Municipalities in Austria have been exploring ways to adopt inclusive and sustainable development approaches based on the built environment. It is a fact that the tasks of municipalities are becoming more and more comprehensive, while the resources available are not increasing to the same extent. However, the sustainable provision of municipal public services must remain a key component in strengthening rural areas. One way is to conduct a CommunalAudit. In addition to the identification of optimisation and development options, the CommunalAudit tool serves as a basis for inter-communal cooperation. Moreover, it enables municipalities to look at their finances and entire infrastructure in an objective and systematic way and to compare them with those of others. Between 2008 and 2013, the CommunalAudit was one of the measures within the Rural Development Programme in Austria. This contribution (a) explores the implementation of CommunalAudit in Austria, (b) highlights the benefits and drawbacks for municipalities and citizenry, and (c) looks at the former’s further development.
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.
The main objective of this study is to compare the efficiencies of organic and conventional farms in Poland. As shown by the conducted analysis, acting in compliance with the essential production principles, organic farms practiced extensive farming which resulted in reduced efficiency of productive inputs. The efficiency of land and labour measured by the Adjusted Net Value Added was respectively nearly 30 and 65 per cent higher in conventional holdings. Moreover, subsidies contribute more to the income of organic farms, making them strongly dependent on external support (this is especially true for farms with grazing livestock). As a part of policy planning, it should be taken into consideration that organic farms may in the future encounter a development barrier stemming from lower efficiency, difficult access to subsidies and, finally, lower levels of income.
Technological progress can provide several solutions to the most significant challenges faced by agriculture. Precision agriculture (PA) technologies have been recognised as one of the rare win-win solutions for environmental and socio-economic goals. Although they have been available for decades, their diffusion progresses at a slow rate. Therefore, in recent years, precision farming has been receiving more attention from agricultural economists. Perceptions of Hungarian FADN arable farms about precision farming were collected through a survey in order to compare with cost-benefit analyses. The survey not only revealed the details of the application of different technologies but also their impacts perceived compared to a baseline situation. For the main crops, the results confirmed that precision farming leads to increasing yields and has profitability benefits compared to conventional farming. According to the respondents, the high investment cost is the main barrier to diffusion, while subsidies and more appropriate information could foster it. Therefore, a specific subsidy package implemented both in the ‘greening’ component and in the Rural Development Programme of the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy would be a stimulating factor for the wider spread of PA.
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.
The paper deals with the results of an analysis of the spatial structure of agriculture in Poland which was aimed at assessing the impact of the historical factor. The territory of present-day Poland includes the political borders of the 19th and 20th centuries which divided the area into two parts: western (Kingdom of Prussia and the land belonging to Poland and Germany in the interwar period) and eastern (the land of the Russian Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire which later belonged to Poland in the interwar period). The historical factor and its impact were examined also in the comparative analysis of two adjoining stretches of land accepted as territorial units (East Poland and West Poland). We showed that historical borders constitute an important element affecting the evolution of the spatial structure of Polish agriculture. The impact of the historical factor was shown to be the strongest for the differences in the features associated with agrarian structure, rural socio-demography, and productivity and profitability of agricultural holdings.
The aim of this study is to estimate the influence of climate factors on the technical efficiency of Hungarian arable farms. The technical efficiency of farms is affected by several factors such as the technology used, the relative factor abundance, the institutional reforms with the input and output market environment, the farm size and scale economies, the organisation and management, and the farm’s specialisation. We employed a two-step approach to identify the impact of climate change on the efficiency of these farms. In the first step, using the Data Envelopment Analysis model, we calculated the efficiency (dependent variable in the second stage of analysis) of these processes. In the second step, we investigated the effect of climate and soil factors (independent variables) on efficiency by applying the Simar and Wilson (2007) approach. In this way we can assess the impacts of matched environmental variables through a robust, representative dataset for Hungary. Our results show that temperature and precipitation increases had statistically significant, positive effects on the technical efficiency of farms in the seeding and vegetative periods in both the constant and variable returns to scale models, and temperature increase during the generative phase of crop production had a negative effect on production efficiency.