Special Issue "Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture"

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: closed (31 August 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Sanzidur Rahman
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Development Consultant (Freelance), Newton Abbot, Devon, England, UK
Interests: agricultural economics; productivity and efficiency; technological progress in agriculture; sustainable agriculture; sustainable livelihoods; poverty and nutrition; international development
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Improving productivity and efficiency in agriculture is a priority concern for governments, policy makers, nongovernment organisations, relevant stakeholders and farming communities worldwide in order to meet the ever-increasing demand for food from a closing land frontier and degrading land base. Concern is also centred on sustaining agriculture to ensure future growth and supply of food. These concerns are particularly high for countries grappling with a low level of technical progress, subsistence farming, adverse production environment and changing climate.

This Special Issue is aimed at soliciting original contributions from academics, researchers, practitioners, NGOs and other stakeholders providing theoretical insights and/or empirical analysis focusing on productivity, efficiency and economic sustainability of agriculture. The editor encourages submissions with applications of innovative and/or novel methodologies ranging from parametric, semi-parametric and non-parametric approaches to address the theme of the Special Issue. The scope of submission includes original research and review articles on the theme.

Prof. Sanzidur Rahman
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 1600 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

  • Total factor productivity
  • Technological progress
  • Efficiency changes
  • Productivity and efficiency
  • Determinants of productivity and efficiency
  • Economic sustainability of agriculture
  • Panel-data
  • Time-series data
  • Cross-sectional data

Published Papers (24 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
On the Way to Sustainable Agriculture—Eco-Efficiency of Polish Commercial Farms
Agriculture 2020, 10(10), 438; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10100438 - 27 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 652
Abstract
The negative impact of agriculture on the natural environment is not a new issue. One of the ideas to overcome this problem is the eco-efficiency concept, analyzing the agricultural output in relation, not only to traditional inputs, but to the environmental impact, as [...] Read more.
The negative impact of agriculture on the natural environment is not a new issue. One of the ideas to overcome this problem is the eco-efficiency concept, analyzing the agricultural output in relation, not only to traditional inputs, but to the environmental impact, as well. This paper aims at calculating the eco-efficiency of Polish commercial farms, based on a representative sample of 601 farms participating in the Polish Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN). To assess the eco-efficiency of the farms, variables illustrating traditional inputs (land, labor, capital), as well as variables reflecting the environmental pressure of the surveyed farms (greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and nitrogen and phosphorus surpluses) were used. Data envelopment analysis (DEA) revealed that, on average, farms could reduce their inputs by almost a quarter without reducing their outputs. Additionally, it was revealed that incorporating externalities of agricultural production into analyses decreases the diversity of the farm population in terms of efficiency measures. According to the analyses, more eco-efficient farms are characterized by larger utilized agricultural area (UAA), higher production value, and higher intensity of chemical inputs per 1 ha, but at the same time by lower amounts of inputs used per production unit. Moreover, more eco-efficient farms achieved higher farm incomes in many terms: total, per 1 ha of UAA, and per 1 EUR of production value. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Managing Rural Areas in the Context of the Growing Debt of Polish Local Government Units
Agriculture 2020, 10(9), 376; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10090376 - 26 Aug 2020
Viewed by 571
Abstract
Local development is a long-term process of economic transformation. To make it happen, expenditure must be incurred, especially including investments. At a local level, the financial burden involved in the transformation is mostly on local government units. Although a three-level administrative system is [...] Read more.
Local development is a long-term process of economic transformation. To make it happen, expenditure must be incurred, especially including investments. At a local level, the financial burden involved in the transformation is mostly on local government units. Although a three-level administrative system is in place in Poland, bottom-level units (municipalities) are largely responsible for driving local development. Polish rural areas make up over 90% of the national territory, and rural municipalities alone are home to 11 million people, i.e., 30% of the total population. Poland’s accession to the European Union and the ability of local government units (LGUs) to use Union funds contributed to local development, in particular by making many rural municipalities a more attractive place to live and invest in. However, a rapid increase in debt levels was another consequence. Excessive indebtedness of LGUs threatens not only their stable operation and local development but also the stability of the whole public finance sector. The main purpose of this study was to assess the level of and differences in indebtedness of Polish rural municipalities, and to identify the key socioeconomic conditions of debt. The analysis period was 2007–2017. This article used the TOPSIS routine to develop a synthetic indicator of municipal debt levels. An ordered logit model was also employed to identify the key conditions behind municipal indebtedness in Polish rural areas. This study found that, in 2007–2009, most rural municipalities (over 50%) recorded extremely low or low levels of debt while only one-fifth were at high or extremely high levels. In turn, already in 2015–2017, more than one-third of all rural municipalities were at a high or extremely high level of debt. The study also allowed to validate the research hypothesis formulated in this paper, namely that “the key reason for the growing level and diversity of indebtedness of Polish rural municipalities is the investment activity of local authorities in seeking funds from the European Union”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Identification of Transformation Stages and Evolution of Agricultural Development Types Based on Total Factor Productivity Analysis: A Case Study of Gansu Province, China
Agriculture 2020, 10(8), 363; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10080363 - 17 Aug 2020
Viewed by 615
Abstract
Agricultural transformation is a transition process of agriculture from the low development stage to the high development stage. Identifying the agricultural transformation stage and analyzing the evolution of agricultural development types based on Total Factor Productivity (TFP) are of great significance for the [...] Read more.
Agricultural transformation is a transition process of agriculture from the low development stage to the high development stage. Identifying the agricultural transformation stage and analyzing the evolution of agricultural development types based on Total Factor Productivity (TFP) are of great significance for the rational formulation of agricultural development policies. Based on the total factor productivity analysis framework, the DEA-Malmquist index model was used to measure the agricultural TFP of the 87 counties in Gansu Province from 1988 to 2017. The cumulative anomaly method was used to help identify agricultural transformation stages. Agricultural development types of counties in different stages and their evolution process were analyzed. Results show that (1) the agricultural transformation of Gansu Province can be divided into three stages: Traditional agriculture in 1988–1998; low-capacity technology agriculture in 1999–2011; and high-capacity technology agriculture in 2012–2017. (2) From 1988 to 2017, the agricultural TFP showed periodic U-shaped fluctuations, and the areas with high TFP value expanded from the central region to the western region and then to the entire region of the province. (3) Gansu Province presented a significant spatiotemporal variation of agricultural development types. From 1988 to 1998, type-I (low technological efficiency and slow technological progress) and type-VI (high technological efficiency and fast technological progress) agricultural development was mainly observed, and these two kinds of counties accounted for 55.17% of all evaluation units. From 1999 to 2011, the number of counties with type-I agricultural development increased significantly, reaching 35, followed by the number of counties with type IV (low technological efficiency) agricultural development, reaching 18. They together accounted for 60.92% of all evaluation units. From 2012 to 2017, the number of counties with type-IV and type-VI agricultural development was the largest, reaching 29 and 25, respectively. They together accounted for 62.07% of all evaluation units. (4) Types of agricultural development frequently change—from 1988 to 2017, the influencing factors of agricultural development had undergone a transition from both technological efficiency and technological improvement to technological efficiency or technological improvement alone. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Gliricidia Agroforestry Technology Adoption Potential in Selected Dryland Areas of Dodoma Region, Tanzania
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 306; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070306 - 20 Jul 2020
Viewed by 853
Abstract
Declining soil fertility is one of the major problems facing producers of field crops in most dryland areas of Sub-Saharan Africa. In response to the declining soil fertility, extensive participatory research has been undertaken by the World Agroforestry (ICRAF) and smallholder farmers in [...] Read more.
Declining soil fertility is one of the major problems facing producers of field crops in most dryland areas of Sub-Saharan Africa. In response to the declining soil fertility, extensive participatory research has been undertaken by the World Agroforestry (ICRAF) and smallholder farmers in Dodoma region, Tanzania. The research has, amongst others, led to the development of Gliricidia agroforestry technology. The positive impact of Gliricidia intercropping on crop yields has been established. However, information on farmers’ willingness and ability to adopt the Gliricidia agroforestry technology on their farms is limited. This study predicts the adoption of Gliricidia agroforestry and conventional mineral fertilizer use technology. Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) were conducted with groups of farmers, purposively selected based on five sets of criteria: (i) at least 2 years of experience in either trying or using Gliricidia agroforestry technology, (ii) at least 1 year of experience in either trying or using the mineral fertilizer technology (iii) at least 10 years of living in the study villages, (iv) the age of 18 years and above, and (v) sex. The Adoption and Diffusion Outcome Prediction Tool (ADOPT) was used to predict the peak adoption levels and the respective time in years. A sensitivity analysis was conducted to assess the effect of change in adoption variables on predicted peak adoption levels and time to peak adoption. The results revealed variations in peak adoption levels with Gliricidia agroforestry technology exhibiting the highest peak of 67.6% in 12 years, and that the most influential variable to the peak adoption is the upfront cost of investing in Gliricidia agroforestry and fertilizer technologies. However, in Gliricidia agroforestry technology most production costs are incurred in the first year of project establishment but impact the long term biophysical and economic benefits. Moreover, farmers practicing agroforestry technology accrue environmental benefits, such as soil erosion control. Based on the results, it is plausible to argue that Gliricidia agroforestry technology has a high adoption potential and its adoption is influenced by investment costs. We recommend two actions to attract smallholder farmers investing in agroforestry technologies. First, enhancing farmers’ access to inputs at affordable prices. Second, raising farmers’ awareness of the long-term environmental benefits of Gliricidia agroforestry technology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Ecological and Economic Indicators for the Evaluation of Almond (Prunus dulcis L.) Orchard Renewal in Sicily
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 301; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070301 - 17 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 785
Abstract
Globally, almond production is experiencing a growing trend thanks to a strong interest in the health, gastronomic, and industrial properties that are linked to the fruits and their derivatives. After a constant and marked decline in the second half of the last century, [...] Read more.
Globally, almond production is experiencing a growing trend thanks to a strong interest in the health, gastronomic, and industrial properties that are linked to the fruits and their derivatives. After a constant and marked decline in the second half of the last century, the Mediterranean Basin is thoroughly reassessing this crop, which provides significant results with a modern orchard management. The opportunity determined by the transition from traditional to modern systems have increased the interest in evaluating the different environmental impacts of the two cultivation models that still coexist today. In this work, through the application of the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and an economic assessment approach with an in-depth analysis related to the cultivation cycle and the use of resources, the role played by each factor involved in production was determined. Overall, the Greenhouses Gases (GHG) emissions in modern farms are higher (Global Warming Potential (GWP) 0.224 kg CO2 eq.) than those in traditional farms (GWP 0.182 kg CO2 eq.). Regarding the economic assessment, it appears relevant that the modern almond model in the full production phase guarantees significantly higher margins (+84%).The perception of the importance attributed to evaluating economic and environmental aspects by different stakeholders shows relevant differences in the approach coming from growers, dealers, and governmental institutions allows the investigators to positively underline the current innovation in almond orchard systems considering the balance between fruit production and the conservation of environmental resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Deficit Irrigation and Water Quality on Production and Water Productivity of Tomato in Greenhouse
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 297; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070297 - 14 Jul 2020
Viewed by 1117
Abstract
This study deals with the evaluation of the effects of deficit irrigation (DI) and water quality (WQ) on the vegetative and productive response of greenhouse-grown tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. cv. Izmir). A pot-based experiment was carried out over two growing seasons. [...] Read more.
This study deals with the evaluation of the effects of deficit irrigation (DI) and water quality (WQ) on the vegetative and productive response of greenhouse-grown tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. cv. Izmir). A pot-based experiment was carried out over two growing seasons. Three WQ: (groundwater, recycled wastewater and a mix of both) were applied in four irrigation scenarios which targeted soil moisture content (SMC) maintaining at 60%, 70%, 80% and 100% of field capacity (FC). Results showed that both DI and WQ had significant effects on crop development, yield and water productivity. The highest values of plant height (186.0 ± 0.58 cm) and stem diameter (23.40 ± 0.02 mm) were found at 100% FC (control). Total yield ranged from 2.33 ± 0.03 kg/plant (60% FC) to 4.05 ± 0.06 kg/plant (control). However, mild water stress (SMC maintaining at 80% FC) showed a positive effect on irrigation water use efficiency (IWUE) without significant yield reduction compared to control. IWUE was at its maximum (31.77 ± 0.47 kg/m3) at 80% FC. A DI regime based on 80% FC could be an efficient irrigation strategy particularly in water-limiting condition. Recycled wastewater was superior among the three WQ for achieving a better crop growth, yield and water productivity at same DI level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Factors Influencing Youth Involvement in Horticulture Agribusiness in Tanzania: A Case Study of Njombe Region
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 287; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070287 - 10 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 967
Abstract
Involvement of youth in horticulture agribusiness has become a vital approach to create employment opportunities among the youth in Tanzania. This study aimed at examining the extent of youth participation and factors influencing youth involvement in horticulture agribusiness with a focus on innovations [...] Read more.
Involvement of youth in horticulture agribusiness has become a vital approach to create employment opportunities among the youth in Tanzania. This study aimed at examining the extent of youth participation and factors influencing youth involvement in horticulture agribusiness with a focus on innovations in post-harvest management (PHM). Data were collected from a sample of 576 male and female youth in Njombe region using a multi-stage random sampling technique. Data were analyzed using an ordered logit model and descriptive statistics. Results of the ordered logit analysis showed that primary school education, Form IV and above, management innovation, access to credit, good perception of horticulture for agribusiness and improved packaging materials positively and significantly influence youth involvement in horticulture agribusiness. Gender and land size had a negative and significant influence on youth involvement in horticulture agribusiness, as indicated by higher percentages of male youth (59%) participation in the horticulture agribusiness. Therefore, this study suggests increased investment in capacity development of the youth on PHM innovations and the development of rural infrastructure such as agro-processing and storage facilities by the government and private sector. Increasing the availability of improved packaging materials and provision of youth-friendly credit schemes could encourage youth in horticulture agribusiness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Sources of Total-Factor Productivity and Efficiency Changes in China’s Agriculture
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 279; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070279 - 08 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 808
Abstract
The core of agricultural development depends on agricultural production efficiency improvement, and total-factor productivity growth is its significant embodiment. Hence, it is essential to address the question of “how to improve China’s agricultural productivity and efficiency in order to achieve growth and sustainability [...] Read more.
The core of agricultural development depends on agricultural production efficiency improvement, and total-factor productivity growth is its significant embodiment. Hence, it is essential to address the question of “how to improve China’s agricultural productivity and efficiency in order to achieve growth and sustainability of agriculture in the future”. This paper estimates indices of China’s agricultural technical efficiency (TE) scores, total-factor productivity (TFP), and its two components, technological change/progress (TC) and technical efficiency change (EC), using provincial-level panel data of 30 provinces from 2002 to 2017 by applying a stochastic frontier approach (SFA). The paper also identifies determinants of TE, TC, and TFP using selected indicators from four hierarchical levels of the economy, i.e., farm level, production environment level, provincial level, and the state level, by applying a system-GMM method. Results reveal that agricultural labor, machinery, agricultural plastic film, and pesticides are the significant drivers of agricultural productivity, with no significant role of land area under cultivation. Constant returns to scale exist in China’s agriculture. The agricultural technical efficiency level fluctuated between 80% and 91% with a stable trend and a slight decline in later years, while TFP improved consistently over time, mainly driven by technological progress. Among the determinants, government investment in agricultural development projects significantly drives TC and TE, while the experienced labor force significantly increases TE. The disaster rate significantly reduces TE but promotes TC and TFP. The literacy rate significantly improves TC and TFP. However, government expenditures in “agriculture, forestry, and water” significantly reduce TE, TC, and TFP. Policy recommendations include (1) increased levels of mechanization and agriculture film use while avoiding an increase in pesticide use, (2) a continued increase in government expenditure in agricultural development projects, R&D to improve technological progress, and diffusion of modern agricultural technologies, and (3) investment in education targeted at the farming population in order to continue the growth in the productivity and sustainability of China’s agriculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Gender Matters: Climate Change, Gender Bias, and Women’s Farming in the Global South and North
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 267; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070267 - 03 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1536
Abstract
Can investing in women’s agriculture increase productivity? This paper argues that it can. We assess climate and gender bias impacts on women’s production in the global South and North and challenge the male model of agricultural development to argue further that women’s farming [...] Read more.
Can investing in women’s agriculture increase productivity? This paper argues that it can. We assess climate and gender bias impacts on women’s production in the global South and North and challenge the male model of agricultural development to argue further that women’s farming approaches can be more sustainable. Level-based analysis (global, regional, local) draws on a literature review, including the authors’ published longitudinal field research in Ghana and the United States. Women farmers are shown to be undervalued and to work harder, with fewer resources, for less compensation; gender bias challenges are shared globally while economic disparities differentiate; breaches of distributive, gender, and intergenerational justices as well as compromise of food sovereignty affect women everywhere. We conclude that investing in women’s agriculture needs more than standard approaches of capital and technology investment. Effective ‘investment’ would include systemic interventions into agricultural policy, governance, education, and industry; be directed at men as well as women; and use gender metrics, for example, quotas, budgets, vulnerability and impacts assessments, to generate assessment reports and track gender parity in agriculture. Increasing women’s access, capacity, and productivity cannot succeed without men’s awareness and proactivity. Systemic change can increase productivity and sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture)
Open AccessArticle
The Evaluation of Negative Factors of Direct Payments under Common Agricultural Policy from a Viewpoint of Sustainability of Rural Regions of the New EU Member States: Evidence from Lithuania
Agriculture 2020, 10(6), 228; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10060228 - 12 Jun 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 762
Abstract
The present study aims to determine and evaluate the negative consequences of the implementation of the direct payments financial support mechanism under the Common Agricultural Policy on the rural sustainability of Lithuania. Interviews of experts and a combination of the analytic hierarchy process [...] Read more.
The present study aims to determine and evaluate the negative consequences of the implementation of the direct payments financial support mechanism under the Common Agricultural Policy on the rural sustainability of Lithuania. Interviews of experts and a combination of the analytic hierarchy process with three different measurement scales and the analytic hierarchy process with triangular fuzzy numbers were employed in order to evaluate and rank the negative effects of the direct payments mechanism of the Common Agricultural Policy. It was revealed that high land prices, decreasing diversification of cultivated crops, land degradation, and financial indebtedness of farmers can be attributed to direct payments and these consequences have a significant negative impact on the rural sustainability of Lithuania. The necessity of using a combination of different evaluation scales and techniques was confirmed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture)
Open AccessShort Note
Influence of Topography on Sustainable Land Management: An Analysis of Socioeconomic and Ecodemographic Conditions of Nepal
Agriculture 2020, 10(6), 224; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10060224 - 11 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 904
Abstract
Around 6 to 8 million young Nepali, working abroad as migrant laborers, are contributing remittances of about 28% of the annual gross domestic product of Nepal. However, due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, Nepal is not only going to lose a significant portion [...] Read more.
Around 6 to 8 million young Nepali, working abroad as migrant laborers, are contributing remittances of about 28% of the annual gross domestic product of Nepal. However, due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, Nepal is not only going to lose a significant portion of remittances but will also face the Herculean task of creating employment for the workforce who may return to Nepal. This paper discusses sustainable options for the Nepali government to help create employment for its citizens in Nepal through the revitalization of fallow lands and other potential agricultural areas, which are below a 15° slope. The land-use and land-cover data for the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s are derived from the classification of satellite images. These classified and resampled 30 m × 30 m images along with the 30 × 30 m elevation data are brought to the Kibana Platform within the Amazon Web Service (AWS) to analyze the status of land-use and -cover conditions for the 1980 to 2010 period within nine different slope classes at an interval of 5° slope. Our findings suggest there have been massive conversions of forested areas for agricultural land at lower slope areas between 1980 and 2000, but the trend began to reverse from 2000 to 2010 as trees started coming back to the fallow agricultural lands. This happened mainly because, during the countrywide Maoist insurgency period (1996–2006), many youth first took shelter in various urban centers away from their natal homes and then emigrated to foreign countries for remittance purposes. As a result, many farmlands became fallow and barren, and agricultural productivity decreased. Consequently, Nepal, an exporter of rice and pulses until the late 1980s, started importing food grain each year. The major goals of this research are to explore: (a) if Nepal can self-sustain in agricultural products by utilizing potential agricultural lands below a 15° slope in various geographic regions; (b) the means for productively engaging the youth returning to the country; and (c) methods of reinvigorating the ecosystem services of Nepal to support sustainable development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Resource-Efficient Classification and Early Predictions of Carcass Composition in Fattening Pigs by Means of Ultrasound Examinations
Agriculture 2020, 10(6), 222; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10060222 - 10 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 594
Abstract
The development of the backfat thickness of fattening pigs in relation to their weight allows first conclusions to be drawn concerning the efficiency of individual growth and classification of the carcass. The hypothesis was that, firstly, via measurement of backfat thickness and muscle [...] Read more.
The development of the backfat thickness of fattening pigs in relation to their weight allows first conclusions to be drawn concerning the efficiency of individual growth and classification of the carcass. The hypothesis was that, firstly, via measurement of backfat thickness and muscle diameter, their ratio and the quality of the carcass can be predicted and that, secondly, using resource-efficient and sustainable feeding has no negative effects on the carcass. Over a 70-day period, ultrasound examinations of backfat and musculus longissimus dorsi were performed in a pen with sorting gates and automatic body mass recordings every two weeks on 121 animals of the same age, starting at approximately 50 kg. Data were subdivided into four groups for each measurement time. There was weak (Examination 1: r = −0.28164; p = 0.0018) but steadily increasing correlation (Examination 5: r = −0.60657; p ≤ 0.0001) between the backfat/muscle ratio and the carcass quality. In all four groups, significant differences in the diameter of the M. longissimus dorsi (“light fat (LF) = 3.29 cm; “light lean (LL)” = 3.62 cm; “heavy fat (HF)” = 3.69 cm; “heavy lean (HL)” = 3.93 cm) and in backfat thickness (LF = 0.44 cm; LL = 0.38 cm; HF= 0.47 cm; HL= 0.39 cm) could be shown during the first examination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Five Decades of Productivity and Efficiency Changes in World Agriculture (1969–2013)
Agriculture 2020, 10(6), 200; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10060200 - 02 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 719
Abstract
The present study applied the Färe–Primont index approach to estimate the total factor productivity (TFP) growth of world agriculture, covering the period 1969–2013. Overall, the world agricultural TFP grew at a rate of 0.44% p.a. This growth was mainly contributed to by technological [...] Read more.
The present study applied the Färe–Primont index approach to estimate the total factor productivity (TFP) growth of world agriculture, covering the period 1969–2013. Overall, the world agricultural TFP grew at a rate of 0.44% p.a. This growth was mainly contributed to by technological progress and mix efficiency changes, while the contributions of technical efficiency and scale efficiency changes were negligible. TFP growth varied across regions, with South Asia at the top of the list (1.05% p.a.), and East Asia and the Pacific (0.18% p.a.) at the bottom. TFP components exerted differential influences amongst regions. For instance, mix efficiency played a dominant role in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, whereas it was technical efficiency change in Latin America and the Caribbean region. The paper argues for region specific policy interventions emphasizing technical progress through investment in R&D and price and non-price interventions to improve economies of scope and scale of operation in the agricultural sector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
The Impact of Intellectual Capital Efficiency on Corporate Sustainable Growth-Evidence from Smart Agriculture in China
Agriculture 2020, 10(6), 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10060199 - 02 Jun 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 796
Abstract
In this paper, we expand the value-added intellectual coefficient (VAIC) model by constructing a comprehensive financial capital (FC) component. Human capital efficiency is subdivided into executive (EHCE) and nonexecutive human capital efficiency (NHCE). We have sampled listed agriculture companies (LAC) in China’s Shanghai [...] Read more.
In this paper, we expand the value-added intellectual coefficient (VAIC) model by constructing a comprehensive financial capital (FC) component. Human capital efficiency is subdivided into executive (EHCE) and nonexecutive human capital efficiency (NHCE). We have sampled listed agriculture companies (LAC) in China’s Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share markets from 2009 to 2018 and categorized them as high-tech (HTAC) and non-high-tech agriculture companies (NHTAC). We find that capital employed efficiency (CEE) and EHCE have a significant positive effect on corporate sustainable growth (CSG) of HTAC but no significant effect on CSG of NHTAC, while FC has a significant positive effect on both. These results suggest that companies, especially HTAC, should invest in human capital, and their executives and policymakers should develop effective knowledge management tools and begin accumulating the necessary intellectual capital to allow adaptation to their changing environment. In the spirit of the intellectual agriculture concept, we present some new ways to study the performance of agricultural companies using intellectual capital and offer suggestions that can help to modernize the industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture)
Open AccessArticle
Agricultural Land Price Convergence: Evidence from Polish Provinces
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 183; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050183 - 21 May 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1151
Abstract
This research deals with the problem of agricultural land market efficiency using the spatial market integration concept as well as the present value (PV) model. Empirically, it aims to test the convergence of agricultural land prices across Polish provinces. In order to check [...] Read more.
This research deals with the problem of agricultural land market efficiency using the spatial market integration concept as well as the present value (PV) model. Empirically, it aims to test the convergence of agricultural land prices across Polish provinces. In order to check the law of one price (LOP), good-quality, medium-quality and bad-quality land sales markets are examined separately. Furthermore, this study is complemented by an analysis of the drivers behind agricultural land price convergence. The main method of testing price convergence is the log t regression. The latter was performed in two configurations, i.e., based on trend components of time series extracted using the Hodrick–Prescott filter and the Hamilton filter. Additionally, traditional β- and σ-convergence tests were applied. The obtained results indicated that agricultural land prices tend to converge in relative terms, which means that the provinces share a common long-run growth path. This finding and estimates of traditional convergence tests prove the increasing integration in the agricultural land market in Poland. There is no evidence, however, to support the conclusion that the absolute version of the long-run LOP holds. Moreover, using dynamic fixed effects models, it was identified that for good-, medium- and bad-quality land prices almost the same drivers of convergence apply. The only differences concern the strength of the influence of independent variables on prices of farmland of various types. Additionally, bad-quality land prices are the only ones which are affected by livestock density. Furthermore, estimates of the present value model finally confirmed that the agricultural land sales market in Poland cannot be considered as efficient. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Farmers’ Willingness to Pay for Services to Ensure Sustainable Agricultural Income in the GAP-Harran Plain, Şanlıurfa, Turkey
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 152; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050152 - 04 May 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 966
Abstract
Sustainable agriculture is necessary for farmers to have a sustainable income. This research aims to determine the willingness to pay (WTP) of farmers in the GAP-Harran Plain for services that would ensure sustainable agricultural income, the factors affecting their willingness, and the minimum [...] Read more.
Sustainable agriculture is necessary for farmers to have a sustainable income. This research aims to determine the willingness to pay (WTP) of farmers in the GAP-Harran Plain for services that would ensure sustainable agricultural income, the factors affecting their willingness, and the minimum amount they would be willing to pay. The main material of the research has been obtained by means of face-to-face surveys involving farmers selected by a simple random sampling method in the GAP-Harran Plain. The sampling volume was determined with a 95% confidence limit and a 5% error margin. Heckman’s two-stage model was used for the analysis. According to the results of the research, 22.61% of the participants showed WTP, and the average amount they were willing to pay was 180.82 TL/hectare (ha) ($31.86/ha). This amount was 3.08% of the average annual agricultural income calculated. About 41.22% of the participants showed no WTP. They believed that the public sector is accountable of the services and consequently, they should be provided free of charge. About 23.14% of the participants showed WTP only for the services that they needed. The average WTP for all participants was calculated as 40.9 TL/ha ($7.21/ha) and 1.2 million $/year for the GAP-Harran Plain. This amount is the minimum and may increase by several folds with a demand-based variety of service delivery. The factors that statistically effect WTP have been determined as age, education, experience, number of households working in agriculture, amount of land, agricultural income, non-agricultural income, membership status of agricultural cooperatives, and product pattern. The results provide useful information to guide researchers, decision-makers, and policy-makers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
The Determinants of Risk Transmission between Oil and Agricultural Prices: An IPVAR Approach
Agriculture 2020, 10(4), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10040120 - 10 Apr 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 776
Abstract
Previous empirical studies have generally considered biofuel as a main factor in changes in the relationship between oil and agricultural prices because these changes happened after U.S. biofuel policies were implemented. However, it has been argued that other economic factors can trigger the [...] Read more.
Previous empirical studies have generally considered biofuel as a main factor in changes in the relationship between oil and agricultural prices because these changes happened after U.S. biofuel policies were implemented. However, it has been argued that other economic factors can trigger the correlation of these two markets. This study was conducted to examine the transmission mechanisms that influence the relationship between oil and agricultural prices. This paper used the interacted panel vector autoregressive framework, which allowed us to investigate the effect of biofuel production under different regimes of exchange rates and global economic activities. The responses of agricultural prices to oil prices at different levels of biofuel production, global economic activity, and exchange rates were examined in this paper. Data on prices for 10 agricultural commodities—barley, beans, corn, cotton, oats, rice, sorghum, soybean, sunflower, and wheat—from January 2000 to May 2019, were used in this study. Our findings indicate that oil prices can affect agricultural prices through biofuel and exchange rates. Moreover, the effect of biofuel depends on the level of global economic activity and exchange rates. We offer some policy implications on the basis of our findings in this study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing the Productivity of Common Bean in Intercrop with Maize across Agro-Ecological Zones of Smallholder Farms in the Northern Highlands of Tanzania
Agriculture 2020, 10(4), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10040117 - 08 Apr 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 919
Abstract
Common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) is an important grain legume for food and cash of the smallholder farmers worldwide. However, the total potential benefits to be derived from the common bean as a source of food and income, its complementarities with non-legume [...] Read more.
Common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) is an important grain legume for food and cash of the smallholder farmers worldwide. However, the total potential benefits to be derived from the common bean as a source of food and income, its complementarities with non-legume food crops, and significance to the environment are underexploited. Intensification of common bean could provide approaches that offer new techniques to better manage and monitor globally complex systems of sustainable food production. Therefore, this study tried to assess the productivity of common bean bushy varieties when are involved as part of an intercrop with maize (Zea mays L.) in varying agro-ecological zones. The factors evaluated were the cropping seasons/years (S) (2015 and 2016), agro-ecological zones (A) above sea level (lower 843 m, middle 1051 m, upper 1743 m), and cropping systems (C) (sole, intercrop). The data collected were the total biomass, number of pods per plant and seeds per pod, 100-seed weight as yield components, and grain yield. Bean and maize grain yields were used to calculate the partial (P) and total land equivalent ratio (LER). Results indicated that the main effects of S, A, C, and the interaction effects of S × A, S × C, S × A × C were significant on bean grain yields. Interactions of S × A × C were also significant on all measured variables. Results also indicated that continuous intercropping of bean with maize over two cropping seasons resulted in the increase of bean grain yields from 1.5 to 2.3 t ha−1 in the lower altitude, 2.0 to 2.3 t ha−1 in the middle altitude, and 1.8 to 2.9 t ha−1 in the upper altitude. Land utilization advantage of intercrops over monocultures yielded a total LER of 1.58, whereas the average partial land equivalent ratio (PLER) of individual beans was 1.53. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
DEA Performance Measurements in Cotton Production of Harran Plain, Turkey: A Single and Double Bootstrap Truncated Regression Approaches
Agriculture 2020, 10(4), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10040108 - 03 Apr 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 811
Abstract
A single and a double bootstrap of data envelopment analysis examines Harran Plain cotton farming in Turkey. The single bootstrap technique was employed to derive the bias-corrected efficiency values under both constant returns to scale (CRS) and versus variable returns to scale (VRS) [...] Read more.
A single and a double bootstrap of data envelopment analysis examines Harran Plain cotton farming in Turkey. The single bootstrap technique was employed to derive the bias-corrected efficiency values under both constant returns to scale (CRS) and versus variable returns to scale (VRS) technologies while discriminating between the two technologies using a smoothed bootstrap test statistic. Results indicated that the farms operated under VRS technology. Given that VRS technology prevailed across Harran Plain cotton farmers sampled, we then determined factors affecting the bias-corrected technical efficiencies using the double bootstrap technique. Another important finding in the single bootstrap analysis is that cotton farmers in the region have a U-shaped technical efficiency based on the input and output scale. Thus, small-scale farmers tend to use their resources more efficiently in cotton farming than that of both medium- and large-scale farmers. Interestingly, the medium-scale farmers with resource inefficiency are at the forefront of the other two types of farmers (i.e., small-scale and large-scale) on the Harran Plain in Turkey. The results also showed that most of the farm and farmer specific as well as economic factors play a significant role in explaining the technical efficiency values. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainable Economic Development of Farms in Central and Eastern European Countries Driven by Pro-investment Mechanisms of the Common Agricultural Policy
Agriculture 2020, 10(4), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10040093 - 27 Mar 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1004
Abstract
Improvements in sustainability at the farm level are the basic driver of agricultural sustainability at the macro level. This is a challenge that can only be met by farms which efficiently process inputs into products. The increase in the efficiency of European farms [...] Read more.
Improvements in sustainability at the farm level are the basic driver of agricultural sustainability at the macro level. This is a challenge that can only be met by farms which efficiently process inputs into products. The increase in the efficiency of European farms is largely conditioned by measures taken under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), especially its second pillar. The purpose of this study was to determine the net effect of pro-investment instruments available under the second pillar of the CAP in selected Central and Eastern European countries. Unpublished Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN) microdata provided by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI) were used as the source material. The study presented in this paper is unique in that the research tasks are based on unpublished microdata of selected Central and Eastern European farms. The study relied on the Propensity Score Matching approach; the net effect of pro-investment mechanisms was analyzed using productivity and profitability indicators calculated for farms which have been keeping FADN records for a continuous period of no less than 6 years. As shown by the study, structural funds available under the CAP clearly provided an investment incentive for farms. The conclusion from the assessment of changes in the availability of productive inputs is that the beneficiaries reported a greater increase in fixed asset value and in farm area in all countries except for the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The comparative analysis of countries covered by this study failed to clearly confirm that labor is substituted with capital to a significant extent. Every country covered by this study experienced a noticeable negative net effect on both the productivity and profitability of capital. When considering all the countries, the beneficiary group has no clear advantage over the control group in terms of changes in land and labor productivity and profitability (a statistically significant positive effect was recorded for land productivity and profitability in Slovenia). As regards labor, a statistically significant positive net effect (a difference in growth rate between the beneficiary group and the control group) was recorded in Slovenia, but also in Poland, where beneficiary farms reported a greater increment in labor profitability and reduced the negative difference in labor productivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Economic Situation of Dairy Farms in Identified Clusters of European Union Countries
Agriculture 2020, 10(4), 92; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10040092 - 27 Mar 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 730
Abstract
The economic situation of EU dairy farms is unstable and differs strongly between member countries. Most studies addressing the EU’s agricultural sector focus on selected countries or selected groups of operators. Conversely, this paper seeks to determine the economic situation of dairy farms [...] Read more.
The economic situation of EU dairy farms is unstable and differs strongly between member countries. Most studies addressing the EU’s agricultural sector focus on selected countries or selected groups of operators. Conversely, this paper seeks to determine the economic situation of dairy farms in EU countries grouped into types according to their production potential. The analysis relied on data collected and processed in the FADN (Farm Accountancy Data Network). The farms were classified based on a hierarchical clustering routine. The agglomerative technique was used. Distances between clusters were calculated using the Ward’s method. In turn, the distance between countries was calculated as the Euclidean distance. This study enabled the identification of five different types of dairy farms in the EU. On an EU-wide basis, medium and large-sized highly specialized intensive farms play a key role in milk production. Despite their profitability being somehow restricted, they report high levels of labor productivity thanks to an advantageous production potential. In turn, an insufficient potential is among the main restrictions faced by other dairy farms in the EU; their advantageous financial indicators often fail to provide satisfactory levels of income which could drive investment and consumption opportunities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Land Equivalent Ratio in the Intercropping of Cucumber with Lettuce as a Function of Cucumber Population Density
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030088 - 23 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1309
Abstract
Lettuce and cucumber are two important vegetables cultivated in greenhouses. Intercropping can increase the yield without increasing the demands for inputs. A more efficient use of resources in production systems can reduce costs and environmental impacts. We evaluated the land equivalent ratio (LER) [...] Read more.
Lettuce and cucumber are two important vegetables cultivated in greenhouses. Intercropping can increase the yield without increasing the demands for inputs. A more efficient use of resources in production systems can reduce costs and environmental impacts. We evaluated the land equivalent ratio (LER) of intercropping cucumber and lettuce as a function of the cucumber population. An experiment was conducted in a greenhouse to evaluate the cucumber population density (100, 85, 70, and 55% of 2.35 plants m−2) and two lettuce cultivars, ‘Lucy Brown’ and ‘Vanda’. The cucumber population density affected the amount of photosynthetically active radiation that reached the lettuce. The higher the density, the lower the total fresh mass and yield of the two lettuce cultivars. Fruit yield per plant and per area decreased and increased, respectively, as the density increased. LER was highest when cucumber was intercropped with ‘Vanda’ lettuce. LER increased with the density of ‘Vanda’ but decreased for ‘Lucy Brown’. ‘Lucy Brown’ produced commercial traits (head formation) only at the lowest density (55%). The presence of lettuce did not affect the cucumber yield per plant or per area. The intercropped system used land more efficiently than monocultured crops of lettuce and cucumber, with better results for ‘Vanda’ than ‘Lucy Brown’. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Has Rural Migration Weakened Agricultural Cultivation? Evidence from the Mountains of Southwest China
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030063 - 05 Mar 2020
Viewed by 816
Abstract
Linkages between rural migration and agricultural restructuring have become a key aspect of rapid urbanization in developing countries and a research focus for optimizing rural–urban development and rural reconstruction. Using continuous statistical data from the mountains of Southwest China, we examined the structure, [...] Read more.
Linkages between rural migration and agricultural restructuring have become a key aspect of rapid urbanization in developing countries and a research focus for optimizing rural–urban development and rural reconstruction. Using continuous statistical data from the mountains of Southwest China, we examined the structure, changes and regional differences in agricultural cultivation under urbanization, analyzed the reasons for the restructuring of agricultural cultivation, and revealed the adaptation linkages between the rural–urban transition and agricultural restructuring. The results showed that land-use changes and rural migration caused by urbanization significantly affected the cultivation structure and its change trends: the proportion of food crops decreased, while the proportion of vegetables and orchards increased. However, regional differences in the agricultural cultivation structure were significant in the various township zones. Rural migration weakened agricultural cultivation in the lake basin and nationality townships but enhanced agricultural cultivation in the river valley townships. On the basis of the adaptation linkages of urbanization, rural migration, agricultural intensification, cultivation structure and economic development, chain-type changes and adaptation processes between rural migration and agricultural restructuring were demonstrated. These findings indicate that favorable locations and appropriate policies can promote the integration and restructuring of smallholder agriculture for commercialization and intensification and vice versa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Boundary-Spanning Search for Knowledge, Knowledge Reconstruction and the Sustainable Innovation Ability of Agricultural Enterprises: A Chinese Perspective
Agriculture 2020, 10(2), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10020039 - 09 Feb 2020
Viewed by 1317
Abstract
Boundary-spanning search for knowledge is an effective way for enterprises to acquire heterogeneous knowledge, and is also an important pre-stage to realize effective knowledge reconstruction. Based on the boundary-spanning search for knowledge theory, this paper studies the relationship between boundary-spanning search for knowledge [...] Read more.
Boundary-spanning search for knowledge is an effective way for enterprises to acquire heterogeneous knowledge, and is also an important pre-stage to realize effective knowledge reconstruction. Based on the boundary-spanning search for knowledge theory, this paper studies the relationship between boundary-spanning search for knowledge and the sustainable innovation ability of agricultural enterprises considering the influence of organizational knowledge reconstruction, from a Chinese perspective. A questionnaire survey on agricultural enterprises mainly from Southeast China is conducted, and the hierarchical regression analysis method is utilized to verify five research hypotheses. The results mainly show that (1) boundary-spanning search for technology knowledge (BSSTK) and boundary-spanning search for market knowledge (BSSMK) both have a significant positive impact on the sustainable innovation ability of an agricultural enterprise; (2) organizational knowledge reconstruction plays a partial intermediary role between boundary-spanning search for knowledge (including BSSTK and BSSMK) and the sustainable innovation ability of an agricultural enterprise. From the perspective of boundary-spanning search for knowledge, this paper provides theoretical support for the promotion of sustainable innovation of an agricultural enterprise, which contributes to improving the economic sustainability of agriculture to some extent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture)
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