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Organisation and efficiency of agricultural enterprises in transformation: an empirical analysis of the Gorzow Voivodeship

Robert Rusielik, Tomasz Sobczak and Michael Switlyk

No S-15, Finanzwissenschaftliche Diskussionsbeiträge : Specials series: Industrial and social policies in countries in transition from Universität Potsdam, Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät

Abstract: The economy in Poland has changed tremendously in recent years. Agricultural enterprises can defend their market share only if they are able to adjust quickly and efficiently to new circumstances. The most effective strategy to cope with changing operating conditions is a strategy of permanent development of human resources. This strategy must embrace a constant improvement of professional entrepreneurial skills and of management structures within organizations. Only such a strategy will allow businesses to hold on to or to increase their market standing despite strong competition. It will also allow them to meet, for instance, the newly introduced standardisation procedures for goods produced and supplied. This challenge holds especially true for agricultural enterprises that operate in highly competitive markets; markets which are currently characterised by a permanent surplus of supply over demand and a great number of businesses, mainly of small or medium size. Demand in the agricultural market is exerted by millions of consumers, all of different consumption habits with idiosyncratic consumption preferences. Agricultural producers as a group are extremely sensitive to any kind of change in their environment. This is especially true in the current transition period when a worsening of economic conditions can be observed: an economic downturn caused by the price of inputs increasing at a faster rate than agricultural product prices and an ineffective agricultural policy. One of the agricultural production factors which allows for quick adjustment to change and which can thus be used to improve one’s market position is the human factor. It is a wellknown fact that a good level of professional skills in combination with ongoing means of furthering and updating professional qualifications of workers can help to facilitate coping with market challenges. The aim of this study is first to determine specific quality and quantity features of human resources in agricultural production, looking, inter alia, at changes in employment, specific employment structures and the number of recruitments and dismissals in a given period. A further aim was to undertake an efficiency analysis of limited partnerships which leased their agricultural real estate from the Agricultural Property Agency (APA) in the Voivodeship of Gorzów between 1995 and 1997. The first analysis was carried out using data which were collected from surveys amongst the owners of 36 privately owned farms and the managers of 14 limited partnerships. The data cover the period between 1994 and 1997. The incentive to conduct research on large farms in the Gorzów Voivodeship using the Data Envelopment Analysis method (DEA) lay in the outcome of various earlier studies on the financial standing of limited partnerships leasing real estate from APA in the Gorzów Voivodeship in 1996 and 1997. Apart from general adjustment processes, these inquiries proved that, in 1997, the economic condition of the farms analysed was worse when compared to the situation in 1996; the following ratios worsened: the financial support ratio, the liquidity ratio, the turnover ratio, the profitability ratio and the cost level ratio (see Switlyk, 1998, 1999). These results determined the focus of our research, namely input efficiency in particular limited partnerships. The base of our calculations was a research model which consisted of efficiency measures focusing on firms’ inputs The analysis was carried out on a sample of 90 firms in the years between 1995 and 1997 (30 firms every year). Other data material was collected from national statistical office reports on incomes, costs and financial results (F-O1) and statistics about land usage, crop area and yields (R-O5). In the next section we briefly discuss privatisation in agriculture. Sections 3 and 4 present results from our survey. Section 5 concludes.

Date: 1999-07
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