Research Projects

MultAgri: Capitalisation of results on the multifunctionality of agriculture and rural areas

Aleksanteri Institute is part of the research project of MultAgri with 26 research organizations from 15 countries to provide a comprehensive overview of existing research, particularly in Europe, on different aspects of the multifunctionality of agriculture. Aleksanteri Institute will provide a regional overview of the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) on the topic of “Multifunctionality of activities, plurality of identities, and new institutional arrangements “(WP 4). Institute will arrange a CEEC feedback seminar on the topic.

The increased recognition of multifunctionality has resulted in changing expectations of wider society to the role of agriculture in rural development in Europe. There is a growing recognition that agriculture should not only provide food and fibre at reasonable costs, but also contributes to other functions like e.g. environmental management, landscape, biodiversity, food quality and the social viability of rural areas. In response to this, but also as a result of the failure of productivist models to provide viable and sustainable livelihoods to many farmers (at least in the old EU member states), a range of new, multifunctional farm strategies is emerging. This involves strategies aimed at increasing the quality and value added of food products at farm and regional level (organic farming, on-farm processing, direct sales, quality production etc.) but also combinations of primary production with activities oriented at traditionally non-agricultural markets (agri-tourism, agri-environmental measures, energy production, water management, care provisioning, off-farm employment etc.).

These multifunctional farm strategies by now have been fairly well documented and researched in the old EU member states. However, for the new member states in CEE still much less is know about their relevance, the degree in which they are taken up by farm households and rural policies, and their contribution to (economically, ecologically, and socially) sustainable rural development. The main target of the work is to start filling up this gap in available data for CEE countries. The aim is to gather and review documents on multifunctional agriculture, especially concerning farms which combine different income sources, and the support system. An important aspect is also to analyze if the case of CEE is special, e.g. because of the fact that agricultural production modes typically differ from other EU-countries, especially in the farm structure.

The output of eight CEE countries (i.e. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia) will provide a starting-point to further research under the topics of multifunctional agriculture.

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Contact person: Leo Granberg (leo.granberg[at]

Duration: May 2004 – June 2005

Other members: Maarit Heinonen (maarit.heino[at]

Funding: DG RTD of European Commission, sixth framework programme:
“Global change and ecosystem”

Final report (pdf, 708 Kt)