Special Issue "Consumption and Production Patterns for Agricultural Sustainable Development"

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Farming Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Riccardo Testa
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural and Forest Sciences, University of Palermo, 90128 Palermo, Italy
Interests: consumer behavior; farm and supply chain management; green economy; sustainable food productions

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In order to increase their productions and incomes many producers, over the last decades, have over-exploited the agricultural ecosystems, reducing or degrading their environmental sustainability and, in some cases, witnessing rural exodus phenomena. However, nowadays over 820 million people in the world are hungry, while a third of all food produced is lost or wasted, highlighting how different production and consumption approaches are needed.

In this context, the 2030 FAO Agenda for Sustainable Development aims at feeding the world population by ensuring the development of sustainable food production systems and encouraging the consumers towards a responsible consumption. According to the Agenda, in fact, the sustainable cropping systems on the one hand have to increase productivity and production, but on the other one should reduce the negative social and environmental impacts, thanks also to a sustainable change in consumers’ choices.

Therefore, this Special Issue is open for latest research findings dealing with (at least one of) the three dimensions of agricultural sustainable development: the environmental, social and economic. In particular are invited submissions on the following topics: (1) the adoption of sustainable production patterns in agriculture sector; (2) the study of consumers’ behaviour towards sustainable food products.

Dr. Riccardo Testa
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • agroecology
  • circular economy
  • consumer behavior
  • greenhouse gases reductions
  • profitability
  • smallholders
  • sustainable crop productions
  • sustainable supply chain
  • water, soil and nutrient management

Published Papers (10 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Open AccessArticle
Does Credit Influence Fertilizer Intensification in Rice Farming? Empirical Evidence from Côte D’Ivoire
Agronomy 2020, 10(8), 1063; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10081063 - 23 Jul 2020
Abstract
In Côte d’Ivoire, the use of fertilizers in rice farming still remains low. Credit constraints have been frequently reported as the main reason hampering rice farmers from reversing this situation. However, there is no empirical evidence on the link between rice farmers’ access [...] Read more.
In Côte d’Ivoire, the use of fertilizers in rice farming still remains low. Credit constraints have been frequently reported as the main reason hampering rice farmers from reversing this situation. However, there is no empirical evidence on the link between rice farmers’ access to credit (AC) and fertilizer intensification (FI). This article examines this issue by using a sample of 600 rice farmers randomly selected in seven rice areas. Data are analyzed by the IV-Probit and IV-Tobit models. The results reveal that FI and AC reciprocally influence each other, implying that they are endogenous. An increase of credit by XOF 100 could increase the quantity of fertilizer used by 2.70 kg, all other things being equal. Moreover, FI and AC are strongly influenced by some socio-economic, rice farm, and institutional factors. Policymakers should take actions to facilitate rice farmers’ access to credit and subsidized fertilizers. Other relevant explanatory variables should be considered in rice farming development policies. By providing empirical evidence of the link between rice farmers’ access to credit and fertilizer intensification in Côte d’Ivoire, this paper contributes to the agricultural finance literature. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Chemical–Physical, Sensory Analyses and Consumers’ Quality Perception of Local vs. Imported Loquat Fruits: A Sustainable Development Perspective
Agronomy 2020, 10(6), 870; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10060870 - 18 Jun 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Local products and their distribution through short supply chains play a key role in the sustainable development of many rural areas, as affirmed by the 2030 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Agenda. Moreover, in the last years, more and [...] Read more.
Local products and their distribution through short supply chains play a key role in the sustainable development of many rural areas, as affirmed by the 2030 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Agenda. Moreover, in the last years, more and more consumers have shown a specific interest towards local production, pushed by the need for healthy eating, protecting the environment, and boosting the local economy. However, the cultivation of local fruit varieties or ecotypes has considerably decreased in the last decades because of their low production potential. As a result, many farmers have been forced to replace local orchards with few worldwide grown cultivars, causing a loss of genetic agrobiodiversity. For instance, in Italy, the loquat market is composed of imported cultivars and local grown autochthonous fruits (ecotype). Therefore, the aim of this study is to analyze the chemical–physical and sensory qualities, as well as the determinants of Italian consumer preference towards local ecotype of loquat fruit compared to imported varieties. Results show that local ecotypes result in excellent physico-chemical and sensory attributes, and that place of purchase and taste are the most important factors influencing consumers’ preference towards local loquats. Therefore, the cultivation of loquat ecotypes, together with effective marketing strategies, could increase the competitiveness of certain Italian rural areas, where this crop has always played a significant role in the economy. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Yield and Profitability of Crop Production in Mountain Less Favoured Areas
Agronomy 2020, 10(5), 700; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10050700 - 14 May 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Agricultural production is a crucial part of policy issue in preventing depopulation of mountainous areas across Europe. However, soil and climate conditions are limiting yields and profitability of crop production in these regions. The European Union (EU) subsidizes agriculture in mountains by special [...] Read more.
Agricultural production is a crucial part of policy issue in preventing depopulation of mountainous areas across Europe. However, soil and climate conditions are limiting yields and profitability of crop production in these regions. The European Union (EU) subsidizes agriculture in mountains by special payments (Less Favoured Area (LFA) subsidy) when areas match law-specified natural handicaps. This study aims to assess whether LFA subsidy in Poland is sufficient to cover losses caused by lower yields of crops cultivated in a mountainous region of Poland (Low Beskid Mountains in Carpathians) compared to lowland regions (non-LFA areas). The results indicated that LFA subsidy was adequate for crops (facultative wheat, winter wheat, field bean and spring barley) grown in the years 2015–2018. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Relations between Circular Economic “Principles” and Organic Food Purchasing Behavior in Hungary
Agronomy 2020, 10(5), 616; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10050616 - 26 Apr 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Because of the climate change and emerging need for an environmentally sustainable production system, circular economic characteristics have come to the front in many studies. There are many challenges in this shift toward a circular value chain. Still, it is unquestionable that the [...] Read more.
Because of the climate change and emerging need for an environmentally sustainable production system, circular economic characteristics have come to the front in many studies. There are many challenges in this shift toward a circular value chain. Still, it is unquestionable that the analysis of consumers’ behaviour is crucial, because without their engagement, circular systems cannot work correctly. This article aimed to explore the circular characteristics of consumers’ attitude towards food purchasing in Hungary. Factor and cluster analyses were applied for market segmentation. The question to be answered was the following: “Are there any segments in the Hungarian food market that can be aimed at by different marketing tools to promote circular systems?” The hypothesis was that well-defined segments can be separated, garnering more engagement in the circular value chain in Hungary. We could separate two clusters, in which the members’ opinions were in line with the circular economic characteristics. Summing up the features of the different clusters, we can state that the members in cluster 1 (“Information-dependent”) and cluster 3 (“Direct purchasers”) were in the most local dimension; their attitude was the most adequate for the circular economic values. The “Information-dependent” consumer in particular was remarkable from the aspect of this investigation. This study showed that highly educated young people, who are very conscious consumers and live on good incomes, may be the target group for circular innovation. These young consumers usually buy organic food, are confident internet and software users, live in cities, and follow a healthy lifestyle. Finding the right marketing tools to integrate these consumers into more sustainable circular systems effectively and to be committed to the concepts of circular consumption is an essential mission in the future. Collecting from different databases and continuously analysing consumer feedback can be a huge step towards in achieving sustainable consumption and avoiding food waste. The significance of this analysis was that we found a defined segment that represents propensity towards accepting circular economy values and can be the target group of policies integrating circular systems. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Exploring Innovation Adoption Behavior for Sustainable Development: The Case of Hungarian Food Sector
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 612; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040612 - 24 Apr 2020
Abstract
Innovation plays a key role in the success and sustainable development of businesses. The innovation process derives from the combination of personal skills and company resources that influence food company managers in their choices on innovation (the decision-making process). This study is an [...] Read more.
Innovation plays a key role in the success and sustainable development of businesses. The innovation process derives from the combination of personal skills and company resources that influence food company managers in their choices on innovation (the decision-making process). This study is an attempt to try to understand which psychological constructs affect innovation decision-making in the Hungarian food sector, using the empirical data from a 2017 survey conducted in Hungary among the largest food processing companies. Planned behavior theory (TPB) was applied to the study of factors affecting innovation decision-making. Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) was used for data analysis. The results show that the positive attitude of Hungarian food business leaders towards innovation, evaluation of innovation and the strategic intention of placing innovative products and processes on the market have a positive relationship with innovation performance; however, the lack of adequate research skills, plus specific knowledge and skills is hindering the development of the hoped for process. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Land Suitability Assessment and Agricultural Production Sustainability Using Machine Learning Models
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 573; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040573 - 17 Apr 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Land suitability assessment is essential for increasing production and planning a sustainable agricultural system, but such information is commonly scarce in the semi-arid regions of Iran. Therefore, our aim is to assess land suitability for two main crops (i.e., rain-fed wheat and barley) [...] Read more.
Land suitability assessment is essential for increasing production and planning a sustainable agricultural system, but such information is commonly scarce in the semi-arid regions of Iran. Therefore, our aim is to assess land suitability for two main crops (i.e., rain-fed wheat and barley) based on the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) “land suitability assessment framework” for 65 km2 of agricultural land in Kurdistan province, Iran. Soil samples were collected from genetic layers of 100 soil profiles and the physical-chemical properties of the soil samples were analyzed. Topography and climate data were also recorded. After calculating the land suitability classes for the two crops, they were mapped using machine learning (ML) and traditional approaches. The maps predicted by the two approaches revealed notable differences. For example, in the case of rain-fed wheat, results showed the higher accuracy of ML-based land suitability maps compared to the maps obtained by traditional approach. Furthermore, the findings indicated that the areas with classes of N2 (≈18%↑) and S3 (≈28%↑) were higher and area with the class N1 (≈24%↓) was less predicted in the traditional approach compared to the ML-based approach. The major limitations of the study area were rainfall at the flowering stage, severe slopes, shallow soil depth, high pH, and large gravel content. Therefore, to increase production and create a sustainable agricultural system, land improvement operations are suggested. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Use of Aloe Vera Gel-Based Edible Coating with Natural Anti-Browning and Anti-Oxidant Additives to Improve Post-Harvest Quality of Fresh-Cut ‘Fuji’ Apple
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 515; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040515 - 03 Apr 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Recently, there is increasing use of edible and biodegradable films and packaging that are both environmentally friendly and functional for storage and market distribution. Fresh-cut ‘Fuji’ apples, harvested in an organic farm, were treated, using a spraying technique, with three new edible coatings [...] Read more.
Recently, there is increasing use of edible and biodegradable films and packaging that are both environmentally friendly and functional for storage and market distribution. Fresh-cut ‘Fuji’ apples, harvested in an organic farm, were treated, using a spraying technique, with three new edible coatings based on Aloe vera gel (AVG—40% v/w) and in combination with natural additives: lemon essential oil (LEO—1% v/w) and hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC—0.1% v/w) and compared with untreated sample (CTR), the physicochemical and sensory characteristics and the proximate compounds were evaluated. During cold storage, weight loss, soluble solids content, and color of uncoated slices were reduced, while softening, ripening, browning, and acidity were accelerated. In contrast, the AVG/HPMC treatment significantly delayed the above parameters related to post-harvest quality loss, while the AVG/LEO treatment delayed the browning processes, maintaining an excellent color during cold storage. Concerning proximate compounds, the treatments did not alter their concentration in the fruit tissues. Sensory analyses revealed no detrimental effect on taste, aroma, or flavor. Our data evidenced the positive effect of Aloe vera gel in combination with LEO and HPMC on fresh-cut apple quality as an innovative and sustainable technique to maintain fresh-cut apple quality. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Impact Analysis of the Young Farmers’ Support Program on Slovenian Dairy Sector Development Using Econometric Modeling Approach
Agronomy 2020, 10(3), 429; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10030429 - 21 Mar 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
This study analyzes the effects that action 112 of the Rural Development Policy had on the socioeconomic status of Slovenian dairy farms. The data used in this paper were collected from Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN), a database for applicants in action 112 [...] Read more.
This study analyzes the effects that action 112 of the Rural Development Policy had on the socioeconomic status of Slovenian dairy farms. The data used in this paper were collected from Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN), a database for applicants in action 112 (young farms transferees), from whose applications for participation in this action the data were obtained. Twenty-eight different econometric models were developed during the first stage of the research. The evaluation of the models was subsequently performed by applying valid statistical and econometric criteria. The results reveal the main positive effects that action 112 had on socioeconomic indicators of the dairy farms: number of full-time labor power, number of head of large livestock, total revenue (in euros) and net value added. Statistically significant differences in benefits from action 112 among dairy farms were determined by using two sets of dummy variables: region and level of education. The research in the field of the effect of the rural development policy action support of young farmers on socioeconomics performance of milk farms can make a significant contribution to developing the researchers’ work and policy makers’ decisions. Furthermore, this research is important from the agronomic point of view, since its results support two of the basic goals of Common agricultural policy after 2020: environmental care and conservation of landscape and biodiversity. Full article
Open AccessArticle
An Innovative Land Suitability Method to Assess the Potential for the Introduction of a New Crop at a Regional Level
Agronomy 2020, 10(3), 330; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10030330 - 02 Mar 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Although crop diversification is one of the main strategy of agroecological transition, a major obstacle is the lack of local references regarding new crops. Land suitability methods can provide a rapid screening of crop suitability in a region. However, mainstream methods are mainly [...] Read more.
Although crop diversification is one of the main strategy of agroecological transition, a major obstacle is the lack of local references regarding new crops. Land suitability methods can provide a rapid screening of crop suitability in a region. However, mainstream methods are mainly based on assessing soil and climate suitability, whereas it is fundamental to know where and how a new crop can be introduced into existing crop rotations and whether this introduction would be profitable. Our method based on recent advances in the characterization of cropping systems at the regional level can be exploited to evaluate: (1) the yield potential of the new crop, (2) the potential of this new crop being successfully introduced into ongoing crop rotations; (3) the economic benefits of such an introduction. The method was tested for the possible introduction of new soybean varieties in northern France. The method developed has relevance beyond the case study. Our method could also be easily adapted to rapidly assess the potential for introducing new crops in cases where there climate database, soil map information and a Land Parcel Identification System are available. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
The Role of Information and Interaction Processes in the Adoption of Agriculture Inputs in Uganda
Agronomy 2020, 10(2), 202; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10020202 - 01 Feb 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Agriculture is an essential component of food security, sustainable livelihoods, and economic development in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Smallholder farmers, however, are restricted in the number of crops they can grow due to small plot sizes. Agriculture inputs, such as fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides, [...] Read more.
Agriculture is an essential component of food security, sustainable livelihoods, and economic development in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Smallholder farmers, however, are restricted in the number of crops they can grow due to small plot sizes. Agriculture inputs, such as fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides, and improved seed varieties, could prove to be useful resources to improve yield. Despite the potential of these agriculture technologies, input use throughout much of SSA remains low. This paper aims to better understand the process of innovation diffusion through information and interaction processes at the individual, social network, and community levels. A total of 203 participants were surveyed using a semi-structured interview method in four rural communities located in the Mbale, Lira, Kabale, and Masaka districts of Uganda. Participants were asked about their access to information technologies, information sources via social network ties, level of engagement in the local community, and agricultural input use. Results indicate households with higher levels of information access through cell phone use and weak-tie information sources are more likely to use inputs. Significant findings also include the interactional effect of cell phones and weak ties on fertilizer adoption. This research could inform policy makers of cost-effective methods of disseminating agriculture information and encouraging innovation diffusion. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop