Special Issue "Energy and Agriculture"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2018).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. 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,

Energy from fossil fuels and renewable sources are a vital resource for development. Energy use in agriculture has become a prominent concern because of the rapid depletion of non-renewable sources of energy, rapid population growth and environmental degradation, especially in the developing economies. The concern is particularly high for countries reliant on modern agricultural technologies to promote growth, which in turn is largely dependent on fossil fuels, e.g., inorganic fertilizers, pesticides and mechanization. Countries with high rate of population growth are increasingly using fossil fuels to meet growing demand for food and fibre. In fact, energy demand in the future is projected to increase faster than population growth.

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 interrelationship between energy and agriculture that can provide valuable lessons for the future. The Guest Editor encourages submissions applying cross-disciplinary approaches and use of a variety of quantitative, qualitative and mixed methodologies in social sciences. The scope of submission includes original research and review articles that address the issues raised above.

Dr. Sanzidur Rahman
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Energy—agriculture interactions
  • Energy composition in agriculture
  • Energy productivity and efficiency in agriculture
  • Trends in energy consumption in agriculture
  • Demand for energy in agriculture
  • Supply of energy from agriculture
  • Energy and agricultural sustainability

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Biomass and Biogas Yield of Maize (Zea mays L.) Grown under Artificial Shading
Agriculture 2018, 8(11), 178; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8110178 - 12 Nov 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Agroforestry, as an improved cropping system, offers some advantages in terms of yield, biodiversity, erosion protection or habitats for beneficial insects. It can fulfill the actual sustainability requirements for bioenergy production like food supply, nature conservation, stop of deforestation. However, competition between intercropped [...] Read more.
Agroforestry, as an improved cropping system, offers some advantages in terms of yield, biodiversity, erosion protection or habitats for beneficial insects. It can fulfill the actual sustainability requirements for bioenergy production like food supply, nature conservation, stop of deforestation. However, competition between intercropped species for water, nutrients and light availability has to be carefully considered. A field trial with shading nets was conducted in Southwest Germany to evaluate the influence of different shading levels (−12, −26, and −50% of full sunlight) on biomass growth, dry matter yield and biogas quality parameters of maize (Zea mays L., cv. ‘Corioli CS’). Shading the plants causes a delayed development, a reduction in height and leaf area index and a slower senescence. Dry matter yields were reduced about 18%, 19%, and 44% compared to 21.05 Mg ha−1 year−1 at full sunlight. Biogas and methane yields were also significantly reduced, the 50% shading treatment showed a reduction of 45% for both parameters. Further, shading led to higher crude protein and crude ash contents. If silage maize is grown under shade, the yields of dry matter, biogas, and methane are nearly halved under 50% shade. Cultivation up to 26% shading could be possible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy and Agriculture)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Food Energy Availability from Agriculture at the Farm-Level in Southeastern Nigeria: Level, Composition and Determinants
Agriculture 2018, 8(5), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8050069 - 15 May 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Among the four pillars of ‘food security’ (i.e., ‘food availability’, ‘food accessibility’, ‘food stability’ and ‘food utilization’), ‘food availability (FA)’ underpins the core concept because at the micro-level it is strongly related to the overall availability of food, which is determined by domestic [...] Read more.
Among the four pillars of ‘food security’ (i.e., ‘food availability’, ‘food accessibility’, ‘food stability’ and ‘food utilization’), ‘food availability (FA)’ underpins the core concept because at the micro-level it is strongly related to the overall availability of food, which is determined by domestic food production, food imports and food aid. This paper examines the level of food energy availability (FEA) at the farm level, relationships between farm size and FEA and the determinants of FEA based on a survey of 400 households from Ebonyi and Anambra States of Southeastern Nigeria. FEA in this study refers to Partial Food Energy Availability (PFEA) because it excludes procurement of food from other sources, e.g., purchase from the market, borrow/exchange from others and/or receiving as food aid. Results show that the sample is dominated by small–scale farmers (81% of the total sample) owning land <1.00 ha. The average farm size is small (1.27 ha). Farmers grow multiple food crops. Sixty-eight percent of the farmers produced at least two food crops. Average PFEA is estimated at 4492.78 kcals/capita/day produced from one ha of land area. Approximately 30.92% of the total food produced is set aside for home consumption. Among the food crops, 40.70% of cassava output is set aside for home consumption while most of yam and rice are mainly destined for the market. Inverse farm size–PFEA relationship exists amongst the sampled farmers. The regression results reveal that subsistence pressure, profit motive and share of yam in total output significantly reduces PFEA whereas an increase in the share of cassava in total output significantly increases PFEA. A one percent increase in the share of cassava output will increase PFEA by 0.14%. A one percent increase in subsistence pressure will reduce PFEA by 0.98%. Farmers identified a lack of agricultural extension agents, farm inputs and basic infrastructures as the main constraints adversely affecting food production at the farm-level. Policy implications include investments targeted to improve cassava production and measure to reduce future family size by improved family planning to increase PFEA at the farm-level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Recycling Improves Soil Fertility Management in Smallholdings in Tanzania
Agriculture 2018, 8(3), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8030031 - 26 Feb 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Residues from bioenergy and ecological sanitation (EcoSan) can be utilized to sustain soil fertility and productivity. With regard to certain cooking and sanitation technologies used in smallholder households (hh), we systematically analyzed how utilization of the respective potentials to recover residues for farming [...] Read more.
Residues from bioenergy and ecological sanitation (EcoSan) can be utilized to sustain soil fertility and productivity. With regard to certain cooking and sanitation technologies used in smallholder households (hh), we systematically analyzed how utilization of the respective potentials to recover residues for farming affects (i) soil nutrient balances, (ii) the potential for subsistence production of composts, and (iii) environmental emissions. On the example of an intercropping farming system in Karagwe, Tanzania, we studied specific farming practices including (1) current practices of using standard compost only; (2) a combination of using biogas slurry, urine, and standard compost; (3) a combination of using so-called “CaSa-compost” (containing biochar and sanitized human excreta, Project “Carbonization and Sanitation”), urine, and standard compost. The system analysis combines a soil nutrient balance (SNB) with material flow analysis (MFA). Currently, nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) are depleted by −54 ± 3 and −8 ± 1 kg∙ha−1∙year−1, respectively. Our analysis shows, however, a clear potential to reduce depletion rates of N, and to reverse the SNB of P, to bring about a positive outcome. Composts and biogas slurry supply sufficient P to crops, while urine effectively supplements N. By using resources recovered from cooking and sanitation, sufficient compost for subsistence farming may be produced. Human excreta contribute especially to total N and total P in CaSa-compost, whilst biochar recovered from cooking with microgasifier stoves adds to total carbon (C) and total P. We conclude that the combined recycling of household residues from cooking and from sanitation, and CaSa-compost in particular, is especially suitable for sustainable soil management, as it mitigates existing P-deficiency and soil acidity, and also restores soil organic matter. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy and Agriculture)
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