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Abstract

The rural sector in nearly all the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) has undergone a shift from predominantly collective to more individualized agriculture. At the same time, most of the land in the region has shifted from state to private ownership. These two shifts – a shift in tenure and a shift in ownership – were part of the transition from a centrally planned economy to a more marketoriented economy that began around 1990 in the huge post-Soviet space stretching from Prague to Vladivostok. The transition reforms in the region were unprecedented in their scope and pace. Some 150 million hectares of agricultural land transferred ownership in these countries in just one decade of reform (1990-2000), compared with 100 million hectares in Mexico during 75 years (1917-1992) and 11 million hectares in Brazil during 30 years (1964- 1994) (Deininger 2003). The basis of this shift from collective to individual agriculture lay in two interrelated aspects of agricultural policy reform: land reform, which concerns issues of land use rights and land ownership; and farm reform, which deals with issues of restructuring of farms into individual land holdings. Land reform, together with farm restructuring, set an agenda for the transformation of socialist farms into hopefully a more efficient farm structure with a clear market orientation

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