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Many farms are even smaller: in Bulgaria, farms smaller than one hectare comprise 86 percent of individual farms and cover only 26 percent of the farming area.Most farms are subsistence farms that produce little for the market, but they are often an important source of income and food security for many rural residents.Land was usually restituted to the elderly, or in joint ownership to a group of heirs of an original owner.Restitution also established a large group of absentee owners residing in urban areas who have little or no involvement with farming or the rural economy.In some countries, a significant proportion of arable land is idle because of obstacles to cultivation and the absence of the present owners.2.7 The agricultural structure comprises some very large farms and many millions of microfarms, with an almost complete absence of intermediate-sized competitive, commercial farms.This situation occurs for many reasons, and efforts to enhance the quality of rural life must combine improvements to agricultural production, employment, infrastructure, housing and the protection of natural resources.Such integrated rural development must take into account the land tenure structure which includes vast numbers of small and fragmented farms.

2.2 Rural conditions throughout the region have deteriorated during the transition period.2.8 In most transition countries the land tenure structure of many small farms, frequently divided into fragmented parcels that are often awkwardly shaped for agricultural purposes, is a legacy of the first phase of transition (see Box 1).In some cases, the principle of correcting property injustices resulted in the restitution of land to former owners.2.9 While good progress has been made in building new registration and cadastre systems to administer rights to land, at times such rights have not yet been clearly established.In some case, owners have not received legal title to the land they occupy.In other cases, the principle of equity applied in decollectivisation programs resulted in households receiving several parcels of different qualities of arable land, a portion of the vineyard, and of the orchard.

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