The Crisis of Small Farms in Central Italy: Can Farmer Turnover Slow Down the Downfall?
We use original data to assess if the current incentives to farmer turnover may help the competitiveness of small farms in the Lazio Region (central Italy). Our results show that substantial changes in the policy may be needed. The paper analyzes sharp declining trend in small farm number, discusses its causes and evaluates the policies that have been adopted to stop or slow down this downfall. The regional policy makers consider the ageing of the farmers is a key determinant of the decline of small farms. Consequently, they have designed an incentive policy to generational turnover mainly based on installation payments. Given our empirical findings we conclude that this policy may fail to achieve the stated objectives. Firstly, farms that had a generational turnover in the last seven years do not show higher propensity to investment than the control group. These results suggest that farmers’ turnover per se may fail to increase the competitiveness of small farms. Secondly, in almost half of the cases the change in ownership is the result of a long process. Thus the timing of the policy may be wrong. Thirdly the policy is difficult to monitor and opportunistic behavior is possible.
|Date of creation:||20 Aug 2009|
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