Barriers to the Development of Organic Farming: A Polish Case Study – W. Łuczka, S. Kalinowski
The main purpose of this paper is to explore farmers’ opinions on the barriers to the development of organic farming. A survey was carried out with 262 Polish organic farmers in order to classify the barriers to organic farming development into production, and economic aspects, market aspects and institutional and regulatory aspects. As a next step, a detailed analysis was performed of how the farmers view these barriers. According to this study, Polish organic farmers attach greater importance to economic factors than to non-economic ones. Low yields and production volumes are the reason why many farmers see organic farming as being risky. More than 80% and nearly 60% of farmers covered by this study found the production risk to be very high or high, respectively, during and after the conversion period. Most farmers say they intend to continue their organic production activity only if financial support is provided. Nearly one in five farms (18.3%) want to discontinue organic production in future. This is especially true for two types of farming: specialized grazing livestock farms and mixed holdings. The farmers believe that market aspects and institutional and regulatory factors are the key barriers to the development of organic farming. The findings regarding the role of institutional barriers and communications from regulatory institutions, which affect the farmers’ decision-making processes, are of particular importance. In Poland, the main institutional problem is the instability of laws applicable to organic farming, which adds to the farmers’ uncertainty and decision-making risks. The case study of Poland, which is among the emerging markets for organic food, shows that a stable and coherent support policy is a condition for organic-farming development.