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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

How do Stakeholders Perceive the Sustainability and Resilience of EU Farming Systems?

Reidsma, Pytrik; Meuwissen, Miranda; Accatino, Francesco; Appel, Franziska; Bardají, Isabel; Coopmans, Isabeau; Gavrilescu, Camelia; Heinrich, Florian; Krupin, Vitaliy; Manevska Tasevska, Gordana; Peneva, Mariya; Rommel, Jens; Severini, Simone; Soriano, Barbara; Urquhart, Julie; Zawalinska, Katarzyna; Paas, Wim


An increasing variety of stresses and shocks provides challenges and opportunities for EU farming systems. This article presents findings of a participatory assessment on the sustainability and resilience of eleven EU farming systems, to inform the design of adequate and relevant strategies and policies. According to stakeholders that participated in workshops, the main functions of farming systems are related to food production, economic viability and maintenance of natural resources. Performance of farming systems assessed with regard to these and five other functions was perceived to be moderate. Past strategies were often geared towards making the system more profitable, and to a lesser extent towards coupling production with local and natural resources, social self‐organisation, enhancing functional diversity, and facilitating infrastructure for innovation. Overall, the resilience of the studied farming systems was perceived as low to moderate, with robustness and adaptability often dominant over transformability. To allow for transformability, being reasonably profitable and having access to infrastructure for innovation were viewed as essential. To improve sustainability and resilience of EU farming systems, responses to short‐term processes should better consider long‐term processes. Technological innovation is required, but it should be accompanied with structural, social, agro‐ecological and institutional changes.

Published in

2020, volume: 19, number: 2, pages: 18-27

Authors' information

Reidsma, Pytrik
Wageningen University and Research
Meuwissen, Miranda
Wageningen University and Research
Accatino, Francesco
National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment (INRAE)
Appel, Franziska
Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO)
Bardají, Isabel
Technical University of Madrid (UPM)
Coopmans, Isabeau
Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO)
Gavrilescu, Camelia
Institute of Agricultural Economics
Heinrich, Florian
Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO)
Krupin, Vitaliy
Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Economics
Peneva, Mariya
University of National and World Economy
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Economics
Severini, Simone
University of Tuscia
Soriano, Barbara
Technical University of Madrid (UPM)
Urquhart, Julie
University of Gloucestershire
Zawalinska, Katarzyna
Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN)
Paas, Wim
Wageningen University and Research

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