IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Agricultural policies and the reduction of uncertainties in promoting diversification of agricultural productions. Insights from Europe


  • Aude Ridier

    () (SMART - Structures et Marché Agricoles, Ressources et Territoires - AGROCAMPUS OUEST - Institut Agro - Institut national d'enseignement supérieur pour l'agriculture, l'alimentation et l'environnement - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique)

  • Pierre Labarthe

    () (AGIR - AGroécologie, Innovations, teRritoires - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - Toulouse INP - Institut National Polytechnique (Toulouse) - Université Fédérale Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées)


Product diversification is often presented as an evolution of farm production systems that could contribute to a more sustainable development of agriculture (Kremen and Miles, 2012). Diversifying products at farm level may come with benefits for farmers, and beyond, for society at large, by enabling a more efficient use of natural resources. But diversification also raises complex issues at farm level, with multiple dimensions: technological, process, marketing and organisational. It is thus a complex change for farmers, not only in terms of internal management of resources within the farms, but also in terms of relations with their socio-technical environment, both with actors of the supply chains and with actors of agricultural knowledge and innovation systems (AKIS). Such deep changes can induce situations of strong uncertainty for farmers regarding diversification options: uncertainty about the costs and benefits of diversification, but also about the paths towards diversification. Thus, reducing uncertainty might be a key step towards diversification. The question of the role of uncertainty in technological choices such as product diversification has gained an increasing attention among scholars in economics and social sciences (see for instance Marra et al., 2003; Knowler and Bradshaw, 2007; Chavas and Di Falco, 2012). This is true both in the field of micro-level analyses within standard economics and of meso-level analyses within institutional economics. Our contention in this paper is twofold: i) to show that these two fields of economic studies can be associated with different forms of public intervention for the support of diversification; ii) to open a debate on the need to better integrate and combine these different forms of public interventions. The chapter is organised as follows. In a first section, we present insights from a micro-economic perspective on the costs and benefits of product diversification. In a second section, we present insights from institutional economics on technological transitions towards diversification. In both sections, we present the type of policy instruments associated with these theories. In a third section, we propose some illustrations of these policies based on a description of instruments of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union (EU). It highlights the need for more pluralistic and open debates about the instruments derived from various economic theories. A better dialogue could help prioritizing the instruments that would have the most impact according to the contexts of agricultural production.

Suggested Citation

  • Aude Ridier & Pierre Labarthe, 2018. "Agricultural policies and the reduction of uncertainties in promoting diversification of agricultural productions. Insights from Europe," Post-Print hal-01964296, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-01964296
    DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-811050-8.00023-6
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server:

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-01964296. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (CCSD). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.