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By Bill Davey, Clive Mathews

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Reaping the harvest of an effective fertilizer program would require enlightened leadership of a kind that can be supplied by governments which keep the interest of the farmer clearly in sight. (quotation from HU OSA 300-8-3 (19 April 1968)) The intensification of agricultural production also had a major negative impact on biodiversity and semi-­natural habitats through the removal of hedges and shelter belts, the extensive and inappropriate use of low-­quality agro-­chemicals, the development of irrigation infrastructures and land improvement works, and the increase of cultivated land to the detriment of grasslands and wetlands (UNECE 2001).

2009). 4C). g. Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia), agricultural output has dropped more than the CEE (weighted) average and continues to be below pre-­reform levels. For others, farm output declined less than the CEE average, as has been the case for Slovenia, Romania and Poland (over the entire period of twenty years of transformation) and for some years in 28 Economic dynamics of agrarian transition Bulgaria and Croatia. In the former three, agricultural production has surpassed pre-­reform levels, though reasons for why this has happened are country-­specific.

Org (last accessed 4 February 2010)). Note The CEE region includes in this case Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland and Romania. The sudden fall in fertilizer consumption in the CEE region in 1989–91 clearly illustrates the structural break triggered by the collapse of the communist regimes. 16 A story of communism and rural societies Having said this, even though CEE employed overall lower levels of fertilizer compared to Western Europe, it did not necessarily translate in CEE having been more ecologically responsible than the EU-­15.

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