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The Warsaw Voice » Business » December 30, 2010
Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation - State Research Institute
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Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation - State Research Institute
December 30, 2010   
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The institute is located in the city of Puławy in the picturesque valley of the Vistula River, close to the tourist resorts of Kazimierz Dolny, Janowiec and Nałęczów. The institute’s head office is housed in the beautiful palace of the Czartoryski Dukes, a major tourist attraction of the Puławy area. The institute’s ties to the palace date back to 1862, when the Polytechnic Institute of Agriculture and Forestry was established in the part of Poland controlled by Russia. It was the first institute of agriculture in this part of Europe.

In 1917, the occupation Austrian authorities allowed for a new State Research Institute of Rural Husbandry (PINGW) to be established as the center for agricultural research. In newly independent, post-1918 Poland, the PINGW became the central agricultural research facility for the whole of Poland. In 1950, it was divided into several specialized agricultural institutes located outside Puławy. Back in Puławy, the Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation was opened as a state facility supervised by the Ministry of Agriculture.

The institute has since evolved into a modern research center conducting a wide range of basic and applied research projects and employing 350 people, including 116 researchers. The personnel work in state-of-the-art laboratories and experimental stations conducting field research.

Owing to its long history, the Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation has been able to gather a unique and vast database on cultivated land in Poland. The data is used to analyze processes that occur in agriculture and to support environment-related decisions made at different levels of state administration. During Poland’s membership negotiations with the EU, the institute’s database enabled Poland to identify Less Favorable Areas (LFA), as a result of which around 53 percent of Poland’s area was covered by increased direct payments to agricultural production, benefiting a vast group of farmers. Research conducted at the institute has also made it possible to upgrade environmental conditions necessary for organic farming, identifying areas that are particularly fit for this type of agriculture.

As part of its statutory research, the institute has been carrying out a project entitled “Sustainable Development of Plant Production and Giving Shape to the Agricultural Space of Poland.” The project covers four main areas:

1. Biological and biotopic factors in plant production and conditions on obtaining plant materials of desirable quality;
2. Research on efficient and environmentally-safe technology to produce basic field crops;
3. Natural, economic and organizational factors in agricultural production at farms;
4. Shaping the space for agricultural production in Poland, taking into account the regional division of plant production.

In 2005, the Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation was granted State Research Institute status. The status comes with a long-term project designed to support the goals and priorities of Poland’s National Development Plan and so the institute has been helping Poland pursue the widely accepted ideals of sustainable development.

Notably, the Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation—State Research Institute is authorized by law to issue opinions on the usefulness of fertilizers. Thanks to such evaluations, it is possible to remove inefficient and harmful fertilizers from the market. This part of the institute’s work takes place at an accredited laboratory operating as part of the institute.

The Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation has also worked on EU Framework Programs. One of most noteworthy ones was the “Soil and Water Quality Protection and Sustainable Rural Development” program of the Proland EU Center of Excellence, carried out in 2003-2006. More recently, the institute has been entrusted with a large EU project called PROFICIENCY (http://proficiency-fp7.eu). The project, to be carried out in 2009-2013, aims to strengthen the institute’s excellence in terms of “Organization of Food and Animal Feed Production and the Safety and Quality of Those During Global Climate Change.” As a result of the project, the institute will upgrade its equipment, create a better image of itself in Poland and internationally and consolidate the research potential of its personnel by taking part in personnel exchange programs with other EU member states.

The institute has a modern training base, including a Training and Conference Center with a 100-bed hotel, conference rooms, catering facilities and an Information Center with broadcasting devices. Thanks to the proximity to Kazimierz Dolny, Janowiec and Nałęczów and relatively low prices, the center is popular with groups from many different institutions and companies.
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