“The New Plenty; Why are some post-Soviet farms thriving?”
In the 1990s, rural economies in many post-Soviet countries suffered from a staggering decline in production and from outmigration. Over the last 10 to 15 years, some agricultural producers in the former Soviet Union have managed to reverse decline: they have updated production facilities, improved productivity, and increased production and exports. These trends are uneven, as some farmers in some countries are thriving, while others are on the brink of economic collapse. What are the conditions for recovery? The research I am presenting at the workshop shows that targeted and flexible public support to specific rural producers, combined with the recovery of demand in other post-Soviet countries made rural recoveries possible in a number of countries with very mixed institutional track-records. These findings suggest that conditions for recovery have materialized from within the post-Soviet region, rather than being dependent on a transition toward particular type of good governance institutions and access to markets in the European Union.