According to newly released statistics, grants from the EU have helped to create approximately 34,000 jobs in the Polish countryside since 2007. Poland’s government-backed Agency for Restructuring and Modernisation of Agriculture (ARiMR) has highlighted figures connected with grants from the so-called Rural Development Programme for 2007-2013.
Parts of this programme are aimed at “diversification into non-agricultural activities” and “the establishment and development of micro-enterprises.” In terms of the former, jobs have been created in diverse spheres, from furniture workshops, hairdressing salons, shops and restaurants, to IT services, kindergartens and garages. Meanwhile, the “development of micro-enterprises” category is typically more closely tied to farming itself, with businesses including jam-producing plants. Since 2007, the Agency has overseen three calls for grant applications and is at liberty to provide 50 percent of the costs of setting up a business, but this subsidy cannot exceed 100,000 zloty (about 23,860 euros). To date, the Agency has signed about 12,000 contracts, backing investments to the tune of 1 billion zloty (238.6 million euros).