Results of the Project The Impact of the Socio-Economic Structure of Rural Population on the Success of Rural Development Policy”
The overall goal of the project is to support socio-economic development in rural areas by increasing the absorption of rural development (RD) funds and increasing the economic networking of farmers. In order to achieve this goal, the project set two objectives:
(1) understand personal motivational factors and barriers of the rural population to apply for RD support; and
(2) understand the organisation and structure ofinformal networks.
In order to meet the complex objectives a dual approach was needed: the theory of planned behaviour (TBP) approach was used as a conceptual framework for understanding the farmers’ intentions to apply for RD measures, whereas social network analysis (SNA) was used to map the farmers’ relations in terms of sharing information regarding the RD measures. Therefore, the data collection was performed with a specifically designed questionnaire to meet the requirements of both approaches.
The survey took place in November-December 2014 in Macedonia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and it included around 300 farm households per country in two different sub-regions in each country, 895 in total. Data were analysed using multiple data analysis techniques: simple descriptive and correlation statistics, non-parametric tests, factor analysis, structural equation modelling and social network analysis.
This project helps address the dearth of research on the factors that facilitate or hinder the farmers’ behaviour in Macedonia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, in terms of applying for RD measures, or formal networking as a way to keep informed and distribute resources.
The project provided evidence-based understanding of the farmers’ behaviour and their interpersonal relations with other farmers. It confirmed the general attitudes of farmers regarding the RD measures as neutral to positive, which opened up space for action to intensify these measures further. The project identified a lack of skills and knowledge that needs to be addressed by training and a lessons learned campaign. In addition, it revealed certain external obstacles which need to be mitigated by governmental action, and thus encourage farmers to engage in desired behaviour.
The structure of informal social networks was analysed to reveal insufficient and underdeveloped social capital that limits the functionality of information systems and the access to RD related information. In order to foster progress and development of rural areas, it is necessary to develop a model that will facilitate co-operation among farmers, and to identify important individuals or actors which hold key positions in the networks in order to engage them as information brokers.
Project results have been presented in a monograph, and a number of policy briefs and papers presented at conferences and published in journals. The project has been implemented by the Association of the Agricultural Economists of the Republic of Macedonia (AAEM, Macedonia) and the Public Policy Research Centre (CENTAR, Serbia). Further details can be found on the AAEM website (www.zaem.mk).
Project Outputs and Results
Kotevska, A., Martinovska Stojcheska, A. (eds.) (2015): The impact of socio-economic structure of rural population on success of rural development policy: Macedonia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Skopje: Association of Agricultural Economists of the Republic of Macedonia, pg 171 (ISBN 978-9989-2356-6-63)
Kotevska A., et al. (2015): Recommendations for enhancing the rural development policy in Republic of Macedonia. Policy brief. Skopje: Association of Agricultural Economists of the Republic of Macedonia
More research results can be accessed here.