Agricultural policies and support

Multifunctionality: The Policy Implications


                    Building on the path-breaking work Multifunctionality: Towards an Analytical Framework, this report takes the subject a step further. It attempts to guide policy-makers to the best possible decisions taking account of the multifunctional character of agriculture. The guiding principle, as in the earlier work, is that considerable rigour is required if optimal solutions are to be identified. Careful definition, quantification and monitoring are required at all stages in the process of analysing and implementing effective policies


Policy-makers and analysts are supplied with a series of detailed questions which will help determine whether government intervention is required and, if so, what the nature of that intervention should be. Recognising that the information needs can be considerable, the report suggests procedures to be adopted when the data are unavailable or unreliable. Equity and stability aspects of the proposed solutions are also explored. It is emphasised that the international consequences of domestic policy choices should also be included in the overall reckoning of costs and benefits of specific actions.

Finally, decision makers are encouraged to apply the suggested procedures at the appropriate national, regional or local level. Only then will it be possible to move beyond arguments that support long-established positions towards policy actions that are optimal in terms of the supply of both commodity and non-commodity outputs, and that minimise both negative domestic effects and distortions of global markets.