Critical success factors for governing farmer-managed public goods in rural areas in the Netherlands

Greet Blom-Zandstra*, Hein Korevaar, Marian Stuiver, Annemarie Groot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Multifunctional land use has become a widely supported pathway for Europe's countryside. Brussels and the national governments stimulate farmers to integrate primary production with non-agricultural practices from which they can also benefit. In favour of this development different stakeholders are encouraged to collaborate to produce the so-called farmer-managed public goods. This paper explores critical success factors for the production and maintenance of these public goods. In two Dutch case study regions we show a chronology of major events from 1975 leading to a shift from primary agricultural production towards a successful multifunctional land use. We evaluated which critical success factors crucial for managing public goods manifest themselves in our case study regions. Besides six critical success factors described in literature (Property rights, Asymmetric information, Administrative complexity, Governance, Time lags and Market structure) four other factors appear to be crucial in governing farmer-managed public goods: (1) establishing a system of rewards; (2) a mix of governance forms; (3) visionary leadership with networks in both the public and the private sectors and (4) time for new ideas to mature and to build commitment among the actors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-64
JournalInternational Journal of Agricultural Sustainability
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • critical success factors
  • developing rural areas
  • farmer-managed public goods
  • governance
  • multifunctional land use


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