By Hugh D. Clout (auth.)
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Economically sensible 53 proposals to cut guaranteed prices for milk, to subsidise the slaughter of dairy cows in small herds and to switch to beef production have been decried as anti-social and provocative and have been rejected. A really savage reduction of commodity prices might cut production, but there is considerable evidence that the fiddling with prices which is politically tolerable does not. The obvious problem is the marginal farmer. If producer prices are cut he will not produce less but will work even harder to produce more and maintain his income.
High guaranteed prices have encouraged even greater production of unsaleable goods. Money has been poured into the Farm Fund to prop up domestic prices, to destroy surplus fruit and vegetables, to store butter and subsidise agricultural exports. In 1969 the Community had to budget for some $2·3 billion to buy, store or dump unsaleable supplies as a means of internal market support. The Cbmmunity's wheat surplus in 1969 alone was 4 million tons (12 per cent of normal production) and the accumulated surplus at the end of that harvest was 12 million tons.
Collectivisation in Poland began in 1950 but the change of regime in 1956 halted and reversed it. The dual structure of the agrarian economy, with an extremely important family-farm component, was confirmed. In late 1964 there were 1246 collectives (Table 12) cultivating only 1 per cent of the farmland and accounting for 1 per cent of total output. R. or in the first group of East European countries. Mter 1956 Polish collectives were able to purchase their own tractors and equipment. State farms have also been reorganised when their special TABLE 11 Groups Benefiting from 1944 Land Reform in Poland (percentages) Proportion qf Proportion qf land distributed beneficiaries 47·2 Former farm workers on landed estates 25·8 17·9 Other landless peasants 14·2 10·9 Small fanners: less than 2 ha • 21·3 19·5 2-5 ha 30·2 3·6 5·8 5-10 ha 0·9 Rural craftsmen 2·7 • Size of farm before land reform.
Agriculture by Hugh D. Clout (auth.)