Journal Article


Consolidation Initiatives After Land Reform: Responses to Multiple Dimensions of Land Fragmentation in Eastern European Agriculture

Published on 27 September 2002

Land consolidation as a means to improve the use of agricultural land has, for centuries, comprised a part of many land reform efforts. Until very recently, the majority of attempts to consolidate land have been large-scale, government-led or promoted by actors who are external to the affected agricultural population, such as International Development Organizations (IOs). A seemingly new wave of land consolidation initiatives is emerging in the wake of agrarian reform in many transition economies as a remedy to the massive constraints imposed on farming by recent land reforms, and as a stop-gap measure in the vacuum of workable land markets. Currently, market-led, demand-driven and participatory approaches to land consolidation are on the IOs long-term agenda, while Eastern European (EE) Governments turn to legislation as a means for promoting a more rational spatial allocation of land. While a valiant effort is currently being made by organizations such as the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) to stress that land consolidation should comprise only one part of an overall rural development strategy, this paper argues that, in the main, the new approaches remain constrained by the same misplaced emphasis on only one dimension of land fragmentation that characterized the former approach. For this reason, efforts to assist the agricultural sectors of many countries are likely to fail. A limited number of studies are emerging highlighting voluntary or spontaneously-evolved efforts to consolidate land at the household level, but, these efforts have failed to find resonance at the macro-policy level. A review of these new arrangements reveals that local consolidation initiatives reflect a response to multiple dimensions of fragmentation.


Rachel Sabates-Wheeler

Rural Futures Cluster Lead

Publication details

published by
John Wiley and Sons
Sabates-Wheeler, S.
Journal of International Development, volume 14, issue 14


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