In the Stalin era the primary objective of agricultural policy was to ensure an adequate supply of food and agricultural products to allow rapid industrialisation at the lowest possible cost in terms of resources allocated to the agricultural sector. This was achieved by means of a centralised administrative system which stifled and distorted local initiative and which was based on compulsory procurement quotas paid for at very low prices. These quotas were established centrally and were based, not on what the farms produced, but on the sown area which was controlled by production plans specifying in great detail and in a very arbitrary way what each farm had to do. The procurement quotas were augmented by heavy payments-in-kind for services provided by Machine Tractor Stations (MTS) which carried out mechanised work on the farms. The system was designed to ensure that the flow of agricultural produce to the state was not significantly affected by poor harvests, whether due to bad weather or to bad farming practices. A considerable proportion of agricultural investment was funded out of the very low revenue of the farms in such a way that investment requirements had priority over payments for labour. Although effective in extracting the resources required the system alienated the agricultural workers with serious effects on output.
KeywordsLivestock Product Local Official Agricultural Worker Party Organisation Administrative Reform
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