There is general agreement, in and out of the Soviet Union, that agricultural performance has been deficient. Allowance must, of course, be made for unfavourable climatic conditions. However, it remains true that harvest yields are modest, while labour productivity has increased too slowly, very large investments have not been effectively utilized, machinery is of poor quality and costs have risen very rapidly, as have the subsidies which cover the difference between prices paid to the producers and the prices in state retail stores. There have been serious problems in motivating the labour force on state and collective farms, and one consequence is the need to mobilize millions from outside the villages to help bring in the harvest. Imports of grain and meat have reached very high levels. Altogether, agriculture has become a serious burden on the rest of the economy, while there are numerous complaints of shortages of such foods as meat and dairy produce, though part of this is due to the low, subsidized, retail prices, unchanged for 25 years. Allowing for weather variations, output has risen, but too slowly and at very high cost.
KeywordsIncome Marketing Kazakhstan Monopoly Reformer
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