Poland Economy

Poland Economy


11% of the workforce is employed in agriculture, generating 1.7% of GDP (2017). It is characterized by a small-scale structure; around a third of the farms have less than 5 hectares of usable agricultural area; the average usable area per farm is 10.8 ha. The current agricultural structure is the result of the land reform concluded in 1950, during which all large land holdings over 50 ha were expropriated. State estates were created especially in the former German areas. In contrast to other socialist states, it has been possible to withdraw from agricultural cooperatives since the mid-1950s. The low productivity of farms is due to small farm sizes, low investments and inadequate technical equipment. Structural change and modernization, which were also necessary with a view to joining the EU, are proceeding slowly. Rural overpopulation and overcrowding represent a major economic and social problem.

Three quarters of the usable agricultural area of ​​around 19 million hectares (60% of the entire territory) consists of arable land. The most important crops are wheat, rye and potatoes. The main growing areas for wheat and sugar beet are in the climate-favored western areas and in the loess landscapes around Lublin. In Silesia, rape cultivation is widespread, in the surrounding areas of large cities and in the southeast, fruit and vegetable cultivation is widespread. Most of the grassland is used in the floodplains of the Vistula, Warta and Netze rivers. It forms the basis for the keeping of cattle, which, like the breeding of pigs, is of central importance for the livestock industry. Poultry farming is also of great importance, especially for export.

Forestry: The condition of larger forest areas, which was still very critical in 1990, has improved only insufficiently since 1995. Only about 12% of all trees are considered healthy. The logging reached (2015) 40.2 million m 3.

Fisheries: The deep-sea fishery, equipped with processing vessels, has shown a sharp decline in fish landings since around 1995. Inland fisheries are mainly concentrated in the lake areas in the north and north-east; Pond farming is becoming increasingly important. Of the total catch (2015: 236,500 t), around 21% are from breeding facilities.

Natural resources

Poland has a large number of different deposits of mineral resources, especially in southern and central Poland. The hard coal, sulfur and copper ore deposits are of global importance. About 90% of the hard coal is mined in Upper Silesia (including coking coal near Rybnik), just under 5% east of Lublin and in the area around Trzebinia (Lesser Poland). The development of hard coal mining has been crisis-ridden since the end of the 1980s due to low world market prices and outdated technology. Annual production fell from 193 million t to 72.7 million t in 1988-2015, but Poland is the largest hard coal producer in Europe. The lignite deposits are also of great importance, especially near Bełchatów south of Lodz, near Bogatynia (Turoszów) on the border with Germany near Zittau and in Greater Poland near Konin and Turek. Crude oil is produced in small quantities in the Subcarpathian Mountains and northeast of Szczecin (near Kamień Pomorski), natural gas is extracted in the Subcarpathian Mountains and northwest of Wroclaw; the production volumes have to be supplemented by imports from Russia. New oil deposits were discovered in the Gdansk Depth in the Baltic Sea (estimated reserves 96.4 million barrels). The sulfur deposits discovered in 1953near Tarnobrzeg and near Grzybów southeast of Kielce are among the largest in Europe. Zinc and lead ores with additions of silver, cadmium and thallium are stored on the north-west and north-east edges of the Upper Silesian coal field; Copper ores with additions of silver, etc. Metals can be found near Lubin and Głogów in Lower Silesia, nickel ores in the Ząbkowice Śląskie area. There are rich rock salt deposits in the Subcarpathian Mountains (Wieliczka, Bochnia) as well as in Inowrocław and Kłodawa (here also potash salts).

Energy industry

Electricity is generated almost entirely by thermal power plants (based on lignite and hard coal or based on imported oil and natural gas). Around a fifth of the electrical energy is generated in Upper Silesia and in the Bełchatów lignite region. An increased use of renewable energies (e.g. wind, water, biomass) is only just beginning.


31% of the workforce is employed in industry, generating 27.9% of GDP (2017). In addition to the traditional industrial locations of Warsaw, Lodz, the Upper Silesian industrial area (around Katowice), Gdansk and Stettin, industrial centers have been established in Krakow / Nowa Huta, Płock since 1945 (center of oil processing on the friendship pipelinefrom the Volga-Ural oil region), Puławy, Włocławek and Toruń (chemical industry), Konin (aluminum smelting), Legnica, Głogów (copper smelting) and Tarnobrzeg (sulfur processing). The industry was subject to a profound structural change during the 1990s, especially the large companies in the basic, heavy, armaments and chemical industries. In 1990 industrial production fell by 24%, but growth began again in 1992. Extensive foreign direct investments in the manufacturing sector also contributed to this (e.g. in electrical and household appliance construction, in the electronic and automotive supply industry, in automobile construction). Important industrial sectors are machine, plant and equipment construction (including industrial plants for mining) as well as the metalworking industry, vehicle (motor vehicle, Rail vehicles, wagons) and shipbuilding, food, building materials, wood and paper industries, furniture, chemical, textile, clothing and leather industries. The information and telecommunications industry, the furniture industry, the processing of plastics and metals and vehicle construction have high growth rates. The steel industry is also growing again.

Service sector

The service sector generates 70.4% of GDP (2017); around 58% of the employees work in it. In the big cities in particular, a differentiated, business and consumer-oriented service sector developed very quickly during the 1990s. Warsaw is one of the most important trading and financial centers in Eastern Central Europe.

Tourism: The main tourist areas are High Tatras, Beskidy and Sudety (especially the Giant Mountains), the Baltic Sea coast (bathing in traditional seaside resorts such as Świnoujście, Międzyzdroje, Kołobrzeg, Łeba, Sopot, Krynica Morska) and the Mazury Lake and Warsaw, Krakow, Gdansk, Breslau et al. Visit behealthybytomorrow.com for flights accommodation and movement in Poland.

Many smaller towns with important historical sites and ensembles are also among the tourist attractions (e.g. Malbork, Grudziądz or Toruń). The most important place of pilgrimage is Częstochowa. Medicinal springs led to the emergence of health resorts in the Sudetes (Kudowa Zdrój, Polanica Zdrój, Duszniki Zdrój) and the Beskids (Rabka, Krynica Zdrój). In 2013 the number of foreign guests reached 72.3 million (including transit), of which 28.9 million were from Germany.


Poland is an important transit country between Western and Eastern Europe. The most important carrier of freight transport is the Polish State Railways. The road network with 3,051 km of motorways or expressways is the most important mode of transport for passenger traffic. At the end of 2015, there were 540 cars for every 1,000 residents. Waterways play a subordinate role. Major ports on the Baltic Sea are located in Gdansk, Gdynia and Stettin (with an outer port in Świnoujście). Around 16,680 km of pipelines are used to transport crude oil, crude oil products and natural gas. In addition to the oil pipeline from the Volga-Ural region, the natural gas route opened in 2001 leads from the Yamal peninsulain Russia to Western Europe through Poland. International airports are located near Warsaw, Katowice, Krakow, Gdansk, Poznan and Wroclaw, the largest and most important by far is Warsaw Chopin Airport.

Poland Economy