In the last years, agricultural research and institutions operating in agriculture, at the international and national levels, extended their scope to include new goals of sustainable and inclusive development. In the fields of economics, agricultural research opened its confines and extended its priorities, from agricultural production to new economic, social, and environmental issues, affecting food and non-food agricultural systems. Within this framework, rural development acquired growing attention. The international scientific and institutional debate are increasingly valuing the adoption of a new territorial approach to the development of rural areas, where supply chain operators, public authorities, and local communities are supposed to recognize their specific identity, interconnect their knowledge and capabilities, and collectively decide and operate, for the activation and sustainable valorization of valuable local specific resources. Considering these issues, this thesis aims at enhancing the characterization and analysis of new territorial approaches to agricultural and rural development. To that end, specific research objectives are identified, highly interrelated, and building on each other. The latter include: a) improving the conceptualization of territorial approaches to rural development; b) exploring how and to what extent the enhancement of valuable systems of local specific resources can work as a lever of inclusive and sustainable rural territorial development; c) identifying adequate governance settings and management mechanisms for collaborative valorization strategies, combining public policies with private action; d) understanding the role of territorial actors’ empowerment, and the potential of capacity-building approaches, bridging scientific with territorial-specific knowledge. Accordingly, the Ph.D. Research process involved the analysis of different territorial contexts, as well as diverse valuable resource systems protection and valorization dynamics. Specifically, five publications were realized to fulfill the identified research objectives. Publication 1 provides a broader conceptualization of rural territorial development with (bio-)cultural identity and validates the potential of capacity-building approaches. To that end, a new conceptual model is identified and applied to the illustrative and representative case of the Garfagnana territory, a rural area of Tuscany (Italy). The study highlights the new model validity for the identification and construction of quality virtuous valorization circles of local biocultural resources. Likewise, it highlights the new model potential for detecting the critical aspects, needs, and gaps, affecting the realization of effective governance settings and management approaches. To that end, the fundamental role of innovative capacity-building approaches is evidenced, in expanding key human resources capabilities and sustaining the empowerment of local actors for territorial dynamization. Besides that, a new educational profile of “Territorial Enhancer” is also identified, to respond to different territorial context demands, towards the inclusive and sustainable mobilization of biocultural heritage. In Publications 2 and 3 a specific focus is made on the relevant case of agrobiodiversity valorization for rural territorial development and global sustainability. Publication 2 characterizes agrobiodiversity as a valuable system of local genetic and cultural resources, and analyses virtuous initiatives intended for their conservation and territorial valorization. The study focuses on the analysis of the illustrative and representative case of the Valtiberina Red Onion (Cipolla Rossa della Valtiberina), a threatened plant genetic resource of Tuscany (Italy). A participatory action research (PAR) approach is adopted. The publication outlines the distinctive qualities that characterize agrobiodiversity resources and the related multiple value potential for inclusive and sustainable agriculture and rural development. The opportunity of recognizing, conserving, and valorizing the local specific genetic and cultural diversity is seen as linked to the possible adaption, integration, and better coordination of both public policies and private strategies. To that end, new action directions are identified by the study. The latter supports the identification of adequate governance and management solutions, intended to the realization of multi-stakeholder strategies, aiming at the qualification and marketing of agrobiodiversity products, and territorial development. Building on the findings of Publication 2, Publication 3 aims at understanding how the restoring and valorization of agrobiodiversity resources, and particularly of underutilized or neglected landraces, can act as a trigger of sustainable territorial development. A new socio-ecological systems (SES) approach is adopted, to design a holistic model for the characterization and analysis of agrobiodiversity-oriented food systems. The model was tested on the Valtiberina Red Onion case. The paper proves the new model validity to classify the assets, drivers, human action processes, and generated benefits, concerning the realization of landrace-based quality virtuous valorization circles, and to evaluate their performance of sustainability and rural development. In addition, the model favors the identification and implementation of effective combinations of public and private action, fostering a balanced satisfaction of all the interests at stake. Besides that, Publication 4 and 5 intend to explore the role of new strategic industries - other than food -, that are acquiring a growing market consideration, social appreciation, and public recognition, for their specific sustainability potential, and possible contribution to higher human well-being. Specifically, the representative case of ornamental horticulture is analyzed. Hence, Publication 4 intends to fill the gap in the availability of integrated data sources and structured theoretically sound studies on new consumption trends, marketing strategies, and governance settings, characterizing the European ornamental market context. Accordingly, an integrative grey literature review is carried out, using a comprehensive approach. Relevant changes in socio-ecological determinants are highlighted, driving local resources valorization to become a key solution in combining new differential advantages, with wider social, and environmental goals. A new action-research agenda is identified, for the advancement of market research, and the improvement and coordination of public and private action. Accordingly, the evolution of policies, programmes, and legislation, and the enhancement of private actors’ collaboration, is considered to furtherly boost ornamentals market attractivity and social recognition, and to sustain a necessary reorganization of production and trade. Lastly, in Publication 5 a virtuous multi-stakeholder initiative is analyzed, intended to the requalification and territorial valorization of the localized floriculture system of Tuscany (Italy). Based on a PAR approach, the study evidences how the evolution of flower consumption trends and the emergence of new high-value market niches, demanding for origin and sustainability attributes, represent significant opportunities for differentiation and sustainability transformation for local high-cost supply systems. Therefore, the essential role of innovative win-win qualification strategies and luxury marketing approaches is considered, involving the collaboration of supply chains operators and other territorial actors, for the dynamization, and virtuous valorization, of local flower agrobiodiversity and related territorial capital (social, human, natural). Hence, relevant product innovation policies and place branding strategies are identified. The latter sustain the construction of high-value positionings and territorial valorization paths, based on a wider recognition, and fairer remuneration of local flowers’ biocultural and sustainability content. In that regard, the fundamental role of cooperation and networking is also outlined. An innovation multi-stakeholder platform (IP) is characterized as an effective governance model, enabling local actors’ collaboration, self-leading, and self-organization. Considering all the described contributions, this thesis is expected to provide researchers, businesses, and institutions with relevant insights, new concepts, and innovative analytical models, sustaining the validation of territorial approaches characteristics and potential. Consequently, the consolidation and implementation of new development paradigms will renovate the role of agriculture and rural areas for the benefit of present and future generations.

Enhancing agricultural research for rural development: The role of territorial approaches / Gabellini, Sara. - (2022).

Enhancing agricultural research for rural development: The role of territorial approaches

Gabellini, Sara
2022

Abstract

In the last years, agricultural research and institutions operating in agriculture, at the international and national levels, extended their scope to include new goals of sustainable and inclusive development. In the fields of economics, agricultural research opened its confines and extended its priorities, from agricultural production to new economic, social, and environmental issues, affecting food and non-food agricultural systems. Within this framework, rural development acquired growing attention. The international scientific and institutional debate are increasingly valuing the adoption of a new territorial approach to the development of rural areas, where supply chain operators, public authorities, and local communities are supposed to recognize their specific identity, interconnect their knowledge and capabilities, and collectively decide and operate, for the activation and sustainable valorization of valuable local specific resources. Considering these issues, this thesis aims at enhancing the characterization and analysis of new territorial approaches to agricultural and rural development. To that end, specific research objectives are identified, highly interrelated, and building on each other. The latter include: a) improving the conceptualization of territorial approaches to rural development; b) exploring how and to what extent the enhancement of valuable systems of local specific resources can work as a lever of inclusive and sustainable rural territorial development; c) identifying adequate governance settings and management mechanisms for collaborative valorization strategies, combining public policies with private action; d) understanding the role of territorial actors’ empowerment, and the potential of capacity-building approaches, bridging scientific with territorial-specific knowledge. Accordingly, the Ph.D. Research process involved the analysis of different territorial contexts, as well as diverse valuable resource systems protection and valorization dynamics. Specifically, five publications were realized to fulfill the identified research objectives. Publication 1 provides a broader conceptualization of rural territorial development with (bio-)cultural identity and validates the potential of capacity-building approaches. To that end, a new conceptual model is identified and applied to the illustrative and representative case of the Garfagnana territory, a rural area of Tuscany (Italy). The study highlights the new model validity for the identification and construction of quality virtuous valorization circles of local biocultural resources. Likewise, it highlights the new model potential for detecting the critical aspects, needs, and gaps, affecting the realization of effective governance settings and management approaches. To that end, the fundamental role of innovative capacity-building approaches is evidenced, in expanding key human resources capabilities and sustaining the empowerment of local actors for territorial dynamization. Besides that, a new educational profile of “Territorial Enhancer” is also identified, to respond to different territorial context demands, towards the inclusive and sustainable mobilization of biocultural heritage. In Publications 2 and 3 a specific focus is made on the relevant case of agrobiodiversity valorization for rural territorial development and global sustainability. Publication 2 characterizes agrobiodiversity as a valuable system of local genetic and cultural resources, and analyses virtuous initiatives intended for their conservation and territorial valorization. The study focuses on the analysis of the illustrative and representative case of the Valtiberina Red Onion (Cipolla Rossa della Valtiberina), a threatened plant genetic resource of Tuscany (Italy). A participatory action research (PAR) approach is adopted. The publication outlines the distinctive qualities that characterize agrobiodiversity resources and the related multiple value potential for inclusive and sustainable agriculture and rural development. The opportunity of recognizing, conserving, and valorizing the local specific genetic and cultural diversity is seen as linked to the possible adaption, integration, and better coordination of both public policies and private strategies. To that end, new action directions are identified by the study. The latter supports the identification of adequate governance and management solutions, intended to the realization of multi-stakeholder strategies, aiming at the qualification and marketing of agrobiodiversity products, and territorial development. Building on the findings of Publication 2, Publication 3 aims at understanding how the restoring and valorization of agrobiodiversity resources, and particularly of underutilized or neglected landraces, can act as a trigger of sustainable territorial development. A new socio-ecological systems (SES) approach is adopted, to design a holistic model for the characterization and analysis of agrobiodiversity-oriented food systems. The model was tested on the Valtiberina Red Onion case. The paper proves the new model validity to classify the assets, drivers, human action processes, and generated benefits, concerning the realization of landrace-based quality virtuous valorization circles, and to evaluate their performance of sustainability and rural development. In addition, the model favors the identification and implementation of effective combinations of public and private action, fostering a balanced satisfaction of all the interests at stake. Besides that, Publication 4 and 5 intend to explore the role of new strategic industries - other than food -, that are acquiring a growing market consideration, social appreciation, and public recognition, for their specific sustainability potential, and possible contribution to higher human well-being. Specifically, the representative case of ornamental horticulture is analyzed. Hence, Publication 4 intends to fill the gap in the availability of integrated data sources and structured theoretically sound studies on new consumption trends, marketing strategies, and governance settings, characterizing the European ornamental market context. Accordingly, an integrative grey literature review is carried out, using a comprehensive approach. Relevant changes in socio-ecological determinants are highlighted, driving local resources valorization to become a key solution in combining new differential advantages, with wider social, and environmental goals. A new action-research agenda is identified, for the advancement of market research, and the improvement and coordination of public and private action. Accordingly, the evolution of policies, programmes, and legislation, and the enhancement of private actors’ collaboration, is considered to furtherly boost ornamentals market attractivity and social recognition, and to sustain a necessary reorganization of production and trade. Lastly, in Publication 5 a virtuous multi-stakeholder initiative is analyzed, intended to the requalification and territorial valorization of the localized floriculture system of Tuscany (Italy). Based on a PAR approach, the study evidences how the evolution of flower consumption trends and the emergence of new high-value market niches, demanding for origin and sustainability attributes, represent significant opportunities for differentiation and sustainability transformation for local high-cost supply systems. Therefore, the essential role of innovative win-win qualification strategies and luxury marketing approaches is considered, involving the collaboration of supply chains operators and other territorial actors, for the dynamization, and virtuous valorization, of local flower agrobiodiversity and related territorial capital (social, human, natural). Hence, relevant product innovation policies and place branding strategies are identified. The latter sustain the construction of high-value positionings and territorial valorization paths, based on a wider recognition, and fairer remuneration of local flowers’ biocultural and sustainability content. In that regard, the fundamental role of cooperation and networking is also outlined. An innovation multi-stakeholder platform (IP) is characterized as an effective governance model, enabling local actors’ collaboration, self-leading, and self-organization. Considering all the described contributions, this thesis is expected to provide researchers, businesses, and institutions with relevant insights, new concepts, and innovative analytical models, sustaining the validation of territorial approaches characteristics and potential. Consequently, the consolidation and implementation of new development paradigms will renovate the role of agriculture and rural areas for the benefit of present and future generations.
Silvia Scaramuzzi
ITALIA
Gabellini, Sara
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2158/1272424
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