Project details

Study: ‘Agricultural and rural transformation in Europe’

Agricultural and rural structural change indicates a long-term process of transformation regarding social and economic aspects, in which the primary sector becomes less significant compared to the secondary and third sector. Causes underlying are of economic, ecological, social and political nature. Mostly structural change processes are caused through an interrelation of factors influencing each other.

In many developing and emerging countries structural change in rural regions is already a reality. On the one hand, this may entail a variety of opportunities (e.g. relating to economic development, poverty reduction and modernisation); on the other hand, a structural change process being out of control and progressing too fast might impair existing distribution conflicts, e.g. in relation to jobs, housing or social and economic infrastructure. The policy level is thus confronted with mediating and accompanying the process. It is of great importance to tap the full potentials and to prevent the decline of structurally weak regions.

The aim of the study is to illuminate agricultural and rural structural change, identifying selected approaches and concepts. Drivers, effects and policy responses will be exemplified on the basis of three sample regions in Europe. Finally, the European policy framework and corresponding instruments accompanying structural change will be illustrated and evaluated.

The sectoral project ‘Rural Development’ which this study is part of aims at ameliorating concepts and instruments of the German development cooperation regarding poverty reduction, promotion of sustainable development in rural areas regarding framework conditions, as well as setting objectives and allowing for partner countries’ demand for support. In this context, structural change and its effects on rural areas become more and more important.


Project no.: 



Research | International cooperation |


Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ)

Executing Organization: 

Institut für Ländliche Strukturforschung e.V.



Contact person/s at IfLS: 

Simone Sterly, Sarah Peter