The Changing Face of Rural Space: Agriculture and Rural Development in the Western Balkans

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World Bank Publications, May 4, 2009 - Political Science - 176 pages
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Although at different stages of development, the countries of the Western Balkans‚ Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia‚ face similar challenges in transforming and modernizing their agricultural food production (agri-food) sectors. Their rural sectors have lagged behind the rest of the economy in growth and poverty reduction, their agri-food sectors are undercapitalized and highly fragmented, and their agro-processing capacities limited. Agricultural trade deficits are widening, climate change is posing increasing risks to farm incomes, and low-cost imports and changing consumer preferences are further eroding competitiveness. Added to this scenario are the challenges and opportunities of adopting the EU 'acquis communautaire' relating to agriculture. Based on recent World Bank reports prepared in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the European Commission Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development, 'The Changing Face of Rural Space: Agriculture and Rural Development in the Western Balkans' identifies what is constraining agricultural competitiveness in these countries, examines public expenditures in agriculture, and diagnoses key challenges for agricultural policy makers. The book expands on previous findings to provide a strategic policy framework for transforming and modernizing the agri-food sector and, in the context of region‚ s ongoing process of integration with the European Union, creating a dynamic rural space in the Western Balkans. The book offers Western Balkan governments and international donors a shared vision of the goals and directions their agriculture and rural development policies and programs might take.

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