Tag: rural development

The local food system in the ‘genius loci’ – the role of food, local products and short food chains in rural tourism

This article investigates the roles that locally produced, processed and marketed food (Local Food System) play in rural tourism and local socio-economic development. It is the first account of a 3 years’ research project (LO-KÁLI) exploring a successful Hungarian rural tourism destination, investigating both the demand side (what attracts tourists to pay for premium products/services); and the supply side (what attitudes, norms, values keep producers in their business). We contrast the externally perceived image (‘genius loci’) of the region (‘Hungarian Provence’, together with its cultural landscape, gastronomy, and social and environmental sustainability) with the impacts of the current development process on the environment and the general wellbeing of the local economy and society in reality. This article presents some of the theories and the analytical framework underpinning our project, alongside preliminary results on how the elements contributing to tourist attraction are perceived by locals and by visitors to the region.

The Contribution of Biorefineries to Rural Development: The Case of Employment in Hungary

Most recent research concerning biofuels focuses on their potential for mitigating climate change, while their rural development dimension is given less prominence. Ongoing policy debates, including EU and US biofuel policies, pay little attention to this feature of the industry. This paper explores the impact of biorefineries on rural development, and employment in particular. It shows that biorefineries can have a considerable economic impact on the regions in which they are located. Embedded in the local social and economic fabric, the paper demonstrates their influence on regional and national labour markets. The case of a bioethanol plant in Hungary and its effect on the rural labour market in two counties of the country is studied by way of an input-output model. The research has found that the operation of a biorefinery stimulates the creation and maintenance of jobs in both farming and service industries. Results suggest that biorefineries are an important driver of rural development and that this aspect of the industry should be given greater weight in formulating biofuel policies.

Applying a social-ecological approach to enhancing provision of public goods through agriculture and forestry activities across the European Union

Public goods provided by different land management practices in European regions have increasingly attained attention in agricultural policy debates. By focusing on the social-ecological systems (SES) framework, the systemic interrelations (e.g. drivers, resources, actors, governance regimes and policy impact) in land management across several case studies in various topographical and climatic conditions across ten European Union Member States are provided. The analysis of agricultural and forestry systems reveals a wide range of factors that drive the provision of ‘ecologically and socially beneficial outcomes’ (ESBOs). The respective influencing aspects cannot be reduced to market forces and policy support, but have to address simultaneously the pivotal role of social, cultural and institutional drivers as well. In particular, the tight interplay between public policies and private initiatives, and market mechanisms and societal appreciation of public goods delivery have shown to be the indispensable clue for understanding the relationship shaping the level of provision of public goods. Comparative analyses support the strong reliance on context, history, types of regions and differentiation of management systems which might be used for recommendations in the current debate on the future Common Agricultural Policy.

Design and implementation of the Local Development Strategy: a case study of Polish and Italian Local Action Groups in 2007-2013

We investigated the extent to which the Local Development Strategy (LDS) activities planned at the beginning of the European Union’s Leader programme implementation period, and the associated budget allocation in response to the defined local needs, were confirmed at the end of the period. We used as examples the implementation of two LDSs, one by a Local Action Group (LAG) in Poland and one in Italy. We applied some simple indicators to assess how much the budget assumptions at the planning level were reflected in the successful implementation of projects, and conducted interviews with representatives of the two LAGs. We showed that the two LAGs were generally working effectively but that excessive institutionalisation could be the major constraint to the proper design of the LDS and thus the implementation of the Leader programme. For the Polish LAG, it was because of the transfer of the evaluating role outside of the LAG: assessment of applications was undertaken by the regional institution, the Agency for Restructuring and Modernisation of Agriculture. In the case of the Italian LAG, the reason was an excessive formalisation of the rules concerning project applications.

Understanding the process of social innovation in rural regions: some Hungarian case studies

In recent years, social innovation has been gaining more attention, not only in the scholarly literature and in public discourse but in rural development practice as well. An important reason for this is the greater involvement of civil society in this form of innovation. In this paper, building on definitions of social innovation found in the literature, we focus on the actual processes of social innovation in rural Hungary. The hypothesis behind our research was that a better understanding of how social innovation takes place in practice could increase its presence and efficiency in rural development. To explore these issues, we analysed four different cases of social innovation situated in rural Hungary. Our research shows that, despite common patterns, social innovation is highly dependent on its actual context and on the individual, the agentic engine, who initiates and carries out the innovation. For the capitalisation and the long-term sustainability of an innovative development project the institutionalisation of social networks gathering around it seems to be another crucial factor. Thus, creating an appropriate frame to drive the process all the way from the innovative idea through product development to institutionalisation, possibly in the form of a social enterprise, can be considered ...

Rural innovation activities as a means for changing development perspectives – An assessment of more than two decades of promoting LEADER initiatives across the European Union

Since the 1990s the LEADER approach has very powerfully addressed the spirit of mobilising actors in the countryside through focusing on endogenous potential and activating local stakeholders across all sectors. Given the long-term experience and wealth of diverse development initiatives across the European Union (EU), the diversity of implementation is huge. Considering the limited fi nancial support as a Community Initiative (until 2006), a signifi cant extension and ‘upgrading’ of LEADER was intended by integrating it into the EU Rural Development Programmes (RDPs) since 2007. The shift from the character of a ‘pilot’ instrument at the start of LEADER to its ‘mainstreaming’ into the RDPs involved radical administrative changes and high expectations of increased impacts. The interest in LEADER practice and effectiveness led to many studies that in general apply a limited perspective of self-evaluation and refl ection on LEADER activities. Its main impact is seen in providing learning processes in rural regions and the effects on changes in local governance through extended involvement of local stakeholders and institutions. This paper provides a synthesis of European experiences and analyses of core changes, in particular by referring to the example of implementation in the Austrian context. The main lessons are based ...

Social and technical infrastructure development of municipalities (gminas) in Poland

This paper presents the institutional and spatial determinants for the development of social and technical infrastructure in municipalities (gminas) in Poland. According to the empirical results, there are significant differences between various types of gminas in terms of the level of development of technical and social infrastructure. Similar levels of technical or social infrastructure are associated with a significantly higher level of economic development in urban and urban-rural gminas than in rural gminas. Spatially, the position of gminas in relation to larger settlement centres and communication routes affects the development of technical infrastructure to a greater extent than social infrastructure. The relationship between infrastructure development and selected economic and social characteristics of municipalities is a feedback loop in which the relative wealth of a local administrative unit stimulates the development of the infrastructure while at the same time benefiting from this fact. This means that the present use of European Union Structural Funds for the development of infrastructure does not contribute to closing the gap in development. Sustainable development is largely the result of institutional factors related to infrastructure. It is therefore advisable to move away from a purely redistributive approach in this regard to targeted territorial support of the ...

Building an entrepreneurial environment in rural regions: a possible way to develop human and social capital

The main hypothesis behind the paper is that creating an entrepreneurial team learning environment is a way to increase human and social capital in rural regions. Our work, based on literature review and primary research, tries to show that this process could support a shift in people’s attitudes from being reactive to creative and also interdependent. The results of a Delphi survey show that all four ‘spheres’ of the Quadruple Helix model in rural development (government, science/university, business/industry and civil society) should play a role in the development of a learning environment, but that more importance should be attached to ‘pull’ type of learning designed to draw out people and resources as needed to address opportunities and challenges. In a second survey, among farmers in the Hungarian settlement of Mezőcsát, we found significant differences in the use of information channels by different age groups. Personal meetings are preferred by older farmers and the Internet by younger farmers. With regard to the Quadruple Helix model spheres, from the government sphere farmers’ advisors play the most important role while from the business/industry sphere the most important relationship for farmers is with their peers. We conclude that the four spheres must create an ...

Shaping rural development research in Europe: acknowledging the interrelationships between agriculture, regional and ecological development

An enhanced research strategy supported by the ERA-NET RURAGRI In a context of significant changes and increasing complexity of economic and social systems, new challenges arise for rural research. It is commonplace that many research issues cannot any more be understood by regional or national studies alone but have to be framed in their international setting. A recent ERA-NET, the RURAGRI network, addressed the gap in European research organisation for providing a common research agenda on rural development research. It highlighted that this research field can be covered sufficiently only if the interrelationships between agricultural, ecological and spatial development are addressed appropriately and taken up as core research questions. The Strategic Research Agenda elaborated through the partners of this network, representing research organisations in 20 European countries, indicates the wide scope of issues for respective international research. Some of those aspects, and particularly the aim of increasing our understanding of these interrelationships, are taken up in a first set of selected international studies resulting from the ERA-NET’s call. The intensive discussion on research collaboration and the high status of rural development policy on the political agenda within the European Union also underpins the need for future international collaboration on research ...

Where to put the focus in rural development: changing the focus from funding to learning

Since Hungary’s accession to the European Union (EU) most of the actions in rural areas have complied with the regulations of the funding programmes of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate why the focus of actions has to be changed from funding to learning. The paper is structured as follows. In the introduction, the author explains, in the light of her research experience since 2001, why a change in focus is needed. The main body of the paper shows how the need for this change can be explained from different perspectives. Firstly, structural change in the economy is given as a reason. Secondly, the need for change is explained from the concept of neo-endogenous rural development, i.e. the interplay between local and external forces. Finally the reason for shifting the focus from funding to learning is explained in terms of the endogenous and exogenous factors influencing rural development, based on the framework developed by the EU Framework 7 project ‘RuralJobs’. The paper concludes with some examples of the types of tools that have already been used and actions that should be implemented to achieve this change in focus.

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  • Scopus SJR (2023): 0.29
  • Scopus CiteScore (2022): 2.0
  • WoS Journal Impact Factor (2023): 0.9
  • WoS Journal Citation Indicator (2023): 0.33
  • 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

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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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