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This paper presents the preliminary results of the research-in-progress on the 1990-95 subsidised investment boom in greenhouse agriculture in the Tras-os-Montes e Alto Douro region, in Northeast part of Portugal. The primary aims of the initial phase of this research are: (1) to build a profile of the type of farmers involved, (2) to evaluate the impact and the sustainability of the investments made, (3) to identify important economic and institutional actors in the preparation, submission and implementation phases of subsidised farm modernisation. The conclusions, so far drawn, underline the hypothesis that the success or failure of those investments cannot be explained merely in terms of factors associated with the farm enterprise's "internal environment". Both improved analysis and policy making depend on a careful assessment of the respective roles played by all key actors in the investment process - including other firms in the "filière", government agencies and the technical consultants involved in designing investment plans.


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