pdf

[8] Polskie Radio (2010), High Quality Organic Food Made in Poland.
Online: http://www.thenews.pl/business/artykul128465_high-quality-organic-food-made-in-poland-.html

[9] Word Press Online (2008), Poland: Supermarket Group Drives up Organic Turnover.
Online: http://persianoad.wordpress.com/2008/02/28/poland-supermarket-group-drives-up-organic-turnover/


ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
534 KB
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Institution / College
Berlin School of Economics and Law
organic food agriculture poland europe eastern europe certification european union farming farms genetically modified consumer FMCG potatoes rye consumption Warsaw EU crops vegetables ecological regulation exports supermarkets sustainable sustainability polen europäische union warschau organisch biologisch Bio lebensmittel umwelt gemüse anbau bauern ökologisch landwirtschaft nachhaltig nachhaltigkeit



Title: Organic Agriculture in Poland: Chances and Challenges