Special Issue "Agriculture Policies: Experiences and Challenges"

A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2018).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Justus H.H. Wesseler
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Economics, Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen, the Netherlands
Interests: biotechnology; economics; genomics; policy; regulation; sustainability
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The agricultural sector is facing a number of challenges, among which globalization, climate change, new technologies, and sustainabilty are only a few. The sector itself, but also actors in the up- and downstream sectors, policy makers, and other interest groups have responded and continue to respond to those challenges. Agriculture policy has played an important role in shaping the performance of the sector, and will continue to do so. I am pleased to invite colleagues to submit contributions that assess agricultural policies and their impacts at different levels, and what we can learn from the past for the future.

Prof. Justus H.H. Wesseler
Guest Editor

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 papers will be 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 1000 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

  • Agriculture economics and policies
  • Agriculture environmental policy
  • Agriculture economic development
  • International trade and policies
  • Regulatory policies
  • Technical change

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Testing for Structural Changes in the European Union’s Agricultural Sector
Agriculture 2019, 9(5), 92; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9050092 - 01 May 2019
Abstract
Over recent decades several European and global occurrences have had an impact on the European Union’s economic sectors, and subsequently on farms. In fact, the various Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reforms, namely those since 1992, and the global financial and economic crises, specifically [...] Read more.
Over recent decades several European and global occurrences have had an impact on the European Union’s economic sectors, and subsequently on farms. In fact, the various Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reforms, namely those since 1992, and the global financial and economic crises, specifically after 2008, seem to have had several effects on the dynamics of the entire European Union agricultural sector and on the performance of farms. However, there is doubt as to whether these events were enough to promote structural breaks in European Union farms. In this way, the main objective of this study is to analyse both the known and unknown structural breaks in European farms, between 1989 and 2016. To this purpose, data from the Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN) from the twelve former member-states (the countries with the longer time series) and methodologies based on the Chow test and on the Quandt likelihood ratio (QLR) were considered. The results show that the structural breaks are different across the several twelve former European Union countries and among the several variables considered. In any case, the financial and economic crises, as well as changes in the European Union’s methodologies relative to statistical information, seem to have had a greater impact on the European farms than the several CAP reforms (with the exception of the reform of 1992 the trade liberalization). However, the several consequences of all these European and world events on European farms seem to be delayed for some years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture Policies: Experiences and Challenges)
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Open AccessArticle
On the Evolution of Trade and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards: The Role of Trade Agreements
Agriculture 2019, 9(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9010002 - 21 Dec 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Trade agreements and trade measures are policy instruments thought to favour trade by providing a degree of harmonisation among members. We analyse how the agri-food trade and the incidence of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards (SPSs) have evolved within countries sharing agreements. We examine, [...] Read more.
Trade agreements and trade measures are policy instruments thought to favour trade by providing a degree of harmonisation among members. We analyse how the agri-food trade and the incidence of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards (SPSs) have evolved within countries sharing agreements. We examine, through a regression discontinuity design, whether the approval of agreements affects the evolution of trade and SPSs over time, and quantify the trade effects of SPSs. We also provide differences before and after the introduction of agreements, and among the most regulated agri-food products. Findings show that trade agreements tend to favour the increase of trade and the reduction of policy measures between members. However, regulation inequalities exist across trade agreements covering different geo-economic areas: after the approval of agreements, the existence and the importance of SPSs become relevant among developing countries, whereas the pervasiveness of SPSs becomes less stringent between developed and developing countries. Our analyses also prove that trade agreements and trade measures are trade-enhancing only at aggregate level: product-specific analyses show that cereal is the only sector that benefits from the joint influence of trade agreements and SPSs. The harmonisation of SPSs within agreements may be determinant in avoiding distortions in favour of members. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture Policies: Experiences and Challenges)
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainability of Improved Crop Varieties and Agricultural Practices: A Case Study in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia
Agriculture 2018, 8(11), 177; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8110177 - 09 Nov 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Technological change has been the major driving force for increasing agricultural productivity and promoting agriculture development in developing countries. To improve the agricultural productivity and farmers’ livelihoods, several agricultural technologies (improved crop varieties and related agricultural practices) were introduced by various agencies to [...] Read more.
Technological change has been the major driving force for increasing agricultural productivity and promoting agriculture development in developing countries. To improve the agricultural productivity and farmers’ livelihoods, several agricultural technologies (improved crop varieties and related agricultural practices) were introduced by various agencies to the farmers in the Rift Valley of Ethiopia. Thus, the objective of this study is to identify these technologies, and evaluate their characteristics and sustainability. The data were collected from farmers, agricultural extension workers, and agricultural experts, through a series of focus group discussions, key informant interviews, and farm observations, selected through purposive and random sampling techniques. Results showed that extension systems, social networks, or research projects were the agencies that introduced the technologies to the farmers. Haricot beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) and early and mid-maturing maize (Zea mays L.), as well as agricultural practices like row-sowing, banding fertilizer application, intercropping, and traditional rainwater-harvesting, were found to be in continuous use by the farmers. In contrast, the use of extra-early-maturing maize, sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L.) and finger millet (Eleusine coracana L.), as well as the use of related practices, including harvesting maize at physiological maturity, seed priming and fertilizer microdosing, were the technologies that were discontinued at the time of pursuing this study. Most of the continuing technologies had a high potential for reducing the vulnerability of the rain-fed agriculture to rainfall variability. Regardless of sources, the national extension system supported technologies that were integrated into the system only. Most of the discontinued technologies were found to be introduced by the research projects. These technologies were not brought into the attention of policy-makers for their integration into the extension system. The farmers also disliked a few of them for unfitting the existing socioeconomic setting. Whereas, the technologies that were introduced by the social networks were found to be widely used by the farmers, though they were not supported by the extension system. This is because most such technologies offer better yield and income. For instance, social networks have popularized haricot beans and hybrid maize because of their higher benefits to farmers. Farmers consider both socioeconomic and agroecological conditions for selecting and using technologies, whereas the extension system centers on existing agroecological conditions for recommending and supporting agricultural technologies. Consideration of both socioeconomic and agroecological settings would increase the prospect of a technology for sustainable adoption. Overall, rainfall variability, high price and poor access to improved seeds, farmers’ poor economic conditions, and the inadequate linkage between extension systems, social networks and research projects, remain critical factors influencing the sustainable use of agricultural technologies. It is, thus, commendable that policymakers should consider local socioeconomic and agroecological settings in recommending and supporting agricultural technologies besides instituting a strong consortium of extension systems, research institutes, research projects, social networks and farmers for improved agricultural technology development, extension system and sustainable adoption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture Policies: Experiences and Challenges)
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Open AccessArticle
Integrated Assessment of the EU’s Greening Reform and Feed Self-Sufficiency Scenarios on Dairy Farms in Piemonte, Italy
Agriculture 2018, 8(9), 137; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8090137 - 04 Sep 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Specialised dairy farms are challenged to be competitive and yet respect environmental constrains. A tighter integration of cropping and livestock systems, both in terms of feed and manure flows, can be beneficial for the farm economy and the environment. The greening of the [...] Read more.
Specialised dairy farms are challenged to be competitive and yet respect environmental constrains. A tighter integration of cropping and livestock systems, both in terms of feed and manure flows, can be beneficial for the farm economy and the environment. The greening of the direct payments, which was introduced in the European Union’s greening reform in 2013, is assumed to stimulate the transition towards more sustainable systems. The aim of this study was to quantitatively assess the impacts of greening policies on important economic and environmental indicators of sustainability, and explore potential further improvements in policies. The Farm System SIMulator (FSSIM) bioeconomic farm model was used to simulate the consequences of scenarios of policy change on three representative dairy farms in Piedmont, Italy, i.e., an ‘intensive’, an ‘extensive’, and an ‘organic’ dairy farm. Results showed that in general, there is a large potential to increase the current economic performance of all of the farms. The most profitable activity is milk production, resulting in the allocation of all of the available farm land to feed production. Imposing feed self-sufficiency targets results in a larger adaptation of current managerial practice than the adaptations that are required due to the greening policy scenario. It was shown that the cropping system is not always able to sustain the actual herd composition when 90% feed self-sufficiency is imposed. Regarding the greening policies, it is shown that extensive and organic farms already largely comply with the greening constrains, and the extra subsidy is therefore a bonus, while the intensive farm is likely to sacrifice the subsidy, as adapting the farm plan will substantially reduce profit. The introduction of nitrogen (N)-fixing crops in ecological focus areas was the easiest greening strategy to adopt, and led to an increase in the protein feed self-sufficiency. In conclusion, it is important to note that the greening policy in its current form does not lead to reduced environmental impacts. This implies that in order to improve environmental performance, regulations are needed rather than voluntary economic incentives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture Policies: Experiences and Challenges)
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Open AccessArticle
The Conservation Effects of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Biased Policymakers
Agriculture 2018, 8(7), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8070108 - 05 Jul 2018
Abstract
In this paper, we study the effects of international trade on forest conservation and welfare in a two-country model with industry-biased policymakers and Cournot-competing firms. We find that opening up to trade increases the harvest taxes that the industry-biased governments impose compared to [...] Read more.
In this paper, we study the effects of international trade on forest conservation and welfare in a two-country model with industry-biased policymakers and Cournot-competing firms. We find that opening up to trade increases the harvest taxes that the industry-biased governments impose compared to the autarky taxes. The tax increase is large enough to decrease the production levels, which leads to higher conservation levels. In addition, the numerical simulation predicts that increasing the industry-bias monotonically increases (i) the positive tax effect, (ii) the positive conservation effect, and (iii) the welfare gains from trade. The intuition behind the results is that industry-biased governments already degrade the environment under autarky, so even a highly-distorted trade outcome can be welfare-improving. We conclude that, even if industry bias decreases conservation, it does not have to increase the environmental costs of trade. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture Policies: Experiences and Challenges)
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