Inderscience Publishers

Innovative farm policies and their impact in a French frontier zone: reviving old conflicts in Guadeloupe (FWI)?

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Society now expects agriculture to fulfil new functions to improve quality of life. This requirement has been reinforced by recent crises. The 1999 French Agricultural Framework Law (LOA) formalised agricultural multifunctionality and included payments to farmers for new practices, which satisfy both social and environmental functions, in addition to economic ones. A voluntary territorial farm contract (CTE) sets out the respective commitments made by farmers and government services. In Guadeloupe (French West Indies, FWI), the recognition of agricultural multifunctionality challenges the export– and production–oriented agricultural models. Our research on the innovations that resulted from the CTEs has shown that the LOA was applied to these models in order to improve existing situations, contrary to the changes that were recommended. Paradoxically, however, the tensions between the requirements set out by the LOA and the actual achievements have helped improve the rural stakeholders' representation. Such tensions should help to reconcile development with agriculture's multifunctional nature, as well as satisfy society's expectations for sustainable rural development.

Keywords: agricultural multifunctionality, farm contracts, French West Indies, FWI, governance, innovation, learning process, policy monitoring, reactivity, organisation, representations, territorial contract, France, farm policies, Guadeloupe, farmers, government services, agriculture, sustainable development, rural development, sustainability

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