Old Institutions, New Challenges – Agricultural Knowledge System (AKS) in Hungary

Nemes, Gusztáv – Varga, Ágnes

Keywords: sustainable agriculture, LINSA, disfunction, rural development, social learning, social innovation, Q19

This paper explores and analyses the Hungarian institutional system for the creation and the transfer of knowledge in the field of agriculture and rural development. We consider the constitution and operation of the Agricultural Knowledge System (AKS) in Hungary, focusing on formal institutions, and suggest that both the structure and content of the knowledge needed in the sector have significantly changed in recent decades. These changes, especially in relation to the sustainability of agriculture, pose significant challenges to traditional AKS institutions, which often have failed to change in line with the new requirements. We offer an analysis of Hungarian AKS institutions, their co-ordination, co-operation and communication with each other and with Hungarian rurality, and of the emerging issues and problems concerning the creation and the flow of knowledge needed for sustainable agriculture. We also briefly explore some characteristics of newly-emerging bottom-up structures, called LINSAS (learning and innovation networks for sustainable agriculture), that, if properly considered and supported, could bring significant improvement for Hungarian rural development.