In the 1970s Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union have changed from being net grain exporters to major grain importers. Clearly, unfavorable weather has played a key role in this dramatic reversal. However, as several of the authors of this book argue, bad policies have played a key role. In the authors’ analyses of the new five-year plans, a serious question is raised as to whether the nations involved can meet their ambitious goals. Indeed, a strong case is made that the U.S.S.R. will not only continue to be an importer of grains, but that it will increase such imports over the years. Although the CMEA nations have made increases in food output in the last two decades, a point of diminishing returns seems to have been reached. Future demand for food imports may have an enormous impact on international affairs. Even if the nations involved were to collectively meet their ambitious production plans, which the authors doubt, there is no possibility that the area will be able to make any significant contribution to mounting world food demand in the foreseeable future. This fact alone is of great significance in a world facing a mounting food crisis.
Preface -- Introduction -- The U.S.S.R -- Shifts to Off-Farm Agricultural Inputs in the Tenth Economic Plan: The Economic and Institutional Implications -- The Widening Soviet Grain Gap and Prospects for 1980 and 1990 -- The Agricultural Potential of the Nonchernozem Zone -- Soviet Agriculture in the 1976–80 Plan -- Eastern Europe -- Prospects for the Future of Polish Agriculture -- Poland’s Uncertain Five-Year Plan -- Principal Characteristics of Agricultural Policy Trends in Czechoslovakia -- Hungary’s New Agricultural Revolution and Its Promise for the Fifth Five-Year Plan -- The Future of East German Agriculture: The Feasibility of the 1976–80 Plan -- Eastern European and Soviet Trade -- Eastern Europe’s New Five-Year Plans: The Outlook for Intra-CMEA and East-West Trade