The workshop will discuss what practices and policies in the agricultural and food sector support the sustainability of farmers in a context of multi-dimensional policy requirements, market imperfections and globalisation from different theoretical perspectives.
Farmers face various regulatory, factor, demand and financial conditions at different levels: global, European, national, regional and local. Regulatory conditions refer to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), environmental legislation, zoning laws, food safety standards, financial policies, competition policy, etc. Factor conditions refer to the access of farmers to land (including natural resources and ecosystem services), labour and capital on the one hand and external inputs (e.g., chemicals, fertilizers, energy) on the other. Demand conditions refer to the various output markets in which farmers sell their output. This ranges from global food supply chains to local food systems, and involves a range of organisational arrangements such as spot markets, contracts and cooperatives; payment for ecosystem services schemes will also be considered. Conditions related to finance and risk management refer to farmers’ access to credit and risk management instruments aimed at capital investment, working capital, hedging, etc. These various conditions are interrelated: for instance, the CAP has significant impact on land markets (capitalisation of direct payments), risk management (payments are buffers independent from markets), output markets (tariffs, producer organisations), etc. But these interrelationships are not well understood.
The aim of the workshop is to analyse farmers' strategies for dealing with external conditions and to identify sustainable practices and policies in the agricultural and food sectors that support the sustainability of farmers in a context of multi-dimensional policy requirements, market imperfections and globalisation.
The working group will accept papers that contribute to constructing a conceptual framework of market imperfections, policy requirements and their implications for farmers from various theoretical perspectives and disciplines, including but by no means limited to theories of risk management, farm business studies, political economy and structuration theory, social embeddedness, neoclassical economics and financial market studies, commodity and value chain analysis, food regime theory, political ecology, poststructuralism. This conceptual framework will be built in order to capture the multidimensionality of conditions shaping farmers’ strategies, vulnerabilities and performances (economic, environmental, social), the complexity of their drivers and their diversity across commodity sectors and regions.
At present, conditions, strategies and performances of farmers are variously defined and understood, depending often on the perspective of the stakeholders involved and the geographical and national context. To establish a more consolidated understanding of the multiple dimensions of conditions, strategies and performances, it is necessary to acknowledge and understand how these are understood and discussed among the range of stakeholders and disciplines involved.
Depending on the number of papers presented, the workshop will be organized in an interactive way, with posters presented in 5-10 minutes by each participant and discussion organized in rotating groups (World Café style). The workshop will be introduced by an oral speech by Gianluca Brunori and a closing oral summary speech by Erik Mathijs will follow.
Erik Mathijs, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven,
Gianluca Brunori, University of Pisa (IT),
James Kirwan, University of Gloucestershire (UK),
Damian Maye, University of Gloucestershire (UK),
Steven Van Passel, University of Hasselt (BE),
Sébastien Treyer, Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (FR),
Anna Maria Häring, Hochschule für nachhaltige Entwicklung Eberswalde (DE),