What can be done to ensure that SFSC systems are not marginal in the marketplace?

In Poland, we have approx. 1.3 million farms (only Romania has more in the EU). But the agricultural economic success of Poland in recent years (6th largest producer in the EU!) has been the success of agri-business, i.e. a small number of large farms focused on agri-food processing on an industrial scale and export. But small farms constitute as much as 80% of Poland’s entire agricultural economy. As many as 72% do not exceed 5 ha. These are usually small, family farms, which produce on a non-industrial scale. They will never be able adopt or deploy agri-business solutions. We need completely new solutions responding to the specifics of geographically dispersed small farms, often located far from cities, as well as to the needs of consumers looking to buy fresh, authentic food directly from farmers. The most frequently reported barriers for farmers and for connecting producers and consumers effectively include the following:

  • Poor market information (especially for potential consumers) concerning food products on offer;
  • Limited and unstable turnover of small producers linked to the unpredictability of demand for the products on offer;
  • Difficulties in settling and documenting sales transactions;
  • Lack of certificates assuring origin and quality, generating suspicions of food fraud
  • Limited availability of transport and/or high transport costs;
  • Limited availability of storage and/or high storage costs;
  • Limited access to investment/capital for developing infrastructure, logistics, and other needs;
  • Unconvinced consumers with unreasonable expectations;
  • Reluctance of farmers to engage in joint initiatives with other farmers and in collaborating with others;
  • A food marketplace dominated by intermediaries;

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