Poland's parliament is to meet soon to consider higher investment in farming to expand food supplies in towns where meat queues and discontent are growing.
SV Combine harvester on Polish farm. (2 shots)
SV Farmer cutting hay. (3 shots)
SCU Polish leader Geirek meeting workers.
GV Workers PAN TO banner.
SCU Geirek talking to workers.
SV People in market places buying food. (3 shots)
GV AND SV People in cafes (3 shots)
GV New steel mill. (3 shots)
SV Shopping centre. (2 shots)
SV INT. Shoppers buying jeans, shirts and other clothes. (3 shots)
SV Woman and baby.
GV Apartment building
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Poland's parliament is to meet soon to consider higher investment in farming to expand food supplies in towns where meat queues and discontent are growing.
SYNOPSIS: Collective farms are normally an integral part of a communist system, but in Poland they're a rarity. This farm is state-owned and uses modern equipment.
Eighty percent of Poland's agriculture comes from small family farms like this one. They're heavily subsidised by the government, which also keeps food prices to the consumer frozen.
The man who runs Poland is Party Chief Edward Geirek. He came to power six years ago after his predecessor was forced out of office while trying to raise food prices. Mr. Geirek realises what a sensitive subject that is, but in July he suggested a 35 percent boost in prices. Riots broke out in several cities and the idea was dropped. But prices must go up and a slow rise is now predicted.
The fears of price increases led to long lines at supermarkets with people buying sugar and other non-perishable goods that could be hoarded. Consumer discontent has also been growing because of shortages of meat, canned food and cooking fats. Meat shortages in Warsaw are more severe now because higher wages have not been matched by bigger farm output.
Industry is booming, but experts say Polish farming is stagnant and needs immense investment and broad restructuring to meet market needs. The drift of the people to the cities could also strangle the farms.
In many ways, Poles have never had it so good. More consumer products are available in stores now, particularly in the way of clothes and home appliances. For five years they've had a price freeze on basic foods, but wages have increased by an average of 60 percent.
Most women in Poland still work, even if they have children. The government provides day-care centres and they live in low-cost housing. Many families own their own apartments. But they still fear a food price increase, but the government says it must come.