Published in REPORTS

C. Carabatsou-Pachaki in cooperation with P. Tonikidou. 2006. | ISBN: 960-341-063-2


Agriculture is under pressure, worldwide, and its policy framework is radically changing also in the EU, not least under the pressure of the WTO negotiations.

At the same time a fruitful discussion is being developed concerning the non-tradable, public goods, that the decentralized local agriculture offers, which can be of great importance for social wellbeing. (Among which the food self-reliance and the possibility of qualitative choices, which the proximity of consumption and local agriculture facilitates).

This report gives a rather extensive overview of the issues discussed under the broad heading of multifunctionality and the european model of agriculture, and then presents the changes in the EU policy framework that have recently occurred. Here it stresses the risk of abrupt collapse of whole production lines, if the decoupling of support from production reveals market prices unfavourable to the producers. In the third chapter it shows the importance of agriculture for the greek economy (for food self-reliance and exports at national level, and for employment, investment opportunities and family incomes at regional level). It also reviews the negative long-term trend of all macro-economic magnitudes of the sector, associated with the very unfavourable evolution of the real producer prices (steep fall) and of the agricultural terms of trade (rise of prices of inputs with respect to those of outputs); while productivity of inputs cannot rise fast anymore (also because of environmental constraints).

In the fourth chapter the report outlines some long-term policy directives, which stress among other things the importance of:
- collective action, to secure a place in the markets but also to valuate the non-tradables,
- the farmers organizations participating more actively in the social dialogue, in order to high-light the importance of local agriculture but also to bring home to the producers the need for environmental and social responsibility,
- upgrading the human capital of the sector by means of general education and professional formation, but also by disseminating relevant information and knowledge.

To facilitate such developments, it is argued, better social management is needed, along with improved collective and private management, which are also indispensable.