Over the past few decades an excessively large area of arable land has been transferred to the non-agricultural sectors of the economy. In 1946-2009 the area of farmland diminished from 20.4 million hectares to 16.1 million hectares, or by about 4 million hectares of which 1.8 million hectares accounted for the decline recorded in the 1995-2009 period. During this time the area of land formally excluded from cultivation to serve non-agricultural and non-forestry purposes, i.e. the area of land for which payments and fees were collected, reached 40,000 ha. Thus, in 1995-2009 the resources of arable land became depleted by 1.8 million ha and payments and fees were collected for not more than 40,000 ha. The problem of depletion of the resources of arable land relates not only to the fall in its total area but also to the quality of soils excluded from cultivation. Against the legislators' intentions and efforts good soils constitute the highest proportion among soils excluded from cultivation and poor soils – the lowest. The exclusion of arable land from production takes place outside any control. There are no assessments of this phenomenon.
Jolanta Gorska, Agencja Nieruchomosci Rolnych, ul. Dolanskiego 2, 00-215 Warszawa, Poland; Waldemar Michna, Instytut Ekonomiki Rolnictwa i Gospodarki Zywnosciowej – Panstwowy Instytut Badawczy, ul. Swietokrzyska 20, 00-002 Warszawa, Poland
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