Experience in Eastern European countries

After the fall of the iron curtain 1989, travelling an visiting Eastern Europe became increasingly easy : As Eastern Europeans were very keen to get to learn the Western way of life, many Western European were attracted to Eastern Europe by curiosity. For agronomists, the discovery of the agrarian structures and the agricultural techniques used in Eastern Europe were of special interest.

Before collectivisation, in Czech Republic, Romania and Albania for instance, large farming estates belonging to private or institutional landowners were common in good agricultural land and small scale farming was to be found in mountainous or less fertile parts of the country. In Latvia, a large number of family farms seems to have actually been collectivised. In those countries, collectivisation and confiscation took place together. Poland and the Balkanic states (Slovenia, Macedonia) never experienced large scale collectivisation and decollectivisation.

The new regime performed both privatisation of the agricultural production and distribution of the land. Decollectivisation led to a great variety of new structures, such as stock companies belonging to the former owners or to the agricultural workers, or the land was returned to the former owners who had to seek for the proper structure to run it. In Romania, Latvia, Armenia and Albania, a large scale redistribution took place, creating thus a myriad of family farms, which practise farming at a subsistence level, in great poverty. In all cases, the State constituted a reserve of good agricultural land in order to create larger more performing farms, similar to those in Western Europe.

Decollectivisation and distribution of the land was often performed extremely rapidly and left a huge number of small farms with no means to perform agricultural work (machines, intrants). Joining the European Union, which supports family farms of a certain size with a good level of technicity will mean again a deep change for the rural population of Eastern Europe. Though investments in agriculture are low, and millions of ha of marginal land, or in need of expensive equipment of irrigation or drainage, may be left fallow, in spite of World Bank’s and other supports for melioration systems.

·       Czech Republic : Study of the possibilities of agrotourism development on behalf of the Regional Development Agency for Central Moravia (an agency established by the communes of the region) at Olomouc. Regional         assessments and establishment of tourism development facilities in rural areas. Theoretical approach of the choice of the strategies for tourism development.

 

·       Poland : The choice of strategies in tourism development in the Malopolska region at the Instytut Turystyki (Kraków) : a theoretical approach.

 

·       Romania :  Development of projects in rural development for Gipsies in the Danube plain (Judet of Buzau) for the local council

                                                           

·       Macedonia : Developing “environmentally friendly agricultural projects” for the Ministry of Environment of Physical Planning in (FYROM).

 

·       Armenia : Developing “environmentally friendly agricultural projects” for the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with an Armenian private company.

 

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