Sustainable Agriculture and Food Supply: Scientific, Economic and Policy 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: 30 June 2024 | Viewed by 47651

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Faculty of Economics and Management, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, 16500 Prague, Czech Republic
Interests: international trade; economic development; agrarian trade and policy; world economy, trade and policy; sustainable agriculture
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Economics and Economic Policy in Agribusiness, Faculty of Economics, Poznan University of Life Sciences, Wojska Polskiego 28, 60-637 Poznan, Poland
Interests: agricultural economics; international economics; international trade and trade policy; foreign direct investment; international competitiveness; regional integration; agricultural policy; agricultural markets; food industry; food security; general and partial equilibrium modeling
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Agriculture, the food industry, and food distribution are of high importance to each economy for a wide variety of reasons. The most important ones include their essential role in ensuring food security, balancing the labour market, and improving the population’s income level as well as boosting international trade and economic growth. When taking into account the growing number of undernourished people, a key challenge that is faced by agriculture and food production systems is how to feed the world’s population sustainably. This means that the global agri-food system has to meet the needs of present and future generations, while ensuring economic productivity and profitability, environmental protection, and social equity at the same time. In order to reach this aim, it is necessary for the agri-food system to deal with such hindrances as the unequal distribution of resources and income, poverty and unemployment in rural areas, modern technology and investment deficiencies, domestic and international market failures, climate change, food losses and waste, mismatched agricultural and trade policies, etc. Effective institutions and decision-making that is tailored towards agri-food industries and rural areas play a crucial role in the global transition to sustainable agriculture and the food supply.

This Special Issue addresses all of the aspects related to sustainable agriculture and food supply as well as to rural development. The floor is open for the scientific discussions on the trends, determinants, and challenges for the sustainable agri-food systems worldwide. Original research papers, including theoretical studies and/or empirical analyses concerning the economic, environmental, and social dimensions of sustainability are welcome. Review articles are also encouraged. Submissions employing various quantitative methods or qualitative analyses at the micro-, meso-, and macroeconomic level are also acceptable.

Dr. Luboš Smutka
Dr. Karolina Pawlak
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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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
  • agricultural production
  • agricultural policy
  • food industry
  • rural areas
  • agri-food markets
  • environmental policy
  • international trade and policy
  • food security
  • socio-economic problems of rural areas

Published Papers (23 papers)

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Research

17 pages, 1149 KiB  
Article
Income Variability of Agricultural Households in Poland: A Descriptive Study
by Ryszard Kata and Małgorzata Wosiek
Agriculture 2024, 14(3), 357; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14030357 - 23 Feb 2024
Viewed by 581
Abstract
Among the different types of households, agricultural ones are perceived as the most exposed to the problem of income instability. Income fluctuations pose a threat not only to the financial stability of farming families but also to the sustainable development of the agriculture [...] Read more.
Among the different types of households, agricultural ones are perceived as the most exposed to the problem of income instability. Income fluctuations pose a threat not only to the financial stability of farming families but also to the sustainable development of the agriculture sector. Investigating the scale and factors of the variability of farmers’ household incomes is important in designing and monitoring agricultural policy measures that aim to stabilize farmers’ incomes. In this context, the main objective of this article is to assess the income variability of agricultural households in Poland and to identify the main correlates of farmers’ income fluctuations in the period 1996–2022. To emphasize the significance of the problem of income instability for agricultural households, a comparative assessment of income variability was performed (relative to non-agriculture households). Furthermore, two research subperiods (1996–2003; 2004–2022; before and after EU accession) were distinguished to capture the association between the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) and the stability of agricultural income. The study focusses on associations between variables (regression and correlation analyses were used). The income of agricultural households was shown to exhibit greater variability (year-on-year) than the income of households of workers and of self-employed people, with a lower scale of fluctuations after 2004. Furthermore, the study reveals a group of factors that could be correlated with the variability of the income of agricultural households: income structure (share of income from agriculture), natural and climatic conditions (variability of the yields and agricultural production), and changes in prices of the means of agricultural production. The findings raise, however, a question about the effectiveness of CAP instruments in stabilizing agricultural income. Full article
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17 pages, 1889 KiB  
Article
Use of Union Funds in Developing Agricultural Entrepreneurship between 2014 and 2020 in Poland
by Monika Małgorzata Wojcieszak-Zbierska and Arkadiusz Sadowski
Agriculture 2024, 14(1), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14010083 - 30 Dec 2023
Viewed by 832
Abstract
The purpose of this paper was to examine the differences in using agricultural entrepreneurship support and how it relates to characteristics such as the agrarian structure, socioeconomic development level, and land use across the Polish territory. The analyses were carried out at the [...] Read more.
The purpose of this paper was to examine the differences in using agricultural entrepreneurship support and how it relates to characteristics such as the agrarian structure, socioeconomic development level, and land use across the Polish territory. The analyses were carried out at the district (poviat) level which is an intermediate administrative unit. This study found that the decisions on co-financing the measures dedicated to non-agricultural economic activity heavily depended on the agrarian structure. The highest levels of activity were witnessed in districts where the agrarian structure was particularly fragmented. Full article
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16 pages, 953 KiB  
Article
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Efficiency in Polish Agriculture
by Natalia Genstwa and Jagoda Zmyślona
Agriculture 2024, 14(1), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14010056 - 28 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1228
Abstract
Analysis of the efficiency of greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture is an important part of agricultural and environmental economics research. The theme is extremely important due to the deepening problem of climate change and the simultaneous need to ensure food security. However, counteracting [...] Read more.
Analysis of the efficiency of greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture is an important part of agricultural and environmental economics research. The theme is extremely important due to the deepening problem of climate change and the simultaneous need to ensure food security. However, counteracting climate change cannot be achieved at the expense of reducing agricultural productivity. Due to the need to study the economic-environmental relationship in agriculture, the main purpose of this study was to assess the changes in the level and structure of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and to examine the changes in efficiency of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. The authors also estimated the relative efficiency of emissions, which allowed for comparing the efficiency of emissions between agriculture and other sectors of the national economy. Analyzing the changes in agricultural emissions efficiency, as well as changes in relative efficiency of emissions, is an indirect way of assessing whether the ongoing trends are consistent with the sustainable development concept and if the country is effective enough in mitigating climate change in relation to its economic performance. The research conducted showed that agriculture has a significant share of greenhouse gas emissions among all sectors of the Polish economy. However, greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture decreased by a total of 23.5% in the years studied. The most significant changes occurred in the context of greenhouse gas emissions from intestinal fermentation. The research also shows that the efficiency of emissions from agriculture more than doubled in the years examined. However, it decreased compared to other sectors of the economy in the country. This study was based on emissions data retrieved from National Inventory Reports prepared by the National Center for Emissions Management and on the Agricultural Statistical Yearbooks of the Central Statistical Office. This paper also proposes some examples of measures that could be taken to reduce agricultural emissions. Some of them include reducing food losses, sustainable use of fertilizers, increasing energy efficiency, and greater use of renewable energy. Full article
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30 pages, 1137 KiB  
Article
Solvency and Debt of Rural Communes vs. Their Residents’ Standards of Living: A Polish Case Study
by Mariusz Malinowski
Agriculture 2023, 13(12), 2222; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13122222 - 30 Nov 2023
Viewed by 903
Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to present the multidimensional dependencies between the budgetary solvency and debt of Polish rural communes on one side, and the residents’ standards of living on the other. Local government units’ budgetary solvency and debt (one of the [...] Read more.
The purpose of this paper is to present the multidimensional dependencies between the budgetary solvency and debt of Polish rural communes on one side, and the residents’ standards of living on the other. Local government units’ budgetary solvency and debt (one of the key components of their financial condition) are important determinants of their efficient functioning oriented at addressing the needs of local communities as much as possible. The literature on the subject reveals a cognitive gap in the research into the standards of living and ways of driving social well-being, which is manifested in the dearth of empirical studies on how the components of local governments’ financial standing impact residents’ standards of living. Due to the multifaceted nature of the categories under consideration, a canonical analysis procedure was carried out to identify the linkages between them, and three statistically significant canonical roots were identified. This study demonstrates that if the values of variables relating to budgetary solvency and the debt levels of Polish rural municipalities (communes) are known, they have the potential to explain over 29% of the variance in the set related to the residents’ living standards. Hence, the components of local governments’ financial conditions are important, yet not the sole determinants of the population’s standards of living. The findings from such analyses could be used indirectly, e.g., by local authorities in the context of creating their development strategies and selecting measures designed to transform the socioeconomic structure of territorial units in accordance with what their residents need. Full article
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22 pages, 2177 KiB  
Article
Rural Typology of the EU Enlargement Process: Serbia in Focus
by Žana Jurjević, Bojan Matkovski, Stanislav Zekić and Danilo Đokić
Agriculture 2023, 13(12), 2208; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13122208 - 28 Nov 2023
Viewed by 757
Abstract
European integration encourages rural diversification and innovation, supporting the creation of non-agricultural jobs and strengthening local economies. This scientific paper explores the typology of rural areas in Serbia and compares them to rural areas in the European Union. Methodologically, the research leverages multivariate [...] Read more.
European integration encourages rural diversification and innovation, supporting the creation of non-agricultural jobs and strengthening local economies. This scientific paper explores the typology of rural areas in Serbia and compares them to rural areas in the European Union. Methodologically, the research leverages multivariate statistical analysis, precisely factor and cluster analysis. The primary objective is to understand these regions’ diversity and commonalities comprehensively. The core focus of this study revolves around the significance of these findings within the context of Serbia’s European integration process. The analysis includes 12 variables that create a model of rurality, i.e., the four dimensions of rurality: level of economic development, structural characteristics of agriculture, demographic structure, and spatial characteristics. Based on the model of rurality, a rural typology is created at the regional level, which records nine statistically significant groups of rural regions in the EU, including Serbia. Cluster 2 includes most of the analyzed territory of Serbia (about 70%), and this group is the most rural, given the negative characteristics of this type of rural area. These results are devastating, and the creators of Serbia’s rural policy must consider the multidimensional nature of rural areas when defining future strategies. Full article
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17 pages, 2093 KiB  
Article
Agri-Food Supply and Retail Food Prices during the Russia–Ukraine Conflict’s Early Stage: Implications for Food Security
by Mariusz Hamulczuk, Karolina Pawlak, Joanna Stefańczyk and Jarosław Gołębiewski
Agriculture 2023, 13(11), 2154; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13112154 - 15 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1403
Abstract
The Russian–Ukrainian conflict has led to the disruption of global supply chains, thus posing a threat to food security. The study aimed to assess the short-term impact of the conflict on food supply and global retail food prices resulting from the disruption of [...] Read more.
The Russian–Ukrainian conflict has led to the disruption of global supply chains, thus posing a threat to food security. The study aimed to assess the short-term impact of the conflict on food supply and global retail food prices resulting from the disruption of agri-food exports from Ukraine after the war outbreak. To assess the impact of the conflict on retail prices worldwide, the actual food price level during the conflict period was compared with the counterfactual values obtained from the forecasting models. The research points to a significant decline in Ukraine’s commodity exports at the beginning of the conflict leading to a supply gap for cereals in particular, affecting global access to staple foods. As a result, global food commodity prices rose sharply, however, the upsurge was short-lived, and as early as July 2022 price indices returned to their pre-war levels. On the other hand, in most regions worldwide the gradual and persistent increase in retail food prices was observed after the war outbreak. The study also found strong regional differentiation in the response of retail food prices to the conflict due to various specific factors that exacerbated or mitigated the impact of the war. Full article
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17 pages, 455 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Agricultural Factor Inputs, Cooperative-Driven on Grain Production Costs
by Han Zhang and Dongli Wu
Agriculture 2023, 13(10), 1952; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13101952 - 06 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1439
Abstract
The problem of high grain production costs, which is not conducive to sustainable agricultural development and food security, is highlighted in the context of China’s “large country and small household farmers”. Reducing the grain production costs through factor allocation and organizational drive has [...] Read more.
The problem of high grain production costs, which is not conducive to sustainable agricultural development and food security, is highlighted in the context of China’s “large country and small household farmers”. Reducing the grain production costs through factor allocation and organizational drive has become particularly important. Based on 768-grain peasant households in China, this paper uses OLS regression and robust regression to examine the effects of agricultural factor inputs and cooperatives on grain production costs. It analyzes the synergistic and substitution effects between farmers’ factor inputs and cooperatives in grain production. It was found that: (1) in farmers’ grain production, reductions in the grain production costs can be realized by expanding the area under cultivation, improving the use of agricultural machinery, and increasing technological inputs; (2) a reduction in the grain production costs can also be realized through cooperatives driving farmers into grain production; (3) cooperatives can provide farmers with various types of agricultural production services in grain production and cooperative-driven substitution effects between the agricultural factor inputs of farm households. The findings of this paper contribute to the enrichment of research in the field of agricultural production and are important for enhancing agricultural sustainability and reducing grain production costs. Full article
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15 pages, 760 KiB  
Article
Information Acquisition Ability and Farmers’ Herd Behavior in Rice–Crayfish Coculture System Adoption
by Weihong Huang, Caiyan Yang, Ke Liu and Rui Min
Agriculture 2023, 13(10), 1892; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13101892 - 27 Sep 2023
Viewed by 774
Abstract
Rice–crayfish coculture systems (RCSs) have been widely promoted in China as an efficient circular agriculture model that can simultaneously improve rice quality, raise the efficiency of utilization of resources, and increase farmers’ incomes. However, the herd behavior of farmers in the adoption of [...] Read more.
Rice–crayfish coculture systems (RCSs) have been widely promoted in China as an efficient circular agriculture model that can simultaneously improve rice quality, raise the efficiency of utilization of resources, and increase farmers’ incomes. However, the herd behavior of farmers in the adoption of the rice–crayfish coculture system warrants more attention, as the rational adoption of this system by farmers is a prerequisite for achieving the above objectives. This paper analyses the formation mechanism of farmers’ herd behavior based on information cascade theory. Using micro-survey data from 603 farmers in China and a bivariate probit model, we examine the existence of herding effects in the adoption of RCSs by farmers and the inhibitory effect of information acquisition capability on herd behavior. To address possible endogeneity issues, we also conducted a robustness test using the IV-probit model. Furthermore, we tested for between-group differences in agricultural income between farmers with herding adoption and non-herding adoption. The study reveals that the larger the number of prior adopters, the higher the probability of blind adoption behavior by farmers, indicating the existence of a herd effect. Information acquisition ability could significantly inhibit the herd behavior of farmers in the adoption of RCSs. We also found that farmers’ herd behavior in the adoption of these systems was not economically rational. Based on the research findings, we proposed several constructive suggestions for policy perfection. Full article
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13 pages, 684 KiB  
Article
Roles of Personal, Household, Physical, and Institutional Factors on Farmers’ Efficiency of Hybrid Maize Production: Implications for Food Security
by Shoaib Akhtar, Azhar Abbas, Muhammad Faisal, Muhammad Haseeb Raza, Abdus Samie, Mark Yu and Ashley Lovell
Agriculture 2023, 13(9), 1840; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13091840 - 20 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1102
Abstract
This study explored the multifaceted factors influencing the efficiency of hybrid maize production and investigated the possible implications for food security. The study adopted a comprehensive approach, examining personal, household, physical, and institutional factors that affect farmers’ productivity. Findings revealed the technical, allocative, [...] Read more.
This study explored the multifaceted factors influencing the efficiency of hybrid maize production and investigated the possible implications for food security. The study adopted a comprehensive approach, examining personal, household, physical, and institutional factors that affect farmers’ productivity. Findings revealed the technical, allocative, and economic efficiencies through a combination of field surveys, data analysis, and econometric modeling. The mean technical, allocative, and economic efficiency scores for the sampled farms were 0.89, 0.66, and 0.59, respectively. Moreover, the result of Tobit regression analysis showed high significance of all three efficiencies. The significant factors associated with technical efficiency were farm size, age of farm household, maize farming experience, maize farming area, distance from the farm to the main market, number of visits by extension workers, credit access, and Okara district. In addition, the number of visits by extension workers, districts (Sahiwal and Okara), age of farmers, maize farming experience, and regional disparity (Sahiwal district) had substantial influences on allocative and economic inefficiencies in the hybrid maize-growing farms. Policymakers and agricultural stakeholders can develop focused strategies to improve farmers’ productivity and overall food security by identifying the key factors associated with hybrid maize production. Tailored interventions that address knowledge gaps, improve resource allocation, and provide improved institutional support can help make food systems more sustainable and resilient. Full article
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17 pages, 325 KiB  
Article
Sorghum Contribution to Increased Income and Welfare of Dryland Farmer Households in Wonogiri, Indonesia
by Dewi Sahara, Joko Triastono, Raden Heru Praptana, Anggi Sahru Romdon, Forita Dyah Arianti, Sugeng Widodo, Arlyna Budi Pustika, Heni Purwaningsih, Andi Yulyani Fadwiwati, Sutardi, Muslimin, Agus Supriyo, Afrizal Malik, Tota Suhendrata, Cahyati Setiani, Teguh Prasetyo, Komalawati, Munir Eti Wulanjari, Chanifah and Endah Nurwahyuni
Agriculture 2023, 13(8), 1609; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13081609 - 15 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1110
Abstract
Sorghum is uniquely adapted to dryland and used by the Indonesian government to optimize the utilization of dryland and increase farmers’ incomes. The objective of this study was to analyze the contribution of sorghum to increasing income and the level of welfare of [...] Read more.
Sorghum is uniquely adapted to dryland and used by the Indonesian government to optimize the utilization of dryland and increase farmers’ incomes. The objective of this study was to analyze the contribution of sorghum to increasing income and the level of welfare of dryland farmer households in Wonogiri, Central Java, Indonesia. The study was conducted from October to December 2022 using a survey method through direct interviews with purposively selected sorghum-growing farmers. A set of questions included household income and expenditure. The average total income and expenditure indicators, poverty line figures, RMW, and ERFHI were used to measure the welfare level of farmer households. The study found that the income derived from sorghum contributes 22.87% to total household income and tends to increase household income by 29.65%. According to the average total income earned, farming households were in a prosperous condition. This can be seen from the total income, which is higher than the total expenditure, the average per capita income higher than the poverty line, the average total income higher than RMW, and the value of ERFHI at 1.25. Income derived from sorghum has increased by 21.43–56.00% from less prosperous households to prosperous ones. The results of this study are expected to contribute to the existing literature on sorghum development and farmers’ income and to be a reference for policy makers in formulating poverty alleviation programs and improving the welfare of farmer households, as well as expanding sorghum development by optimizing the utilization of agroecological, economic and social resources. Full article
20 pages, 2080 KiB  
Article
Income and Asset Situation of Companies Producing Arable Crops in the Visegrad Countries
by László Szőllősi and Adél Dorottya Erdős
Agriculture 2023, 13(8), 1589; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13081589 - 10 Aug 2023
Viewed by 867
Abstract
The V4 countries (Poland, Slovakia, Czechia, Hungary) hold significant importance within the European Union, contributing nearly 20% of the EU’s arable land and 10% of its crop output from 2018 to 2020. The study focuses on companies as organizational entities engaged in arable [...] Read more.
The V4 countries (Poland, Slovakia, Czechia, Hungary) hold significant importance within the European Union, contributing nearly 20% of the EU’s arable land and 10% of its crop output from 2018 to 2020. The study focuses on companies as organizational entities engaged in arable crop production, representing a specific segment of agricultural producers. The objective is to analyze the concentration and financial performance of these companies in the V4 countries during the period 2018–2020. Financial data from 822 companies in Hungary, 226 in Slovakia, 17 in Czechia, and 967 in Poland were processed from the EMIS database (Emerging Market Information System). In Poland and Czechia, a significant proportion of the companies were classified as micro-enterprises, while in Hungary and Slovakia, they were predominantly small farms. The Gini index indicates a high concentration of Polish farms, a medium concentration of Hungarian and Slovakian farms, and a low concentration of Czech companies. In terms of financial profitability, Hungarian and Polish companies are the most favorable, while Slovak farms are the least favorable. Polish companies exhibit significant heterogeneity, which may also be attributed to high concentration. The results suggest that higher financial profitability is associated with a lower debt rate in the capital structure. Based on the examined sample, there is no close relationship between farm size and financial efficiency in the case of companies engaged in arable crop production in the V4 countries. This study also found that as farm size increases, the profit (EBIT) tends to increase, but the magnitude of this effect varies among the companies in different countries. The study’s findings also support that other factors play a role in the development of profitability. Full article
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16 pages, 495 KiB  
Article
Plant Protection and Fertilizer Use Efficiency in Farms in a Context of Overinvestment: A Case Study from Poland
by Jagoda Zmyślona, Arkadiusz Sadowski and Natalia Genstwa
Agriculture 2023, 13(8), 1567; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13081567 - 06 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1037
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between plant protection and fertilizer use efficiency, on one side, and overinvestment in Polish agriculture, on the other. This is an important topic because of a number of essential issues, such as the [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between plant protection and fertilizer use efficiency, on one side, and overinvestment in Polish agriculture, on the other. This is an important topic because of a number of essential issues, such as the concern for the environment, the development of sustainable agriculture, or the need to ensure food security which can only be achieved by keeping production volumes at least at the same level. Reconciling these goals often requires investment which, however, involves the risk of overinvesting, i.e., a situation where the value of assets grows without a proportional increment in labor productivity. This paper uses the author’s own method of farm classification by overinvestment level. The study revealed some differences in the cost intensity of fertilizing and using plant-protection products between investment levels. The most rational results were found in farms at optimum investment levels, whereas the greatest cost intensity was recorded in farms affected by overinvestment. Full article
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19 pages, 1230 KiB  
Article
Effects of Aging on Labor-Intensive Crop Production from the Perspectives of Landform and Life Cycle Labor Supply: Evidence from Chinese Apple Growers
by Pingping Fang, Yiwen Wang, David Abler and Guanghua Lin
Agriculture 2023, 13(8), 1523; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13081523 - 31 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1330
Abstract
The aging of the agricultural labor force is an irreversible trend that has become an important issue in China’s economic transformation. Previous studies on the effects of an aging population in developing countries on agriculture mainly focused on food crops, and the conclusions [...] Read more.
The aging of the agricultural labor force is an irreversible trend that has become an important issue in China’s economic transformation. Previous studies on the effects of an aging population in developing countries on agriculture mainly focused on food crops, and the conclusions were mixed. Using data for apple growers in Shaanxi Province, China, we used ordinary least squares (OLS), stochastic frontier production function (SFA), and truncated regression to investigate how rural aging affects apple production under different landform conditions. We provided evidence that (i) aging leads apple growers to use hired labor to replace family labor in the flatlands, but not in mountainous and hilly areas, due to landform constraints on the factor substitution; (ii) aging has no significant impact on mechanical inputs in either the plains or the mountains, indicating that machinery cannot effectively replace the labor force; (iii) limited by a shortage of labor quantity and quality, apple growers respond to aging by reducing agricultural inputs in mountainous and hilly areas; (iv) changes in input structure cause aging to have little influence on yield and technical efficiency in flatlands, while aging significantly reduces yield in mountainous and hilly areas; (v) there is a nonlinear relationship between aging and technical efficiency and yield; and (vi) because the overall mechanization level of China’s apple industry is low, mechanical substitution for labor is not common in apple production. Full article
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25 pages, 1880 KiB  
Article
Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the Agricultural and Industrial Sectors—Change Trends, Economic Conditions, and Country Classification: Evidence from the European Union
by Anna Murawska and Elżbieta Goryńska-Goldmann
Agriculture 2023, 13(7), 1354; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13071354 - 05 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1849
Abstract
The decrease in the level of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from industry and agriculture is one of the biggest challenges that European Union (EU) countries have to face. Their economic development should occur under the conditions of limiting the pressure on the environment. [...] Read more.
The decrease in the level of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from industry and agriculture is one of the biggest challenges that European Union (EU) countries have to face. Their economic development should occur under the conditions of limiting the pressure on the environment. The agricultural and industrial sectors play a key role in ensuring food security, technological progress, job security, social well-being, economic competitiveness, and sustainable development. The main purpose of this article was to identify and compare the level, trends, and variability in greenhouse gas emissions from industry and agriculture in EU countries in 2010–2019, to create classes of countries with similar gas emissions, and to analyze the average values of their economic conditions. The original contribution to the article was to investigate whether there is a relationship between the level of greenhouse gas emissions and the economic development of countries and other economic indicators characterizing the sectors of industry and agriculture. Empirical data were obtained from the Eurostat and Ilostat databases. Basic descriptive statistics, classification methods, multiple regression, and correlation methods were used in the study. The industrial and agricultural sectors in EU countries emit similar amounts of greenhouse gases into the environment. In the years 2010–2019, the percentage share of emissions from these sectors in total gas emissions was growing dynamically, but no evidence was found indicating that those countries that emitted the most greenhouse gases significantly reduced their emissions in the decade under review. Moreover, EU countries are still significantly and invariably differentiated in this respect. Greenhouse gas emissions from industry and agriculture are influenced by the economic characteristics of these sectors, such as the level of GDP per capita, the scale of investment by enterprises, the expenditure on research and development, as well as employment in these sectors. The findings of this study show that total greenhouse gas emissions from all sources increase with countries’ economic growth, while a higher level of support of EU countries for research and development, and a greater share of employment in both industry and agriculture, translate into higher greenhouse gas emissions from these sectors. These conclusions may be useful for decision makers in developed and developing countries, as well as those in the industrial and agricultural sectors, in controlling and verifying the possible causes of greenhouse gas emissions in terms of the need to reduce their negative role on the environment and human health. Full article
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15 pages, 2181 KiB  
Article
Economic Sustainability Assessment of a Beekeeping Farm in Hungary
by Aliz Feketéné Ferenczi, István Szűcs and Andrea Bauerné Gáthy
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1262; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061262 - 18 Jun 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1732
Abstract
In Hungary, beekeeping is a relatively small-scale sector within the livestock sector, but it is essential for maintaining biodiversity and rural employment. In order to provide ecosystem services such as pollination by honey bees, apiaries need to be economically sustainable, and it is [...] Read more.
In Hungary, beekeeping is a relatively small-scale sector within the livestock sector, but it is essential for maintaining biodiversity and rural employment. In order to provide ecosystem services such as pollination by honey bees, apiaries need to be economically sustainable, and it is therefore of strategic importance that beekeepers can continue their activities. Based on this, this article’s main objective is the economic analysis of Hungarian honey production, which enables the evaluation of the cost–benefit relationships, production volume and the efficiency of the operation. The authors’ analysis is based on a Hungarian apiary with 300 bee colonies, which also engages in migration and produces a significant amount of acacia honey. The model farm produces several types of honey due to migratory beekeeping, and its average yield reaches 60 kg/bee colony/year, which the authors calculated based on the average purchase prices in 2021. Based on the farm model, the analysis showed that 71 bee colonies and 4253 kg of honey production reached the profitability threshold. Full article
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23 pages, 3830 KiB  
Article
Analysis of the Determinants of Agriculture Performance at the European Union Level
by Oana Coca, Diana Creangă, Ștefan Viziteu, Ioan Sebastian Brumă and Gavril Ștefan
Agriculture 2023, 13(3), 616; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13030616 - 03 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2443
Abstract
In the context of the increase in energy prices and, as a consequence, on other inputs on the global and European market, the study aims to analyze the performance of the European Union’s agriculture through the lens of the correlations and links that [...] Read more.
In the context of the increase in energy prices and, as a consequence, on other inputs on the global and European market, the study aims to analyze the performance of the European Union’s agriculture through the lens of the correlations and links that are established between different determinants/factors and which provide a much clearer picture of the agricultural sector than the analysis of the result/output and its contribution to GDP. The working methodology consisted in the comparative analysis of the statistical data related to the Member States and the aggregated general data for the EU 27 using the EUROSTAT data by processing them in order to achieve the proposed goal. The results indicate a high level of performance for a number of states that are not considered very important in this area and, in contrast, a lower level of performance for a number of states considered at the top of the pyramid in terms of performance. The derived indicators used and calculated within the research can represent basic elements in the fundamental analysis of the agricultural activity performance of a country and the European Union as a whole. Full article
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15 pages, 550 KiB  
Article
Traceability, Value, and Trust in the Coffee Market: A Natural Experiment in Ethiopia
by Ludovic Mbakop, Glenn P. Jenkins, Leonard Leung and Kamil Sertoglu
Agriculture 2023, 13(2), 368; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13020368 - 03 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2603
Abstract
This study measures the impact of traceability attributes on international buyers’ willingness to pay for coffee produced in Ethiopia and the impact of accurate information on the production location of the coffee on the pricing according to its type and grade. Two sets [...] Read more.
This study measures the impact of traceability attributes on international buyers’ willingness to pay for coffee produced in Ethiopia and the impact of accurate information on the production location of the coffee on the pricing according to its type and grade. Two sets of regression models were used to investigate the important determinant factors affecting the export prices of trader and producer coffee, one each for trader and producer coffee, to measure the impact of the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) on the prices and to evaluate the effect of the coffee types and grades on the prices. The results show that after coffee was forced to be traded via the (ECX), traceable coffee export prices increased more than the reported price of nontraceable coffee. We also found that after the introduction of the ECX, the reported export prices of coffee were much more closely aligned to the movements in the international prices of coffee than before the ECX. Furthermore, we also found evidence that exporters and overseas buyers do not trust the results of the inspection and grading of coffee by the ECX unless traceability is also present. This is the first study to evaluate foreign buyers’ willingness to pay for the attribute of traceability of Ethiopian coffee and to see how traceability has affected buyers’ trust in the grades given by the ECX for the coffee it grades. Full article
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18 pages, 27878 KiB  
Article
Promoting the New Superior Variety of National Hybrid Maize: Improve Farmer Satisfaction to Enhance Production
by Bahtiar, Muhammad Arsyad, Darmawan Salman, Muhammad Azrai, Andi Tenrirawe, Muhammad Yasin, Abdul Gaffar, Amelia Sebayang and Peter Juma Ochieng
Agriculture 2023, 13(1), 174; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13010174 - 10 Jan 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2831
Abstract
Farmers’ satisfaction with new superior varieties (NSVs) is a critical strategy for boosting their adoption. Out of 48 national NSV hybrids produced, only three, including Nasa-29, JH-37, and Bima-10, have been widely distributed at the farmer level. However, no studies have been carried [...] Read more.
Farmers’ satisfaction with new superior varieties (NSVs) is a critical strategy for boosting their adoption. Out of 48 national NSV hybrids produced, only three, including Nasa-29, JH-37, and Bima-10, have been widely distributed at the farmer level. However, no studies have been carried out to establish farmers’ satisfaction of any of the three hybrid maize varieties. As a result, the main aim of this study is to establish farmers’ satisfaction of three-hybrid maize. The survey was conducted in three South Sulawesi maize production districts: Bone, Gowa, and North Luwu, representing the east, west, and transitional zones. A total of 150 farmers from three districts were then deliberately chosen as respondents. Variables such as seed availability, cultivation technology, post-harvest, and product marketing were monitored during our assessment. The data were then analyzed using the importance performance analysis (IPA) method. The findings indicate that seed quality and quantity, disease resistance, low yield, and productivity are the variables that require intervention to improve farmer satisfaction with the superiority of the national hybrid maize NSV. The low price of seeds, the ability to grow at 15 days, the small size of the cob, ease of harvest, and the accessibility of marketing the product at the best price were then deemed adequate variables. Full article
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15 pages, 5634 KiB  
Article
Aquaponics in Saudi Arabia: Initial Steps towards Addressing Food Security in the Arid Region
by Azhar M. Memon, Luai M. AlHems, Sevim Seda Yamaç, Muhammad S. Barry, Aftab Alam and Ahmed AlMuhanna
Agriculture 2022, 12(12), 2094; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12122094 - 07 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3470
Abstract
Due to water scarcity and harsh climate, Saudi Arabia and its neighboring countries rely heavily on fresh food imports from distant lands and have higher per capita expenditures on vegetable imports compared with USA and China. Aquaponics can supply fresh food throughout the [...] Read more.
Due to water scarcity and harsh climate, Saudi Arabia and its neighboring countries rely heavily on fresh food imports from distant lands and have higher per capita expenditures on vegetable imports compared with USA and China. Aquaponics can supply fresh food throughout the year and may complement conventional agriculture in Saudi Arabia to help the objectives and policies defined by the government for food and water security. In this spirit, an Aquaponics farm is being constructed in the desert-coast climate to study the feasibility. A detailed SWOT analysis is performed for a commercial farm which reveals that the advantages of Aquaponics in the Saudi market outweigh the weaknesses. Preliminary experiences show that such ventures require high capital costs and synergistic collaboration of engineering, agriculture, business, and geology. Full article
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17 pages, 780 KiB  
Article
China and Countries along the “Belt and Road”: Agricultural Trade Volatility Decomposition and Food Security
by Lunzheng Zhou, Guangji Tong, Jiaguo Qi and Lu He
Agriculture 2022, 12(11), 1850; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12111850 - 04 Nov 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3161
Abstract
Agricultural products are essential for human survival, and strengthening agricultural trade cooperation between China and countries along the “Belt and Road” (B&R) can promote food security, but there are few studies on bilateral trade fluctuation factors in the literature. This paper uses the [...] Read more.
Agricultural products are essential for human survival, and strengthening agricultural trade cooperation between China and countries along the “Belt and Road” (B&R) can promote food security, but there are few studies on bilateral trade fluctuation factors in the literature. This paper uses the modified multi-country multi-product CMS (constant market share) model and the two-country multi-product CMS model to decompose the fluctuation of agricultural trade between China and B&R countries by stage, region, and agricultural product type. The results show that in recent years, in the fluctuation of China’s exports to B&R countries, in overall agricultural products, the demand effect plays a major hindering role, accounting for −9.2%; in the region, Southeast Asia has the largest share of trade, which is mainly pulled by the joint demand effect, structural effect and competitiveness effect; in specific agricultural products, animal, fruit and vegetable, and food processing products are mainly pulled by competitiveness. In the fluctuation of B&R countries’ export to China, in overall agricultural products, the demand effect pulls the largest share, accounting for 72.55%; in the region, Southeast Asia is mainly driven by the joint pull of demand effect, structural effect. and competitiveness effect; in specific agricultural products, animal, fruit and vegetable, and food processing products are mainly driven by the pull of demand effect. The findings of this paper can provide a basis for making decisions on food security cooperation between China and B&R countries. Full article
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20 pages, 4625 KiB  
Article
The U.S. Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Industry: An Overview of Production and Trade
by Kuan-Ming Huang, Zhengfei Guan and AbdelMalek Hammami
Agriculture 2022, 12(10), 1719; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12101719 - 19 Oct 2022
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 9170
Abstract
The fruit and vegetable industry is an important segment of the U.S. agriculture. The 2017 U.S. Agriculture Census shows that the industry had total sales of USD 48 billion from over 10 million acres of land. However, over the last two decades, production [...] Read more.
The fruit and vegetable industry is an important segment of the U.S. agriculture. The 2017 U.S. Agriculture Census shows that the industry had total sales of USD 48 billion from over 10 million acres of land. However, over the last two decades, production of major fruit and vegetable crops in the United States has been declining while imports have grown significantly. The rapidly growing imports have posed challenges to the sustainability of the U.S. domestic industry. This study provides a systematic industry review of fresh fruit and vegetable production and trade between the United States and Mexico, by far the largest source of U.S. imports, highlighting the structural shift in the market over the last two decades and the caveats for industry sustainability. The analysis shows that Florida, Georgia, and California are among the states that face the strongest competition from Mexico. Among the 10 crops reviewed, berry, tomato, pepper, and cucumber production has been affected the most. The study further discusses the factors driving the rapid growth of imports and shows the importance of innovation and policy reform to the sustainability of the U.S. fruit and vegetable industry. Full article
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27 pages, 1710 KiB  
Article
Impacts of Green Production Behaviors on the Income Effect of Rice Farmers from the Perspective of Outsourcing Services: Evidence from the Rice Region in Northwest China
by Ruining Li and Yanli Yu
Agriculture 2022, 12(10), 1682; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12101682 - 13 Oct 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2373
Abstract
Along with the increasingly prominent contradiction between agricultural development and a healthy ecological environment, the adoption of agriculture green production (AGP) methods has become an important measure to reduce excessive pesticide application, avoid ecological environmental pollution and promote sustainable agricultural development. However, few [...] Read more.
Along with the increasingly prominent contradiction between agricultural development and a healthy ecological environment, the adoption of agriculture green production (AGP) methods has become an important measure to reduce excessive pesticide application, avoid ecological environmental pollution and promote sustainable agricultural development. However, few studies have explored the impact of green production behaviors on the revenue effect from the perspective of outsourcing services, and existing studies have not subdivided outsourcing into multiple categories to examine their impact. In this study, the first-hand data of 447 rice farmers in Ningxia and Shaanxi in northwest China were collected. By using the endogenous switching regression model (ESR), we focuses on the influence of rice farmers’ AGP behaviors on their income effect, and analyzed whether outsourcing service categories can promote rice farmers’ AGP behaviors and income. The results showed that outsourcing services significantly promoted AGP behaviors and the income of rice farmers. Specifically, outsourcing pesticide application showed the greatest effect on the reduction of pesticide usage, rice harvesting after a safe interval after pesticide application, and the income of rice farmers; weeding and harvesting outsourcing had less effect. These indicate that outsourcing services can improve environmental and economic benefits by reducing pesticide input costs, to promote rice farmers to engage in AGP behaviors. Moreover, green production behaviors help to increase the income of rice farmers. If rice farmers who have not implemented AGP conduct physical control behaviors, their income will increase by 23.110%; the reduction of pesticide application ranks the second, and their income will increase by 5.970%. The implementation of rice harvesting at the safe intervals after pesticide application had the lowest degree of improvement, and the farmers’ income will increase by 4.505%. The study provides data for promoting outsourcing services and AGP in developing countries. Therefore, the government should further improve outsourcing services and AGP policies to maximize the income of rice farmers in low- and middle-income areas. Full article
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18 pages, 3148 KiB  
Article
The Evolutionary Trends and Convergence of Cereal Yield in Europe and Central Asia
by Zhilu Sun and Teng Fu
Agriculture 2022, 12(7), 1009; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12071009 - 12 Jul 2022
Viewed by 1741
Abstract
The state of food security in the world, including that of Europe and Central Asia (ECA), was highlighted in 2020 by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the fact that the food security status of millions of people in ECA, particularly the [...] Read more.
The state of food security in the world, including that of Europe and Central Asia (ECA), was highlighted in 2020 by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the fact that the food security status of millions of people in ECA, particularly the most vulnerable and those living in fragile contexts, would deteriorate if swift action was not taken as soon as possible became apparent. Improving cereal yield is the key for the ECA to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 2.1 to end hunger by 2030. Impressive cereal yield growth has been witnessed within the ECA from 1991 to 2020, but there is still significant variation across the five sub-regions. This paper aimed to analyze the evolutionary trends and convergence of cereal yield in countries of the ECA from 1991 to 2020 for four major cereals: wheat, maize, barley and oats. The findings show that there is strong evidence of σ-convergence and absolute and conditional β-convergence for cereal yield in the ECA, which indicates that countries with low yield in the initial stages have totally experienced higher growth rate, and yield in countries farther away from the steady-state have to have faster growth rate to converge to the steady-state. The presence of club convergence is also identified in terms of geographic location and income level, simultaneously. Therefore, cereal yield in the ECA has converged to the whole and to different groups at the same time, which provides some evidence of agricultural technology spillover effect in the region. Full article
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