Although research and political intentions both recognise the crucial role of small farms in Rural Development (RD) strategies, in actual practice they are left out of the benefits of agricultural policies. This is not established by legislative or regulatory prescriptions. It is the result of consolidated practices driven by the productivist approach to agricultural development, overtaken by the concept of multifunctionality, which has inspired European intervention in the agricultural sector and rural areas for more than twenty years. This is particularly evident in Italy, where the weight of small farms is extremely significant in terms of numbers, farmland area and work generated. The continuity of small farms in Italy is of fundamental importance due to their economic, environmental and social relevance to the objective of reconnecting agriculture and territories in a circular vision of RD. Despite this crucial role, these farms have historically had great difficulty accessing RD programmes due to the national or regional implementation of these plans, which set access thresholds and procedural constraints that effectively exclude small farmers. The construction of a national strategy for rural areas requires specific attention to the universe of small farms, which should be included within the perimeter of the potential beneficiaries of RD policies.

Do Rural Development Policies Really Help Small Farms? A Reflection from Italy

Vecchio, Yari;De Castro, Paolo;Masi, Margherita
;
Adinolfi, Felice
2021

Abstract

Although research and political intentions both recognise the crucial role of small farms in Rural Development (RD) strategies, in actual practice they are left out of the benefits of agricultural policies. This is not established by legislative or regulatory prescriptions. It is the result of consolidated practices driven by the productivist approach to agricultural development, overtaken by the concept of multifunctionality, which has inspired European intervention in the agricultural sector and rural areas for more than twenty years. This is particularly evident in Italy, where the weight of small farms is extremely significant in terms of numbers, farmland area and work generated. The continuity of small farms in Italy is of fundamental importance due to their economic, environmental and social relevance to the objective of reconnecting agriculture and territories in a circular vision of RD. Despite this crucial role, these farms have historically had great difficulty accessing RD programmes due to the national or regional implementation of these plans, which set access thresholds and procedural constraints that effectively exclude small farmers. The construction of a national strategy for rural areas requires specific attention to the universe of small farms, which should be included within the perimeter of the potential beneficiaries of RD policies.
Vecchio, Yari; De Castro, Paolo; Masi, Margherita; Adinolfi, Felice
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/847069
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