Poles - Economy



Subsistence and Commercial Activities. Farming produces 13 percent of the GNP and employs 28.5 percent of the labor force. The major field crops are potatoes, sugar beets, wheat, rye, barley, and oats. Poultry, cattle (mostly dairy), pigs, sheep, and horses are the main domestic animals. Tractors and other farm machinery are becoming increasingly more common. Industry accounts for 41 percent of the GNP and employs 28.5 percent of the labor force. The main Industrial products are chemicals, ferrous metals, machinery, and consumer goods (e.g., household appliances, shoes, and textiles). Coal, the main industrial and household fuel, is also a chief export.

Industrial Arts. Rural areas support local artisans such as blacksmiths, cobblers, tailors, and seamstresses. Some People, primarily in the south, make handicrafts patterned after the traditional folk culture. In most parts of the country, rural people specialize in farming. Crafts and home industries are gradually disappearing in favor of industrialized goods Purchased in stores.

Trade. Trade is a mixture of government-owned and -operated outlets, private retail and service shops, and fairs and markets where farmers sell their products to each other and to city dwellers. As of 1991 the government was attempting to convert the nation's planned economy to a market one. To this end, joint ventures with Westerners and other forms of free enterprise have been promoted. It is impossible to predict the final form that these economic institutions will take.

Division of Labor. By law, men and women have equal rights and pay. In practice, the average woman earns less than the average man and, even if employed outside of the home, has to do almost all the housework.

Land Tenure. The majority (77 percent) of farmland is privately held. Most private farms are not single, compact fields but are scattered, multiple strips. State farms occupy 19 percent of the farm land; 4 percent is held by collective farms and 0.4 percent by agricultural associations. It is anticipated that most of the land in the "communal" sector will be "privatized."


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