The future role of agriculture in multifunctional rural development: The case of Italy

This paper addresses the issue of the role of agriculture in multifunctional rural development in Italy. Italy is characterised by high heterogeneity interms of territorial composition, rural areas and the role of agriculture. The paper reviews the main multifunctionality concerns in Italy, by discussing rural development issues and policies and addressing the role of agriculture in such a context.The further development of agriculture and related future issues are then discussed, both in terms of dominant themes and most relevant policy design issues.

An incubator model based on the territorial value chain

Policies to promote and encourage local foods may take many different shapes depending on both the specific targets and strategies. Some policies, especially at a local level, promote supply-chain vertical and horizontal integration as a comprehensive strategy which aims to help firms pursue several of the promoting policies. A business model that focuses its attention on the consumer of the product and territory can be a crucial driver in generating a ‘land fecundation’ as a response to globalization. The aim of the paper is to investigate the link between rural development and territorialisation, exploring the role of Local Action Groups Integrated Projects of Food Chain and Rural Development Programmes from 2007-2013 in a region in Southern Italy. The article makes use of a value chain approach, starting with Porter’s value chain model and five forces model of competition; it proposes a methodological framework for the development of an organisational model that includes and builds networks between the several stakeholders and local programmes, creating a shared strategy to revitalising the area and the food choices of its residents. This revitalising process takes place through the implementation of a multi-purpose incubator establishing strong partnerships that are able to foster complementarities among all rural stakeholders. Conclusions and implications for policy makers are drawn: a model of territorial organisation could link territorial capital and local stakeholders, and therefore the programming carried out under the entire RDP.

The future role of agriculture in multifunctional rural development: The case of Italy

This paper addresses the issue of the role of agriculture in multifunctional rural development in Italy. Italy is characterised by high heterogeneity in terms of territorial composition, rural areas and the role of agriculture. The paper reviews the main multifunctionality concerns in Italy, by discussing rural development issues and policies and addressing the role of agriculture in such a context. The further development of agriculture and related future issues are then discussed, both in terms of dominant themes and most relevant policy design issues.


Impacts of the global financial and economic crisis on the agro-food industry and rural livelihoods in Serbia

Sixty-five per cent of the Serbian land area is agricultural and 55% of the population is rural.Agriculture share of GDP is more than 10% and about 47% of the rural labour force deals with agriculture. The aim of this work is to analyse the impacts of the global financial and economic crisis on the Serbian agro-food sector and rural communities. Measures introduced, mainly by public institutions, for relieving the consequences of the crisis are presented and discussed. Easily accessible yet high quality data from the central Office of Statistics in Serbia and specialized literature have been used. Impacts have been assessed by analyzing and discussing the trends of many socio-economic indicators. The crisis has had general impacts on the Serbian economy (low GDP growth, unemployment increase, price volatility, purchasing power decrease, etc.). Due to the crisis growth in agricultural production has been very low (0.1% in 2009). Agro-food exports decreased dramatically in 2008. About 9000 agricultural jobs were lost in 2008 and 2009. Reduced exports and lower domestic demand impacted negatively on agricultural commodity prices and agricultural household incomes.Access to credit became more difficult especially for small producers. However, agriculture is still a very important safety net. Agricultural employment share has increased both for men and women. The importance of agriculture is even higher if we consider the “grey agricultural economy”. To mitigate the crisis effects, the Government provided subsidies to rural people and will adopt the National Strategic Plan and Programme for Rural Development. Nevertheless, public institutions - in partnership with private, civil society and international organisations - should improve rural producers’ access to market information and credits and foster investments in rural areas including non-agricultural ones and those aiming at improving physical capital.

Evaluation of crop and irrigation water requirements for some selected crops in Apulia region -Southern Italy

Nowadays, nearly 90% of global water consumption is caused by irrigation activities, and more than 40% of the crops are produced under irrigated conditions. This study is an endeavour to estimate the irrigation water requirement (IWR) and crop water requirement (CWR) for some selected crops (Pepper, Eggplant, Potato, Soybean, Maize, Wheat Melon, Lettuce, Sunflower, Broadbean, Citrus, Cherry, Olive tree, Sugarbeet, Artichoke, Wine Grapes, Carrot...etc.) in Sothern Italy. The selected districts (Sant’ Arcangelo) have been taken as a case study area. Demanded meteorologically (rainfall, temperature, humidity, wind speed, sunshine hours) and crop data (crop coefficient and crop calendar) have been collected for 30 years period from 1981 to 2011. FAO CROPWATv8.0 software has been applied for requisite calculation of CWR and IWR along with the developing of cropping patterns. The FAO Penman-Monteith equation is used for estimating the reference evapotranspiration (ET0) by using meteorological data in the framework of CROPWAT model as it regarded as a good evaluator for a wide variety of climatic conditions. The analysis indicates that FAO Penman-Monteith suits very well for the study area and can be successfully used for the estimation of reference evapotranspiration. The important results in this study indicate that the IWR is very low from November to April (wintertime) due to higher rainfall intensity in these months and from month May to October a considerable amount of water is required for irrigation.

JEL Classification: Q25, Q24,Q10

The political economy of agri-environmental measures: An empirical assessment at the eu regional level

The paper deals with the political and economic determinants of EU agri-environmental measures (AEMs) applied by 59 regional/country units, during the 2001-2004 period. Five different groups of determinants, spanning from positive and negative externalities, to political institutions, are highlighted and tested using an econometric model. Main results show that AEMs implementation is mostly affected by the strength of the farm lobby, and the demand for positive externalities. At the same time it emerges a prominent role played by political institutions. On the contrary, AEMs do not seem implemented by the willingness to address negative externalities.

The role of education, knowledge and human resources for the agricultural development in the perspective of new cap: an hypothesis of change in Basilicata

The role of education, knowledge and human resources in the agribusiness becomes of primary importance for the development of agricultural sector and, more generally, of the territory. The main objective of the present paper is to verify the role of investment in human resources and, consequently, in services for the agricultural development for the dynamics of rural development, trade and international cooperation of agribusiness.After a literature review, the paper firstly analyses the characteristics of the Italian Region of Basilicata, selected for our empirical application, and secondly develops an econometric model to explain the relationship between the rural GDP and a set of economic variables and of network-education-social (NES) dummy variable. These NES is representative of social, educational and, network factors, describing the degree of openness of the region firm. As expected, the results show that farmers may act as engines for economic development when they are trained on the basis of the needs and requirements related to innovation and research, and they are assisted through new models of organization of agricultural services.

Performance imbalances in the chain: EU traditional food sector

Organizations nowadays no longer competeas independent entities, but as chains(Christopher, 1998; Cox, 1999; Lambertand Cooper, 2000). Hence, being part of a well-performing chain is crucial for the future of the individual food firm, especially in the context of the globalizing economy. As a result, the objective of this study is to identify performance imbalances of traditional food chains.Therefore, quantitative data were collected via individual interviews with 271 chain member (91 suppliers, 91 focal companies and 89 customers) of 91 traditional food chains from three European countries(Belgium, Italy and Hungary), representing six different traditional food product categories (cheese, beer, ham, sausage, white pepper and bakery). The results differentiate six different kinds of chain imbalances, namely: dyadic upper and lower, up-and down stream, internal and external indicate both dyadic and chain-wise imbalance. Most chain imbalances are noticed in relation to lowering logistic costs and to reducing lead time. Future research should extend the list of performance indicators with parameters other than economical ones such as ecological and social ones.

European traditional food producers and marketing capabilities: An application of the marketing management process

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the marketing management capabilities of SMEs producing traditional food products, in order to analyse the market orientation of SMEs in the food industry. Following the theoretical approach of Market Orientation, our analysis is based on an assessment of the marketing management process. The methodology refers to a survey developed through a questionnaire published on the web, and a sample of 371 firms based in Belgium, Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic and Hungary was used in the analysis. Cluster analysis was applied to find the different levels of market orientation of the firms. The results revealed a certain lack of appropriate skills in marketing management in the firms of the sample, confirming the evidence found in economic literature concerning SMEs. Nevertheless, cluster analysis outlined a group of firms with good marketing capabilities and market oriented, and these represent a great part of the sample (40%). With regard to the stages of the marketing management process, the most problematic are those of planning and implementation, and control and evaluation, highlighting the difficulties SMEs encounter in carrying out coordinated marketing; which appears to be generally characterised by poor organisational capacity.

New sources of employment to promote the wealth-generating capacity of rural communities

New Sources of Employment to Promote the Wealth-Generating Capacity of Rural Communities (acronym: RuralJobs) is a collaborative research project partly funded under the European Commission Research and Development 7th Framework Program. The Rural Jobs consortium consists of partners drawn from eight European Union (EU) countries (Bulgaria, France, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Romania, Spain and UK). The project began on February 2008 and finished in October 2010. RuralJobs quantified labour market, demographic and economic trends, and the impact of employment creation measures and policies in seven, representative “reference areas” across the EU, and used the information to demonstrate how rural development measures can be better targeted and how rural development policies should evolve.We identified labour market, demographic and economic trends in rural areas across EU-27 and the potential for new sources of employment outside traditional primary and secondary sector activities, and examined the interaction between different types of rural area (peri-urban, remote, high environmental/amenity value etc.). We identified employment growth areas where rural development programmes can be targeted to increase their contribution to employment creation. Our strategic objectives were the following: review of employment policies and programmes, scenarios for new sources of employment according to rural typologies, recommendations for better targeting of strategies, dissemination and mainstreaming. The main outcome expected is that the results will allow a better targeting of rural development measures and future evolution of rural development policies in line with the Lisbon Strategy.

The importance of organic agriculture in tourism rural

Many farmers, in addition to normal farming activity, have already turned to agritourism as a source of additional farm income and opportunities. There are numerous benefits from the development of agritourism: it may strengthen local economy, create job opportunities and new businesses; develop and promote training and certification programs to introduce young people to agriculture and environment. Agritourism helps preserve rural lifestyles and landscape and also offers the opportunity to provide "sustainable" or "green" tourism. Organic agriculture is a cultural evolution that finds its origins in a environmentalist culture. Furthermore the focus on these products is due to demand on healthy foods with high quality standard limiting chemical substances usage. It’s clear the link of the organic agriculture with agritourism and tourism services. They have a considerable role in the future development of rural areas. The purpose of this paper was to identify and examine those factors that have helped rural communities successfully develop agritourism, in particular organic agritourism and its entrepreneurship opportunities. Several focus groups were conducted with local business persons and leaders about a applicative case of South Italy area.

Diversification strategies and their impact on farm performance

The objective of this study is to identify factors determining the economic performance of agricultural holdings in Italy, with specific attention to the impact of the adoption of on-farm diversification strategies, namely income diversification and product differentiation. The adoption of these kinds of strategies has been increasingly recognised as a viable business option in agriculture as they allow better allocation of farm resources and an increase in the quota of value added retained on farms and therefore not passed on to other agents operating at the end of the food supply chain. By using a panel of professional Italian farms over the time period of 2003-2009, we estimate random effect, ordinary least square and quantile regression models to estimate the impact of income diversification and product differentiation strategies on the levels of farm income per unit of labour income. Our findings show that scale economies are important positive determinants of farm economic performance. On the contrary, when the family play an important role in the farm business, economic performance is worse. Finally, we do not find evidence of a statistically significant impact of the adoption of income diversification and product differentiation strategies. This latter result may be interpreted as a signal that farms use these strategies as risk management tools rather than as income increasing ones.

A Quantitative Assessment of the Rurality and an Efficiency Analysis of Emigration in Romania

In Romania, as in many other Eastern European countries, the early 1990s were marked by a significant emigration from the countryside as a consequence of the transition from a centralised economy to an open one and due to key changes in the political framework. The permanent emigration has predominantly been concentrated in rural areas where multiple socio-economic variables such as GDP per capita, unemployment, and public financial subsidies aimed at supporting people at risk of severe deprivation and poverty have all had a direct effect on rural depopulation. The rurality is a complex theoretical construct comprising many items and variables and is, therefore, difficult to define in a concise manner. The aim of this paper is to assess the evolution of emigration in Romania between 2001 and 2016 through a quantitative approach, estimating an index of rurality for the same period composed of a set of socio-economic variables having a direct or indirect nexus to it. In the first phase of research, a matrix of correlation and a multiple regression model has been used in order to estimate the direct links among all investigated variables. Following the quantitative methodology, in the second phase Partial Least Square Structural Equation Modelling (PLS-SEM) has been used in order to assess the main cause-effect relationships among a few selected endogenous variables and a set of socio-economic items. Furthermore, using a non-parametric Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) output-oriented model, this research has assessed the efficiency in terms of permanent emigration from Romania estimated as an output to minimise and not as an output to maximise, as investigated by traditional efficiency approaches. In terms of efficiency, financial subsidies allocated by national authorities and the level of per capita Gross Domestic Product have acted directly on the level of emigration. The index of rurality in 2016 has been influenced in particular by he pluriactivity in farms in terms of agritourism, the dimension of farms in terms of land capital endowment, and the level of GDP per capita.

JEL Classification: Q10; Q18