Special Issue "Sustainable Agriculture and Food Supply: Scientific, Economic and Policy Analysis"

A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073). This special issue belongs to the section "Energy Economics and Policy".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 December 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Karolina Pawlak
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Economics and Economic Policy in Agribusiness, Faculty of Economics, Poznan University of Life Sciences, Wojska Polskiego 28, 60-637 Poznan, Poland
Interests: agricultural economics; international economics; international trade and trade policy; foreign direct investment; international competitiveness; regional integration; agricultural policy; agricultural markets; food industry; food security; general and partial equilibrium modeling

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Agriculture, food industry, and food distribution are of key importance to each economy for a wide range of reasons, including the essential role in ensuring food security, balancing the labor market, improving the population’s income level, as well as boosting international trade and economic growth. According to the FAO report “The future of food and agriculture – Alternative pathways to 2050”, the world’s population will be 9.7 billion by 2050, 10.8 billion by 2080, and 11.2 billion by 2100. The expected population growth together with an increase in per capita income and rapid urbanization continue to increase the demand for food. Due to this, the area of concern is enhancing productivity and eradicating hunger. On the other hand, intensive and industrialized food production practices, which have been developed over the past few decades, have been increasingly bringing about severe resource degradation and GHG emissions.

In the light of the above, one of the most important challenges faced by the global agri-food system is feeding the world population sustainably, which requires a simultaneous promotion of agricultural productivity and preservation of available natural resources. It should also be noted here that the effectiveness of actions taken to reduce GHG emissions in agriculture is linked to the economy-wide efforts to increase efficiency in energy production and consumption. Moreover, extreme poverty and unemployment, unequal distribution of income and resources, insufficient investments, inadequate technological changes, inequitable domestic and international markets for inputs and outputs, lack of well-designed trade policies, climate change, as well as food losses and waste hamper sustainable productivity improvement. Strong institutions and policies tailored toward agriculture-based industries, rural areas, and environmental protection also play a strategic role when searching for sustainable agriculture and food supply.

The aim of this Special Issue of Energies is to open the floor for a scientific discussion around the trends, drivers, and challenges for sustainable agriculture and food supply at the local, regional, national or global level. Original research papers presenting theoretical insights and/or empirical and policy-oriented analyses related to social, economic or environmental dimensions of a sustainable agri-food system and rural areas are welcome. Submissions employing various quantitative methods or qualitative analyses, as well as review articles are strongly encouraged.

Dr. Karolina Pawlak
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. Energies is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 2000 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.


  • Sustainability
  • Agricultural production
  • Agricultural policy
  • Food industry
  • Inputs and services to agriculture and food industry
  • Energy sources
  • Agri-food markets
  • International trade and policy
  • Environmental issues and policy
  • Climate change
  • Bioeconomy
  • Food security
  • Food losses and waste
  • Sustainable consumption
  • Socioeconomic problems of rural areas

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle
Developing a Methodology for Aggregated Assessment of the Economic Sustainability of Pig Farms
Energies 2021, 14(6), 1760; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14061760 - 22 Mar 2021
Viewed by 409
The economic sustainability of agricultural production is a crucial concern for most farmers, especially for pig producers who face dynamic changes in the market. Approaches for economic sustainability assessment found in the literature are mainly focused on the short-term economic viability of the [...] Read more.
The economic sustainability of agricultural production is a crucial concern for most farmers, especially for pig producers who face dynamic changes in the market. Approaches for economic sustainability assessment found in the literature are mainly focused on the short-term economic viability of the farm and rarely take a long-term perspective. In this paper, we propose and test a new, innovative assessment and aggregation method, which brings about a broader view on more long-term aspects of economic sustainability. This wider view on economic sustainability, in addition to classical concepts such as technical efficiency, labor productivity, and farm profitability, incorporates the assessment of the levels of entrepreneurship, risk management, and the resilience of the invested resources. All indicators were scaled and aggregated using scaling and weighting procedures proposed by experts into subthemes and themes. The methodology was tested on a sample of 131 pig farms located in 6 EU countries: Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Finland, and Austria. We hypothesized that closed-cycle farms might be economically more sustainable than those farms that are specialized in pig breeding or finishing. The results showed that closed-cycle farms do indeed have advantages in terms of raising healthy animals and having slightly better overall resilience of resources, however specialized breeding and finishing farms appeared to be more sustainable in the areas of profitability, risk management, and reproductive efficiency. Our approach supports evidence-based economic sustainability assessments of pig farms and provides a tool that can be used for economic sustainability improvement strategies for farms. Full article
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Financial determinants of the investment level depending on the production direction of agricultural holdings in the European Union
Authors: Krzysztof Firlej; Sebastian Kubala
Affiliation: Cracow University of Economics, 31-510 Cracow, Poland
Abstract: The aim of the article is to analyse relations between the production direction of agricultural holdings in the European Union and the level of investment in the years 2005-2018. As the research hypothesis was assumed that the production directions of agricultural holdings in the European Union influence on their level of investment. The additional aim is to draw attention to the most important issues reflecting the significance of finances in investment decisions of agricultural holdings. The study covers all the European Union member countries. One-factor analysis of variance ANOVA has been used to achieve the research objective. The studies prove that the production directions of agricultural holdings in the European Union substantially diversify their values of the investment level. The largest differences in the investment level have been observed between the agricultural holdings specializing in granivorous animals and dairy cows and the plant production agricultural holdings.

Title: The sense of poverty during COVID-19: the situation of Poland compared to other European countries
Authors: Sławomir Kalinowski; Aleksandra Łuczak
Affiliation: Poznań University of Life Sciences, 60-624 Poznań, Poland
Abstract: Poverty is one of the most important problems of the modern world affecting economic development. It can be considered in the existential, social, economic and political context. There are many causes of poverty, but in recent months the most important seems COVID-19 problem and its negative socio-economic effects. The consequences of the pandemic and related restrictions have severely affected the functioning of households, in particular by decreasing their material status. The research therefore attempted to redefine and assess subjective poverty. The main research question concerned changes in households’ situation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Two-stage primary research into households in Poland was conducted using the CAWI (Computer-Assisted Web Interview) method. Statistical methods for the analysis of structures were used to assess the similarity of responses in the stages. The research was conducted against the background of the COVID-19 epidemiological situation. Epidemic states were identified in European countries as well as in China and the USA. In this part of the research cross-sectional time series data obtained from the EU Open Data Portal (2020) was used. The identification of country types in terms of epidemiological risk was carried out using the fuzzy c-means clustering method. The proposed approach makes it possible to identify epidemic states and provides information about the time of transition from one state to another and makes it possible to illustrate the fluctuations that occur when states change. Our research showed that the respondents’ subjective assessment of poverty changed slightly during the period analysed. We have shown that the situation faced by rural and urban inhabitants differs in the perception of poverty. The further a village is from an urban area the worse is the assessment of poverty. The research also revealed a dichotomy in the respondents’ perceptions as regards their material situation and the situation in the country. Based on the survey research, we also made an attempt to redefine subjective poverty. The research results can be useful in deepening the understanding of the phenomenon of subjective poverty and make a significant contribution to current innovative research during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study concerned Poland, but the results may also be useful for other countries.

Title: The cross-continental case studies on solving difficulties in maintaining continuity of food supply during the COVID-19 pandemic
Authors: Anna Zielińska-Chmielewska; Dobrosława Mruk-Tomczak
Affiliation: Poznań University of Economics and Business, Poland
Abstract: Although the pandemic phenomenon is not the first of its kind in human history, the common feature of COVID-19 is its rapid impact on the global economy. In the light of recent challenges, there is a considerable concern about maintaining the continuity of food supply on a global perspective. The aim of the study is to classify and systematize information on broken domestic and foreign food supply chains in order to take the measures to minimize these effects on the individual and national level. In the theoretical part of the study comparative and synthetic analyses are presented. The revised public source of information coming from well-known organizations: Centre(s) for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), European Commission (EC), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Food Information Council (IFIC), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), International Labour Organization (ILO), International Trade Center (ITC), The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and World Health Organization (WHO) are used. In the practical part of the study direct experts’ interviews, cross-country case studies (f. ex. China, USA, India, Japan), modelling using ANOVA method are presented. The primary data come from authors’ own research and creation of panel databank. The results of the research can be helpful by giving the recommendations to representatives of the supply-side of the economy (farmers, food producers, food processers, wholesalers, retailers) and institutional side of the economy represented by government institutions and policy makers. Keywords: COVID-19, food, supply chain, resilience, distribution channels, cross-continental case-studies.

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