Changes in Competitiveness of Farm Sector in Candidate Countries Prior to the EU Accession: The Case of Poland

Prior to the EU accession Polish agricultural sector was experiencing serious structural problems. Not surprisingly Polish agricultural negotiations with EU were the toughest. Polish officials wanted to convince domestic rural electorate that the farms will operate on the competitive basis in enlarged EU. This paper investigates, however, how the competitiveness has been evolving yet prior to the accession, given the strong pressures within which it had to operate. We asked if Polish farms were responsive to this pressure - that is whether they were able to increase their productivity sufficiently to counter negative forces at work and maintain their competitiveness. The research showed a gloomy picture of declining farm productivity together with deteriorating relative agricultural prices over 1996-2000 which revealed falling competitiveness in the sector. This can partially explain why the rural electorate in Poland was very much against the EU accession till the very end. The Polish experience can be useful for the next EU candidate countries.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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