Munich Personal RePEc Archive

EU rural policy: proposal and application of an agricultural sustainability index

Vecchione, Gaetano (2010): EU rural policy: proposal and application of an agricultural sustainability index.

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In this paper I propose an Agricultural Sustainability Index (ASI) starting from a ‘political’ perspective: European legislation in the rural sector. I try to answer these questions. How can we measure sustainability in agriculture? How do we measure the enhancement (if any) of the European policy for sustainability in agriculture? Why do some geographical areas perform better than others? Considering these questions, the paper suggests a model for measuring sustainability in agriculture and an approach to compare performances among different geographical contexts. The model puts together different dimensions of sustainability in agriculture, combining Geographical Information System (GIS) analysis and Multi-Criteria Analysis (MCA). Using eighteen agricultural indicators divided into three dimensions, social, economic and environmental, the model incorporates the following stages: (i) indicator specification and definition of the decisional framework; (ii) indicators' normalisation by means of transformation functions based on the fuzzy logic approach; (iii) indicators weighted by Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) techniques; (iv) indicators aggregated to obtain the ASI. The model is tested on a specific area: Alta Val d’Agri, a rural area in the southern Basilicata Region. Final results show that ASI consistently synthesises the evolution of thirty years of rural development policy.

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