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Multifunctional Development of Rural Areas: International Experience

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  • Bórawski, Piotr

Abstract

INTRODUCTION The aim of the European Union's rural development policy is to promote multifunctional development of rural areas. The policy addresses not only farms, but also the entire rural environment. The concept of multifunctional development has been fostered in response to the numerous problems experienced by rural areas. The key challenges to rural growth include low incomes generated by farm owners, high unemployment, in particular in areas that were once dominated by State Agricultural Farms, and social exclusion of rural inhabitants. In an attempt to limit migration from rural to urban areas, multifunctional development promotes non-agricultural activities in the countryside, including business, tourism, agritourism, forestry and residential construction. Multifunctional development is not a new concept in Poland. The need for restructuring measures in the countryside was particularly dire when the market transformation processed commenced in 1989. The majority of State Agricultural Farms were closed down, but most employees were unable to embrace the change. Many of them still inhabit rural areas and struggle with unemployment. The concept of multifunctional development creates various opportunities for improving the livelihoods of rural families. This idea inspires researchers to identify factors that affect entrepreneurial behaviors of rural inhabitants. The concept of multifunctional development surfaced in response to the depopulation of the Polish countryside. Young and educated people are increasingly likely to search for employment opportunities in the cities. The discussed approach was also designed to decrease high unemployment rates among rural residents who are reluctant to search for new jobs in urban areas. The papers were compiled into a monograph to promote the concept of multifunctional development of rural areas and the ensuing opportunities for non-farm activities in the field of tourism, services and small-scale production. The publication has been structured to address the key functions of rural areas. The first part discusses determinants of multifunctional development of rural areas. The second part contains papers dedicated to agriculture, animal production and farm effectiveness. It also concerns economic functions. It describes investments and their role in the multifunctional development of rural areas, enterprise growth in the countryside, knowledge management and the diffusion of innovations in farming and food processing businesses in rural areas. Moreover, it is devoted to environmental functions with special emphasis on the development of agritourism and rural tourism. The last part addresses the EU and its significance for the multifunctional development of rural areas. Piotr Bórawski

Suggested Citation

  • Bórawski, Piotr (ed.), 2012. "Multifunctional Development of Rural Areas: International Experience," Monographs: Applied Economics, AgEcon Search, number 208117.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:agsaem:208117
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