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You can read here our general outlook of the agricultural sector in Poland.

A quest for agricultural resilience

Agricultural production inherently faces instability due to market fluctuations, natural resource dependence, and climatic conditions. Factors like harmful insects, plant pests, adverse weather, or severe market imbalances can lead to harvest failures and significant market disruptions. This necessitates prompt and targeted government intervention, especially during market crises, to prevent or mitigate substantial damage to food producers and supply chain disruptions.

In the past decade, the EU agricultural industry has confronted several challenges including the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ukraine conflict, animal diseases, market disruptions, and extreme weather events. These incidents, often unpredictable and multifaceted, require immediate and focused responses.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has emphasized the importance for countries, particularly those reliant on food imports from Ukraine and Russia, to diversify their food supplies.[1] This strategy is essential for withstanding shocks induced by conflicts and maintaining resilience in food security. Diversification can be achieved through various means such as utilizing existing food stocks, turning to alternative exporting nations, or expanding domestic production bases. Additionally, enhancing policy discussion and market transparency is vital in managing the volatility in agricultural commodities markets.

The European Climate Foundation has highlighted the current crisis as a reminder of the need to transition from a highly concentrated food system.[2] This system, where critical food products are produced by a limited number of countries or regions, is vulnerable to disruptions. Reducing reliance on chemical inputs, particularly fertilizers derived from fossil fuels, is also a key aspect of this transition. The foundation advocates for a more diversified and sustainable approach to food production.

During the second meeting of the Expert Group on the European Food Security Crisis Preparedness and Response Mechanism,[3] a critical reminder was issued about the precarious situation prior to the war, particularly regarding the impact of record-breaking energy costs on the food supply chain. The rising energy prices affected all segments of the chain, with specific types of farms facing higher expenses due to energy and fertilizer costs. Fishermen, in particular, were noted to be more dependent on direct energy expenditures compared to farmers.

The ongoing war has further exacerbated these challenges, leading to a significant increase in the cost of fertilizers and other energy-intensive items. This surge in input costs is expected to substantially raise manufacturing expenses, which would consequently lead to higher food prices. The increased costs associated with energy and fertilizers place a significant financial burden on the agricultural sector. This situation demands a strategic response to manage the rising production costs while ensuring the sustainability of food supply chains. The European Union’s focus on addressing these challenges highlights the need for coordinated efforts to mitigate the impact on food prices and maintain food security.

EU Commission’s assistance to farmers

The European Commission released a comprehensive report on January 23, 2024, which details the implementation of crisis measures aimed at supporting the agri-food industry within the European Union.[4] Spanning from January 1, 2014, to the end of 2023, the report highlights the effectiveness of the Common Organisation of the Markets (CMO) and its role in the recent reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

The European Commission has been proactive in assisting EU farmers, implementing 63 extraordinary measures from 2014 to 2023. These measures, backed by nearly €2.5 billion in EU subsidies, have reinforced the EU’s commitment to its agricultural sector. These measures included financial support to producers affected by the war in Ukraine (€500 million in March 2022), dairy market stabilization efforts, sector-specific interventions in response to COVID-19 and other market imbalances, and support for farmers impacted by the Ukraine conflict (€156 million for farmers in Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia) and avian influenza outbreaks.

The implemented exceptional measures have primarily aimed at supporting farmers facing market disruptions or health issues in animals and plants. They also helped in mitigating economic impacts caused by severe adverse weather. The report emphasizes the importance of these measures as a symbol of EU solidarity but also highlights the need for farmers to engage in risk management practices and sustainable farming methods.


The Common Organization of the Markets, as established by Background Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013, lays the foundation for market measures under the Common Agricultural Policy. Articles 219 to 222 of the CMO Regulation provide for extraordinary actions in crisis scenarios or to prevent market disruptions. These provisions empower the Commission to implement measures aligned with market needs, address sanitary measures’ market impacts, resolve specific issues to prevent market condition declines, and support decisions made by farmers and their organizations during acute market imbalances.

Under the current CAP, an agricultural reserve with a minimum allocation of €450 million annually finances these extraordinary measures. The Commission is mandated to report every three years to the European Parliament and the Council about the implementation of crisis measures. This report fulfills the first reporting requirement under the latest CAP reform, covering the use of these measures from 2014 to the end of 2023.

The Agri-Food Sector in Poland and the EU-backed CAP Plan

In Poland, the agri-food sector is a critical component of the national economy, playing a significant role in both economic and environmental aspects. Agriculture contributes notably to the gross value added, surpassing the EU average and with an export value of approximately 47.6 billion euros. The sector covers about half of Poland’s land area, underlining its social and environmental significance.

Poland’s CAP Strategic Plan 2023-2027

The initial proposition for a CAP Strategic Plan was put up by Poland on December 22, 2021, after stakeholder consultations. Poland presented a new proposal on 15 July 2022, which included responses to the Commission’s criticisms of the initial draft. This proposal was approved by the Commission on August 31, 2022. On August 30, 2023, the Commission granted approval to Poland’s following modification request.

Poland’s Strategic Plan for 2023-2027 focuses on various key areas to support and enhance the agricultural sector.[5] This includes improving living and working conditions in rural areas, promoting sustainable development in farming and processing sectors, and supporting local agriculture. Emphasis is also placed on the production and consumption of sustainable energy, biodiversity preservation, and the protection of natural resources like air, water, and soil. Animal welfare is another critical aspect of this strategic plan. Table 1. below details financial aspects of the Polish CAP 2023-2027, the EU contribution is notable in proportion.

Table 1. Financial details of Poland’s CAP Strategic Plan 2023-2027

  EU Budget National Funding Total Funding
Direct Payments 17,326,739,610 € n/a 17,326,739,610 €
Sectoral Support 71,752,284 € 25,124,840 € 96,877,124 €
Rural Development4,700,585,847 € 3,067,167,462 € 7,767,753,309 €
Total 22,099,077,741 € 3,092,292,302 € 25,191,370,043 €

Green and sustainable goals

The next CAP Strategic Plan emphasizes the protection of carbon sinks, especially peatlands and wetlands. It includes strict regulations on the use of fertilizers and plant protection agents near water channels and mandates soil management practices to prevent erosion. Additionally, 4% of arable land on farms is required to be set aside as non-productive zones to aid biodiversity preservation and rehabilitation.

Poland aims to significantly increase organic farming by 2030. Eco-schemes will encourage farmers to adopt environmentally friendly practices, promoting a transition to more sustainable agricultural methods. Farmers participating in these schemes will receive incentives, including direct payment contributions, for adopting soil preservation and sustainable production techniques.

Achieving environmental sustainability in agriculture presents several challenges. These include water resource depletion due to increasing precipitation deficits, arid soil conditions, inadequate protection of wetlands, limited organic farming areas, biodiversity decline, and poor state of natural habitats. Addressing these issues is crucial for sustainable agricultural development.

Other key policies for water and agriculture in Poland

European Union legislation establishes a regulatory framework that ensures the protection of water bodies across all member states and handles particular causes of pollution, such as agricultural contamination. The Water Framework Directive (WFD) (2000/60/EC), the Nitrates Directive (91/676/EEC), and the Floods Directive (2007/60/EC) are the three principal directives at issue.

The Water Act of 2017 implemented a novel strategy for mitigating water contamination resulting from agricultural nitrates or their byproducts.[6] The Ordinance of the Council of Ministers dated 5 June 2018 regarding the adoption of the “Action programme for the reduction of water pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources and prevention of further pollution” (Nitrate Programme) also expanded the scope of the Nitrates Action Programme (NAP) to include nitrate-related water pollution. The regulation is applicable to all Polish farmers. To lessen the risk of nitrate leaking into water, the rural development program has boosted its assistance for the construction of manure storage facilities throughout the whole nation, which has been designated a “Nitrate Vulnerable Zone.” Anew definitions of water services, including water abstractions for agricultural uses, were implemented by the Water Act.[7] In addition, a variable charge was implemented for water abstraction used for cattle and human consumption, as well as for agricultural and land irrigation.

Furthermore, a novel institutional framework was implemented for water administration entities: One State Water Holding “Polish Waters,” eleven regional and fifty river basin units, and 330 water inspectorates comprise the new organization. Polish Waters has been operational and in charge of water management since 2018.[8]

Strategy for Sustainable Rural Development, Agriculture, and Fishery 2030

The Polish Government adopted the “Strategy for Sustainable Rural Development, Agriculture, and Fishery 2030” in 2019 (SRDAF 2030).[9] The SRDAF 2030 delineates Poland’s agriculture policy and endeavors in rural development for the period spanning from 2020 to 2030. It is both a predecessor and a parallel strategy to the previously examined CAP Strategic Plan.

The SRDAF 2030 primarily aims to uphold the principle that family farms are central to Polish agriculture. It also focuses on fostering the sustainable development of farms of all sizes, including small, medium, and large-scale operations. A significant emphasis is placed on augmenting the agricultural and food sector’s potential by incorporating advanced production technologies and digital solutions. This strategy also aims to create an environment conducive to developing innovative products and enhancing new skills and competencies for those employed in agriculture.

Another key objective of the SRDAF 2030 is to boost the global competitiveness of Polish food and agriculture. This involves adapting agricultural and food products to evolving consumption trends, such as the increasing interest in organic foods. The strategy also focuses on conducting agriculture and fisheries in a manner that aligns with environmental protection principles. This includes adapting to climate change, with a particular emphasis on water conservation.

Finally, the SRDAF 2030 envisions the development of rural areas in collaboration with urban centers, aiming to balance economic growth. This approach ensures that villagers have access to decent jobs while urban residents can enjoy healthy Polish food. Furthermore, the strategy seeks to create conditions that enhance professional mobility for rural individuals, offering opportunities to adjust their work qualifications to new economic sectors, like the bio-economy.


The landscape of agriculture in Poland and the broader European Union is navigating through a period of significant transformation and challenge. Driven by external factors like market fluctuations, climate change, and international tensions, the agricultural sector faces the daunting task of maintaining stability and resilience. The European Commission has underscored the effectiveness of measures implemented to support the agri-food industry, reflecting a commitment to aid farmers and producers amidst these challenges.

The challenges presented by increased energy and fertilizer costs, exacerbated by ongoing geopolitical conflicts, further stress the need for strategic macro approaches to manage production costs and ensure the sustainability of food supply chains. These challenges, while daunting, also present opportunities for innovation and adaptation, setting the stage for a more resilient and sustainable agricultural future.

The path forward will require adaptability, collaboration, and a steadfast commitment to sustainable practices, ensuring that the agricultural sector remains a cornerstone of economic stability and environmental stewardship in Poland, the EU, and beyond.


  1. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, ‘The Importance of Ukraine and the Russian Federation for Global Agricultural Markets and the Risks Associated with the Current Conflict’, Information note (FAO, 2022),

  2. European Climate Foundation, ‘Annual Report 2022: Advancing Climate Action for a Green, Democratic and Peaceful Europe’ (ECF, 18 September 2023),

  3. European Commission, ‘2nd Ad Hoc Meeting of the Expert Group on the European Food Security Crisis Preparedness and Response Mechanism’, Register of Commission expert groups and other similar entities, 4 May 2022,

  4. European Commission, ‘The Use of Crisis Measures Adopted Pursuant to Articles 219 to 222 of the CMO Regulation’ (Brussels: EU, 22 January 2024),

  5. Ministerstwo Rolnictwa i Rozwoju Wsi, ‘Plan Strategiczny dla Wspólnej Polityki Rolnej na lata 2023-2027 (PS WPR 2023-2027)’, Portal, accessed 26 January 2024,

  6. Edward Pierzgalski, ‘New Water Act in Poland – Changes and Dilemmas’, EU Agrarian Law 7 (1 June 2018): 17–22,

  7. Pierzgalski.

  8. Odra Vistula Flood Management Project, ‘The State Water Holding Polish Waters’, ODRAPCU (blog), 22 April 2021,

  9. Ministerstwo Rolnictwa i Rozwoju Wsi, ‘Strategia Zrównoważonego Rozwoju Wsi Rolnictwa i Rybactwa 2030’, 15 October 2019,