Socio-economic impacts and impacts of support policies

Organic agriculture in Community rural development policies


The National Observatory for Organic Agriculture (ONAB) Project at the MIPAF included a study on the role of organic agriculture in regional rural development planning 2007-2013. This work provides a review of the strategic decisions taken by the regional authorities in support of organic agriculture and of the different mechanisms used to implement these decisions. The research concentrated in particular on the analysis:

·        of the weight given to organic agriculture in terms of financial resources for rural development planning: comparison between the planning period 2000-2006, and the new planning period 2007-2013;

·        of the mechanisms for integration of the organic agriculture measure with other measures of the rural development programme (e.g. reforestation, buffer zones, ecology corridors, quality systems, consultancy services, training, modernisation or innovation) which can have direct or indirect effects on the organic sector;

·        of the activation mechanisms and incentives within the specific measure for organic agriculture (type of applications for obtaining funds, conditions of eligibility, beneficiaries, duties and obligations, priorities etc.) with particular attention for the mechanisms to encourage the concentration of organic farmers in specific areas or in production networks.

This research highlights the main differences in the regional rural development programmes and ends with an evaluation of the role of organic agriculture in present planning and of some important problem areas for the sector.

Starting: 2.01.2005
Scheduled ending: 23.09.2019
Real ending: 23.09.2019


·        To review and analyze the strategic decisions made by the Regions to support

·        organic farmers and the mechanisms used to implement these decisions;

·        To encourage the spread of information and the sharing of good (and bad) practices, to provide policy makers and sector operators with a useful tool for planning future development of the organic sector.



The Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari has long been interested in analysis of the relations between the development dynamics of organic agriculture and the type and effectiveness of the mechanisms to support the sector. In particular, this work continues and develops a line of research already established in collaboration with Nic Lampkin of the University of Wales (Aberystwyth) as part of the EU-EEC-OFP Project (Further Development of Organic Farming Policy in Europe with particular emphasis on EU Enlargement – QLK 5 2002-00917) for which Patrizia Pugliesehelped in writing Chapter 8 on Italy in Deliverable no. 2 “Organic farming policy measures in pre-2004 EU member states and Switzerland, 1997-2004”, edited by Nic Lampkin and Jon Tuson.



The regional rural development programmes 2007-2013 are now in progress. The comparative study of the planning documents and of the first calls published are ideally a first step in research, monitoring and analysis work which could last for the entire duration of the five-year period. At the end of the period, this work could provide a very detailed and accurate study of the results and of the processes associated with the implementation of the organic agriculture measure in the different regional contexts, and may also give some very useful indications for future planning.

The line of research could also be taken further in collaboration with other bodies, institutions and organizations involved in various ways in programming, implementation and evaluation of the Rural Development Programme at the national/regional level (for example,  National Rural Network INEA, the Regional Department for Agro-Food Resources, the Regional Observatory for Organic Agriculture), and/or with bodies and institutions with similar functions in other European countries, as well as with other international organizations (IFOAM-EU Group). This is the direction of development, for example, of the Interbio Project activities connected with the present subject.



  • Strengths

The need to create a link and a standing dialogue between the sector of rural development and that of organic agriculture.

  • Weaknesses

In some instances it is quite difficult to coordinate the various initiatives and the stakeholders involved.

Reference person/s: Pugliese Patrizia /
Collaborators: Cardone Gianluigi /
Institutions involved:
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