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"Key developments in the agri-food chain and on restructuring and privatisation in CEE Candidate Countries"

This Report is based on information provided by the country experts who were members of the Network of Independent Agricultural Experts in the CEE Candidate Countries. This Network was set up in 2000 by the European Commission, Directorate General for Agriculture, in order to get expert advice and impartial analyses on agriculture in the CEE Candidate Countries.

The report summarises the key recent developments in the food industries of the candidate countries and provides a snapshot of the progress to date. The food industry in the Central and Eastern European candidate countries is now recovering from the sharp drop in output in the early years of transition. However, food industry employment in most countries (Poland is the notable exception) is still on a downward trend as a result of restructuring through bankruptcies and consolidation of operations despite new entries as well. Industry profitability remains low and many countries continue to experience excess capacity, particularly in the primary processing sectors such as meat and dairy processing and grain milling. While the transition from central planning was marked by the creation of thousands of small and medium scale processing and retail enterprises, more recently, this fragmented structure has begun to concentrate with, in some countries, the emergence of a dualistic size structure of enterprises

Published in February 2003.

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