Orchard producers emphasized compatibility of their practices with environmental regulations but they admitted that their limited use of chemicals in production was mostly due to high costs. The environmentally friendly attitude was in that sense forced upon them. Intensification of production rather than its mere maintenance as well as its improved quality were seen as the remedies for the current situation. These participants pointed out the weak lobbying position of farmers who operated orchards. They wished it was as significant as the lobbying position of miners or other professions, which had their own unions fighting for their interests. The respondents were not very optimistic about the new direction of production, namely cider production, which in their view was rather small scale, and not likely to bring significant changes.
Another problem that was addressed in the focus group interview pertained to ecological production. In this context, the respondents emphasized the superiority of so called integrated production over ecological production. They saw the following downsides of organic production: a/ lack of any intervention in production; b/ in Poland – unlike in the West – so-called ecological product did not generate better price; and c/ the lack of any recognizable certification that the product was indeed ecological. Integrated production, on the other hand had, according to the respondents, had numerous positive sides related to production of fruit and apples, in particular: a/ integrated production allowed for the use of chemical products but it needed to be done under the strict supervision of responsible institutions; b/ it was possible to set up appropriate price of the product; c/ in the process of integrated production there were numerous inspections ensuring the safety of the product.
The issues related to credits and mortgages were also present in the discussion and they involved two main problems. The first one was related to the institution that could be involved in the funding of apple production in the most suitable way. Here, the respondents alluded to cooperative banks as local institutions, close to local matters, cooperating with local government, and potential allies to local development. In cooperative banks the customer was never anonymous and the decisions were made locally.
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