BUCHAREST, Romania—Mauro, 28, and Adrian, 27, are two brothers from the southern Italian region of Puglia, who were sent by their father to cultivate 750 acres of corn in southern Romania, not far from the Bulgarian border. Their plot is small by Romanian standards. The two brothers are considered tiny landowners. Country life is hard, they confess, and they live in an area where they often go without electricity for days. “Here, the goal is quantity, not quality,” one of them says. “For months we have had a single young worker—young because the older ones have a concept of working that is light years away from farming as we understand it. At the same time, we know many of our people who were cheated, who have had all their possessions stolen. Because here, Romanian workers see us as rich western entrepreneurs...

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