The main aim of the conference is twofold. One objective is to review and synthesise developments and general insights of 20 years of transition in the agri-food sector and rural areas in Central and Eastern European Countries. The other is to reflect on future developments and perspectives of the food and agricultural systems in these regions.
The role and interdependencies of the various drivers and their impacts on stakeholders and institutions in the transition process will be discussed from a crosscutting and interdisciplinary perspective. Past experiences will be summarized into ‘lessons learnt’ and contribute to further theory building. Special emphasis will also be set on developing a basis for future development paths and the relevant challenges for political, economic and scientific actors.
The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 marked the symbolic beginning-of-the-end of centrally planned economic systems in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The transition process to market economies and democratic political systems affected agriculture and rural areas in these countries and initiated massive structural changes not only at farm level but also within agribusiness chains and throughout the economy. However, the full transition process is taking longer than predicted and the success rate in creating competitively oriented food and agricultural systems varies remarkably between countries and regions. Parallel to the transition process, important political and economic changes have taken place, such as the entry of Central and Eastern European Countries into the EU and WTO, as well as changes within world agricultural and food systems such as globalization and the increasing vertical integration of food chains.