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The Integration of Local Actors in Policy Implementation: The Case of Organic Farming in Costa Rica

Mirjam Gruber
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Mirjam Gruber: Center for Advanced Studies, Eurac Research, 39100 Bolzano-Bozen, Italy

Sustainability, 2022, vol. 14, issue 12, 1-23

Abstract: Like other countries of the world, Costa Rica faced the challenge of dealing with a variety of trade-offs when implementing sustainability goals in agriculture. Very often, economic promotion is in conflict with goals regarding human and environmental health protection. Organic farming practices could provide strategies to overcome some of these trade-offs. However, in Costa Rica, the majority of farmers still relies on conventional farm practices. In this paper, I investigate the potential for a sustainable transformation in Costa Rica’s agriculture by focusing on organic farming policies. I shed light on the role local actors and organizations play in this process compared to other actor types. I argue that local actors are “the agents of change” in these processes, as these are the target groups of organic farming policies and are the ones who are asked to change their farm practices. Based on survey data and network analysis, I was able to illustrate how differently integrated local actors are compared to other actor types in Costa Rica’s implementation of organic farming policies. Local actors show interest and willingness to further participate in land-use implementation processes when institutional barriers are alleviated, and further promotion instruments are available.

Keywords: organic farming; land use policy; sustainable development; local actors; Costa Rica; policy implementation; social network analysis; collaboration network (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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