INTRODUCTION: Food shortages and rationing have been one of the major sources of recent troubles in Poland.
GV & LV Several combine harvesters harvesting wheat on Lezno State farm. (3 SHOTS)
CU & SV Wheat poured into truck.
CU Wheat in truck and truck draws away. (3 SHOTS)
GV Grain storehouse.
GV & SV Grain released from truck in storehouse. (2 SHOTS)
CU Director of the farm checking quality.
SV PULL BACK TO GV Sacks of grain on truck ready to leave for the seed storehouse.
SV Individual private farm buildings in village of Babice. (2 SHOTS)
SV PAN Farmer using scythe to cut oats. (2 SHOTS)
GV & SV Two horses pulling harvester in barley field. (2 SHOTS)
SV PAN Barley being stacked and loaded into horse drawn cart. (4 SHOTS)
LV PAN & CU Farmer using hired 'Vistula' mini-combine to gather wheat. (3 SHOTS)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Food shortages and rationing have been one of the major sources of recent troubles in Poland. Protests have been held in most of the major cities and mor are planned by the Solidarity trade union. In many instances, housewives have joined ranks with industrial workers to campaign for an increase in the amount of food reaching the shops.
SYNOPSIS: Throughout Poland large state farms are currently gathering in the wheat harvest. These harvesting machines are operating on Lezno State Farm. But despite all this work, Poland wills till have to import about seven million tons of grain and fodder from the United States by Autumn next year to keep pace with domestic demand.
Without this massive import Poland would find it almost impossible to provide the annual average consumption level - 55 to 60 kilos per person.
And earlier this month, France agreed to send food aid to the Poles. The consignment will include 300,000 tonnes of cereals, 7,000 tonnes of beef and large amounts of fruit. Little has reached them so far, due to financial problems between the French government and banks.
One of the many reasons for Poland's food crisis is the existence of a flourishing black market. Basic commodities like meat, grain and arable crops often fall into the wrong hands. People fed up with constant queueing at shops grud???ingly pay inflated asking prices.
It is so bad the government has set up a special commission to root out the profiteers who cynically exploit the continuing crisis.
Critics blame the whole concept of large state controlled farms, and say small, private concerns like this one in Babice village are better.
Private farmers throughout the country think elements of the capitalist world have to have a place of Poland's agricultural system is to improve. They argue that a farmer in control of his own farm will have a vested interest in profitability.
Latest predictions now say Poland will have an acute shortage of butter this coming winter. The Bonn-based East Bloc Agricultural Newsletter says production so far this year has slumped by a quarter.
It says all the butter produced went straight on to the market. None was kept back in state stocks up to July. But private hoarding of essentials like the barley being loaded here is widespread. Wester agriculturists say it happens because Poles are so used to overnight price rises and sudden shortages.
Many farmers attempt to increase productivity by improving their machinery in a land still noted for some medieval farming methods. But it takes money, and that's another Polish crisis. The country is sagging under loan debts to Western banks. Meanwhile, Solidarity and its supporters continue pressing the government for policies to effectively banish food queues and improve farm production throughout the country.