Coherence of Agricultural And Rural Development Policies: by Dimitris Diakosavvas, Oecd Workshop on the Coherence of

By Dimitris Diakosavvas, Oecd Workshop on the Coherence of Agricu

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In many OECD countries and regions agriculture is no longer a driving force for employment and income in rural areas. This implies that measures confined to the agricultural sector will be limited in their ability to underpin the economic performance of rural areas. At the same time as the sector’s economic significance has declined in OECD countries (its share of employment fell from 10% in the mid-1980s, to 6% in the early years of the 21st century, and that of GDP from 3% to around 2% over the same period), its structure and interactions with the rest of the economy have become more complex.

But integration with other national policy (such as social policy and research and innovation investments), is also important. Horizontal co-ordination between different administrations is becoming vitally crucial. But what is even more important is acquisition of a real knowledge of rural territories, with attention given to both the economic and the social characteristics of these areas, and proper monitoring of policy impacts on them. In fact, the first step towards achieving such an integration between different policies at territorial level is to establish a sort of “Observatory of Rural Areas”, to provide the knowledge necessary for monitoring these areas.

This structural transformation of the economy has prompted farmers to migrate from rural areas to urban areas and seek alternative employment opportunities, especially in less-diversified rural areas. The share of agricultural employment in total civilian employment in OECD countries is now less than 6% for most countries, although for some countries with relatively large agricultural sectors the figure exceeds 15%. There is also considerable variation in the relative importance across rural areas within countries.

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