A visiting Polish agricultural official is making the rounds of Ventura County farms and packaging plants in an effort to better understand capitalist food production techniques.
Jan Woszczyna, manager of agriculture for the Polish Ministry of Privatization, has toured area orchards and croplands and attended marketing and production seminars for the past week and a half. He plans to apply what he has learned to the Polish farming industry, which is in the midst of privatizing after decades of Communist rule. "Many Polish businessmen are interested in cooperation or some kind of joint venture (with the West)," he said at a reception in his honor Tuesday night. "Our situation is attractive to come in."
To transform to a capitalist economy, the Polish government created the Ministry of Privatization three years ago. The agency oversees the conversion state-owned operations to profit-making businesses, Woszczyna said.
"More than 50% of (Polish) employees are in the private sector," he said. But the transition hasn't been easy.
"It's a problem of money," he said. "We have more industries to go private than buyers."
Today, Woszczyna will complete an internship with Seaward International Group, a Ventura-based consulting firm specializing in farm production, marketing and management.
"We learn from it too," Seaward President Daniel Block said of the internship. "We're making contacts from it, so it kind of works both ways."
Block said the U.S. State Department was funding Wosczcyna's internship with Seaward.
The privatization effort will pump $580 million into the Polish state treasury this year, but the full transition will take several years to complete.
Ventura County is the last stop on a two-week fact-finding mission for the privatization manager. Woszczyna said he also studied in Washington and Chicago in February and would return to Warsaw on Friday.