Agricultural land is very fragmentated in the Central European countries. This situation hampers the emergence of a private commercial farming structure. Governments and non-governmental organisations debate on programs and instruments, but these far-reaching and costly options would be unnecessary if the situation were to improve through autonomous development. This article models the causal chain connected to land fragmentation, explores alternative development paths through various scenarios and tentatively points out which scenario is most likely. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.