The European Commission has approved Poland's Sectoral Operational Programme for Restructuring and Modernisation of the Food Sector and Rural Development for the period 2004-2006.

The programme includes a broad range of ambitious rural development measures, with a focus on the modernisation of the farming sector, improvement of the processing sector, and the encouragement of rural development.

The European Union's contribution from the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund, Guidance Section, amounting to €1.19bn (US$1.47bn) for the period 2004-2006, will be complemented by national public funding of €591m.

"This programme sets ambitious objectives to build a more competitive agriculture and food sector in Poland, to develop rural areas, improve incomes and create job opportunities for those living there. We must ensure that we continue the momentum so that the programme can be up and running quickly," said Franz Fischler, European Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries.

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