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[ Index ]
|Summary of rural development scenarios|
|Type of scenario||Type of policy||Anticipated effects||Time span|
|Agricultural intensification||Aid for agricultural intensification, decided at central level||Sector-based agricultural competitiveness, rural depopulation||Medium-term effects|
|Aid||Subsidies for farmers and other groups||Maintaining activities and communities instead of competitiveness; dependence on public funding||Immediate effects|
|Bid for territorial competitiveness||Territorial approach, integrating the area, the players involved, markets and public aid policies||Gradual revitalisation/ restructuring of rural areas; adaptation to new functions and requirements||Long-term effects|
In most LEADER areas, all three scenarios exist side by side, with the specific weight of the first two scenarios determining how much room for manoeuvre there is for the third scenario.
However, the territorial competitiveness scenario is the only one that is able to ensure the long-term viability of a rural area. Furthermore, it makes the other two more relevant because:
Meath, in Ireland, is a county with a strong agricultural tradition. Its dependence on agriculture has made it vulnerable to the changes that have occurred in agricultural models and techniques. The proximity of Dublin and the proliferating number of dormitory towns around the Irish capital have had repercussions on the region’s social fabric, leading to poor development of the county’s non- agricultural activities. Aware of this situation, the priorities of the Meath LEADER group included developing the evocatively titled pilot project “Kick Start”. This brought in key players and enabled valuable data about the area to be collected, as well as action plans to be developed. As a result, ten villages presented quality development projects (involving around 120 people per village), which were then publicised (two-day municipal poster campaign). This enabled the players and institutions involved to make comments and even suggestions for improving the original proposal. The LEADER group allocated part of its budget to projects developed as part of the “Kick Start” programme, with others being financed by other development organisations in the North Meath area. Skills audits of the participating local players were also carried out in order to evaluate the potential for creating new jobs and businesses.