Through sustainable agriculture to biological agriculture
05 / 2002
Poland is a post-communist bloc member that just embraced a new economic orientation thirteen years ago (1989), from a highly centralised political and economic system to a liberal and democratic setting. Unlike the old dispensation, there is now a high level of initiative and an effective division of economic as well as political responsibilities. As such, the state does not impose economic policies emanating from the centre, even if the policies to ensure sustainable development are seen through the structures put in place by the state. Poland is composed of seventeen regions called "self-governments" with almost as many common rural policies. These self-governments are semi-autonomous. For instance, each region plans its rural strategies with independent budgets, on which self-governmental projects are embarked. It is the self-government that is responsible for establishing and running primary education and the provision of water supply schemes. Andrzej Lipski, as deputy-mayor of the rural district of Bielsk Podlaski, has approved such projects. In addition to the structural policies, the state makes subventions and donations to buttress self-government’s budgets for the provision of economic and social capital such as hospitals and institutions of learning. These policies have been implemented because they ensure that the self-governments are efficient and effective. The structuring of state institutions from the centre to rural areas is an effort to bringing administration closer to the people. In addition, the liberal tendency of state institutions has gone a long way to promote democracy, which guarantees freedom of initiative, choice, movement and respect for human rights. The above advantages could be achieved only when the leaders are imbued with a spirit of statesmanship and the readiness of the masses to co-operate with them.
As to the passing "through sustainable agriculture to arrive at biological agriculture", much efforts need to be invested. According to Andrzej Lipski, Poland wishes to attain sustainable agriculture, meanwhile ecological agriculture is just at its introductory stage. The first two years of the venture are the "transformation period," and financial support is guaranteed by the state. The support given is proportional to the area of land acquired for biological farming; that is, the more the hectares the more the aid and vice versa. Despite the encouragement given by the state, biological farms are still less than 1% in the country. The reason being that Poland is just learning the system from France, that is more developed, and Romania, that is advancing more rapidly.
To conclude, Andrzej Lipski noted that there is freedom, democracy, free market and the respect of human rights in Poland although "liberalisation has destroyed our rural area". Despite the shortcomings of liberalisation, the policies for sustainable development in rural milieu are owing to the effectiveness, competitiveness and participation of the rural masses. However, some shortcomings remain, among which inadequate leadership in some self-governments and limited knowledge of liberal democracy; and the lack of funds to finance hospitals, portable water, recreational centers in rural areas, access to electronic media.
This file was written during the World Peasant Meeting in Yaounde, Cameroon, from the 6th to the 11th of May 2002.
Contact : LIPSKI, Andrzej, Vice Mayor of the rural district of Bielsk Podlaski - Tel: (085) 730 68 52 - Fax: (085) 730 68 51 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Interview with LIPSKI, Andrzej, Vice Mayor of the rural district