Agriculture in Transition: Land Reform in Former Socialist Countries
Traditional socialist agriculture was characterized by dual structure: commercial production concentrated in large-scale collective and state farms cultivating thousands of hectares with hundreds of employees (Medvedev, 1987; Cochrane, 1989), and subsistence-oriented individual farming in small household plots of less than half a hectare based on part-time family labour (Waedekin, 1973, 1990). In most of the region, including the republics of the former Soviet Union and Albania, all agricultural land was owned by the state. In the rest of East-Central Europe (ECE) however, cooperative or collective land ownership emerged in addition to state property as individual land-owners began joining cooperative farms, and private land continued to exist in various forms. Yet even land that was formally registered as individually owned was managed and cultivated by large-scale collectives and cooperatives. Transition to individual land ownership and restructuring of the large-scale ‘socialized’ farm enterprises is therefore one of the main characteristics of agricultural transformation in the ECE countries and the former Soviet Union (FSU). The present chapter describes the ongoing changes in land tenure relations and farm organization in the former socialist countries as of early 1996.
KeywordsState Farm Former Soviet Union Socialist Country Private Land Ownership Soviet Republic
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