Poland is a significant European producer of a diverse range of agricultural products. Small farms in Poland constitute the core of the agricultural sector. Their share in the structure of farms, employment in rural areas, total agricultural production, and utilized agricultural area is relatively high. 73% of Poland’s farms are considered by the Central Statistical Office of Poland to be in the “small” category, i.e. under 10 hectares (ha). They also have a small area of cultivation – farms over 15 ha in size, despite representing only 14.3% of all Polish farms in number, have 60% of all arable area in Poland.
The development of rural areas in Poland requires solving many problems, such as poor agrarian structure, unfavorable land distribution, or lack of local spatial development plans.
One of the biggest challenges the agricultural sector faces in Poland – adapting to changes, such as the reduction of pesticides, or increased food quality requirements. This in turn is associated with the introduction of new technologies in agriculture.
We have seen traction in demand for rural digital advisory services, however current systems for digital advisory are focused on the broad delivery of extension services based on a large number of farmers. AI can revolutionize extension services through the provision of individualized advisory based on several data elements (on-farm data, satellite imagery, remote sensing, and GIS) thereby increasing the value of extension services to the individual farmer. Although use cases are being built in other development agencies and countries, we have not seen greater traction on AI and other technology integration in IFAD-supported projects. This could be an opportunity to develop a Proof-of-Concept (POC) and develop a potential use case for scale.