Table of Contents

Handbook on the Globalisation of Agriculture

Handbook on the Globalisation of Agriculture

Handbooks on Globalisation series

Edited by Guy M. Robinson and Doris A. Carson

This Handbook provides insights to the ways in which globalisation is affecting the whole agri-food system from farms to the consumer. It covers themes including the physical basis of agriculture, the influence of trade policies, the nature of globalised agriculture, and resistance to globalisation in the form of attempts to foster greater sustainability and multifunctional agricultural systems. Drawing upon studies from around the world, the Handbook will appeal to a broad and varied readership, across academics, students, and policy-makers interested in economics, trade, geography, sociology and political science.

Chapter 19: Multifunctional agricultural transition: essential for local diversity in a globalised world

Simon J. Fielke

Subjects: business and management, management and sustainability, development studies, agricultural economics, economics and finance, agricultural economics, environment, agricultural economics, environmental governance and regulation, environmental management


The concept of multifunctional agriculture has been theoretically influential as the consequences of historically productivist agri-food systems continue to be felt. In this chapter two examples of multifunctionality, policy driven and bottom-up, are used to explain that the term can be conceptualised in different ways. Policy mechanisms to increase the multifunctionality of European agricultural practice are highlighted as having benefits in terms of affecting landholder decision-making. Alternative food networks in Australia, farmers’ markets in particular, are used as an example of producers themselves initiating futures that incorporate multifunctional ideals and using these principles to market their produce in innovative ways. While both forms of multifunctionality face challenges, the concept of multifunctional agricultural practice will continue to impact land management decisions and has significant potential to be used as a means to add value to traditional food and fibre production.

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