S.A. Pieniazek
Labor shortage is undoubtedly the most important subject that is discussed during most meetings concerned with agricultural production, and especially with fruit production. All over the world there is a trend for the rural population to move into the cities. I remember, when I visited France for the first time in my life, in 1958, I read an article on that problem in a Paris newspaper. A journalist wrote that, if the French farmers will be leaving the farms and moving to the cities at the rate they did at that time, the last French farmer will abandon the last French farm in 1999.

Well, twenty years have passed since and certainly many farmers, in France and in all other countries, left agriculture and chose other professions, but the doomsday is not so close. It is true that the percent of the population engaged in agriculture decreases everywhere but agricultural production does not fall. It increases steadily, only the human muscles are replaced by machines.

While the doomsday is not so close the fruit growers have more reasons to worry than the grain or milk producers. Not long ago I have had before my eyes the figures concerning the changes in labor efficiency in agriculture in the state of New York in America during the 60 year period, 1914–1974. It appeared from them that the production of wheat per man/hour increased during that period 52.4 times, production of milk 10.5 times, and production of apples only 2.5 times. The reasons for these differences are obvious. Wheat was cut by a scythe in 1914 and it is harvested now by a combine. No one is milking cows by hand as it was done in 1914. Apples, however, are harvested by hand, one by one, even in 1978, as they were hundreds of years before.

Pieniazek, S.A. (1979). TEMPERATE FRUIT PRODUCTION IN THE FUTURE. Acta Hortic. 103, 73-79
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.1979.103.5