Curry N.,Universities of the West of England and Gloucestershire |
Ingram J.,Universities of the West of England and Gloucestershire |
Kirwan J.,Universities of the West of England and Gloucestershire |
Maye D.,Universities of the West of England and Gloucestershire
Outlook on Agriculture | Year: 2012
The agricultural knowledge and information system (AKIS) in England has become more fragmented since the late 1980s. Its market orientation came just at the time of an increased need for non-market advice, particularly on the environment. Results from 11 face-to-face interviews and a workshop with a range of industry representatives suggest that this disjuncture and the unregulated nature of the AKIS have been frustrating for many in the agricultural community. These results support the literature in suggesting that sustainable agriculture (SA) has no consensual definition, but there is agreement that it requires a blend of market and non-market actions. Knowledge on SA is developing via retailers and consumers as well as farmers themselves, often through networks and co-learning, stimulated by regulatory requirements and grant information as well as profitability. There is much innovation in learning about SA within the AKIS, but its uptake is likely to be most strongly influenced by policy signals that provide incentives to farmers to farm more sustainably - for example, through the axes of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) and a clearer justification as to why sustainable principles in agriculture make sound business sense for farmers.