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Structural changes in agriculture have been going on in many countries all over the world during the last two decades. Developments were forced by radical reforms of countries concerned resulting in to establishing new farm structure. Large scale farm systems were broken up and tens of millions of small farms were established in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and former soviet states (CIS). Although small farms play a very important role in providing people with food, negligence and taking over the vertical coordination of food sector by multinational retail chains as well as severe competition have placed hard pressure on small farms. As a consequence number
of small farms declined very much and this process still did not come to an end. The question arises: what is the future of small farms in the region? Our analysis is partly based on a worldwide research project called Regoverning markets1 and intends to look at both the status and the perspectives of small farms is CEE and to provide an analysis of evolving relations in the food chain and impacts upon small farmers in the region. The paper is organized in the following way. First part gives an overview of the dual farm structure occurred in the region. Second part is focusing on the characteristics of small farms in both Central Europe and the former Soviet Union countries. Third section discusses the problems and difficulties small farms are facing. Finally, some lessons will be listed for policy consideration.

This publication forms part of the Regoverning Markets project.

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