Multifunctionality in Agriculture

Evaluating the degree of jointness, policy implications

image of Multifunctionality in Agriculture

These proceedings examine the nature and strength of jointness between agricultural commodity production and non-commodity outputs from the perspective of three areas important to the agricultural sector: rural development, environmental externalities and food security. This workshop also examined whether the relationships among these non-commodity outputs were complementary or competing. Finally, the policy implications that could be derived from the findings of this workshop were also a key element in the discussions and are summarised in the Rapporteur’s summary.



To What Extent are Environmental Externalities a Joint Product of Agriculture?

Overview and Policy Implications

Jointness is a key attribute of multifunctionality. The first discussion of jointness in this context has been attributed by Nowicki (2004) to Harvey and Whitby (1988) who raise “the possibility of symbiosis between agriculture and the environment and the possibility of joint production of both environmental goods and services”. However, as Nowicki comments “the relationship between the economic benefit and environmental good in the structure of joint production is not simple”. It is defined more formally by the OECD (2001) in terms of situations where a firm produces two or more outputs that are interlinked so that an increase or decrease in the supply of one output affects the levels of the others. To be of policy relevance, one or more of the outputs must be a noncommodity output with some element of publicness. This report concentrates on situations where commodity outputs are potentially produced jointly with positive environmental or countryside goods.


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