The document Agenda 21 of the United Nations on Sustainable Development in Chapter 14 calls for "major adjustments in agricultural, environmental and macroeconomic policy" and for the integration of different policies. A great number of similar calls can be found in documents of other international organisations (FAO, OECD, Council of Europe, EU etc.). Still, it seems that no real progress has been achieved so far in reforming agricultural policies and in integrating different policies.
The author believes that the main reason of this situation is the prevailing false concept of agriculture and rural areas which is a result of the disintegration and substitution processes in the development of industrialized agriculture. Disintegrating agriculture from its natural environment and the rural area in which it was operating, the substitution of industrial inputs for natural resources became an aim just for its own sake to make agriculture more “modern” or more “industry like”. Finally, agriculture and rural areas became just mere receptacles or markets for products and services of industrial companies located in towns and industrial centres. The utilisation of local natural and human resources decreased, less and less value added was produced by agriculture. In this way its contribution to the maintenance of rural areas decreased rapidly. This so called “development” proved clearly not being sustainable.
Posted by: Dr. Laki Gábor
in Fenntarthatóság, mezőgazdaság on ápr. 17, 2011
Tagged in: value added
, sustainable agriculture
, rural development
, multifunctional agriculture
, environmental friendly production
, agricultural policy
, agri-environmental policy
The main reason of the slow progress in reforming agricultural policies and farming practices towards more sustainable agricultural and rural development is that the subsidy system is still based on increasing production. The profit or gross margin figures used as indicators of the efficiency of farming activities give wrong signals for farmers.
From the aspect of sustainable and multifunctional agriculture, a value added calculating model radically differs from the traditional accounting approach which is unable to make difference between the origin of inputs and services used up in the production process.