Nitra Conference

Discuss this here:

Weblog by FranzNahrada

I just arrived with Marco Fioretti at the SURAP (Sustainability of Rural Areas in Practise) conference in Nitra / Slovak republic. The conference is held in premises of the Agricultural University.

Dec 3, 2015


I have been up since 2 hours. The conference is conveniently hed in the same building where we are accomodated, so I make my first steps to registration. The Dorm even has a Facebook page:ŠD-A-Bernoláka/107788272636769 .


Opening by vice rector and

Dušan Chrenek, Head of Representation
European Commission representation in the Slovak Republic

The latter:

We must change our patterns of growth etc.

Change will place at the local level.

Rural areas will be a key piece of the puzzle.

Common Agricultural Policy: not just a mechanism to support farms, but wholistic strategy. Several Pillars. 2nd pillar "rural development"

"Must work hand in hand with National Strategies and EU programs"

155.000 young farmers will receive support
more than 7 % will receive restructuring funds
76000 jobs
5000 broadband projects
2000 innovation projects
20% of area will be funded for biodirversity
3 billion Euros in renewable energies

Forest sector; also key sector in mitigating climate change
2,4 billion in Slovakia will be used for - yes, of course competitivebness, but also maintainance of neature and better infrastructure
rural areas staying behind
17% unemployment
39 % rural unemployment
marginalized Roma communities
LEADER approach - local resources.


Magdaléna Lacko-Bartošová, State Secretary
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Slovak Republic

Talks about main goals of rural policy.

Rural Poverty, Food securuty

Each day 5 hectars of agricultural land are lost.


Peter Dupej, State Adviser General
Ministry of Transport, Construction and Regional Development of the Slovak Republic <vr> OECD

Programme for Economic and social development in regional strategy for rural development.

EU - Goals

  • smart growth
  • sustainable growth
  • inclusive growth
Lost position of self-sufficiency - need to restore these with several activities.

Importance of cities connected to rural areas.


Gary Fitt, OECD CRP Representative
CSIRO, Australia


David Brown, Cornell University

International Handbook of Rural Studies

Social demographer - relationship between society and space.


we live in an urban world

50% of words population in 2011, now 51
Europe 73
Borth America 81

Rural still matters
_ Most land and water
_ most ford and Fiber
_ Energy and natural resources
_ Infratructure

Rural communities are dynamic

"There is no grand narrative"

  • rural areas are diverse
  • can be extremely active or feeling powerless
  • highly variable assets
  • different historical legacies
6 Narratives:

  • Agricultural sector prioritized (CAP reform - CEC 2010)
  • two different urbanization
  • *Urban expansion in the countryside
    • Counter urbanisation
  • remote rural areas experience cumulative details
  • Urban rural interface is a dynamic space
"the rural urban binary is artificial"

"Does the penetration of global capital into rural areas lead to economic dynamism or increasing dependencies and peripherality?"

  • Someplaces are trapped in a vidious circle ..
  • Tend to generate winners and loosers, inequalities and displacements
  • Society / nature interdependencies have increased!
  • Coupled Human Natural Systems approaches!


Icreased mobility and interdependies between ALL Places and Human nature
Increased Spatial Inequalities
Fiscal croisais of the state affects rural people & communities

  • Rural Communities CAN be sites of resistance to Neoliberalism
Emerging issues

1. determinants and consequences of rural urban interdependence
2. Weakening of the social contract in todays neoliberal world
3. Examine the interdepence of nature and rural society.
4. Examine the changing (international) nature of migration and displacement

Problem Focused Rural Studies

  • The 21st century will bring rapid, transformational change
  • We must work across boundaries beyond academia with society


Janet Dwyer , Countryside and Community Research Institute (CCRI), UK
New Approaches to Revitalization of Rural Economy and Rural Communities

After a turbulent 20th century we are returning to a global pattern of slowing growth

"The devil is local"

Increasing, volatile ford prices

regional maps show different levels of climate change vulnerability

Climate Hotspots

Energy prospects

Multifunctionality of rural areas must be increased

Its not the best option to get bigger and specialize.

  • Little correlation between profitability and scale
  • big can mean vulnerable or stretched, over capitalized - and lonely !!
  • Knowledge, people, skills retaining flexibity - more important than ever
  • Economies of Scope - variety and diversity, shared resources
  • dealing directly with consumers makes for more diverse offers, not b&s
What is rural economic success?
  • growth in turnover and profits OR making a satisfactory return?
  • suit the people
  • reputation based
  • we stand on environmental quality also in farming
In future, resilience may be the key
  • resilient businesses / diverse, trusted relationships
  • resilient communities

SOME "new" approaches

seeing the connections at the local level

Farmers Markets - local food, adding value

Social Farming

Euro-Land- Art Festival

Market is not a homogenous "demand" driver, but a heterogeneous ecosystem

Community is crucial

Policy Level: Real Innovation for Sustainability is needed - risk sharing is necessary - the complexity of innovation policy must be reduced and simplified - avoid audit-led development !

Local Level….we know that one ….




Jan Douwe van der Ploeg, University of Wageningen, Netherlands
The Malleability of Employment Levels in Agriculture and the Rural Economy

.... Good speech I am getting tired ....


Francesco Di Iacovo, University of Pisa

Social sustainability

  • Territorial Social Sustainability
  • Social Sustainability in the AgroFoordProcessing Chain
  • Relational Social Sustainability
All content in this wiki is PublicDomain except as noted otherwise. Please be kind to our authors! changed: December 3, 2015