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How can Entrepreneurship in Agriculture be encouraged?

An international research project examines how farmers can improve their entrepreneurial skills. Farmers have to become more entrepreneurial. But do they have the necessary skills? And does the political and social framework foster or hinder the development of entrepreneurial skills? A three-year long project in six European countries tries to answer these questions.

The recent reorientation of CAP objectives has been accompanied by a shift in policy instruments from price support to direct payments. As a consequence of these changes, farmers have the possibility to benefit from market opportunities and they will have more freedom to farm as they wish. In order to do this, farmers need managerial and entrepreneurial abilities that were less important to develop under the previous CAP. In the last few years there has been a growing awareness among farmers, agricultural business, researchers and government of the importance of an entrepreneurial culture in the farming business. But there are still unresolved questions. How much does the socio-economic, cultural and political framework hinder the development of entrepreneurial skills? How must extension and training be designed to encourage the development of entrepreneurial skills of farmers? What can farmers do themselves to improve their own skills set? A three-year international project searches for answers to these questions. The primary concern of the project is to recommend ways that the social, economic, political and cultural framework can be changed in order to facilitate the adoption of entrepreneurial skills for farmers. The second objective is to develop a tool for farmers to make a self-assessment of their entrepreneurial skills. The working hypothesis for the project is that the kind of entrepreneurial skills necessary is strongly dependent on the strategic orientation of the farm. The project began in April 2005 and is co-ordinated by the Research Institute for Organic Agriculture in Switzerland. Partner institutions are located in Great Britain, Finland, The Netherlands, Poland and Italy. Coordination: Christine Rudmann, FiBL, Ackerstrasse, CH-5070 Frick, Switzerland Tel. +41 (0)62 865 72 15, Further information see


Switzerland, Finland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland