Socio-economic impacts and impacts of support policies

Potential of organic agriculture for local development in European contexts


Due to its intrinsic multi-functionality and to the wide social base involved, organic agriculture is able to establish a vast range of connections with various stakeholders and different economic sectors (agro-food, especially high quality; sustainable tourism; social work).

Over the years, through the analysis of territorial contexts and of the initiatives in which it was possible to explore the real and potential synergies between organic agriculture and local/rural development, the research work has aimed to create and then to elaborate, a database of individual and collective histories, and of good (and bad) practices. This information has been collected at different times using qualitative research methods: document research, interviews with stakeholders, and focus groups.

Starting: 2.01.2003
Scheduled ending: 23.09.2019
Real ending: 23.09.2019


·        Identification and analysis of the processes and tools which encourage organic agriculture to fulfil its potential; 

·        Spread of information and sharing of good (and bad) practices for planning/activation of specific initiatives and/or planning of development strategies for the organic sector.



The opportunity to continue working on this subject arose in connection with the following projects:

·        EU Fifth Framework Project OMIaRD - Organic Marketing Initiatives and Rural Development (QLK5-2000-01124). Activity carried out in collaboration with DIIGA – Polytechnic University of Marche (Prof. Raffaele Zanoli), Aberystwyth University (Prof. Peter Midmore), FiBL (Dr. Jürn Sanders)

·        CADSES INTERREG III B –SIMOCA project (MAI.B as lead project)

·        INTERREG III A Greece-Italy -  Pro.Bio.Sis project (Bonomo Research Centre as lead project)



This is a topic of constant interest to both the academic community and to the policy makers and local development operators, as is shown by the continual output of scientific, informative and political-institutional material.

In this respect it should be mentioned that this subject is now part of the EU organic agriculture research strategy - Vision for an Organic Food and Farming Research Agenda to 2025 – compiled by a group of known experts as part of the initiative entitled “Technology Platform Organics, with the aim of directing research and research funds towards the real requirements of  the sector. In December 2009 TP Organics published “Strategic Research Agenda for organic food and farming” which includes a section entitled “Empowerment of rural areas: the socio-economic challenge”, specifically dedicated to this  subject ( In view of the above considerations, it would be interesting to be able to continue to follow both the scientific and the political-institutional development of this subject. 



·        Strengths

A topical issue (see item 5.3.7) which keeps gaining the interest of academicians and professionals of the organic sector and local development.

·        Weaknesses

This theme has been covered by several research and cooperation projects which have so far limited the development of this line of research.

Reference person/s: Pugliese Patrizia /
Collaborators: Antonelli Annarita / Cataldi Gianfranco /
Institutions involved:
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