Agency for Restructuring and Modernisation of Agriculture has been supporting the development of agriculture in Poland since 1994. Within this period, ARMA has played a crucial role in accelerating the adaptation processes in Polish agriculture and improving the quality of life in rural areas. The evolution of agricultural policy and rural development policy has had an impact on the organisational structure, tasks and functions of ARMA.
In the first years after its establishment ARMA had been managing state aid measures, financed in 100% from the national budget, including subsidies to the interest on investment loans and working capital loans. As a consequence of Poland's accession to the European Union, the state aid's importance has been gradually decreasing in favour of measures co-financed from the EU budget. The value of the state aid granted by ARMA since the start of its activities until 2010 has amounted to PLN 16,7 billion, of which 73% constitutes the value of assistance granted before 2004.
Following a decision of the Ministry of Agriculture, ARMA assumed the function of a paying agency for the Special Accession Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development for the years 2002-2004 (the SAPARD Programme). Having received the accreditation to manage the SAPARD Programme, the Agency was entitled to provide payments from the EU budget as it had to adjust to the EU procedural framework (the SAPARD Programme was financed from the EAGGF Guarantee Section). During the course of preparations for the management of the SAPARD Programme, in 2000, the setting up of ARMA’s 16 Regional Offices was decided, which in the subsequent years took over the main burden of serving beneficiaries of Community programmes for agriculture and rural areas.
The SAPARD Programme supported transformation in the EU candidate countries, while its main objective was an institutional and legal preparation of these countries for utilizing much larger Community funds to be available after accession. As a result of the SAPARD Programme more than 22,7 thousand projects were carried out, while ARMA paid PLN 4,5 billion to beneficiaries.
Simultaneously with managing the SAPARD Programme, ARMA carried on preparations for the management of Community funds to be available after 2004. In 2001, ARMA initiated the development of the Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS), necessary for effective and safe management of agricultural funds and programmes as well as providing the registry of producers, agricultural holdings and farm animals. In 2002, in the course of preparations to perform the function of a paying agency for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) measures, the existing 16 Regional Offices were supplemented with newly created Local Offices. In total, 314 of the latter were established.
After the accession to the EU (2004), the Agency was assigned the function of an accredited paying agency for a majority of the Common Agricultural Policy measures as well as the function of an Implementing Authority for programmes finances from the Structural Funds.
In 2008, the Agency closed the final stage of managing and settling assistance programmes from the 2004-2006 period: Rural Development Plan 2004-2006, SOP "Restructuring and Modernisation of the Food Sector and Rural Development 2004-2006" and SOP "Fisheries and Fish Processing 2004-2006".
In the 2007-2013 period, ARMA was responsible for the functions of an Accredited Paying Agency, including the implementation of CAP and Rural Development Programme measures as well as for the paying out of the allocated budget of nearly 30 billion euro granted to Poland for this period (direct payments, RDP 2007-2013). In addition, similarly to the previous programming period, ARMA implemented the programme for modernisation and development of the fisheries sector, financed by the European Fisheries Fund - under the Operational Programme "Sustainable Development of the Fisheries Sector and Coastal Fishing Areas 2007-2013".