Farms in lagging regions of the Community are faced by low incomes and an economic disadvantage in the production of most agricultural products. The objective of the research is to identify ways in which farm resources (land, labour and capital) can be used in developing alternative farming systems (AFS) so as to maintain or improve the comparative economic advantage of such farms in the future. Attention is focused on using farm resources on rather than off the farm, while AFS are defined in terms of (1) conversion, (2) diversification, and (3) extensification in the use of resources.
Farms in lagging regions of the European Union have low incomes and an economic disadvantage in the production of most agricultural products. Research has identified ways in which farm resources (land, labour and capital) can be used in developing alternative farming systems (AFS) so as to maintain or improve the comparative economic advantage of such farms in the future. The research has been applied to five lagging regions in the EU.
Questionnaires have been used in both farm and institutional surveys. Working papers have been produced the definition of alternative farming systems and the study regions; theory and methodology in the use of survey data, farm business change and the development of alternative farm enterprises through an expert system; institutional networking.
The research programme has three related parts : (a) the construction of normative models of the farm economy so as to project the future competitiveness of farms under different policy scenarios, including the contribution that different AFS can make to the farm economy; (b) the construction of behavioural models of the farm household to identify the socio-economic resistances to the development of different AFS; (c) the construction of institutional models of the external farm environment to define the assistance and constraints on the development of AFS by the structures and policies of institutional organisations. The research also aims to show the inter- relationship between these three parts.
There will be parallel investigations in five study areas located within the lagging regions of the Community : West of Ireland, Highlands of Scotland, Northern Pennines of England, Massif Central and Central Greece. Farm surveys, institutional surveys and RICA/FADN data will be employed.
AB9 1UD Aberdeen