Advertisement

To Cultivate or Not to Cultivate? An Exploratory Analysis of What Influences Greek Farmers’ Decisions Towards the Cultivation of Bioenergy Crops

  • Eugenia Petropoulou
  • Vasiliki Petousi
  • Irini Theodorakopoulou
Chapter
Part of the World Sustainability Series book series (WSUSE)

Abstract

Much emphasis is placed by the EU on bioenergy crops as a means of decreasing Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels and environmental sustainability and in turn, promoting potential rural development benefits from biomass production and processing. Various reasons have been identified in the literature as influencing the future of bioenergy in the EU. Critical among them is the farmers’ willingness to engage in bioenergy crops cultivation. While common concerns of farmers at the EU level have been identified in the relevant literature, evidence exists that such concerns differ at country and even local level. In this chapter, through an exploratory approach, we identify parameters which influence Greek farmers’ decisions to engage in the cultivation of bioenergy crops. Thematic analysis was implemented for the exploration of data from a focus group, from central Greece, involving farmers and relevant stakeholders. General themes such as socio-economic, institutional/policy support, environmental and land-use considerations emerged. Numerous sub-thematics involving social and value considerations (e.g. generation gap), issues of social capital such as trust in government institutions and strategic planning complement the general themes.

Keywords

Bio-energy crops Focus group Farmers’ and local stakeholders’ perceptions Trust Greece 

References

  1. Aggelopoulos S, Arabatzis G, Pauloudi A (2009) Agri-environmental policy of EU: the case of organic farming in Greece. Fresenius Environ Bull 18(6):1018–1024Google Scholar
  2. Altman I, Johnson T (2008) The choice of organizational form as a non-technical barrier to agro-bioenergy industry development. Biomass Bioenerg 32:28–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arabatzis G (2008) The individual and social characteristics of poplar investors-cultivators and the factors that affect the size of poplar plantations according to the EU regulation 2080/92. Agricu Econ Rev 9(2):86–95Google Scholar
  4. Arabatzis G, Malesios Ch (2013) Pro-environmental attitudes of users and not users of fuelwood in a rural area of Greece. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 22:621–630CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Arabatzis G, Christopoulou O, Soutsas K (2006) The EEC regulation 2080/92 about forest measures in agriculture: the case of poplar plantations in Greece. Int J Ecodyn 1(3):245–257CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Aylott M, Casella E, Farrall E, Taylor G (2010) Estimating the supply of biomass from short-rotation coppice in England, given social, economic and environmental constraints to land availability. Biofuels 1:719–727CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bika Z (2007) A survey of academic approaches to agrarian transformation in postwar Greece. J Peasant Stud 34:69–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Booth E, Walker R, Bell J, McCracken D, Curry J (2009) An assessment of the potential impact on UK agriculture and the environment of meeting renewable feedstock Demands. Scottish Agricultural College, AberdeenGoogle Scholar
  9. Buchholz T, Rametsteiner E, Volk TA, Luzadis VA (2009) Multi criteria analysis for bioenergy systems assessments. Energy Policy 37:484–495CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chalikias MS (2010) Forest management and rural development in Northern Greece: the case of Pella prefecture. J Food Agric Environ 8(2):940–944Google Scholar
  11. Chalikias MS (2013) Citizens’ views in Southern Greece part I: the forests. J Environ Prot Ecol 14(2):405–413Google Scholar
  12. Chalikias MS, Kolovos KGK (2013) Citizens’ views in Southern Greece part II. Contribution of forests to quality of life. J Environ Prot Ecol 14(2):629–637Google Scholar
  13. Chalikias MS, Kyriakopoulos GL, Goulionis JE, Apostolidis GK (2012) Investigation of the parameters affecting fuelwoods’ consumption in the Southern Greece region. J Food Agric Environ 10(1):885–889 Google Scholar
  14. Charatsari C, Papadaki-Klavdianou A, Michailidis A (2011) Farmers as consumers of agricultural education services: willingness to pay and spend time. J Agric Educ Ext 17(3):253–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Damianakos S (2002) From peasant to farmer: Greek rural society towards globalization. Exantas and EKKE, Athens (in Greek)Google Scholar
  16. Dauvergne P, Neville KJ (2009) The changing North-South and South-South political economy of biofuels. Third World Quart 30(6):1087–1102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dauvergne P, Neville KJ (2010) Forests, food, and fuel in the tropics: the uneven social and ecological consequences of the emerging political economy of biofuels. J Peasant Stud 37(4):631–660CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Domac J, Richards K, Risovic S (2009) Socio-economic drivers in implementing bioenergy projects. Biomass Bioenerg 28(2):97–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. European Commission (2011) The future of rural development policy. In Agricultural policy perspectives briefs. Brief no. 4. Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/policy-perspectives/policy-briefs/04en.pdf
  20. European Commission (2012) Common agricultural policy: a business relationship between Europe and farmers. EU Publishing Agency, LuxembourgGoogle Scholar
  21. Falconer K (2000) Farm-level constraints on agri-environmental scheme participation: a transactional perspective. J Rural Stud 16:379–394CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Field J (2003) Social capital. Routledge, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  23. Flach B, Bendz K, Krautgartner R, Lieberz S (2013) EU-27 biofuels annual report. Report no: NL3034. USDA Foreign Agricultural Service GAINGoogle Scholar
  24. Foxon TJ, Gross R, Chase A, Howes J, Arnall A, Anderson D (2005) UK innovation systems for new and renewable energy technologies: drivers, barriers and systems failures. Energy Policy 33:2123–2137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gkartzios M (2013) ‘Leaving Athens’: narratives of counterurbanisation in times of crisis. J Rural Stud 32:158–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hipple PC, Duffy MD (2002) Farmer motivations for adoption of switchgrass. In: Janich J, Whipkey A (eds) Trends in new crops and new uses. ASHA Press, Alexandria, VA, pp 252–266Google Scholar
  27. Iliopoulos C, Valentinov V (2012) Opportunism in agricultural cooperatives in Greece. Outlook Agric 41(1):15–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Jensen K, Clark CD, Ellis P, English B, Menard J, Walsh M (2007) Farmer willingness to grow switchgrass for energy production. Biomass Bioenerg 31:773–781CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Jones N (2010) Investigating the influence of social costs and benefits of environmental policies through social capital theory. Policy Sci 43(3):229–244.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11077-009-9107-1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kolovos K, Kyriakopoulos G, Chalikias MS (2011) Coevaluation of basic woodfuel types used as alternative heating sources to existing energy network. J Environ Prot Ecol 12(2):733–742Google Scholar
  31. Koutsou S, Partalidou M (2012) Pursuing knowledge and innovation through collective actions: the case of young farmers in Greece. J Agric Educ Ext 18(5):445–460CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Levi M, Cook K, Hardi R (2005) Co-operation without trust, Russel Sage Foundation, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  33. Manolas N (2007) The energy sector in Greece: trends and perspectives. CPER, Athens (in Greek)Google Scholar
  34. Mantziaris S, Iliopoulos C, Theodorakopoulou I, Petropoulou E (2017) Perennial energy crops vs. durum wheat in low input lands: economic analysis of a Greek case study. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 80:789–800CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Mattas K, Tsakiridou E, Michailidis A, Karelakis C (2015) Sunflower: a very high value crop? Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, School of Agriculture, Forestry and Environmental Sciences, Department of Agricultural Economics, ThessalonikiGoogle Scholar
  36. Mattison EHA, Norris K (2007) Intentions of UK farmers toward biofuel crop production: implications for policy targets and land use change. Environ Sci Technol 41:5589–5594CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. McCormick K, Kåberger T (2007) Key barriers for bioenergy in Europe: economic conditions, know-how and institutional capacity, and supply chain co-ordination. Biomass Bioenerg 31:443–452CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. McMichael P (2009) A food regime genealogy. J Peasant Stud 36(1):139–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Morris C, Potter C (1995) Recruiting the new conservationists: farmers’ adoption of agri-environmental schemes in the UK. J Rural Stud 11:51–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. National Bank of Greece (2014) Land: an asset with great potential for Greece but with significant development challenges. Sectoral report. Available at: https://www.nbg.gr/greek/the-group/press-office/e-spot/reports/Documents/Land_and_Tourism.pdf
  41. Negro SO, Hekkert MP, Smits RE (2007) Explaining the failure of the Dutch innovation system for biomass digestion—a functional analysis. Energy Policy 35:925–938CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Ostwald M, Jonsson A, Wibeck V, Asplund T (2013) Mapping energy crop cultivation and identifying motivational factors among Swedish farmers’. Biomass Bioenerg 50:25–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Palmieri N, Bonaventura-Forleo M, Suardi A, Coaloa D, Pari L (2014) Rapeseed for energy production: environmental impacts and cultivation methods. Biomass Bioenerg 69:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Panoutsou K (2008) Bioenergy in Greece: policies, diffusion framework and stakeholder interactions. Energy Policy 36:3674–3685CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Papadopoulos AG (2008) Aspects of social differentiation in the Greek countryside. Family farming, strategies, immigrants and flexibility. In Zakopoulou E, Kasimis C, Louloudis L (eds), Agriculturalism, society and space. Athens: Plethron (in Greek)Google Scholar
  46. Paulrud S, Laitila T (2010) Farmers’ attitudes about growing energy crops: a choice experiment approach. Biomass Bioenerg 34:1770–1779CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Ragin CC (1994) Constructing social research. Pine Forge, Thousand Oaks, CAGoogle Scholar
  48. Rossi M, Hinrichs C (2011) Hope and scepticism: farmer and local community views on socio-economic benefits of agricultural bioenergy. Biomass Bioenerg 35:1418–1428CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sherrington C, Bartley J, Moran D (2008) Farm-level constraints on the domestic supply of perennial energy crops in the UK. Energy Policy 36:2504–2512CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Soldatos P, Lychnaras V, Panoutsou C, Cosentino SL (2010) Economic viability of energy crops in the EU: the farmer’s point of view. Biofuels Bioprod Bioref 4:637–657. View online at Wiley Online Library wileyonlinelibrary.com.  https://doi.org/10.1002/bbb.257
  51. Wahlund B, Yan J, Westermark M (2002) A total energy system of fuel upgrading by drying biomass feedstock for cogeneration: a case study of Skellefteå bioenergy combine. Biomass Bioenerg 23:271–281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wiesenthal T, Leduc G, Christidis P, Schade B, Pelkmans L, Govaerts L, Georgopoulos P (2009) Biofuel support policies in Europe: lessons learnt for the long way ahead. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 13:789–800CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Wilson GA (1996) Farmer environmental attitudes and ESA participation. Geoforum 27:115–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Wilson GA, Hart K (2001) Farmer participation in agri-environmental schemes: towards conservation-oriented thinking? Sociol Rural 41:254–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Wustenhagen R, Wolsink M, Burer MJ (2007) Social acceptance of renewable energy innovation: an introduction to the concept. Energy Policy 35(5):2683–2691CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Wynn G, Crabtree B, Potts J (2001) Modeling farmer entry into the environmentally sensitive area schemes in Scotland’. J Agric Econ 52:65–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eugenia Petropoulou
    • 1
  • Vasiliki Petousi
    • 1
  • Irini Theodorakopoulou
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of CreteCreteGreece
  2. 2.Agricultural Economics Research Institute, Hellenic Agricultural Organisation—DEMETERAthensGreece

Personalised recommendations