The paper contains an analysis of the evolution of the instrument of structural benefits in Poland, presents an assessment of the instrument's role in 2002-2007 and identifies factors that exert an influence on the farmers' interest in structural benefits. The analysis is based on the results of surveys conducted with the help of questionnaires by the Institute of Agricultural Economics and Food Economy - the State Research Institute (IERiGZ-PIB), which covered a sample of 3,705 family farms, and on the data collected by the Agency for the Restructuring and Modernisation of Agriculture (ARiMR) and by the Farmers' Social Insurance Fund (KRUS). For the purpose of evaluation of the role played by structural benefits the author has also examined relevant legal acts and national plans for the development of rural areas. Unlike the amount of financial means earmarked for structural benefits and unlike the so-called criteria of access for beneficiaries the principal goals of this agricultural policy instrument have not changed since the moment of its introduction. Following Poland's accession to the European Union the number of beneficiaries has grown considerably owing to the liberalization of legal regulations and increased budget. The analysis has revealed regional differences in the use of structural benefits by farmers.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.