Sustainable and Smart Agriculture and Rural Areas: Economic, Environmental and Technological Aspects

A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472). This special issue belongs to the section "Agricultural Economics, Policies and Rural Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 26 August 2024 | Viewed by 5299

Special Issue Editors

Department of Agronomy, Faculty of Agriculture and Biotechnology, Bydgoszcz University of Science and Technology, Al. Prof. S. Kaliskiego 7, 85-796 Bydgoszcz, Poland
Interests: sustainable development; sustainable development of rural areas and agriculture; education for sustainable development; rural advisory services; agricultural knowledge and innovation systems (AKIS); diffusion and adoption of innovations in rural areas; multifunctional development of rural areas; entrepreneurship; non-agricultural entrepreneurship in rural areas; horizontal and vertical integration in the food sector and agriculture; formation and operation of agricultural producer groups
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Guest Editor
Department of Agronomy, Faculty of Agriculture and Biotechnology, Bydgoszcz University of Science and Technology, Al. Prof. S. Kaliskiego 7, 85-796 Bydgoszcz, Poland
Interests: sustainable development; precision agriculture; smart village; bioeconomy; disruptive technologies; smart city; smart energy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Natural resources’ scarcity, an exponentially growing global population, food security and food supply chain disruptions, declining biodiversity, and the adverse effects of agricultural production on the environment are just a small fraction of the mounting challenges and crises contemporary agriculture is exposed to.

Sustainable and smart agricultural practices are regarded as potential solutions for these pressuring challenges and represent a gateway for the prospective future developments of the agricultural industry, science and policies. The definitions of sustainable agriculture and smart agriculture incorporate numerous varieties of economic, environmental and technological aspects and impacts affecting the successful implementation of these theoretical conceptions into real-world agricultural solutions.

All these aspects are reflected to a different extent in the various agricultural policies, practices and research developments, where they are perceived as separate concepts as well as interconnected conceptions with potential linkages, synergies, contradictions, discrepancies, and final trade-offs mitigating the divergences between them. Their impacts on the future agricultural developments could be beneficial or harmful, depending on the contexts, geographies and developmental stages they are implemented in.

Considering the diverse nature of sustainable agriculture and smart agriculture theoretical conceptions and real-world applications, this Special Issue welcomes the submission of original research, reviews, and perspective papers focused on the sustainable and smart development of agriculture and rural areas through the prism of economic, environmental, and technological challenges, implications and solutions.

Dr. Piotr Prus
Dr. Aksana Yarashynskaya
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agriculture is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • sustainability
  • agriculture and rural areas
  • socio-economic problems of agriculture and rural areas
  • environmental policy and impact
  • sustainable and smart technologies
  • precision agriculture
  • agricultural production
  • crop production
  • livestock production
  • food production and food security

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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24 pages, 1678 KiB  
Article
A Cross-Sectional Analysis of the Relationship between Digital Technology Use and Agricultural Productivity in EU Countries
by Claudiu George Bocean
Agriculture 2024, 14(4), 519; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14040519 - 25 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1108
Abstract
Amidst the rapid evolution of digital technologies and their prospective implications for agricultural productivity, farmers are increasingly turning to Agriculture 4.0. As digitization permeates every facet of agriculture, the potential for boosting productivity while ensuring sustainability and resilience becomes increasingly tangible. The objective [...] Read more.
Amidst the rapid evolution of digital technologies and their prospective implications for agricultural productivity, farmers are increasingly turning to Agriculture 4.0. As digitization permeates every facet of agriculture, the potential for boosting productivity while ensuring sustainability and resilience becomes increasingly tangible. The objective of this study is to understand how the adoption of digital technologies influences agricultural productivity within the diverse socioeconomic and agricultural landscapes of EU nations. The research of this study aims to address questions concerning the impact of digital technology use on agricultural productivity across EU countries. This study employs a robust analytical framework combining equation modeling (SEM), artificial neural networks, and cluster analysis. SEM analysis reveals significant associations and influences between digital technology use and productivity related to the total labor force across EU countries. Moreover, cluster analysis outlines distinct clusters of EU member states distinguished by varying degrees of digital technology incorporation and corresponding agricultural productivity, emphasizing the diverse socioeconomic contexts that influence these associations. These findings underscore the significance of embracing digital technology as a catalyst for enhancing agricultural productivity across EU nations. Future research could focus on devising strategies to promote the widespread adoption of digital technologies in agriculture across EU member states, and longitudinal analyses could offer insights into the dynamic relationship between digital technology use and agricultural output, informing policy interventions. Full article
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28 pages, 354 KiB  
Article
Exploring Cooperative Mechanisms in the Chinese Agricultural Value Chain: A Game Model Analysis Based on Leading Enterprises and Small Farmers
by Qiang Jin, Hui Dang, Heng Wang and Zhenghe Zhang
Agriculture 2024, 14(3), 437; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14030437 - 7 Mar 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1013
Abstract
In the context of agricultural modernization in China, this paper examines the micro-level perspective of agricultural value chains. Drawing from three primary models of agricultural value chain cooperation—namely, “leading enterprises + small farmers”, “leading enterprises + cooperatives + small farmers”, and “corporate integration”—it [...] Read more.
In the context of agricultural modernization in China, this paper examines the micro-level perspective of agricultural value chains. Drawing from three primary models of agricultural value chain cooperation—namely, “leading enterprises + small farmers”, “leading enterprises + cooperatives + small farmers”, and “corporate integration”—it establishes four game models: the decentralized decision-making game model, the two revenue-sharing game models, and the centralized decision-making game model. It systematically analyzes the cooperation mechanisms between leading enterprises and small farmers in upstream production links of the agricultural value chain, aiming to improve the cooperation strategy between leading enterprises and small farmers, elevate the status of small farmers in the agricultural value chain, promote increased income for farmers, and strengthen the agricultural value chain. The research findings are as follows: Firstly, the traditional contract of “leading enterprise + smallholder farmers” is incomplete, which makes it difficult to avoid opportunism and moral hazard that may arise between the two parties. By comparing multiple parameter values, it is found that this model is at a lower level of agricultural value chain development. Secondly, the model of “leading enterprise + cooperative + smallholder farmers” improves the tightness and stability of cooperation between leading enterprises and smallholder farmers. This model explains to some extent the operability of smallholder farmers sharing the value of the agricultural value chain. Compared with various parameter values, this model is at a medium level between other models. Finally, the “corporate integration” model is a fully vertical integration model. Compared with various parameter values, this model is at an advanced stage of agricultural value chain development. Therefore, agricultural value chains will ultimately develop toward the direction of corporate integration. This study has positive practical significance for enhancing the status and claim rights of small farmers, promoting increased income for farmers, enhancing the consistency of values between leading enterprises and small farmers, strengthening the stability of the agricultural value chain, and ultimately achieving common prosperity and agricultural modernization in China. Full article
17 pages, 3150 KiB  
Article
Regional Perspective of Using Cyber Insurance as a Tool for Protection of Agriculture 4.0
by Maksym W. Sitnicki, Nataliia Prykaziuk, Humeniuk Ludmila, Olena Pimenowa, Florin Imbrea, Laura Șmuleac and Raul Pașcalău
Agriculture 2024, 14(2), 320; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14020320 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 947
Abstract
The digitalization of the agricultural industry is manifested through the active use of innovative technologies in all its areas. Agribusiness owners have to constantly improve their security to meet new challenges. In this context, the existing cyber risks of the agrarian industry were [...] Read more.
The digitalization of the agricultural industry is manifested through the active use of innovative technologies in all its areas. Agribusiness owners have to constantly improve their security to meet new challenges. In this context, the existing cyber risks of the agrarian industry were assessed and their classification by possible consequences, such as data theft or alteration, cyber terrorism, cyber warfare, software hacking or modification, the blocking of markets and transactions on them, was proposed. Cyber insurance is an effective tool for minimizing the likelihood of cyber incidents and for comprehensive post-incident support, with the involvement of cybersecurity specialists. An algorithm for cooperation between an agricultural company and an insurance company when concluding a cyber risk insurance contract is proposed, which takes into account the needs and wishes of insurers at each stage of the interaction. To assess the need to use cyber insurance in agriculture 4.0, a methodology has been developed to evaluate the regional characteristics of cybersecurity and the digitalization of agribusiness. The results of the study show a heterogeneous need for this tool in different regions of the world. Full article
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Review

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29 pages, 995 KiB  
Review
Smart Pig Farming—A Journey Ahead of Vietnam
by Md Sharifuzzaman, Hong-Seok Mun, Keiven Mark B. Ampode, Eddiemar B. Lagua, Hae-Rang Park, Young-Hwa Kim, Md Kamrul Hasan and Chul-Ju Yang
Agriculture 2024, 14(4), 555; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14040555 - 31 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1234
Abstract
Vietnam heavily relies on pork as its primary source of animal protein. Traditional farming methods, characterized by small-scale operations, dominate the industry. However, challenges such as rising feed costs, disease outbreaks, and market volatility are prompting many farmers to abandon their businesses. Recognizing [...] Read more.
Vietnam heavily relies on pork as its primary source of animal protein. Traditional farming methods, characterized by small-scale operations, dominate the industry. However, challenges such as rising feed costs, disease outbreaks, and market volatility are prompting many farmers to abandon their businesses. Recognizing the pivotal role of the swine sector in both economic development and nutrition, authorities must intervene to prevent its collapse. In developed nations, smart pig farming, utilizing technologies like sensors and cameras for data collection and real-time decision-making, has significantly improved health and productivity. These technologies can detect subtle indicators of animal well-being, enabling prompt intervention. This review aims to analyze the drivers of Vietnam’s swine farming, identify existing production system flaws, and explore innovative precision farming methods worldwide. Embracing precision farming promises to enhance Vietnam’s competitiveness in export markets and bolster consumer confidence. However, reliance solely on expensive foreign technologies may benefit large-scale farms, leaving smaller ones behind. Therefore, fostering local innovation and validating cost-effective solutions will be crucial for the sustainable growth of small- and medium-scale pig farming in Vietnam. Full article
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Disruptive technologies, Precision Agriculture and regional development : the case study of Polish agriculture
Authors: Aksana Yarashynskaya; Piotr Prus
Affiliation: Department of Agronomy, Faculty of Agriculture and Biotechnology, Bydgoszcz University of Science and Technology, Al. Prof. S. Kaliskiego 7, 85-796 Bydgoszcz, Poland
Abstract: Precision Agriculture (PA) is a recently progressing smart farming practice, based on use of disruptive technologies, like Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Internet of Things, Virtual Reality, and blockchain for the increase of agricultural production (Barbosa et al., 2022; Kernecker et al., 2020;; Tataridas et al., 2022). It considered to be a potential solution for the various environmental, economic, and social problems (Kernecker et al., 2020; Tataridas et al., 2022) and could contribute substantially to the several UN- Sustainable Development Goals, like, No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Industry Innovation and Infrastructure, Responsible Consumption and Production, and Life on Land Goals (Valle et al., 2020). However, the current pace of PA adoption is slower than expected and uneven across the globe: developed countries progressing faster and are on a more advanced PA adoption stages, compare to transitioning and developing countries. The slow pace of PA adoption in transitioning economies hampers not only the sustainable development of agricultural sector, but also overall economic development of these countries (Konrad et al., 2019; Maciejczak et al., 2018; Takas-Gyorgy, 2012; Yarashynskaya and Prus, 2022), due to significant share of agricultural sector in their national economies and envisaged potential of the national PA markets growth. The paper addresses this problem by analyzing the PA adoption potential of 16 Polish regions (“viovodships”) through the commonly recognized PA adoption factors, like farm size, farmers’ age and education, financial, technological, and informational factors (Yarashynskaya and Prus, 2022). Paper’s methodology is based on descriptive statistics and content analysis. Use of Polish agricultural sector as a case study is justified by the substantial share of Polish agriculture at global and EU Agricultural Markets, which provides the potential of extrapolation of these research results on other transition countries. The paper results could be of potential interest not only for the academic community, but also for the public policymakers and industry practitioners.

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