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Article

Farmers’ Participation in Operational Groups to Foster Innovation in the Agricultural Sector: An Italian Case Study

1
Department of Agricultural, Food and Agri-Environmental Sciences (DISAA), Pisa University, 56125 Pisa, Italy
2
Council for Agricultural Research and Economy (CREA), Policy and Bioeconomy Centre, Via Ruggero Bardazzi 19/21, 50127 Florence, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Dario Siggia and Ashutosh Kolte
Sustainability 2021, 13(10), 5605; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13105605
Received: 12 April 2021 / Revised: 11 May 2021 / Accepted: 11 May 2021 / Published: 17 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agricultural Economics and Policy)
Recently, the interpretation of the innovation process has changed significantly. Its linear model has evolved to a dynamic and ongoing participatory approach where cooperation, oriented to generate co-ownership, is the essence to co-produce knowledge among multiple actors. Farmers’ direct participation in the process is widely accepted since they contribute with first-hand information, perceptions, field experiences, and feedback that are essential for the design and implementation of a project. The European Union encourages their participation through the European Rural Development Policy that promotes competitiveness and sustainability in the agriculture and forestry sectors, building bridges among heterogeneous stakeholders that complement each other to find an innovative solution to a given problem. Thus far, despite participation importance, few details have been provided about producer’s contributions within the process. Consequently, this paper attempts to explore the modus operandi of an Italian Operational Group to get insights about the farmers’ participation and identify the factors that could influence and foster the interactive innovation process. The results, based on a participatory observation, key informants’ interviews, and theory reflection, revealed that farmers are active players in the design and implementation phases. Yet, their participation is not constant throughout the entire process. Empower them to find solutions with different players is a complex challenge as it requires motivation, commitment, trust, and an open communication among different actors. View Full-Text
Keywords: farmers’ participation; interaction; innovation; co-creation; operational group; Italy farmers’ participation; interaction; innovation; co-creation; operational group; Italy
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MDPI and ACS Style

Molina, N.; Brunori, G.; Favilli, E.; Grando, S.; Proietti, P. Farmers’ Participation in Operational Groups to Foster Innovation in the Agricultural Sector: An Italian Case Study. Sustainability 2021, 13, 5605. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13105605

AMA Style

Molina N, Brunori G, Favilli E, Grando S, Proietti P. Farmers’ Participation in Operational Groups to Foster Innovation in the Agricultural Sector: An Italian Case Study. Sustainability. 2021; 13(10):5605. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13105605

Chicago/Turabian Style

Molina, Natalia, Gianluca Brunori, Elena Favilli, Stefano Grando, and Patrizia Proietti. 2021. "Farmers’ Participation in Operational Groups to Foster Innovation in the Agricultural Sector: An Italian Case Study" Sustainability 13, no. 10: 5605. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13105605

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