One of the greatest failures of Communist systems everywhere has been in agricultural productivity. In the Soviet Union some thirty-five years of collectivized agriculture have brought but modest increases in yields and gross production of many crops and livestock; growth of agricultural output per capita since even before the Revolution has been even less impressive. Among the Communist countries of Eastern Europe, although collectivization is much more recent, the pattern has been much the same; yields remain low, and gross production as well as per capita increases has been small.
Although some areas of Eastern Europe and large parts of the USSR can be classified as physically marginal for agriculture, the low levels of agricultural productivity are primarily attributable to defective organization and operation. There have been years when crop failure in this or that area was the direct result of drought, flood, or other natural cause, but these catastrophes cannot be blamed for the low yields which characterize the longer run. The major obstacles to production gains lie within the collectivized system.