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Energy Crops: Investigation of Socio-economic Barriers for Farmers in Poland

  • Kes McCormick
  • H. Nilsson
  • E. Ganko
Publishing year: 2007
Language: English
Document type: Report
Publisher: International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics, Lund University

Abstract english

Poland holds great potential for bioenergy. However, biomass production from dedicated energy crops has not developed at a pace that was hoped. Clearly, there are barriers hindering farmers. The aim of this research was to directly explore the farmers’ perspective on barriers to growing dedicated energy crops in Poland. During the on-the-ground research conducted in Poland the perceptions regarding the main barriers for willow cultivation for farmers in the Grudziądz region were investigated. Over 30 interviews were conducted with farmers and local actors. The bottom-line for not engaging in willow cultivation is that so far willow has not been perceived as being competitive with other traditional crops. The 4 most often mentioned barriers by farmers are as follows: financial, knowledge, equipment and market.

Financial Barriers: In Poland, dedicated energy crops appear to remain uncompetitive compared to other traditional crops. The relatively high establishment costs for switching to energy crops is a major barrier for farmers, and the level of support offered for energy crops is considered too low by farmers.

Knowledge Barriers: A lack of information, tradition and experience with a novel crop such as willow is perceived as a factor hindering the development of energy crops. Farmers often expressed the need for a demonstration project that would among other things also prove the yield level of willow.

Equipment Barriers: The equipment for cultivating willow, especially harvesting equipment, is a problem. It is expensive, especially for farmers who have small farms, and there is no sense in purchasing the equipment individually. In the interviews, farmers suggested that collective ownership is needed.

Market Barriers: Market related issues also came forward in the interviews. Farmers need to feel secure that there will be a market once it is time to sell the harvest and that they will get a reasonable price for their product. For most farmers, there is a perception of risk in the marketplace for energy crops.


  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • bioenergy
  • energy crops
  • agriculture
  • energy


  • Bioenergy Network of Excellence: Overcoming Barriers to Expanding Bioenergy
Kes McCormick
E-mail: kes [dot] mccormick [at] iiiee [dot] lu [dot] se

The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE)

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