Jump to Main Content
Semi-Subsistence Farming: An Elusive Concept Posing Thorny Policy Questions
- Davidova, Sophia
- Journal of agricultural economics 2011 v.62 no.3 pp. 503-524
- Common Agricultural Policy, agricultural land, commercialization, ecosystem services, farming systems, farms, issues and policy, labor, land use, poverty, rural areas, rural development
- The massive expansion of semi-subsistence farming in the European Union after the Eastern enlargements poses a real challenge to rural development. The problems of semi-subsistence farms are low cash incomes and incidence of poverty, sub-optimal use of land and labour, a lack of capital and poor contribution to rural growth. However, they play an important welfare function in some rural areas in Europe; they manage more than 11 million ha of agricultural land and deliver ecosystem services. The Common Agricultural Policy will have to accommodate this now widespread production system, through existing or new policy packages. Particularly important is support for commercialisation to incentivise and smooth the transition to commercial agriculture, and agri-environmental payments to compensate the semi-subsistence farmers for the provision of ecosystem services.