DIVERSIFICATION OF INCOME SOURCES AS A CHALLANGE IN THE POLICY OF DEVELOPMENT OF EUROPE'S RURAL AREAS
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The processes of accession to the European Union, which are considered to be the most important instrument of the Polish rural community's adjustment to the requirements of functioning in the global and information society, lead, among other things, to the marginalisation of agriculture as the principal source of income for the majority of farmers' families. Therefore, a need arises to find a new place for them in the economy. This calls for the creation of many new jobs, especially in rural areas but outside agriculture, in the situation of a diminishing offer of full-time occupations. Unfortunately, the residents of rural areas - especially farmers, seem to be insufficiently prepared for efforts aiming to ensure them income from several different sources. This fact, combined with the present extremely difficult financial situation of the residents of rural areas and the high level of unemployment, is responsible for the gravely pessimistic assessment of not only their own prospects for the future but also the future of rural areas as the place of residence and work. However, the rural economic system has always been characterised by the presence of the processes of diversification of the rural population's income sources, and the last four decades of the 20th century have proved decisive for the strengthening of a multi-vocational model of economic activity conducted in Europe's rural areas. Such model is regarded to be the principal and necessary condition of their sustainable development.
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