Volume 115 - Issue 2

Agricultural literacy is increasingly regarded as an important issue in sustainability education, yet little survey data regarding children and adolescents are available. We therefore surveyed two different age groups, fifth and sixth graders (n=122) and tenth graders (n=158) of German schools, about their conceptions of farmers’ duties, thereby identifying seven distinct conceptions. The conception most frequently mentioned by the younger students was animals (85.7 per cent) followed by processing (68.7 per cent), whereas the older students named the conception plants (76.0 per cent) most often, followed by animals (65.2 per cent). We found discrepancies in the sub-conceptions of animals between the two age groups, but none in plants. Ecologyrelated aspects (5.1 per cent) were only mentioned by the older students. We then examined the effect of a student having an agricultural family background on the conceptions named. Only 25 per cent of the younger students and none of the older students reported a past contact with farms through visits or guided tours. We found that regardless of having an agricultural family background, most students lack an understanding of the impact of agriculture on the environment. Consequently, we conclude that agricultural education in German schools does not adequately teach modern agricultural...

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The paper reports on a sequence of analyses of the local self-governmental authority website-related features in conjunction with the socio-economic characteristics of the respective administrative units (counties and municipalities). These analyses had two objectives: (a) assessment of the local authority websites, their content and functionality, also in a dynamic perspective, and (b) inquiry into the potential interrelations between the specific features of the websites and the nature of the local unit, with special emphasis on the local development in the rural areas and its forward path. The study has been carried out for the capital province of Mazowsze in Poland, but some hints as to a quasi-comparative international study are also provided. First of all, substantial progress between 2003 and 2008 in the quality of the local authority websites is shown. Further, the conclusions from the study imply a rather loose connection between the characteristics of these websites and the socio-economic profile of the unit, including the characterisation along the urban-rural dimension. At the same time, though, an important role becomes apparent, played by the broadly conceived local culture, including the ‘smartness’ aspect, as perceived by the present authors. This role of culture and ‘smartness’ is visible in the very...

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This paper explores and analyses the Hungarian institutional system for the creation and the transfer of knowledge in the field of agriculture and rural development. We consider the constitution and operation of the Agricultural Knowledge System (AKS) in Hungary, focussing on the formally organised aspects, and suggest that both the structure and content of the knowledge needed in the sector have significantly changed during the past decades. These changes, especially in relation to the sustainability of agriculture, pose significant challenges to traditional AKS institutions, which often have failed to change in line with the new requirements. Based on a literature review, interviews and a national stakeholder workshop, we offer an analysis of Hungarian AKS institutions, their co-ordination, co-operation and communication with each other and with Hungarian rurality, and of the arising issues and problems concerning the creation and the flow of knowledge needed for sustainable agriculture. We also briefly explore characteristics of emerging bottom-up structures, called LINSAS (learning and innovation networks for sustainable agriculture), and explore the significance of the findings in this article for the study of AKS in Europe. This article is based on preliminary results of the SOLINSA research project, supported by the European Union’s Seventh Framework...

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Rural employment based on a broad mix of industry sectors contributes to the adaptive ability of regions. Research carried out in the rural localities of eight contrasting case study areas in Bulgaria, France, Hungary, Romania and the UK reviewed a number of non industry sector-specific factors that can influence rural employment potential. These can be grouped into two categories. Firstly, those that affect labour supply (via the workforce and labour market), and secondly, those that affect enterprise and economic dynamism. Notwithstanding the diversity of the case study areas, some general conclusions about the impacts of these factors on rural employment can be drawn. Commuting and migration flows are complex and are affected by a number of different driving forces, such as young people seeking education and training, people seeking jobs, and people (including retirees) seeking a better ‘quality of life’ in rural areas. Thus demographic trends can be both a consequence of (via out-migration owing to lack of jobs), or a driver of (via in-migrants constituting new markets) rural job and employment trends. The potential for job creation in rural areas is strongly influenced by the levels of entrepreneurship, innovation, skills, business support and training in the territory. Lower population...

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An increasing number of villages in many countries do not have any local supplier at all. In the retail sector of Germany, the large supermarket companies require at least 5,000 inhabitants in the catchment area to run a shop. The aim of this paper is to describe the contribution of village shops to local supply and social life as well as to assess their economic viability. Therefore, findings from a telephone survey of approximately 100 shop operators in Germany are presented. The results show the limited supply and social function of the shops as well as their precarious economic situation. Many shops only offer a small range of goods so that the coverage of basic needs is difficult and they are mostly visited for supplementary purchases. Most village shops provide a snack area as a meeting place, but these are relatively seldom used. The findings indicate that permanent public and civic support is required to sustain many small shops in small villages. Because of the market conditions, however, public initiatives cannot halt the trend towards increasing numbers of ‘food deserts’; at best they can slow down the process. Where village shops cannot be sustained economically, home delivery services, mobile supermarkets...

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The paper analyses targeting and spatial impacts of investment support on agricultural holdings in Slovenia within the national Rural Development Plan for the period 2007-2013. The measure Modernisation of agricultural holdings primarily tackles the problem of low labour productivity in Slovenian agriculture. Achievement of the stated objective of productivity enhancement in agriculture is monitored by the relevant Common Monitoring and Evaluation Framework indicator, standard output (i.e. approximated revenue) per annual work unit SO/AWU. Municipalities (LAU2) are the territorial units of the analysis. Non-spatial and spatial econometric models are developed in order to determine to what extent the estimated labour productivity is affected by intensity of investment support and other factors (measure-specific variables, agricultural structures, socio-economic conditions and geographical conditions). Effectiveness of spatial targeting has been analysed by testing the assumption of a positive relationship between the intensity of implementation of the analysed measure and the productivity. The presence of spatial effects (spatial autocorrelation and spatial heterogeneity) has been examined by including the spatial weight matrix to the ordinary least squares regression. The results confirm a positive relationship between farm investment support and agricultural labour productivity and spatial spillovers in agricultural labour productivity.

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Though policy openings for support from the ‘new rural paradigm’ look promising, market access through sustainability-led economic organisations in fragmented rural areas is not easy. This paper analyses the implications of the interactive embedded governance model framed by the structural, cognitive and relational dimensions of social capital and hence the firms’ ability to engage with networked stakeholders in bottom-up knowledge-sharing for innovation. We show how, in the case of three marginal rural villages in the province of Trentino, Italy, this approach was used to raise stakeholders’ awareness that the local identity and heritage resources represent assets that given appropriate knowledge sharing could be converted into ‘authentic’ tourism products. The study illustrates the critical importance of such non-economic factors for achieving sustainable rural development.

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To discuss the impact of LEADER on improving ‘smart places’, the findings of the evaluation of Rural Development Programmes in Germany are presented. A survey of Local Action Group (LAG) members shows positive results about the quality of cooperation and communication within the LAG. Although there are obstacles for innovation, LEADER shows what is already possible in very different fields such as youth projects for qualifications, concepts for sustainable use of energy or innovative ways to organise social infrastructure. Relevant obstacles are bureaucratic restrictions. To use the opportunities, it is advisable not to set narrow limits for the size of the regions; the regions should decide on this themselves. Also, for the selection of projects no narrow administrative restrictions should apply to the kinds of projects that are eligible. To benefit from the original strengths of the LEADER approach, greater freedom for locally managed actions would be required.

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Journal Metrics

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  • Scopus SJR (2023): 0.29
  • Scopus CiteScore (2022): 2.0
  • WoS Journal Impact Factor (2022): 1.2
  • WoS Journal Citation Indicator (2022): 0.45
  • ISSN (electronic): 2063-0476
  • ISSN-L 1418-2106



Publisher Name: Institute of Agricultural Economics Nonprofit Kft. (AKI)

Publisher Headquarters: Zsil utca 3-5, 1093-Budapest, Hungary

Name of Responsible Person for Publishing:        Dr. Pal Goda

Name of Responsible Person for Editing:             Dr. Attila Jambor

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

The publication cost of the journal is supported by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

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