The socio-economic development of rural areas has become an important issue for agricultural policy design in many OECD countries. Yet there is still a lack of comprehensive analysis of the inter-linkages between the agro-food sector and the rural economy. What consequences have on-going structural changes in agriculture for rural areas? What is the role of agricultural policies? The report, comprising a main report and case studies on Canada, France, Greece, Japan, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland, addresses these important questions.
A key conclusion of the report is that traditional agricultural support policies are increasingly ineffective in accomplishing rural development objectives. Agricultural policy reform can enhance agro-food's contribution to the viable development of rural economies, although the benefits are not immediate. A coherent, well co-ordinated and targeted policy approach aimed at diversification, promotion of high-quality regional products, provision of information, direct payments and public goods would improve the competitiveness of rural areas. How to strike the right balance between the need for greater economic efficiency, and social and environmental concerns in rural areas is a key challenge facing policy makers.
Table of contents:
1. MAIN REPORT -Executive summary -I. Background -II. Agricultural structural change and the rural economy -III. Linkages between agricultural policies and the rural economy -IV. Towards a consensus on policy responses -Annex --I. Approach and data --II. Definitions of concepts --Annex: Tables --Bibliography 2. CASE STUDY – CANADA: ANNAPOLIS AND YORKTON REGIONS -Executive summary -I. Introduction -II. The Annapolis region of Nova Scotia -III. The Yorkton region of Eastern Saskatchewan -IV. Major agri-food policies, 1981-95 -V. Impact on the agri-food sector, 1981-95 -VI. Changing policies and programmes, 1995-97 -Bibliography 3. CASE STUDY – FRANCE: BRITTANY AND BURGUNDY -Executive summary -I. Introduction -II. General features of the two regions -III. Agriculture and the agro-food sector in Burgundy and Brittany -IV. Implementation of agricultural policies in Burgundy and Brittany -V. Critical assessment of the role of agricultural policy in rural development in Burgundy and Brittany -VI. Conclusion: future challenges -Annex: --Tables --Bibliography 4. CASE STUDY – GREECE: CRETE -Executive summary -I. Introduction -II. Main socio-economic features of Crete -III. Structural features of the Cretan agricultural sector -IV. Use and implementation of agro-structural and other policies -V. An assessment of agro-structural policies -VI. Conclusions -Annex: Graph and Tables -Bibliography 5. CASE STUDY – JAPAN: HILLY AND MOUNTAINOUS AREAS -Executive summary -I. Introduction -II. Hilly and mountainous areas -III. Main agricultural policy settings and recent developments -IV. Case study: flat rural villages vs. hilly villages -V. Summary and conclusion: developing a better policy mix -Notes and sources of boxes -Annex -- Graphs -- Measures on ‘‘Tana Da’’ in hilly and mountainous areas -Bibliography 6. CASE STUDY – NORWAY: SOGN OG FJORDANE AND VESTFOLD -Executive summary -I. Background -II. Agricultural -III. Overview of Norwegian agriculture – Sogn og Fjordane and Vestfold -IV. Assessment of policy efficiency -Annex: Graphs and Table 7. CASE STUDY – NEW ZEALAND -Executive summary -I. Preamble -II. A profile of rural New Zealand -III. Agro-food sector -IV. Agricultural policies -V. Government’s role in rural development -VI. The broader implications of New Zealand’s experience -Bibliography 8. CASE STUDY – SWISS: CANTON URI AND CANTON ZUG -Executive summary -I. Introduction -II. The role of direct payments in agricultural reform -III. Ecological objectives and strategies -IV. Organic farming and integrated production -V. Farmer participation in ecological programmes Annex