Filippo F. Fagioli, Lucia Rocchi, Luisa Paolotti, Roman Słowiński, Antonio Boggia


Multi-functionality of agriculture and rural areas has an impact on the economy, the environment, nature and
also on societal and cultural development. The dimensions of multi-functionality are interpreted in literature in
many different ways, but they always deal with environmental, social and economic aspects. The measurement
of the multi-functionality of the agri-food system is an important issue, as it allows the value chain to be
interpreted under the lens of sustainable development pillars. In this paper, we argue that multi-functionality is a
value, which extends its benefits along the entire agri-food chain. We present a methodology to aggregate
indicators into an evaluation framework, in order to assess the level of multi-functionality along the entire food
value chain. We have called this the “extended value” of multi-functionality, since our approach is able to
consider not only the farm level, but also extends to the entire food chain. To analyse multi-functionality, it was
necessary to build Non-Commodity Categories (NCC) based on Non-Commodity Output (NCO), which
characterised the value added function along the agri-food value chain. A set of indicators was developed to
measure the level of multi-functionality in each NCC. The Multiple Criteria Decision Aiding (MCDA)
methodology ELECTRE III was used to implement an evaluation process by assigning specific importance to
each indicator. This process aggregated the evaluations of multiple indicators into an integrated interpretation,
and aimed to support policy makers by providing a ranking of alternative ruling policies for the agri-food value
chain. We finally tested our methodological approach on the value chain for the olive oil of five European
countries, to analyse which value chain was able to generate more beneficial functions above and beyond the
product itself.


Avaialble on: