Published June 18, 2021 | Version v1
Project deliverable Open

Report on Key Barriers of Agro-ecological Farming Systems in Europe and Co-constructed Strategies

  • 1. Thuenen Institute of Farm Economics
  • 2. Institute of Agricultural Economics and Information
  • 3. Research Institute of Organic Agriculture
  • 4. The James Hutton Institute
  • 5. CREA – Research Centre for Agricultural Policies and Bioeconomy
  • 6. University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU)
  • 7. Bioinstitut
  • 8. Gestión Ambiental de Navarra
  • 9. Natural Resources Institute Finland
  • 10. ISARA
  • 11. Agricultural University Athens
  • 12. Geonardo
  • 13. Baltic Environmental Forum Latvia
  • 14. Baltic Environmental Forum Lithuania
  • 15. WWF Programul Dunare Carpati Romania
  • 16. The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • 17. University of Aberdeen


The overall objective of this report is to summarise the analysis of barriers and drivers hindering or facilitating the implementation of agro-ecological practices, and the strategies identified that address the barriers and drivers of agro-ecological transitions in the context of the 15 UNISECO case studies. The co-construction of the transition strategies with the local actors aims to propose changes in the governance of the farming system to address the key barriers and drivers of implementing the practices, and to identify market and policy incentives that are expected to support an agro-ecological transition. Particular attention is paid on how cooperation between actors can help to address the key drivers and barriers.

Key aspects for successful agro-ecological transitions are improved knowledge on the benefits of agro-ecological practices and economic opportunities, the importance of education, training and life-long learning, and mature social capital and strengthened collaborative action and collective institutions in agro-ecological value chains. This would enable higher prices to be charged for agro-ecological products and utilise the potential of agro-ecological farming to be economically viable. Such processes need to be supported by policy and the public sector, to address issues of economic exploitation and power relations as well as problems of over-consumption and food waste in food chains, with implications for public health, social justice and food security.

The outcome of the co-construction of the strategies has informed: i) the assessment of trade-offs at farm level (Albanito et al., 2021, Deliverable D3.5) by providing information on the farm management changes and agro-ecological practices that are seen as effective and acceptable; ii) the multi-criteria assessment of policy instruments and incentives (Galioto et al., 2021, Deliverable D5.4) by identifying innovative market and policy incentives that are suitable to promote agro-ecological transition; and iii) the lessons learnt for agro-ecological transitions reflecting the different local and place-based context of the story maps from each case study (Landert et al., 2021, Deliverable D3.6).

This document is Deliverable D3.4 in Work package “Assessment at farm level” of the EU Horizon 2020 project UNISECO. UNISECO is a European research project aiming to develop innovative approaches to enhance the understanding of socio-economic and policy drivers and barriers for further development and implementation of agro-ecological practices in EU farming systems. Learn more about the project on:

This project has received funding from the European Union's H2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 773901.

This publication reflects only the authors' view and the European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.


UNISECO D3.4 Report on key barriers of AEFS in Europe and co-constructed strategies.pdf

Additional details


UNISECO – Understanding and improving the sustainability of agro-ecological farming systems in the EU 773901
European Commission