Special Issue "Contemporary Challenges of Agriculture and Rural Areas in the Context of Sustainable Development"

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 (15 March 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Piotr Prus
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Laboratory of Economics and Agribusiness Advisory, Department of Agronomy, Faculty of Agriculture and Biotechnology, Bydgoszcz University of Science and Technology, 85-796 Bydgoszcz, Poland
Interests: sustainable development; sustainable development of rural areas and agriculture; education for sustainable development; rural advisory services; agricultural knowledge and innovation systems (AKIS); diffusion and adoption of innovations in rural areas; multifunctional development of rural areas; entrepreneurship; non-agricultural entrepreneurship in rural areas; horizontal and vertical integration in the food sector and agriculture; formation and operation of agricultural producer groups
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The image of world agriculture and rural areas is constantly changing. These changes are influenced, among others, by social expectations and policies of individual governments, which in many cases declare support for sustainable development of agriculture and rural areas. Regardless of the global downward trend of the share of agriculture in the creation of gross domestic product and employment, its role does not weaken, while its functions are changing. In addition to production functions, more and more attention is paid to the importance of agriculture in preserving environmental values, which is part of the concept of sustainable development.

Sustainable agriculture combines economic goals with environmental requirements through the management of production processes and the efficient use of natural resources in such a way as to meet the needs of farm owners and their families, consumers of food and other agricultural products, while maintaining the high quality of the natural environment and protecting its resources. Agricultural production in accordance with the principles of sustainable development requires farm owners to meet several criteria. It is connected with the need to maintain, as per the general theory of sustainable development, the right proportions between all aspects of life and with the need for harmonious balancing of economic development with social and ecological, which is not always an easy and simple task to fulfill. On the one hand, agricultural activity aims to meet the needs of farm owners and their families, must also accumulate the funds to restore production, and allow for further economic development. On the other hand, however, due to the close connection of a farm with the surrounding natural environment, the production taking place in it must be carried out in such a way that the environmental requirements are respected. Often, agricultural producers face the dilemma of choosing to achieve their economic goals at the expense of environmental requirements. The future of rural areas depends, to a large extent, on their decisions. The basis for making optimal decisions in the process of managing a farm should be current theoretical and application knowledge—including methods, technics, and tools used in the sustainable management of a farm.

However, it is important to remember that rural areas are more than just agriculture. Increasingly, they are also a place of residence for the non-agricultural population. In many countries, it can be seen that rural areas are increasingly taking on many non-agricultural functions. Various types of manufacturing and processing plants are located there, they are a place of residence, as well as rest and recreation, etc. The harmonious development of rural areas is a huge challenge facing the world today. Therefore, the purpose of this Special Issue of Agriculture is to provoke a scientific discussion on the contemporary challenges facing agriculture and rural areas today and in the near future. The collected articles will constitute a compendium of knowledge and will propose practical solutions to the burning problems that are currently facing both agriculture and rural areas in general.

Prof. Dr. Piotr Prus
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Sustainable agricultural production
  • Sustainable cultivation techniques and technologies
  • Sustainable breeding and livestock welfare
  • Challenges of agriculture in the face of climate change
  • Impact of subsidies on the development of agriculture and rural areas
  • The role of agricultural advisory services in the development of agriculture and rural areas
  • Multifunctional development of rural areas
  • Non-agricultural functions of rural areas
  • Social development of rural areas
  • Reduction of poverty and social exclusion in rural areas
  • Agricultural markets
  • Agricultural policy
  • Agri-food trade and international agri-food markets
  • Consumer behavior changes affecting the directions of agricultural production
  • Sustainable agricultural logistics
  • Farmland price
  • Food security and food safety
  • Employment and unemployment issues in rural areas

Published Papers (35 papers)

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Article
Building Bio-Districts or Eco-Regions: Participative Processes Supported by Focal Groups
Agriculture 2021, 11(6), 511; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11060511 - 31 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1013
Abstract
Over the years, rural areas have faced a number of problems and difficulties, such as an increase in the average age of the population, desertification, loss of employment and the abandonment of rural and agricultural activities, which have led to the emergence of [...] Read more.
Over the years, rural areas have faced a number of problems and difficulties, such as an increase in the average age of the population, desertification, loss of employment and the abandonment of rural and agricultural activities, which have led to the emergence of new initiatives aimed at revitalizing these territories from a social, economic and environmental perspective, such as the successful Bio-districts or Eco-regions (e.g., Bio-district of Cilento). Understanding and establishing a proper framework for each territory based on agroecology and participatory methodologies is still a challenge. In this sense, based on the analysis of two European examples—Cilento, Italy and São Pedro do Sul, Portugal—we described each of the building processes and defined a set of drivers that might constitute guiding principles to serve as a basis for the creation of Bio-districts or Eco-regions. The drivers’ matrix identified was discussed in three focus groups carried out in Portugal in 2020. Such drivers included a technical and environmental component (the quality of the environment and landscape, the food system and the implementation of organic farming and agroecological practices), a social and economic component (valorization of the farmers, products and territories and a set of different stakeholders—farmers, consumers, schools, tourism entities and restaurants, local authorities) and a political component (the governance model). Most participants agreed that the recognition of a Bio-district or Eco-region should be informal, bottom-up, with farmers as the main pillar, with a fair and representative participation, namely family farmers. Full article
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Article
Long-Term Dynamics of Land Use in the Romanian Plain—The Central Bărăgan, Romania
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 423; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11050423 - 07 May 2021
Viewed by 854
Abstract
Changes in land use and agricultural landscapes are primarily the result of socio-political and economic changes. This research is based on the analysis of old maps, pertaining to different historical periods, aiming to capture the dynamics of the landscape in the Central Bărăgan [...] Read more.
Changes in land use and agricultural landscapes are primarily the result of socio-political and economic changes. This research is based on the analysis of old maps, pertaining to different historical periods, aiming to capture the dynamics of the landscape in the Central Bărăgan Plain. The cartographic materials used have the Map of Southern Romania from 1864, the Firing Master Plans and the Corine Land Cover dataset (1990, 2000, 2018) as reference. For the case studies, these sources are supplemented by the orthophotoplan from 2012 and the remotely-sensed image acquired by Corona satellites in 1974. The results highlight the fact that between 1864 and 2018, the Central Bărăgan Plain recorded important changes in land resources. The most significant transformations took place in the period between 1864 and 1959, when 58% of the plain area was purposed for another use in that large areas of land were introduced in the agricultural use. If in 1864 the agricultural lands represented less than half (196.896 ha) of the Central Bărăgan area, the natural areas being dominant (201.473 ha), in the first half of the 20th century, they increased exponentially (361.674 ha), the natural vegetation occupying much smaller areas (28.481 ha) mainly along the Ialomița and Călmățui rivers and near lakes. This trend is also expressed by the values of the index of naturalness which shows a drastic decrease, from 51.7% in 1864, to 10.6% in 1916–1959. There is also an increase of the area cover by settlements which should be explained by the occurrence of new villages and the increase in size of the existing villages. Another result of the approach concerns the changes that occurred in the agricultural landscape in the middle, respectively at the end of the 20th century, which is a fact quantified by computing the index of land fragmentation. The dynamics of land use and the changes in the features of the agricultural landscape, as far as the analyzed area is concerned, are due to the agrarian reforms pertaining to different historical periods, as well as to the forced relocations during the communist regime. Therefore, the study aims to highlight changes during historical, socio-economic and political time in land use and to reduce the degree of naturalness of the territory at the same time. Full article
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Article
The Urban and Peri-Urban Farms (UPFs) Relational Model: The Case of Greater Poland Voivodeship, Poland
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 421; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11050421 - 07 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 921
Abstract
Different studies demonstrate that urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) operate in so-called alternative food networks (AFNs). However, very little is known about UPA’s relational business models. Therefore, this paper investigates how the urban and peri-urban farms (UPFs) form business relationships in food networks. [...] Read more.
Different studies demonstrate that urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) operate in so-called alternative food networks (AFNs). However, very little is known about UPA’s relational business models. Therefore, this paper investigates how the urban and peri-urban farms (UPFs) form business relationships in food networks. Their business and social relationships are much more comprehensive than traditional transactional relationships. Therefore, this study aims to delimitate the relational model of UPFs. The managers and owners of nine UPFs in Greater Poland Voivodeship, Poland, in 2019 and 2020 were investigated. To this end, we employed a triple triangulation approach—methodological, theoretical, and investigator. The study refers primarily to the theory of inter-organisational relations (IORs); the empirical analysis adopts a network approach and activities–resources–actors (ARA) model framework. The study identifies UPFs business relationships and the main features of their networks, which led to the development of a conceptual relational UPFs model. This shows the diversification of activities, the competitiveness of resources and formality of organisational structures as a basis of a farm business, the integration of activities, the sharing of resources, and the collaboration of actors as the basis of the relationship. Finally, this shows the joint nature of activities—locality of resources and mutual trust among actors—as the basis of UPFs networking. Full article
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Article
Increase in the Value of Agricultural Parcels—Modelling and Simulation of the Effects of Land Consolidation Project
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 388; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11050388 - 25 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 860
Abstract
In the theory and practice of valuation, it is commonly accepted that the key feature determining the value of agricultural land is its location, both general and in a specific part (zone) of a village. The model approach used in the present study [...] Read more.
In the theory and practice of valuation, it is commonly accepted that the key feature determining the value of agricultural land is its location, both general and in a specific part (zone) of a village. The model approach used in the present study can provide the answer to the question of how to maximize the value of agricultural land as part of a conducted arrangement, agricultural works. The study used data on the market sale of agricultural parcels in 10 Polish municipalities. Each parcel was described using a set of features (parameters) that were key to its value and entered into a database. Using the database, two statistical models were built: a multiple regression analysis model (MRA) and an artificial neural network model (ANN). The studies conducted have shown that changes in such features as surface area, shape, and access to a public road were accompanied by significant changes in the market values of parcels. Another important observation was that potential decreases in the value of agricultural parcels as a result of changes in their surface areas were offset (where it was reasonable) by the elimination of their excessive elongation and providing them with an access to a public road. Based on the findings, it has been concluded that change in land value should be considered one of the effects of executed land consolidation projects (LCP), during which the parameters of agricultural parcels are subject to the biggest changes. Full article
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Article
Hazard of Contamination with Heavy Metals in Thymus serpyllum L. Herbs from Rural Areas
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 375; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040375 - 20 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 740
Abstract
The aim of the research has been to assay the contents of Zn, Cu, Mn, Fe, and Pb in soil and in the organs of wild Thymus serpyllum L. acquired from three natural habitats from the Kuyavia-Pomerania Province (Poland) not exposed to contamination [...] Read more.
The aim of the research has been to assay the contents of Zn, Cu, Mn, Fe, and Pb in soil and in the organs of wild Thymus serpyllum L. acquired from three natural habitats from the Kuyavia-Pomerania Province (Poland) not exposed to contamination with metals. As compared with the contents of the geochemical background of the soils in the region and the value of enrichment factor (EF), there was noted a considerable content of Pb in the soil from two locations. The Pb content in plant tissues in one of the three locations was higher than the admissible content specified by the World Health Organization WHO (above 10 mg kg−1 d.w.). As for the Zn content, only the plants from the locations with the relatively youngest phytocenosis met the conditions for herbs to be used for phytotherapy. The Zn content in the dry weight of the plants collected from the other two locations exceeded 50 mg kg−1. The risk of an elevated content of Zn and Pb in the plants makes it necessary to monitor the soil environment and to limit the collection of the plants from natural habitats, as well as to encourage the collection from controlled habitats. Full article
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Article
Regional Differences of Agricultural Land Market in Slovakia: A Challenge for Sustainable Agriculture
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 353; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040353 - 15 Apr 2021
Viewed by 673
Abstract
The agricultural land market and its legal and political limitations play an important role in sustainable agricultural production. This study analyzed the agricultural land market in particular regions of Slovakia in terms of the sustainability of agricultural production. We focused on the development [...] Read more.
The agricultural land market and its legal and political limitations play an important role in sustainable agricultural production. This study analyzed the agricultural land market in particular regions of Slovakia in terms of the sustainability of agricultural production. We focused on the development of proposed land prices between 2014 and 2018 to find out whether the prices proposed by landowners align with administrative land prices reflecting the soil quality in particular regions of Slovakia, or whether they are influenced by the proposed land prices of neighboring regions. Moreover, we focused on the existence of regional differences in proposed land prices in Slovakia, including differences in supply prices of arable land and permanent grasslands in particular regions. Statistical induction tools, together with multiple range tests and spatial autocorrelation, were used to confirm or refuse our expectations. We confirmed statistically significant differences in proposed land prices between regions. Moreover, we found that landowners are only influenced by the proposed land prices of their neighboring regions to a slight degree. However, we found that the price scissors between proposed land prices and administrative land prices open towards smaller administrative land prices, meaning that land of poorer fertility is supplied at a higher price than land of the best soil quality. There is a risk that expensive and poorer land plots will be used by investors for non-agricultural purposes, and agricultural production will be crowded out from these regions. Therefore, we propose that changes to the prepared legislative measures are necessary in order to promote the sustainability of agricultural production in all regions of the country. Full article
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Article
The Role of the Ecological Awareness and the Influence on Food Preferences in Shaping Pro-Ecological Behavior of Young Consumers
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 345; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040345 - 13 Apr 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 737
Abstract
Pro-ecological behavior of consumers on the food market is conditioned by many factors, among which the literature on the subject particularly indicates, is high environmental awareness. Among other factors, the influence of social groups is also emphasized, in relation to young consumers; these [...] Read more.
Pro-ecological behavior of consumers on the food market is conditioned by many factors, among which the literature on the subject particularly indicates, is high environmental awareness. Among other factors, the influence of social groups is also emphasized, in relation to young consumers; these are mainly peers and friends, which was confirmed by the authors’ research. The aim of the research was to identify the role of ecological awareness and influence on the food purchasing habits of young consumers in shaping their pro-ecological behavior. Based on the literature on the subject, structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to analyze the empirical material, reducing the number of dimensions through the use of factor analysis. Analyzing the collected material, the authors proposed three latent variables—ecological awareness (EA), impact on food preferences (IFP), and ecological behavior (EB). Hidden variables were defined by explicit variables, and the whole was characterized in the light of the literature. The research results indicated that there are significant correlations between all latent variables, however the strongest one could be observed between EA and EB. This proves that the ecological behavior of young consumers is strongly determined by their environmental awareness. Full article
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Article
Agricultural Potential of the EU Countries: How Far Are They from the USA?
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 282; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040282 - 25 Mar 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 785
Abstract
Although the EU and the USA are the largest players in the global agricultural market, there are only a few up-to-date comparative studies concerning their agricultural potential and performance. No comprehensive study covering all individual EU member states in relation to the USA [...] Read more.
Although the EU and the USA are the largest players in the global agricultural market, there are only a few up-to-date comparative studies concerning their agricultural potential and performance. No comprehensive study covering all individual EU member states in relation to the USA has been provided so far. Considering that in the light of the lasting impasse in the negotiations on both international and transatlantic trade liberalization, differences in the production structures seem to be a decisive factor affecting competitiveness of the EU and the US agriculture, the paper attempts to identify the gap in the agricultural potential between individual EU countries and the USA and determine which EU countries are able to face the competitive pressure exerted by the US agricultural producers. Ward’s agglomerative hierarchical clustering method with the Euclidean distance was used to separate the most and the least competitive countries depending on their agricultural potential. Based on the conducted analyses it may be stated that the US agriculture is characterized by more rational ratios between production factors, resulting in their higher efficiency compared to the EU. The conducted typological analysis showed that thanks to the high standard of capital assets per employee leading to high labor productivity, only such countries as Germany, the Netherlands, France, Denmark, and Belgium may be considered as capable of meeting the competitive pressure exerted by the US agriculture with its greater degree of concentration and benefits from proper proportions between the production factors. A much more difficult competitive situation is observed in the EU countries of Central and Eastern Europe as well as the Mediterranean region, specializing in land- and labor-intensive production, in which the rational utilization of the production potential is limited by the structural deficit, resulting from the fragmented agrarian structure and manifested in the low level of land and capital assets assigned to labor actively involved in the production process. Full article
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Article
The Impact of Transport Infrastructure on the Sustainable Development of the Region—Case Study
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 279; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040279 - 24 Mar 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1123
Abstract
The transport infrastructure can be defined as a factor that guarantees the growth and economic development of the region, due to the functions of traversing space in terms of the movement of people and the exchange of goods. The effects of the impact [...] Read more.
The transport infrastructure can be defined as a factor that guarantees the growth and economic development of the region, due to the functions of traversing space in terms of the movement of people and the exchange of goods. The effects of the impact of transport infrastructure on the economy of the region largely depend on how the society uses the services offered by infrastructure facilities and devices. The study examines the impact of transport infrastructure on the sustainable socio-economic development of the Wałcz Lake District. To conduct the analysis, a questionnaire addressed to entrepreneurs from this region was used. In the second part of the research, the indicators of sustainable development at the regional level were applied: the level of transport infrastructure and the level of socio-economic development of the studied area. The study is an attempt to fill the cognitive gap for areas outside the country’s main transport corridors. The existing differentiation in both the development of infrastructure and the economic attractiveness of urban and rural areas was shown. Factors influencing the effectiveness of implementing the concept of sustainable rural development were indicated. Full article
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Article
The Impact of RDP Measures on the Diversification of Agriculture and Rural Development—Seeking Additional Livelihoods: The Case of Poland
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 253; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11030253 - 17 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 973
Abstract
The paper’s main aim is to assess the measures implemented within the Rural Development Program (RDP) 2007–2013 in Poland. This programme is dedicated to the diversification of business activities in rural areas and rural livelihood and, thus, the improvement of the multifunctionality of [...] Read more.
The paper’s main aim is to assess the measures implemented within the Rural Development Program (RDP) 2007–2013 in Poland. This programme is dedicated to the diversification of business activities in rural areas and rural livelihood and, thus, the improvement of the multifunctionality of rural areas. The analysis covered two measures from Axis 3, Improvement of the quality of life in rural areas and diversification of rural economy: M311, diversification into non-agricultural activities; and M312, Establishment and development of micro-enterprise. The study and the discussion are presented from a geographical perspective and, in a broader context, take into account several conditions (natural, urban, agricultural and historical) and the spatial diversity of the allocation of European Union (EU) funds. Models of a policy of multifunctional rural development, implemented after accession to the EU, are presented. The research’s spatial scope covers Poland’s territory on two spatial scales: the system of regions (16 NUTS2 units) and poviats (314 LAU level 1 units). The analysis covers all the projects implemented in Poland under the two measures of Axis 3 of the RDP 2007–2013. A set of conditions was prepared for all LAU1 units, forming the background for assessing the impact of the EU funds on the development of non-agricultural activities. To determine the relationship between the RDP measures and the selected groups of conditions, a synthetic index and a correlation index are used. They are also used to determine the mutual relations between the two analyzed activities in terms of the spatial scales used. Access to the EU funds (RDP) has considerably enlarged the opportunities for accelerating agricultural modernisation and restructuration towards multifunctional development, as well as the opportunities for implementing new development and work methods in the countryside in Poland. The attractiveness of the two studied RDP measures varied across regions. The beneficiaries’ activity depended on the local potential (resources), culture and tradition of the region, and size and potential of the farm. In the areas where agriculture is deeply rooted, beneficiaries were more willing to engage in ventures tapping into the resources available in their farms. Thus, they create additional livelihood of income and workplaces for household members. In turn, the beneficiaries from the areas where farms are smaller and economically weaker often undertake activities related to setting up a new business (outside farming). Full article
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Article
The Nexus between Rural Household Livelihoods and Agricultural Functions: Evidence from China
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 241; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11030241 - 12 Mar 2021
Viewed by 766
Abstract
Understanding the relationship between households’ livelihoods and agricultural functions is important for regulating and balancing households’ and macrosocieties’ agricultural functional needs and formulating better agricultural policies and rural revitalization strategies. This paper uses peasant household survey data obtained from the China Family Panel [...] Read more.
Understanding the relationship between households’ livelihoods and agricultural functions is important for regulating and balancing households’ and macrosocieties’ agricultural functional needs and formulating better agricultural policies and rural revitalization strategies. This paper uses peasant household survey data obtained from the China Family Panel Studies (CFPS) and statistical analysis methods, to analyze the differences in livelihood assets and agricultural functions of households with different livelihood strategies and the relationship between livelihood assets and agricultural functions. Households are categorized based on their livelihood strategies as full-time farming households, part-time farming I households, part-time farming II households, and non-farming households. The agricultural product supply and negative effects of the ecological service function of full-time farming households are higher than those of part-time farming and non-farming households. Part-time farming I households have the strongest social security function, while non-farming households have the weakest social security function. Non-farming households have the strongest leisure and cultural function, while part-time farming I households have the weakest leisure and cultural function. Households’ demand for agricultural functions is affected by livelihood assets. Effective measures should be taken to address contradictions in the agricultural functional demands of households and macrosocieties. Full article
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Article
Innovation Gaps and Barriers in Alternative Innovative Solutions for Sustainable High Nature Value Grasslands. Evidence from Romania
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 235; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11030235 - 11 Mar 2021
Viewed by 1075
Abstract
Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) proposes environmental policies developed around action-based conservation measures supported by agri-environment schemes (AES). High Nature Value (HNV) farming represents a combination of low-intensity and mosaic practices mostly developed in agricultural marginalized rural areas which sustain rich biodiversity. Being threatened [...] Read more.
Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) proposes environmental policies developed around action-based conservation measures supported by agri-environment schemes (AES). High Nature Value (HNV) farming represents a combination of low-intensity and mosaic practices mostly developed in agricultural marginalized rural areas which sustain rich biodiversity. Being threatened by intensification and abandonment, such farming practices were supported in the last CAP periods by targeted AES. This study aims to identify the most important farming trends in a recognized HNV grasslands Romanian site, subject to public conservation actions. The content analysis of multi-actor focus groups transcripts identifies innovation needs for alternative sustainable HNV farming systems, assessing also the most important barriers for their local deployment. Results show that stakeholders have strong awareness about the existence of HNV farming practices in their territory and their negative trends (abandonment; intensification) that might irreversibly affect biodiversity and cultural values. Current AES could not compensate for the existing innovation gaps. Although local stakeholders have basic awareness about alternative innovative approaches, they failed in their deployment mainly due to the lack of collective actions. Access to adapted knowledge reservoirs and the promotion of local innovation catalyzers are essential for the future sustainability of HNV farming practices. Full article
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Article
Spatial Differentiation of Agricultural Potential and the Level of Development of Voivodeships in Poland in 2008–2018
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 229; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11030229 - 10 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 774
Abstract
Polish agriculture is characterized by regional differentiation. These differences affect the production potential, generate income, or development which is an indispensable element of economic efficiency. The aim of the article is to assess the spatial diversification of agriculture potential in relation to the [...] Read more.
Polish agriculture is characterized by regional differentiation. These differences affect the production potential, generate income, or development which is an indispensable element of economic efficiency. The aim of the article is to assess the spatial diversification of agriculture potential in relation to the development of voivodeships in Poland using a synthetic measure. Choice of variables in 2009–2018 was conditioned by the availability of data collected in the city system at the Central Statistical Office. Method of Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to an Ideal Solution was used to build synthetic measures. The synthetic measure of agricultural potential in voivodships in Poland was negatively correlated with the measure of the natural environment, the measure of infrastructure, the number of unemployed and the area of forest land. It was correlated with the area of arable land, number of tractors, cattle population, pigs and the production of milk, basic crops, sugar beet. The measure of the voivodeship development is negatively correlated with the synthetic measure of agricultural potential, area of arable land, arable land and number of people employed in agriculture. Conclusions drawn may allow local governments to define potential directions of optimization of socio-economic development of rural communes. Full article
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Article
The Ecuadorian Banana Farms Managers’ Perceptions: Innovation as a Driver of Environmental Sustainability Practices
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 213; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11030213 - 05 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1326
Abstract
This article aims to explore the perceptions of banana farms managers towards environmental sustainability practices through the impact of innovation, adoption of information systems, and training employees through a case study in the province of El Oro (Ecuador). Furthermore, the paper assesses how [...] Read more.
This article aims to explore the perceptions of banana farms managers towards environmental sustainability practices through the impact of innovation, adoption of information systems, and training employees through a case study in the province of El Oro (Ecuador). Furthermore, the paper assesses how farmers’ perceptions could guide public policy incentives. PLS-Structural Equation Modeling are used as the framework by which the constructs is represented within the model. The model explained 59% of the environmental sustainability practices of Ecuadorian banana farms. The results indicate that environmental sustainability practices were positively influenced mainly by training employees, innovation, and adoption of information systems. Additionally, both the adoption of information systems and training employees indirectly influenced sustainable practices through innovation as a mediator. We may conclude that in the Ecuadorian banana farms, changes in environmental practices are derived from innovation strategies as an axis of development of useful information and training employees in public policies. Full article
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Article
Agribusiness as an Attractive Place to Work––A Gender Perspective
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 202; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11030202 - 01 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1170
Abstract
Agribusiness is both a complex social process and a market structure, consisting of many independent economic entities that generate demand for labour in the sector. The role of people whose activity is directly or indirectly related to the production of food products, the [...] Read more.
Agribusiness is both a complex social process and a market structure, consisting of many independent economic entities that generate demand for labour in the sector. The role of people whose activity is directly or indirectly related to the production of food products, the acquisition of resources, and the processing and production of ready food was considered. The way gender affects people’s decision to work in this sector and university graduates’ perception of agribusiness being an ideal job were also analysed. A total of 485 students, from four fields of study, from the Poznań University of Life Sciences were surveyed between 2016 and 2019. In the case of undergraduate students, it was determined that while they perceive that working in agribusiness is an interesting career stage, they are also convinced that they could easily find a job outside of this sector. Additionally, from a gender perspective, men and women view working in agribusiness differently. Women see it as an opportunity for self-development and building good social relations as well as acting for the benefit of the environment. For men, job-related prestige and economic benefits are much more important. Men were found to have higher aspirations for pursuing their own businesses, whereas women were more likely to pursue further education. The attitudes towards working in agribusiness represented by the respondents are a good predictor of meeting its knowledge needs. Full article
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Article
The Relationship of Agricultural and Non-Agricultural Income and Its Variability in Regard to Farms in the European Union Countries
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 196; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11030196 - 27 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 754
Abstract
Many authors emphasize that reducing the income deprivation of the agricultural sector in relation to the non-agricultural sectors is a prerequisite to the growth of sustainability of agriculture. Thus, this raises the question: despite the impact of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) on [...] Read more.
Many authors emphasize that reducing the income deprivation of the agricultural sector in relation to the non-agricultural sectors is a prerequisite to the growth of sustainability of agriculture. Thus, this raises the question: despite the impact of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) on the value of agricultural income in EU countries, is there still income deprivation for agriculture in relation to non-agricultural sectors? If so, is its depth comparable among farms with a different scale of production from the same EU country or among farms with the same scale of production from different countries? The answers to these questions constitute the added value of the article. The aim of the paper is to compare the ratio of agricultural income to non-agricultural income in regard to family farms in EU countries. Results show that the CAP solutions do limit the agricultural income disparities but that there are significant differences in the income deprivation of farms with different production values in the same country. These differences also apply to farms with a similar production volume in different countries. This publication includes critical analysis of literature, spatial-analysis and panel regression. The time scale of the research is 2004–2017, the spatial scope is individual EU countries and the subjective scope is representative EU Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN) farms. Full article
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Article
The Potential for Innovative and Smart Rural Development in the Peripheral Regions of Eastern Poland
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11030188 - 25 Feb 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 812
Abstract
Peripheral regions exist in most European countries, and in the countries of the European Union they have been supported for many years by the Community’s Cohesion Policy, which aims at reducing development disparities between the Member States and regions within individual countries. In [...] Read more.
Peripheral regions exist in most European countries, and in the countries of the European Union they have been supported for many years by the Community’s Cohesion Policy, which aims at reducing development disparities between the Member States and regions within individual countries. In Poland, five out of sixteen voivodeships in the country are considered to be peripheral regions. They are located on Poland’s eastern border, which is also the eastern border of the European Union. Support programmes for these regions have attained the status of separate operational programmes, focusing on generating convergence effects, which can be achieved by increasing the level of innovation and implementing intelligent ways of operating the economy. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate the essence of peripherality and the innovative-development potential of peripheral regions in Poland, as well as the potential of smart rural development. The paper is based on an analysis of research results drawn from the literature on the subject, as well as from official information and statistics. Own research on the smart village concept in three regions of Eastern Poland was also used. This research showed a reduction in disproportions in the development of regions in Poland, and a link between the level of innovation and the economic growth of the regions, which occurred with a certain lag in relation to the transfer of innovation. Full article
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Article
Technical Infrastructure as an Element of Sustainable Development of Rural Regions in Małopolskie Voivodeship in Poland and Trnava Region in Slovakia
Agriculture 2021, 11(2), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11020141 - 09 Feb 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1165
Abstract
The work discusses issues of the infrastructure, its instruments, and specifics of infrastructure in Polish and Slovak rural areas. The aim of this article is to analyze the level of technical infrastructure development in rural regions of the Małopolskie Voivodeship in Poland and [...] Read more.
The work discusses issues of the infrastructure, its instruments, and specifics of infrastructure in Polish and Slovak rural areas. The aim of this article is to analyze the level of technical infrastructure development in rural regions of the Małopolskie Voivodeship in Poland and the west part of Slovakia—Trnava self-governing region (Trnava region) as two regions with a similar position regarding regional competitiveness index. Following the topic, after identification of strengths and weaknesses of mentioned regions, the opportunities, and threats of sustainable development of infrastructure in rural areas have been analyzed using the SWOT method. The development of sustainable, reliable, and functional infrastructure does not only refer to the chosen regions of Poland and Slovakia but also other regions in the European Union. Sustainable infrastructure is a factor stimulating social and economic progress as one of the most important determinants of sustainable development and regional competitiveness. The authors notice a particular lack in the sustainable development of infrastructure in the field of water and sewerage management together with the supply of water. Therefore, this article tries to complete the gap in research focusing on the concept of a more systematic approach to technical infrastructure improvement in the context of sustainable development, and strategy of cooperation. Full article
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Article
Exploring the Preferences of Consumers’ Organic Products in Aspects of Sustainable Consumption: The Case of the Polish Consumer
Agriculture 2021, 11(2), 138; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11020138 - 07 Feb 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 1461
Abstract
The dynamically developing trend of sustainable consumption is manifested, among others, by the growing interest in organic products on the part of consumers. The aim of this article was to identify the behavior of Polish consumers in the market of organic products and [...] Read more.
The dynamically developing trend of sustainable consumption is manifested, among others, by the growing interest in organic products on the part of consumers. The aim of this article was to identify the behavior of Polish consumers in the market of organic products and to establish a link between their environmental awareness and willingness to buy organic products. The authors hypothesized that there is a relationship between consumer awareness of the concept of sustainable consumption and the consumption of organic products. Consumer awareness means making conscious choices based on the knowledge expressed in the attitudes and, sometimes, preferences of the food brand. The research was conducted using a proprietary survey questionnaire. A total of 1067 respondents participated. A statistical analysis was performed by using Statistica 13.1 PL software, which includes descriptive statistics, the discriminant function analysis, and regression analysis. Motives were identified that are of crucial importance to the consumer deciding to purchase organic products. These include: beneficial health effects, contents of nutrients, no additional substances used in food production, taste, and others. A statistical relationship was established between environmental awareness and the tendency to buy organic products. Among the organic products, eggs, fresh fruit and vegetables, honey, cow’s milk and its derivatives, as well as cereal products, are the most preferred by consumers of both genders. The proposed model, which outlines the relationship between environmental awareness and the tendency to buy organic products, includes the following variables: care for the environment and animal welfare, no harmful substances used in food production, low level of processing, short shelf life. Full article
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Article
Social and Economic Aspects of Sustainable Development of Livestock Production and Meat Consumption in the Czech Republic
Agriculture 2021, 11(2), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11020102 - 26 Jan 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 983
Abstract
The aim of this article was to express social and economic aspects of the sustainable livestock production in relation to meat consumption in the Czech Republic and to predict the possibilities of further development of livestock production in the conditions of Czech agriculture. [...] Read more.
The aim of this article was to express social and economic aspects of the sustainable livestock production in relation to meat consumption in the Czech Republic and to predict the possibilities of further development of livestock production in the conditions of Czech agriculture. With the accession of Czechia to the EU (2004), the structure of Czech agriculture changed to the detriment of livestock production. The decisive sectors of livestock production are pig breeding, cattle breeding and poultry farming. This article (contribution) analyzes trends in the development of production in the basic categories of livestock, and it evaluates the degree of self-sufficiency of the economy in the given sector of agricultural production and the consumption of individual types of meat in Czechia. Using Holt’s model of statistical analysis, it then predicts the future consumption of meat and its individual types in the Czech Republic in the years 2020–2024. As research has shown, the sustainable development of livestock production and meat consumption in the Czech Republic depends not only on the mutual size of meat production and consumption or its quality, but also significantly on the market prices of meat (including world prices), as well as changes in eating habits of the population. Full article
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Article
Sugar Prices vs. Financial Market Uncertainty in the Time of Crisis: Does COVID-19 Induce Structural Changes in the Relationship?
Agriculture 2021, 11(2), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11020093 - 21 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1173
Abstract
Securitization of the agricultural commodity market has accelerated since the beginning of the 21st century, particularly in the times of financial market uncertainty and crisis. Sugar belongs to the group of important agricultural commodities. The global financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic has [...] Read more.
Securitization of the agricultural commodity market has accelerated since the beginning of the 21st century, particularly in the times of financial market uncertainty and crisis. Sugar belongs to the group of important agricultural commodities. The global financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a substantial increase in the stock market volatility. Moreover, the novel coronavirus hit both the sugar market’s supply and demand side, resulting in sugar stock changes. The paper aims to assess potential structural changes in the relationship between sugar prices and the financial market uncertainty in a crisis time. In more detail, using sequential Bai–Perron tests for structural breaks, we check whether the global financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic have induced structural breaks in that relationship. Sugar prices are represented by the S&P GSCI Sugar Index, while the S&P 500 option-implied volatility index (VIX) is used to show stock market uncertainty. To investigate the changes in the relationship between sugar prices and stock market uncertainty, a regression model with a sequential Bai–Perron test for structural breaks is applied for the daily data from 2000–2020. We reveal the existence of two structural breaks in the analysed relationship. The first breakpoint was linked to the global financial crisis outbreak, and the second occurred in December 2011. Surprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic has not induced the statistically significant structural change. Based on the regression model with Bai–Perron structural changes, we show that from 2000 until the beginning of the global financial crisis, the relationship between the sugar prices and the financial market uncertainty was insignificant. The global financial crisis led to a structural change in the relationship. Since August 2008, we observe a significant and negative relationship between the S&P GSCI Sugar Index and the S&P 500 option-implied volatility index (VIX). Sensitivity analysis conducted for the different financial market uncertainty measures, i.e., the S&P 500 Realized Volatility Index confirms our findings. Full article
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Article
Durability of Zambia’s Agricultural Exports
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11010073 - 17 Jan 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1551
Abstract
This paper establishes the determinants of the export durability of agriculture products in Zambia with specific attention to maize, sugar, cotton, and tobacco between 1996 and 2019. We find that approximately 39% of Zambia’s agricultural products were exported beyond the first year of [...] Read more.
This paper establishes the determinants of the export durability of agriculture products in Zambia with specific attention to maize, sugar, cotton, and tobacco between 1996 and 2019. We find that approximately 39% of Zambia’s agricultural products were exported beyond the first year of trading and less than 10% lasted up to 6 years of trading. The mean and median duration of exporting agricultural products in Zambia was 1.7 years and 1 year, respectively. Among the products, maize had the highest export duration after the first year of trading, followed by sugar, tobacco, and cotton. Results of the discrete-time logit and probit models with random effects revealed that the duration of total agricultural products was significantly impacted by common colony, contiguity, partner’s gross domestic product (GDP), Zambia’s GDP, initial exports, and total exports. Of these factors, colonial history and Zambia’s GDP reduced export duration, while contiguity, partner’s GDP, initial exports, and total exports increased the durability of exports in Zambia. The effect of Zambia’s GDP was uniform across all individual agricultural products. Total exports also significantly impacted all other agriculture products in a similar manner except for maize. Export durability for cotton was significantly impacted by the Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs), while the export durability of tobacco was significantly impacted by distance, contiguity, and partner’s GDP. To increase the duration of agriculture exports, we propose the exporting of finished agriculture products (and not just raw materials), which have a higher market value and duration probability. Farmers also need support with export subsidies, increased foreign market access (especially to economies with higher buying power), and negotiated favorable trade terms in the region and around the globe. Full article
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Article
How to Prevent Bread Losses in the Baking and Confectionery Industry?—Measurement, Causes, Management and Prevention
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11010019 - 30 Dec 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1622
Abstract
Food losses and waste are associated with inefficient use of agricultural land, water and other resources and agricultural raw materials. Reducing the scale of food wastage is one of the most urgent challenges for food system operators, starting from agriculture to food consumption [...] Read more.
Food losses and waste are associated with inefficient use of agricultural land, water and other resources and agricultural raw materials. Reducing the scale of food wastage is one of the most urgent challenges for food system operators, starting from agriculture to food consumption in the households. This is all the more urgent as food insecurity has deepened during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are few studies on how to reduce food losses in food processing sectors, as most researchers focus on the demand side of the market, especially within household consumption. To fill the knowledge gaps related to the inefficient production system in the baking and confectionery industry (BCI), research was conducted to estimate the scale of losses in BCI in Poland, determine their causes and assess the risk of their occurrence, identify retrieve points (RP) and ways of reducing and preventing losses. Two research methods were used. Quantitative data were collected using an Internet survey method on a sample of 48 bakeries. The qualitative data was provided by 5 individual in-depth interviews with experts from the surveyed industry. The results showed that the total scale of losses in Polish BCI reached 2.39% (in 2017) and 2.63% (in 2018) of the weight of manufactured products. The loss analysis was presented within respective sections of production: raw materials magazine (RMM), production section (PS), final product magazine (FPM), final product transport (FPT). The highest loss level was reported for PS—1.56% (2017), 1.85% (2018). Additionally, 12 loss risks and nine main cause categories were identified. Potential 6 retrieve points (RP) during the baking processes were indicated: making and handling intermediate products and dough; portioning and forming of dough, baking, customised packing, shipping (storage), transport by own fleet. The type of risk, the cause of losses, their consequences, and manners of preventing losses were specified for each RP. Being the first study of this kind in Poland, its results are key to build a road map for further researches focused on reduction of food losses, more sustainable management of resources in BCI. It might contribute to corporate social responsibility and value co-creation. Full article
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Article
Assessing the Value of Agroecosystem Services in Warmia and Mazury Province Using Choice Experiments
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11010004 - 23 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 892
Abstract
Due to the often-intangible benefits of agroecosystem services (AES), their cultural, social, and economic value is very difficult to quantify and integrate into decision-making and policy-making processes. The aim of this study is to assess the non-market values of AES in an exceptionally [...] Read more.
Due to the often-intangible benefits of agroecosystem services (AES), their cultural, social, and economic value is very difficult to quantify and integrate into decision-making and policy-making processes. The aim of this study is to assess the non-market values of AES in an exceptionally environmentally rich area of the Warmia and Mazury region (Poland), identifying consumers’ preferences for them using the choice experiment (CE) method. Four AES attributes were selected for the research: (i) water quality; (ii) wildlife populations; and (iii) agricultural landscape. The study has revealed that the residents of Warmia and Mazury region were concerned about environmental issues that may be caused by agriculture. There was a demand for the provision of AES. The application of multinomial logit (MNL) model has revealed that marginal willingness to pay (MWTP) values were the highest for water quality (EUR 1.94), followed by wildlife population (EUR 1.02) and agricultural landscape (EUR 0.85). The findings have provided quantitative information related to the demand for improvements in AES through agri-environmental protection programs. Full article
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Article
Tourism Competitiveness of Rural Areas: Evidence from a Region in Poland
Agriculture 2020, 10(11), 569; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10110569 - 22 Nov 2020
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 1540
Abstract
The aim of the article is to present the analysis of tourism competitiveness of the rural areas of the Eastern Poland microregion (Podlaskie, Warmińsko–mazurskie, Lubelskie, Świętokrzyskie, Podkarpackie provinces). To group the rural communes in terms of tourism competitiveness, a cluster analysis with Ward’s [...] Read more.
The aim of the article is to present the analysis of tourism competitiveness of the rural areas of the Eastern Poland microregion (Podlaskie, Warmińsko–mazurskie, Lubelskie, Świętokrzyskie, Podkarpackie provinces). To group the rural communes in terms of tourism competitiveness, a cluster analysis with Ward’s method was applied. To do so, the data provided by the Central Statistical Office (Warsaw) in Poland of 2019 were used. The analyses provided in the article confirm the dependence between the size of the areas of outstanding natural beauty and the region’s tourism competitiveness. The results can be applied by the representatives of various institutions and organizations supporting the development of tourism in those areas. Full article
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Article
Barriers to the Development of Organic Farming: A Polish Case Study
Agriculture 2020, 10(11), 536; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10110536 - 07 Nov 2020
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 2866
Abstract
The main purpose of this paper is to explore farmers’ opinions on the barriers to the development of organic farming. A survey was carried out with 262 Polish organic farmers in order to classify the barriers to organic farming development into production, and [...] Read more.
The main purpose of this paper is to explore farmers’ opinions on the barriers to the development of organic farming. A survey was carried out with 262 Polish organic farmers in order to classify the barriers to organic farming development into production, and economic aspects, market aspects and institutional and regulatory aspects. As a next step, a detailed analysis was performed of how the farmers view these barriers. According to this study, Polish organic farmers attach greater importance to economic factors than to non-economic ones. Low yields and production volumes are the reason why many farmers see organic farming as being risky. More than 80% and nearly 60% of farmers covered by this study found the production risk to be very high or high, respectively, during and after the conversion period. Most farmers say they intend to continue their organic production activity only if financial support is provided. Nearly one in five farms (18.3%) want to discontinue organic production in future. This is especially true for two types of farming: specialized grazing livestock farms and mixed holdings. The farmers believe that market aspects and institutional and regulatory factors are the key barriers to the development of organic farming. The findings regarding the role of institutional barriers and communications from regulatory institutions, which affect the farmers’ decision-making processes, are of particular importance. In Poland, the main institutional problem is the instability of laws applicable to organic farming, which adds to the farmers’ uncertainty and decision-making risks. The case study of Poland, which is among the emerging markets for organic food, shows that a stable and coherent support policy is a condition for organic-farming development. Full article
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Article
Savings of Small Farms: Their Magnitude, Determinants and Role in Sustainable Development. Example of Poland
Agriculture 2020, 10(11), 525; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10110525 - 04 Nov 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1095
Abstract
Savings are a catalyst for capital creation and are the driving force behind economic growth and development. The degree of development achieved by farms will largely depend on their ability to accumulate income and their way of spending. The aim of the article [...] Read more.
Savings are a catalyst for capital creation and are the driving force behind economic growth and development. The degree of development achieved by farms will largely depend on their ability to accumulate income and their way of spending. The aim of the article is to determine the savings-generating potential of small farms in Poland and the impact of savings on their sustainable development. In this article, firstly, the literature on savings in small farms and their role in sustainable development is synthesized. Secondly, presents empirical research that was conducted considering the economic and social characteristics of 1485 small farms to help understand saving behaviors in the chosen context. The research material consisted of data on entities participating in the Polish Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN) in 2017. The factors influencing the generation of savings were identified using the logit regression model. The results of the research indicate great diversity in the scale of savings generated by small farms in Poland. Moreover, the study showed that 4 out of 21 variables characterizing small farms were significant, with a good fit of the model as evidenced by the model quality assessment measures used (coefficient R2count and ROC curve). It was found that two variables, namely area of farmland and gross value added, each had a statistically significant positive influence on the probability of generating higher savings by small farms in Poland. On the other hand, the possession of liabilities and gross investment each had a statistically significant negative influence on the accumulation of higher savings. The research reveals some limitations that may hinder the mobilization of savings by small farms and thus affect their sustainable development. Therefore, as recommendations, we present measures that can increase savings by small farms in Poland. Full article
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Article
Identification of the Conditions for Organic Agriculture Development in Polish Districts—An Implementation of Canonical Analysis
Agriculture 2020, 10(11), 514; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10110514 - 30 Oct 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 857
Abstract
Organic farming in Poland has been developing dynamically since the accession to the EU. However, there are considerable differences in the level of organic farming development in particular regions. Therefore, it is vital to identify the primary factors and conditions for this development [...] Read more.
Organic farming in Poland has been developing dynamically since the accession to the EU. However, there are considerable differences in the level of organic farming development in particular regions. Therefore, it is vital to identify the primary factors and conditions for this development and their importance considering their spatial distribution. The presented paper aims to estimate the relationships between the level of organic agriculture development and selected conditions of financial and environmental character. The investigation is based on primary data for 2017 retrieved from the Local Data Bank of the Main Statistical Office and Agricultural and Food Quality Inspection database for all Poland districts. In order to achieve this objective, a multivariate statistical analysis method—the canonical correlation was applied. The analysis was preceded by constructing the composite indices of organic agriculture development and its conditions based on a Technique for Order of Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS) method and correlation analysis between the indices developed by the authors. The performed canonical analysis showed two statistically significant canonical variables with relatively high values of the canonical correlation (0.74 and 0.59). It proves that the degree of explaining the variability of one set of variables through linear relationships (referring to the level of organic farming development), by the second input data set (describing the determinants of the development), by successive pairs of canonical variables is high. This means that the created model describes relatively well the considered data sets. Full article
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Article
The Scarecrow as Part of Polish Rural Cultural Landscapes
Agriculture 2020, 10(11), 496; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10110496 - 24 Oct 2020
Viewed by 943
Abstract
Diverse historical, cultural landscapes can be found in many parts of the world, and also in rural areas. They are a challenge for interdisciplinary research. One of the gradually disappearing components of rural cultural landscapes in Poland is the scarecrow. The objective of [...] Read more.
Diverse historical, cultural landscapes can be found in many parts of the world, and also in rural areas. They are a challenge for interdisciplinary research. One of the gradually disappearing components of rural cultural landscapes in Poland is the scarecrow. The objective of this paper was to analyse the role of the scarecrow in the Polish rural cultural landscape today. The field research was aimed at determining whether the scarecrow can be seen in Polish rural areas, and if yes, what the circumstances and its forms are. A site visit yielded copious photographic records of rural areas. The investigated area was selected following a literature analysis and analysis of environmental and economic conditions on the regional level in Poland. The visit demonstrated that although scarecrows are part of the cultural landscape of the Polish countryside, they are slightly more modest in their appearance than in the past. Scarecrows are placed in small, family-owned agricultural holdings that have time to uphold local traditions. Full article
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Article
Assessment of Water Needs of Grapevines in Western Poland from the Perspective of Climate Change
Agriculture 2020, 10(10), 477; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10100477 - 15 Oct 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1066
Abstract
Climate changes lead to a rise in air temperature, which significantly increases the water needs of plants. Maintaining crop productivity will increasingly require the use of plant irrigation. The aim of this study was to assess the water needs of grapevines cultivated in [...] Read more.
Climate changes lead to a rise in air temperature, which significantly increases the water needs of plants. Maintaining crop productivity will increasingly require the use of plant irrigation. The aim of this study was to assess the water needs of grapevines cultivated in the western provinces of Poland. The calculations were made on the basis of temperature and precipitation measurements collected at three meteorological stations in the period 1981–2010. Water needs were calculated as crop evapotranspiration, which was estimated by crop coefficients and reference evapotranspiration, determined using the Blaney–Criddle formula. The rainfall deficit was assessed by Ostromęcki’s method. The tendency to increase the water needs was observed in each subsequent decade of the thirty-year period, both in the whole growing season (May–October), as well as in June–August and July. The highest values of the linear correlation coefficient for the trend of time variability in water needs occurred from June to August. An analysis of water needs and rainfall deficits indicates the need for the additional irrigation of vineyards in western Poland, especially in very dry years and in June–August. Current research results are helpful in designing vineyard irrigation systems and allow an economical and efficient planning of grapevine irrigation. Full article
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Article
The Objectives of Farm Operations—Evidence from a Region in Poland
Agriculture 2020, 10(10), 458; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10100458 - 07 Oct 2020
Viewed by 703
Abstract
The objectives set by agricultural producers directly translate into the directions of the development of farms. What is particularly important: Is there a conflict between the economic and environmental objectives of farm operations? This issue is not resolved in the literature on the [...] Read more.
The objectives set by agricultural producers directly translate into the directions of the development of farms. What is particularly important: Is there a conflict between the economic and environmental objectives of farm operations? This issue is not resolved in the literature on the subject and still is a challenge for policymakers. The main aim of the article is to identify the preferences of farm managers concerning the objectives of farm operations, as well as to examine their mutual relations. The article employs the results of surveys carried out on farms from the Wielkopolska region (Poland). The analysis of Spearman’s rank, cluster analysis, also the classification tree method, and multidimensional scaling were applied. The research shows that the relations between the income and assets objective turned out to be moderate in terms of strength, while the environmental objective turned out to be statistically insignificant related to economic objectives (in the context of their perception by respondents). There are differences in this respect, including also a group of the respondents in which income and environmental objectives have been ranked simultaneously high. It is, however, difficult to state clearly whether there is a complementarity between the income and the environmental objective from the perspective of perception by respondents. Although when the context of the real action is taken into account then the answer should be positive. Therefore, there is a gap between the farmers’ perception of reality—choice of the hierarchy of objectives, and the real activities, e.g., in terms of pro-environmental activities. It is a new issue that points to the need to stimulate the environmental objective, in particular, through support at the level of agricultural policy instruments. Full article
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Article
Environmental Impacts and Attitudes of Agricultural Enterprises for Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development
Agriculture 2020, 10(10), 440; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10100440 - 28 Sep 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1009
Abstract
Recognising that implementing an agricultural enterprise impacts the state of the environment, its ecological stability, and the self- regulatory capabilities of ecosystems, the aim of this paper is to acquaint the professional and lay public about the attitudes of Slovakian agricultural enterprises towards [...] Read more.
Recognising that implementing an agricultural enterprise impacts the state of the environment, its ecological stability, and the self- regulatory capabilities of ecosystems, the aim of this paper is to acquaint the professional and lay public about the attitudes of Slovakian agricultural enterprises towards environmental protection and sustainable development. The paper draws attention to present methods, techniques, and tools that enterprise management are applying for the purpose of meeting and overcoming environmental challenges. The data for this research were obtained from controlled interviews and a questionnaire survey conducted across more than 90 agricultural enterprises. Based on the data outcomes, research premises and formulated research hypotheses put forward are verified by using Friedman, Wilcoxon, Kruskal–Wallis, and Pearson chi-square tests. Discussion of the findings points out that although Slovakia is not yet one of the most polluting countries, promoting the application of environmental protection approaches for sustainable development is of the essence. The most important agriculturally related step, mitigating environmental degradation, is to promote changes in the moral values of agricultural enterprises and the society through enhanced environmental awareness and application practices. Full article
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Article
Impact of Climate Change in the Banat Plain, Western Romania, on the Accessibility of Water for Crop Production in Agriculture
Agriculture 2020, 10(10), 437; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10100437 - 27 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1077
Abstract
Global warming is an unanimously accepted phenomenon by the international scientific community, being already highlighted by the analysis of observational data over long periods of time, with an increase in temperature of over 1 °C. Climate change in Romania is part of the [...] Read more.
Global warming is an unanimously accepted phenomenon by the international scientific community, being already highlighted by the analysis of observational data over long periods of time, with an increase in temperature of over 1 °C. Climate change in Romania is part of the global context, taking into account the regional conditions, with an increasing trend of arid summer. While the link between high temperatures, climate change and rainfall has been modeled in detail, the situation is not the same for plant water accessibility. The period of time between 1898 and the present, corresponding to the annual records of precipitation and evapotranspiration, overlapped with important political and administrative changes in the studied area, and with extensive hydro-amelioration works. The aim of the paper is to statistically follow the evolution over time of precipitation, namely of evapotranspiration measured in Western Romania, which would allow the expression of conclusions regarding the improvement directions of the water regime. In order to follow the evolution in time of these data, the interval of 1898–2019 was divided into three periods: 1898–1950, 1951–1989 and 1990–2019, respectively. The increase in temperature, especially during the vegetation period and the large number of years in which evapotranspiration quantitatively exceeds the precipitation, indicating the need for effective measures to regulate the water balance. Full article
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Article
Consumers’ Purchasing Intentions on the Legume Market as Evidence of Sustainable Behaviour
Agriculture 2020, 10(10), 424; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10100424 - 23 Sep 2020
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 2063
Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to verify the knowledge that is useful for legume producers in relation to consumers’ eating habits in the field of legume products. According to experts, leguminous products have a positive effect on human health. The tendency towards [...] Read more.
The purpose of this paper is to verify the knowledge that is useful for legume producers in relation to consumers’ eating habits in the field of legume products. According to experts, leguminous products have a positive effect on human health. The tendency towards healthy eating habits is also associated with the idea of sustainable consumption. The authors have attempted to combine these two trends. The main goal was to determine, among consumers, the level of knowledge about legumes, product purchase motives, and preferred places of purchase. This study was carried out with the use of an authorial questionnaire. In total, 1067 respondents from all regions of Poland participated in the study. The Statistica 13.1PL programme was used for statistical analyses. Methods used: descriptive statistics, discriminant analysis and linear regression analysis. With the aid of the conducted analyses, it was possible to determine that peas, beans, soybeans and lentils are the most recognised and most frequently consumed products (in various configurations) among the residents of the studied groups. The most important motives for their purchase among the surveyed consumers were “flavour”, “price” and the fact that these products can be an alternative to meat products and contain a lot of protein and fibre. The purchase channels that legume product producers must pay attention to are large-area shops and online sales. Sustainable consumption awareness for the consumers of legume products is best defined by a variable in the regression equation—“no harmful substances used during its production”. The legume products market has not yet flourished in Poland. The products are an excellent alternative to meat products due to their high protein content. Pro-health education has a measurable effect and consumer awareness is growing. Producers should use this knowledge by emphasising, in the promotion of products, that the products are produced in accordance with the idea of sustainable development, without the use of harmful substances, and that no means are used to extend the shelf life. Full article
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Review

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Review
Achieving the European Green “Deal” of Sustainable Grass Forage Production and Landscaping Using Fungal Endophytes
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 390; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11050390 - 25 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 745
Abstract
The European Green Deal is the EU’s latest growth strategy and action plan, which will meet the challenges concerning climate change and environmental degradation. The components of the Green Deal which are intended to prevent biodiversity loss, to reduce pollution level, and to [...] Read more.
The European Green Deal is the EU’s latest growth strategy and action plan, which will meet the challenges concerning climate change and environmental degradation. The components of the Green Deal which are intended to prevent biodiversity loss, to reduce pollution level, and to improve food quality are: The Farm to Fork Strategy and Biodiversity Strategy. Their main aims include: Reducing the application of pesticides by 50% by 2030, reducing nutrients loss by 50% while preserving soil fertility, reducing the application of mineral fertilizers by a minimum of 20% by 2030, as well as supporting the development of organic farming to reach 25% of all the arable land in the EU. These aims are very ambitious and they pose a serious challenge. Can the European Green Deal provide an opportunity for fungal grass endophytes? This paper presented different aspects in which endophytes of the Epichloë genus affect colonized plants, as well as their possible applications in biological grass protection and in improving the performance properties of different grass biotopes. Literature was reviewed to provide evidence of how fungal endophytes might be used to achieve the goals of the European Green Deal strategy, in accordance with the principles of sustainable agriculture. Full article
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