AGRICULTURE IN THE CONTEMPORARY SOCIAL MIRROR
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The complex of the Polish society's views on the subject of agriculture is marked by ideology. The place that rural areas, agriculture and persons working in agriculture occupy in social awareness is far more important than the role that agriculture plays in the generation of GDP or in the incomes of farmers' families. In the light of nation-wide representative surveys, views concerning agriculture are incoherent, naive and often false. On one hand, these views reflect the feeling that harm was done to agriculture and farmers in the more and less distant past and is being done also in the present situation and, on the other hand, they reflect the tendency to overestimate the role of agriculture, the conditions existing in agriculture (such as the quality of soils and qualifications of farmers) and the results achieved in agriculture (high labour productivity, ecological products). They also reflect the prevalent conviction that agriculture may be the locomotive of Poland's economic development. The ideologically-marked and emotional approach of the Polish people to the problems of agriculture can be attributed to many factors: the rural roots of the Polish society, the fact that agriculture has become a 'dressing for the wounds' of Polish transformation, which eases unemployment and poverty, and to the information campaign preceding the referendum on accession to the EU, which concentrated chiefly on agriculture. The favourable changes in the picture of Polish agriculture have occurred also under the influence of its environmental, social and cultural functions.
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