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The Importance of Rural

Development in the 21st Century

Presented in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of the Master of Sciences
Spiridon (Ispas) Eluta
An I

- 2015
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In most of the world, the areas designated as rural share a number of common attributes
that include overwhelming involvement in primary production (agriculture mostly) that supply
food and raw materials for the larger society. In most cases, rural centers are the seed beds of
national population and conservatory of pristine national culture, manpower, patriotism and
tradition. And despite also constituting the majority population in most countries of the world,
the rural world is unfortunately mired in perennial poverty and backwardness.
It is not surprising that the term rural does not have a conventional definition, unlike
poverty line whose definition has been made easier by the World Bank (although some
countries still have their own poverty benchmarks). While poverty or poverty line could be
easily monetized, rural or rurality cannot. This thus makes it expedient for each country to
have its own rural threshold, using its self-determined criteria. The term rural evades consensual
definition to the extent that even within some countries, there are deferring definitions of rural.
In essence, rural could be defined in varying contexts depending on where and what criteria are
Over the years, the objectives of the EUs Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) have
retained a stable core based on the treaties of the EU but have been interpreted in ways which
have evolved to reflect the changing context and societal needs. Moreover, successive reforms
have led to changes in the instruments used. Originally, elements of rural development policy
were embedded in the CAP. A separate and specific EU rural development policy became
operational in 2000 when the CAP was reorganised into two pillars.
The CAPs first pillar covers direct payments and market measures and the second CAP
pillar covers multi-annual rural development measures. The CAPs two pillars are
complementary and EU rural development policy operates within this context. Rural
development policys evolution since its inception has helped the policy grow and adapt to
reflect key EU priorities. Its emphasis on investment for success has enabled many farmers to
learn new techniques, upgrade facilities
and carry out essential restructuring, thus sharpening their competitive edge.
In addition, very substantial provisions for the good of the environment are helping to
turn the tide with regard to challenges of biodiversity, greenhouse gas emissions, soil and water
quality, and landscape preservation. Rural development policy has also embraced the need to
support different types of job creation plus the provision of basic services in our countryside.
These help to promote quality of life, which is acknowledged as an important factor for
sustaining thriving rural communities.
In order to deliver good value for money for the EU tax payer, rural development policy
must have a clear mission. This mission concords with the objectives of the CAP as a whole and
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also to the Europe 2020 strategy, which explains why and how future economic growth in the EU
should be smart (based on knowledge and innovation), sustainable (in line with the long-term
needs of the planet) and inclusive (beneficial to all society). Europe 2020 also re-affirms targets
to which the EU has already committed itself, such as a goal to cut total greenhouse gas
emissions by at least 20 % from their 1990 level by the year 2020.
In line with Europe 2020 and the overall CAP objectives, the main mission of EU rural
development policy from 2014 to 2020 can be stated in terms of three long-term strategic
objectives, which are to contribute to:
the competitiveness of agriculture;
the sustainable management of natural resources, and climate action;
a balanced territorial development of rural areas.
These ambitions are similar to those which currently shape rural development policy. For
the purposes of managing the use of rural development policy through rural development
programmes after 2013, the broad long-term objectives outlined above will be referred to as the
RDP priorities. RDP priorities will have corresponding areas of intervention. Importantly, the
themes of: fostering innovation; contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation;
and caring for the environment are considered to be common goals for all RDP priorities and
areas of intervention.
For the purposes of managing rural development policy through Rural Development
Programmes (RDPs) the above mentioned broad objectives are given more detailed expression
through 6 priorities:
1. Fostering knowledge transfer in agriculture, forestry and rural areas
2. Enhancing the competitiveness of all types of agriculture and enhancing farm viability
3. Promoting food chain organisation and risk management in agriculture
4. Restoring, preserving and enhancing ecosystems dependent on agriculture and forestry
5. Promoting resource efficiency and supporting the shift toward a low-carbon and climateresilient economy in agriculture, food and forestry sectors
6. Promoting social inclusion, poverty reduction and economic development in rural areas
Fostering knowledge transfer in agriculture, forestry and rural areas
Knowledge, skills and innovation are the indispensable foundation of sustainable
development. Rural areas often need help in this respect (for example, only 20 % of EU farmers
have received a formal agricultural training) and gaps need to be narrowed between researchers
and farmers or foresters.
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Fostering knowledge transfer and innovation is a cross-cutting priority for the 20142020 programming period. Measures regarding knowledge transfer or investments have been
programmed by Member States with the aim to foster innovation and they will remain available
for the period 2014-2020. The European Innovation Partnership for Agricultural
Productivity and Sustainability (EIP-AGRI) is the main new element established to interlink
existing policies, foster co-operation among partners and build bridges between researchers and
rural businesses.
Innovation is high on the agenda, in view of the deep economic crisis and the challenges
of feeding 9 billion people in 2050 in a more sustainable way. For an effective and efficient
response the Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems (AKIS) needs to innovate itself
and adopt new ways of working. The difference between innovation and research means that
governments have more instruments than research to promote innovation. Extension and
education, fiscal measures, credit guarantees, innovative procurement, inducements such as
prizes and other incentives can help too. This implies that, in addition to a science and research
policy, it makes sense to have an innovation policy. There is an important European dimension to
innovation and innovation policies. Where cross-border collaboration in research clearly exists
and increases, cross-border collaboration in innovation should be improved.
Governments should set a framework that provides continuity in the actions and activities
of operational groups, introduces new methods to legally safeguard small to medium-sized
enterprises (SMEs) knowledge and facilitates partnership agreements, makes it easy to
participate (low bureaucracy), gives operational groups an advantage in the application for
support schemes, acknowledges the practical field experience of farmers and improves the
accessibility of knowledge and the free availability of information. Innovations in innovation
policies are possible, such as the use of SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research
programmes), vouchers and prizes as inducements.
Enhancing the competitiveness of all types of agriculture and enhancing farm viability
Various forces pose threats to farmers incomes, and therefore farmers working within a
variety of farming models should aim to continue to become more competitive. In some cases
further restructuring is needed. Given that only six percent of farm managers are aged below 35,
more young people must be encouraged to bring their energy and ideas to the farm sector.
The focus areas for this policy are:


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Facilitating restructuring of farms facing major structural challenges (notably farms with
a low degree of market participation, or market-orientated farms active in particular sectors, or
farms in need of agricultural diversification);
Facilitating a balanced age structure in the agricultural sector.
Promoting food chain organisation and risk management in agriculture
Farmers position in the food supply chain can be relatively weak and they can benefit
from organising themselves better to improve revenue opportunities. One route to doing so lies
in local markets and short-supply chains. Risk management tools are needed to help farmers
cope better with the uncertainty created by problems of weather, animal disease and market
The focus areas for this policy are:
Better integrating primary producers into the food chain through quality schemes,
promotion in local markets and short-supply chains, producer groups and inter-branch
Supporting risk management on farms.
Restoring, preserving and enhancing ecosystems dependent on agriculture and forestry
Pressures on the environment are still very prevalent. For example, only 17 % of EU
habitats and 11 % of ecosystems are considered to be in a favourable state, nutrient surpluses
persist in some water bodies (despite progress in others), and 45 % of EU soils suffer from
problems of quality. These challenges need to be remedied and the positive environmental
contributions of farming and forestry should be strengthened.
Areas of intervention in this case would be:
Restoring and preserving biodiversity (including in NATURA 2000 areas and areas of
High Nature Value farming) and the state of European landscapes;
Improving water management;
Improving soil management.
Promoting resource efficiency and supporting the shift toward a low-carbon and climateresilient economy in agriculture, food and forestry sectors
In all economic sectors, smart and sustainable growth must look after scarce resources.
Agriculture must use energy and water more efficiently (farms account for about 24 % of total


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EU water abstractions) while cutting its emissions of greenhouse gases and sequestering carbon.
Farming and other rural sectors can supply essential raw materials for use in the bio-economy.
Areas of intervention:
Increasing efficiency in water use by agriculture;
Increasing efficiency in energy use in agriculture and food processing;
Facilitating the supply and use of renewable sources of energy, by-products, wastes,
residues and other non-food raw materials for the bio-economy;
Reducing nitrous oxide and methane emissions from agriculture;
Fostering carbon sequestration in agriculture and forestry.
Promoting social inclusion, poverty reduction and economic development in rural areas
Some 14% of the population in the EUs predominantly rural regions suffers from
employment rates of less than half the EU average, and there are areas of low per-capita GDP.
Much can be done to help create a wider variety of better quality jobs and an improved level of
overall local development, including through information and communication technologies
Areas of intervention:
Facilitating diversification, creation of new small enterprises and job creation;
Promoting local development in rural areas;
Enhancing accessibility to, and use and quality of ICT in rural areas.
RDPs have been beneficial in the past and comparable programmes will still remain the
focal point for implementing rural development policy. RDP content will be influenced by the
CSF and by partnership contracts. As in the current period, some RDPs will cover entire
countries, whereas others will cover a given region.
The most important elements of drawing up RDPs will be:
Conducting an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT)
related to the area to be covered by the programme;
Setting quantified targets against the new RDP priorities and associated areas of
intervention, using consistent target indicators from the Common Monitoring and Evaluation
Framework (CMEF). RDP indicators must take account of the lessons learnt from experiences
with implementing pillar 2 of the CAP. The indicators and baseline data needs to be accurate and
broad enough to say something meaningful with regard to rural development, but also specific
enough to clearly measure what difference RDP actions are making in relation to the influence of
a host of external factors;
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Explaining how, for each priority, the cross-cutting themes of innovation, environment and
climate change mitigation and adaptation will be properly taken into account;
Choosing combinations of measures to address the priorities and cross-cutting themes and
to meet the targets.
Overall targets for each RDP will express objectives for a programme during its lifetime.
It also makes sense to set milestones along the way (intermediate targets) to check that
everything is moving in the right direction at the right speed. Therefore, within a new
performance framework, formal milestones will be agreed for all RDPs in relation to some of the
overall targets agreed between the Commission and the Member State. If the milestones are not
reached, the Commission will make recommendations to correct the situation. For milestones
that have been achieved, further EAFRD allocations may be released at a later stage from a
Member States rural development performance reserve budget (containing five percent of its
total EAFRD budget). These performance reserve funds will be available to support additional
rural development.
Flexibility will continue to be an essential feature for all RDPs. This will ensure that EU
rural development policy retains its capacity for meeting the varied needs of rural areas from one
corner of the EU to another.
In addition to the standard programme-based structure, Member States and regions will
also now be given the opportunity to offer special support to certain groups, areas or objectives,
if they wish. The new draft EAFRD regulation notes that particular attention is needed for:
Young farmers are the guarantors of the future of agriculture, and they bring essential new
energy and ideas to the sector. However, they face various difficulties, especially in terms of
access to land and credit. The attractions of lifestyles in towns and cities can also deter young
people from entering into rural-based career paths.
Small farms often have a particular contribution to make to product diversity, habitat
conservation (e.g. because of a high number of field boundaries) and social focus for rural
communities. However, in some areas of the EU they face somewhat different challenges from
those faced by larger farms.
Mountain areas in many cases offer distinctive products and essential and attractive
ecosystems. Yet, they may often face their own quite particular challenges related to climate and
distance from centres of population.
Short-supply chains can bring economic, environmental and social benefits (by securing a
greater share of added value for farmers, by reducing the carbon footprint of food distribution,
and by enabling face-to-face contact between producers and buyers). It can be helpful to cut the
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distance from the farm gate to the dinner plate, however, considerable effort is sometimes needed
to start up viable alternatives to well-established longer supply chains.
Finally, in some parts of the EU there are particular agricultural sectors in need of
restructuring which have a substantial impact on a specific rural area.

Traducerea textului
Care este esenta ruralitatii?
Discutia despre ceea ce constituie identitatile urbane si rurale este probabil la fel de veche
ca civilizatia in sine. Constelatiile schimbatoare, opuse, insa combinate, cunoscute ca orase si
sate sunt ambele produse ale procesului de civilizatie. Curios insa, discutiile stiintifice si sociale
recente au redus ruralitatea la o ecuatie unilateral in care ruralul si urbanul devin imagini
oglindite. Din aceasta rezulta ca mai multa urbanizare poate fi interpretata ca mai putina
Ceea ce lipseste din discutiile de azi este constientizarea ca atat ruralul cat si urbanul sunt
intelese ca aspecte intrinsece ale civilizatiei. Astfel, ruralul nu poate fi definit simplu ca opusul
urbanului, el putand fi definit si in relatie cu opusul civilizatiei, si anume salbaticia. Cautarea
ruralului nu poate fi redusa la o simpla ecuatie. O astfel de cautare implica discutia dintre doua
limite: limita dintre urban si rural, si limita dintre rural si non-civilizatie.
Miscarile naturale din Europa de Vest (in special cele din Olanda) ne fac constienti de cea
dea doua limita. Desi cererea pentru o natura neafectate de om (auzita de obicei din partea
sectiunilor radicae ale miscarilor natural), notiunea de ruralitate devine din ce in ce mai
incorporata in doua ecuatii.
Transformarea cauzata de omenire este ceea ce deosebeste ruralul de salbaticie. In natura
pura nu exista oameni. Natura pura nu este afectatat de oameni, istorie sau societate. Acesta este
motivul pentru care salbaticia difera de rural. La tara ne simtim, gustam, vedem si auzim
prezenta omului. Ruralul nu poate fi conceput, experimentat sau contruit fara prezenta omului.
Ruralul, este locul de intalnire dintre om si natura. In concluzie, ruralitatea este atat rezultatul cat
si expresia acestei intalniri.
A doua limita, cea dintre rural si urban, poate fi definite acum ca urmatorul pas logic.
Urbanul devine locul unde intalnirea dintre om si natura se opreste. Desi exista elemente verzi in
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orase, co-productia dintre om si natura nu este esentiala oraselor. Aceasta diferenta poate fi
evidentiata daca introducem notiunea de natura vie sau moarta. Orasele pot dobandii resurse ca
bumbacul, fierul, carbunele si uraniumul din natura, dar aceste materiale se dobandesc, in primul
rand, ca materiale moarte si, in al doilea rand, nu sunt o reproductie a naturii.
Taramul rural, in contrast cu cel urban, foloseste si reproduce constant natura vie
(ecosisteme, biodiversitate) sau, si mai specific, vaci, campii, lemne, lanuri. Aceasta reproductive
in particular pare a fi diferenta crucial. Ruralitatea este co-productia continua a omului si a
naturii. Prin urmare, ruralul nu contine natura pura. Natura incorporata in rural este un coprodus, rezultat din interactiunea si evolutia omului si a naturii. Este atat rezultatul co-productiei
cat si substanta pentru o co-productie continua. La fel se poate spune si despre om. Ruralul nu
contine o societate abstracta sau orice alt fel de societate. Ruralul include si este cladit pe baza
societatii, care, la randul ei, este contruita sa faca fata co-productiei. In contextual co-productiei
se poate spune ca natura nu este pur naturala si ca nici societatea nu e pur sociala. Ambele,
natura si societatea, se completeaza, iar una din ele nu poate fi inteleasa fara cealalta.
Cat despre absenta naturii din mediul urban, orasul se poate definii cu exactitate fata de
sate. Urbanul este o societate modelata sa organizeze principiile dezvoltate de omenire. Nevoia
de a avea treaba cu natura nu este prezenta in mediul urban. Prin urmare, aranjamentele tipice
asociate cu co-productia dintre om si natura lipsesc in orase.
Din punct de vedere al zonelor rurale, termenul de co-productie poate fi folosit in sensul
cel mai larg al cuvantului. In primul rand, co-productia se refera la interactia dintre om si natura
vie, aceasta fiind procesul de productie in care natura este transformata in produse si servicii
pentru consumatia omului. Productia Agricola este evident una din componentele de baza al
acestei co-productii. Co-productia nu este totusi limitata doar la acest aspect. Nevoile omului nu
sunt limitate doar la mancare. Notiunea de co-productie se refera la doua limite: nu doar ca
omenirea conditioneaza co-productia, ci si natura conditioneaza aceasi co-productie. Natura nu
este, ca sa interpretam o binecunoscuta expresie, la fel de maleabila ca lutul. Natura, in special
natura vie, are propriile reguli. La fel ca societatea.
Nu doar conditiile fizice pentru continuitate trebuie securizate, ci si relatiile sociale
trebuie mentinute. Prin urmare, co-productia existenta in mediul rural implica si reproductia
relatiilor sociale specific productiei. Prin acest set de relatii, societatea devine organizata intr-un
anumit sens dat, iar natura este modelata intr-o anumita forma. Pe scurt, anumite relatii sociale
(intersectate cu societatea intr-un mod unic) sunt ingredientele cheie, daca nu chiar centrul
Ruralul: nu inseamna exclusiv agricultura
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Ruralitatea nu este limitata numai la agricultura, ea fiind de obicei mult mai mult. Acest
lucru se poate ilustra pe mai multe niveluri. In primul rand, oricine poate sa materializeze
ruralitatea, spre exemplu, prin gama larga de peisaje, ruralitatea fiind omniprezenta in 80% din
teritoriile unei tari (daca nu in mod direct, atunci prin lanturile care leaga prezentul de trecut).
Apoi exista cultura: intalnirea continua dintre om si natura produce o cultura particulara in care
premizele, mecanismele si rezultatele co-productiei sunt specifice si evidentiaite. Desi expresia
concreta a unei astfel de culturi difera considerabil de la un timp la altul si de la o locatie la alta,
exista anumite trasaturi, de obicei intelese gresit, dar care reapar in timp. Aici ar trebui
mentionate familia ca un principiu organizat, continuitatea, ocuparea fortei de munca,
autonomia, sacrificial, dificultatea, munca grea, si notiunea de a face treaba buna.
In al doilea rand, trebuie sa luam in considerare ca intalnirea cu natura este de baza in
activitati ca vanatoare, pescuitul, managementul padurii, recereatia si traiul la tara. Specialisti au
demonstrate ca miscarea dinspre orase spre sate este inspirata de anumite activitati care exista in
mediul rural. Ruralitatea este un interes al societatii. Un astfel de interes nu este un reziduu al
trecutului, ci este mai des folosit cand orasele cresc si societatea devine mai urbanizata. In
termeni mai generali, orice poate spune ca agricultura produce si consuma ruralitatea (la fel cum
fermierii folosesc natura, traiesc la sate si asa mai departe). Totusi consumarea ruralitati
depaseste notiunea de agricultura. Ruralitatea este reprodusa in mod egal ca repopularea satelor,
prin agro-turism, prin vanataore, pescuit. In acelasi timp, este clar ca consumarea ruralitatii este
posibila numai daca ruralitatea este active produsa: consumul fosililor este ceva diferit de
consumarea ruralitati.


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