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In the European Union assistance for rural development in 2007 - 2013 has been provided in the framework of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. The scope and form of support for rural areas in Poland during this period were stated by the Rural Development Programme. Its main objectives include in the first place upgrading the competitiveness of agricultural holdings through their restructuring, improvement of the condition of the environment and landscape, but also betterment of living standards of rural dwellers and promoting the diversification of economic activities. Apart from funding originating from the European Union, financial support for rural development in Poland requires involving domestic funds, or in some cases also private means. Evaluating the rural Development Programme for 2007 - 2013 at the current stage of its realization it should be said that a considerable interest in selected measures may be observed among rural dwellers, visible as the number of submitted applications and a growing number of signed contracts. As at the date of the analysis already over 16.3 bn zlotys has been paid and utilization of EAFRD funding reached 23.61%. Utilization of funding will be increasing with subsequent interim payments or realization and settlement of investments qualified for assistance but also in connection with new calls for applications for the EU funding. On the other hand, analyzing the structure of realized payments within the limit of EAFRD funds one should state that as at the day of the analysis the major part of funds from EAFRD was paid to the measure supporting farming in mountain areas and other less favoured areas, subsequently modernization of agricultural holdings, early retirement benefits and also to the agri-environmental programme. Proportionally the least share of funding was paid within the measures: "Implementation of Local Development Strategies" and "Information and Promotion Activities".


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