The relationship between banking system and agricultural sector is marked by several difficulties related to firm size, variability in agricultural incomes, technical risks and strict evaluation rules for creditworthiness. On the other hand, a progressive moving away of production from consumers is observed within the main production chains, with weakening of product identity and of production with respect to other actors in the chain. Rediscovering in the Nineties of integration among operators has brought in the spotlight the concepts of traceability and sustainability of productions and the “principle of proximity”, for which one of the main consumer’s objectives is purchasing directly by the producer. A widespread awareness has contributed to an increase in local production and consumption circuits and has determined the awakening of interest in some banks, which have identified social banking instruments for economic activities presenting difficulties in accessing ordinary bank loans. The analysis refers to Toscana, a regional context in which short chain examples coexist with a particular microcredit system. In particular, the aim is evaluating approaches to social banking adopted by short chains and identifying the main entrepreneurial advantages and socio-economic results. The methodology, therefore, took as a reference the entrepreneurial forms of short chain in Tuscany and has done focused interviews to Banca Etica and to Consorzio Fidi Toscana in order to capture their vision of the widespread business model, though not strictly agricultural, and their 'identification of special needs and expectations expressed by the short chain segment as well as their motivation to move the boundaries of services. The final perspective was to understand what banking services and how they can increase the distribution of short chain and their permanence in the territory. The starting point was the identification of the main manifestations of existing short chain (direct sales to consumers, producers andmarkets solidarity purchase groups) and on the basis of their characteristics, the main banking services practiced to the subjects before mentioned have been investigated, trying to take the attitude of respondents towards the hypothesis of social banking for food processing, not meant as an offer of banking services for marginal subjects, but as a targeted approach for the short chain segment characterized by low levels of income and by financial innovative needs which are accessible and inexpensive, at the same time. Results allow to highlight the key role of social banking in local production and consumption circuits in terms of both activities start-up and delivery of technical assistance and training services. Moreover, short chain is not only associated to shorter distances, but also to higher transparency and responsibility in production-consumption relationships.


Downloads Statistics

Download Full History