The growing interest in the agricultural sector observed recently is, above all, connected with the need to satisfy the global demand for food in the long term. The significance of this problem is, on the one hand, defined by the growing number of people worldwide, and, on the other hand, by the limited capacity to increase agricultural production through extensive farming. The problem of providing sufficient nourishment for the growing population, known as the Malthusian trap, involves production intensification by means of agricultural industrialisation. The justifiability of the industrial model of agriculture in addressing the issue of subsistence becomes, however, controversial in nature, in the light of dwindling natural resources. In consequence, it seems vital to develop a sustained-farming model which would provide for current and future challenges with respect to the food economy, and ecological and social resource management in rural areas.
Economic- and rural-area development strategies currently in place address the issue of economic growth. Sustainable growth is perceived chiefly through the prism of adjusting the economy to the economic potential of the soil and a particular region. The Europe 2020 Strategy sees the European economy adaptation as calling for the more efficient use of ecological resources and the implementation of environment-friendly technologies. As regards agriculture, the focus is on biotechnological innovations. In view of the above-mentioned reasons, the correlation between agriculture and the environment is the primary parameter in the sustainability evaluation of European agriculture.
Under EU strategies the question of sustained agriculture is of a general nature and does not address any specific local problems of rural areas or individual member states. As a consequence, national models of sustainable agriculture may differ from the model preferred in the EU. This article aims at comparing the European and Polish strategies designed to address the issue of the sustainable growth of agriculture and rural areas. The study will facilitate the identification of divergences in preference as regards farming at EU and national levels, and an indication of fields in the agricultural policy that call for integration.