Entrepreneurial Skills of Farmers

Entrepreneurial Skills of Farmers
Project Acronym: 
ESoF
Programme: 
FP6

Descrizione

This project examined the economic, social and cultural factors hindering or stimulating the development of entrepreneurial skills of farmers.

The primary concern of the project was to recommend ways how conditions of the social, economic, political and cultural framework can be changed in order to facilitate the adoption of entrepreneurial skills for farmers and how farmers themselves can improve their entrepreneurial skills. The guiding idea comprised the persuasion that the kind of necessary entrepreneurial skills is strongly dependent on the strategic orientation of the farm.

Besides recommendations a e-learning tool was elaborated with which farmers can learn to enhance their entrepreneurial skills. Farmers can assess themselves, learning their strengths and weaknesses concerning entrepreneurship.

Recommendations and the elaborated tool was be based on

  • an analytical definition and description of relevance of the concept of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial skills for agriculture reflecting the strategic orientations of farms
  • the specification of entrepreneurial skills in relation to the strategic orientation: This analysis was conducted in case studies following a participatory approach with farmers and representatives of the socio-technical network of farmers.
  • the identification and analysis of the economic, social and cultural factors hindering and stimulating the development of entrepreneurial skills. Again, this analysis was conducted in case studies and in a participatory way.

The results of the three analyses were synthesised to strategies how to overcome barriers and improve stimulating factors for the development of entrepreneurial skills of farmers.

Participating Countries: 
Finland

Project Coordinator

Research Institute of Organic Agriculture | Switzerland | http://www.fibl.org/en/homepage.html

Project Partners

Research Institute of Organic Agriculture | Switzerland | http://www.fibl.org/en/homepage.html
University of Lincoln | UnitedKingdom | http://www.lincoln.ac.uk/home/
University of Helsinki | Finland | http://www.helsinki.fi/
Wageningen UR | Netherlands | http://www.wageningenur.nl/en.htm
Research Institute of Pomology and Floriculture | Poland | http://www.insad.pl/home_en.html
Start Year: 
2005
End Year: 
2008

Contact Person

Christine Rudmann, FiBL Switzerland info.suisse@fibl.org | Research Institute of Organic Agriculture
Target Groups: 
college students
education authorities
industry
policy makers
researchers
secondary school students
teachers
trainee teachers
university lecturers
university students
vocational school students

The overall objective of this project, therefore, was twofold:

  1. Identification and analysis of economic, social and cultural factors which hinder or stimulate the development of entrepreneurial skills, reflecting the strategic orientation of the farm
  2. Elaboration of strategies and tools to improve these factors for different farming strategies

These objectives were followed on two levels:

  • On the level of the political, social, economic and cultural framework
  • On the level of personal skills of farmers

To reach these overall objectives, the following aims were fulfilled:

  1. Definition and relevance of the concept of Entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial skills for agriculture reflecting the strategic orientations of farms
  2. Specification of entrepreneurial skills with their social, economic, political and cultural background in selected European countries
  3. Identification and analysis of the economic, social and cultural factors hindering and stimulating the development of entrepreneurial skills
  4. Elaboration of strategies and tools to overcome barriers and to improve stimulating factors for the development of entrepreneurial skills

All info about the project is available at http://www.esofarmers.org/78.html

A literature review of entrepreneurship in agriculture

The present report is the first methodological stage of the project. The aim of this literature review is to consider the models, methodologies, techniques, and data papers published on the subject of farmers’ skills and entrepreneurial capacity.  Together with the empirical research of the project, this leads to a definition of the concept of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial skills in agriculture.  Furtheron, it is examined to which extent policy implications are considered in the entrepreneurship literature and predominant research techniques and methods of data analysis are summarised.
Report (.pdf)

Exploring the significance of entrepereneurial skills in agriculture

The development of entrepreneurial skills in agriculture is viewed by many as an important condition to generate sustainable rural development. However the scholarly and practitioner communities find it difficult to agree on how to define this set of skills. This, in turn, generates a diversity of approaches and methods used to research the topic. As with any scientific endeavour, definitional clarity seems a necessary precondition for progress.

The aim of thus book is to seek some definitional clarity. It does so by collecting the ways in which important members of the socio-technical network use the term entrepreneurial skills. How do farm advisors, scientists, the staff of farm unions and governmental actors conceptualise entrepreneurial skills? What do they see as necessary skills? And what ‘types’ of skills are deemed mandatory?
Report (.pdf)

Understanding entrepreneurial skills in the farm context

In the former stages of the project, entrepreneurial skills have been identified. One of the objectives of the main study is to conceptualise the nature and content of these skills. Furthermore, the concept is applied in qualitative interviews in order to answer the research questions of the project concerning which political, economic, social and cultural factors influence the development of entrepreneurial skills.
Report (.pdf)

The foxy farm entrepreneur - An e-learning tool for entrepreneurial skills in farming

This publication consists of a web-based e-learning tool for farmers, which supports the development of entrepreneurial skills.

The tool has four aims:

  • To provide information about entrepreneurial skills in farming in order to enhance understanding of the matter.
  • To enable farmers to assess their own entrepreneurial skills and compare the results with other European farmers.
  • To support reflection of own strengths and weaknesses in entrepreneurial skills and to train farmers in thinking from entrepreneurial skills’ perspectives.
  • To train advisors and trainers concerning entrepreneurial skills in farming. Because the tool can also be used by teachers and trainers to evaluate and advise farmers how to become more entrepreneurial, the tool functions as a disseminator of knowledge about entrepreneurial skills in farming.

The tool consists of three units: Unit one provides a self-assessment for the farmer and the possibility to compare with the average of 775 other European farmers’ self-assessments. Unit two is a training section, in which farmers can practise the entrepreneurial skill perspective within different farm situations. And Unit three provides a second assessment with the aim of animating farmers to reflect about the training process.

The utilisation of the tool is free for all interested persons.
e-learning tool for entrepreneurial skills in farming The usage of the tool is free of charge, but you have to register first.