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Policy Instruments to Support Agroecological Transitions in Europe

Agroecological transitions have the potential to deliver multiple environmental and social benefits. However socio-economic barriers have prevented those transitions in many European contexts. This article aims to inform policymakers about policy instruments that can foster agroecological transitions in Europe, especially by removing key socio-economic barriers. A multi-step methodology was carried out over a two-year period in 15 case studies across Europe. The case studies represent farming systems that are in the process of initiating or enhancing the transition. Data collection relied on a participatory process, involving a variety of transdisciplinary actors. Study findings identify three major themes of barriers to agroecological transitions, namely actor capacity, value chain and policy. To address these barriers, policy instruments should consider the farming system’s stage in the transition pathway to take account of the different priorities of local actors. At the stage of initiating the transition, removing the barriers requires improvements in knowledge delivery mechanisms by strengthening advisory services and reducing decision-makers’ uncertainty. At the stage of enhancing the transition, a focus on social capital is needed, for example by strengthening networking and cooperation measures. Generally, more attention towards state interventions which support the transitions to agroecology is needed, such as developing new voluntary agroecology certification schemes and public procurement initiatives.

Gava, O., Francesco Galioto, A., Pražan, J.  Schwarz, G., Linares Quero, A., Yoldi Iragui, U., Astrain Massa, C.,Zīlāns, A., Carolus, J.

EuroChoices, 3/2022, p. 13-20, ISSN 1478-0917