The Changing Public Role in Services to Agriculture: The Case of Information

The paper analyzes the changes that have taken place in the nature of agriculture information and their consequences on the public role of related public services with specific regard to process undergoing in the European Union. Increased interest in food quality and food safety issues in a global consumer driven society, together with major attention to environmental and ethical issues related to food production, enlarge both the object of agricultural information and the audience of stakeholders in the food chain and in the general public. Information policy with regard to a multifunctional approach to agriculture, can be finalized to correct three main sources of market failures as access to information, quality and adverse selection and externalities and provision of public goods. The privatization of agricultural research and extension, although useful from the point of view of economic efficiency, poses a number of threats to the development of knowledge for sustainable agriculture. If the public sector decides to move away from the delivering of services, public action can still be relevant in orienting, targeting, regulating and funding in win-win solutions where the advantages of public extension, as open access and evaluation of social priorities, join efficiency and market orientation of the private sector.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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