The agriculture of Wielkopolska is one of the major economy branches of our Region.
The farmers cultivate about 1800 thousand ha of farmland.In general, our soils are weak – almost 42% of our soils are of V and VI class. It makes it difficult to achieve high yields and worsens the efficiency of using yield-enhancing production means.Despite the soil and climate conditions not being favourable, we are the leading Region in our country as regards agricultural production measured by efficiency, technical equipment or agricultural culture.
The farmers from the Wielkopolska Region have the highest agricultural production in the country – in terms of both goods and overall. It comprises of the second place in overall and goods plant production and the first place in overall and goods animal production. The Wielkopolska Region takes the leading position in production of slaughter livestock – 22 % in the country. The share of pork is almost 26% and beef – 18.5 %. We also produce the most crops, sugar beets and a significant amount of rape. The cultivation area of outdoor field vegetables is also higher than the national average. Apart from all these assets, what needs to be emphasized is the innovative character of farmers in Wielkopolska, examples of what include new crops, such as: asparagus, mushrooms and organic foods as well as establishing hunting farms. Apart from that, the villages in Wielkopolska have more and more farm tourism households.
There are 162672 agricultural farms in the Region /GUS-2011/. Almost 72% of them constitute farms up to 10 ha, that is relatively small in size and not very strong in terms of economics. The transformations in the area structure of farms are necessary, yet one needs to remember that this process is gradual and progresses slowly.Wielkopolska has already developed a large group of modern farms, where the production technologies applied are of the same or sometimes higher level than those applied at the best European farms.
Innovative and well-organised agriculture.
Agriculture is undergoing fast modernisation due to significant support from the European funds. Modernizing the productive assets in Wielkopolska's agriculture is progressing faster than the average for our country. The collected fixed assets, at the current investment rate, would be replaced completely after 30 years in the whole country. In Wielkopolska, the replacement rate for fixed assets is 4.6% per year. It means that the replacement process of fixed assets in our Region takes place within 22-year-long period. This fact indicates the relatively fast process of modernizing the productive assets of the Wielkopolska Region, which is surely a factor that improves the competitiveness of Wielkopolska's agriculture.
The modernisation process of Wielkopolska's agriculture, improving its efficiency and quality of production have involved scientific centres, i.e. Poznań University of Life Sciences and a range of scientific institutes, which work with partner institutions from Europe and from all over the world.
The region has a perfectly-working network of specialized institutions working on introducing new varieties of plants and production of sowing material.
For the purposes of using the potential of new varieties of cultivation plants, the local government of the Region is working with the Research Centre for Cultivar Testing, supporting the tests under post-registration variety testing in order to provide the farmers from Wielkopolska with a reliable List of vegetables recommended for cultivation in our Region, taking into consideration the local soil and climate conditions. Moreover, it is the germ breeding and agricultural counselling centres that play an important role in spreading progress and agricultural knowledge. The Wielkopolska Agricultural Counselling Centre has a fantastic exhibition base, where a regional exhibition of breeding livestock is organized each year, along with other events promoting modern solutions in the agriculture.
The average size of a farm in Wielkopolska is 13.47 ha.
Their production potential is too small to meet the expectations and requirements of large recipients such as retail chains or large, well-organized processing plants. Today, both the trade and processing industries expect large batches of uniform raw materials of a very good quality. In order to meet the requirements of the market, dynamically developing agricultural and retail environment, the farmers organize themselves in groups of producers. The farmers from Wielkopolska are the best organized in the whole country. We have the most groups of producers in the country. We encourage agricultural producers to integrate further, supported by the funds from the Rural Development Programme 2007 – 2013.
The Poznań University of Life Sciences prepares highly qualified employees for the Wielkopolska's agriculture. The university educates 12 thousand students at eight faculties, 19 subjects and over 30 majors every year. The Poznań University of Life Sciences is one of the most renowned universities in the country as regards agricultural and forestry sciences.
The Wielkopolska's agriculture employs almost 16% of all employees in the Region. Relatively high employment rate indicates a significant economic and social role of the agricultural sector in the Region. However, it will change gradually, through the process of diversifying the employment in rural areas. Less and less residents of rural areas will make a living from working in agriculture directly. The rural areas will develop services, processing of local raw materials, farm tourism and other non-agricultural activity.