Since the late 1980s, agriculture in Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs) has been under considerable adjustment pressure due to changing political, economic and institutional environments. These changes have been linked to the transition process, as well as the ongoing integration into the European Union and the world market. Reduced subsidies, increased environmental and food quality demands, as well as structural changes in the supply, processing and food retailing sector call for major structural adjustments and the improvement of farmers’ managerial abilities. Though such changes always carry significant threats to farms, they also offer new opportunities for the farms' entrepreneurial engagement. Upcoming changes in the agricultural environment and their possible consequences for farm structures across Europe are thus still timely subjects. The objective of the IAMO Forum 2006 is to contribute to the success of agriculture in the CEECs, as well as their neighboring countries, in today’s increasingly competitive environment. Concrete questions the conference focuses on are: What are the most suitable farm organizations, cooperative arrangements and contractual forms? How to improve efficiency and productivity? Where do market niches lie and what are the new product demands? This book contains 33 invited and selected contributions. These papers will be presented at the IAMO Forum 2006 in order to offer a platform for scientists, practitioners and policy-makers to discuss challenges and potential strategies at the farm, value chain, rural society and policy levels in order to cope with the upcoming challenges. IAMO Forum 2006, as well as this book, would not have been possible without the engagement of many people and institutions. We thank the authors of the submitted abstracts and papers, as well as the referees, for their evaluation of the abstracts from which the papers were selected. In particular, we would like to express our thanks to OLIVER JUNGKLAUS, GABRIELE MEWES, KLAUS REINSBERG and ANGELA SCHOLZ, who significantly contributed to the organization of the Forum. Furthermore, our thanks goes to SILKE SCHARF for her work on the layout and editing support of this book, and to JIM CURTISS, JAMIE BULLOCH, and DÓNALL Ó MEARÁIN for their English proof-reading. As experience from previous years documents, the course of the IAMO Forum continues to profit from the support and engagement of the IAMO administration, which we gratefully acknowledge. Last but not least, we are very grateful to the Robert Bosch Foundation, the Federal Ministry of Nutrition, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV), the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Haniel Foundation and the Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe (IAMO) for their respective financial support.


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