Many agricultural practices are negatively impacting the environment and threatening the ecological foundations of the global food system. Therefore, agroecological practices are being proposed as viable and desirable alternatives. Biophysical, economic, social, and political factors, matched with farmers’ psychological attributes, may all be governing the choice of agricultural practices. Public policies can play a significant role as they can stimulate the adoption of innovative farming practices. The main objective of this research was the evaluation of farmers’ motivations for the adoption of agroecological practices in the viticulture sector in the province of Trento, Italy. A specific focus was laid on the influences from the European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) measures. For the evaluation of farmers’ perceptions of their systems of practices, the Cognitive Mapping Approach for Analysing Actors’ Systems Of Practices (CMASOP) was applied. Based on information collected during in-depth interviews, Individual and Social Cognitive Maps were generated, representing the most frequently adopted agroecological practices and the major drivers of adoption of such practices, as mentioned by farmers. Drivers of adoption were categorized according to the self-determination theory of human motivations. Farmers reported that adoption of agroecological practices was mainly driven by existence of site-specific pedoclimatic conditions, followed with decreasing importance by requirements from wineries, availability of material, appreciation for aesthetics, health concerns, influence from irrigation consortia, and legal requirements, among which a local legislation for integrated pest management based on a CAP measure. Overall, results show that farmers reported to adopt agroecological practices mainly because of autonomous choices rather than coercion. Therefore, wineries and local policy-makers might incentivize the adoption of agroecological practices by promoting autonomy-supportive policies that foster farmers’ identified and intrinsic motivations.
- Adoption of farming practices
- Cognitive mapping
- Common Agricultural Policy
- Self-determination theory
- Viticulture practices