Changes in agricultural land ownership in Poland in the period of the market economy

https://doi.org/10.17221/18/2010-AGRICECONCitation:Bański J. (2011): Changes in agricultural land ownership in Poland in the period of the market economy. Agric. Econ. – Czech, 57: 93-101.
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The article concentrates on the changes of ownership ongoing in Polish agriculture in the period 1989–2004. Since Polish agriculture was above all private in nature throughout the period of communism, the changes in question were actually more limited than in other Central and East European Countries (CEEC). Those that have taken place have first and foremost involved the privatisation of the old State Farms, whose assets were taken over by individually-owned farms or commercial-law companies, with the intermediation of the Treasury Agricultural Property Agency established for the purpose. A major element of the assets undergoing privatisation was agricultural land. The size of the ownership change has varied from region to region. In the West and North, where more than half of all farmland was in the State Farm hands to 1989, there was a marked increase in the share of land under private ownership. On the other hand, in Central and Eastern Poland, the changes were very limited, concerning only the transfer of land between private farms. Important reasons accounting for the limited activity on the market for land in this part of Poland include the agrarian overpopulation and the widespread treatment of land as a form of the "insurance policy" against job losses. The ownership changes have further encouraged polarisation where farm size structure is concerned. Farms increased in size in the regions where the large average area has long been a typical feature. In turn, the areas characterised by the excessive agrarian fragmentation have not seen any more major changes in the size structure over the recent period. A detailed analysis of the changes in ownership over the market economy period is preceded by a discussion of the history of land ownership in Polish agriculture, with a particular emphasis being placed on the Communist era. The legal and social bases conditioning ownership change are also discussed.  
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