Special Issue "Sustainable Agribusiness and Food Supply Chain"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 June 2018).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Chyi Lyi Liang
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Carver Hall 105, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University 1601 East Market St. Greensboro, NC 27411, USA
Tel. +1-336-285-4683
Interests: multifunctional agriculture, entrepreneurship, rural development, food systems, food networks
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sustainable agriculture promotes a balanced approach to be economically sound, socially just, and environmentally feasible for producers, consumers, and communities. Many scholars have explored, examined, and analyzed farming activities or consumer behaviors linked sustainable decisions to field management, resource allocation, or family/community health. However, studies focusing on sustainable practices performed by intermediary actors in food systems, such as collecting, inspecting, input-outsourcing, processing, packaging, transporting, pricing, marketing, and handling are very limited. This Special Issue presents a collection of articles to share innovative frameworks, strategies, applications, and assessments of sustainable agribusiness and food supply chain. A variety of topics will be covered in this collection to discuss theories, practices, and policy implications for individuals, enterprises, or networks to achieve a manageable and reasonable equilibrium of economic, social, and environmental viability. Papers selected for this special issue will be subject to a rigorous peer review procedure with the aim of rapid and wide dissemination of research results, developments, and applications.

Dr. Kathleen Liang
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. Sustainability 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 1700 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

  • sustainable agriculture
  • agribusiness
  • food supply chain
  • entrepreneurship

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Vehicles Allocation for Fruit Distribution Considering CO2 Emissions and Decisions on Subcontracting
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2449; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072449 - 13 Jul 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
An important problem in rural-area supply chains is how to transport the harvested fruit to urban areas. Low- and medium-capacity vehicles are used in Colombia to carry out this activity. Operating them comes with an inherent cost and generates carbon emissions. Normally, minimizing [...] Read more.
An important problem in rural-area supply chains is how to transport the harvested fruit to urban areas. Low- and medium-capacity vehicles are used in Colombia to carry out this activity. Operating them comes with an inherent cost and generates carbon emissions. Normally, minimizing operating costs and minimizing carbon emissions are conflicting objectives to allocate such vehicles efficiently in any of the supply chain echelons. We designed a multi-objective mixed-integer programming model to address this problem and solved it via the ε-constraint method. It includes decisions mainly about quantities of fruit to transport and store, types of vehicles to allocate according to their capacities, CO2 emission levels of these vehicles, and subcontracting on the collection process. The main results show two schedules for allocating the vehicles, showing minimum and maximum CO2 emissions. Minimum CO2 emissions scheme require subcontracting and the maximum CO2 scheme does not. Then, a Pareto frontier shows that CO2 emissions level are inversely proportional to total management cost for different scenarios in which fruit supply was modified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agribusiness and Food Supply Chain)
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Open AccessArticle
Systemic Sustainability of the French Organic Rice and PGI Einkorn Value Chains: A Preliminary Assessment Based on Network Analysis
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2344; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072344 - 06 Jul 2018
Abstract
Public authorities and consumers increasingly support food value chains that are more environmentally friendly. However, these value chains are faced with technical, economic and institutional limitations, calling into question their long-term viability. Based on two case studies of alternative food chains in France, [...] Read more.
Public authorities and consumers increasingly support food value chains that are more environmentally friendly. However, these value chains are faced with technical, economic and institutional limitations, calling into question their long-term viability. Based on two case studies of alternative food chains in France, namely einkorn (Triticum monococcum) in Haute Provence and organic rice in the Camargue, we evaluated their capacity to remain both viable and environmentally, economically and socially sustainable. After assessing the traditional economic, social and environmental performance of their sustainability, we performed a network analysis to determine the survivability of the systems. The combined use of the traditional pillars of sustainability and the network analysis forms what we term the systemic sustainability. Results suggest that the einkorn value chain is characterised by a high degree of centrality represented by a producers’ association, although the systemic sustainability of the chain is reduced by its dependence on a leading processor. As for the organic rice value chain, centralised power is exerted by three companies embedded in a strong network of actors characterised by diversified connections. The paper concludes by highlighting the potential interest of conducting a network analysis to better determine the sustainability of food value chains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agribusiness and Food Supply Chain)
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Open AccessArticle
Agri-Food Chain Establishment as a Means to Increase Sustainability in Food Systems: Lessons from Sunflower in Brazil
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2215; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072215 - 28 Jun 2018
Abstract
The growing international food demand, the call for plant proteins to improve sustainability, the technological possibilities for sunflower protein ingredients, and the prominent role of Brazil in the world agricultural supply constitute the research background of this article. The aim is to analyze [...] Read more.
The growing international food demand, the call for plant proteins to improve sustainability, the technological possibilities for sunflower protein ingredients, and the prominent role of Brazil in the world agricultural supply constitute the research background of this article. The aim is to analyze the process of establishment of the major sunflower agri-food chain in Brazil, seeking to support the future development of new sunflower chains to meet an expected increasing demand for high-quality sunflower proteins. A case study research design was applied, involving interviews with stakeholders from the input, farming, and processing segments. Moreover, the case analysis was guided by an analytical framework that regards the agri-food chain establishment as an entrepreneurial process. The findings show that the successful process of the sunflower agri-food chain establishment in Mato Grosso (MT) stems from a set of interconnected driving forces composed of entrepreneurial skills, social network, resource availability, and crop suitability. Furthermore, the analysis indicates the potential for the development of new sunflower chains among soybean farmers from other regions in MT, especially if new sunflower protein food ingredients lead to higher sunflowers prices, which would make this crop economically more attractive. Finally, this case study suggests that the collective establishment of agri-food chains is a challenging endeavor, especially if conducted by outside actors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agribusiness and Food Supply Chain)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effectiveness of the Multilateral Coalition to Develop a Green Agricultural Products Market in China Based on a TU Cooperative Game Analysis
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1476; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051476 - 08 May 2018
Abstract
Green agriculture can improve biodiversity, increase farmers’ income, reduce agricultural non-point source pollution, solve food safety issues, and will be an important way to promote sustainable development in China. At present, the green transformation of China’s agriculture has encountered a bottleneck in the [...] Read more.
Green agriculture can improve biodiversity, increase farmers’ income, reduce agricultural non-point source pollution, solve food safety issues, and will be an important way to promote sustainable development in China. At present, the green transformation of China’s agriculture has encountered a bottleneck in the development of a green agricultural product market. How to develop a green agricultural product market has become an issue worthy of in-depth study in the academia. Previous studies have already given persuasive explanations for the inability to form a green agricultural product market, but few have explored its development path from the angle of cooperation. By employing the method of a Transferable Utilities (TU) cooperative game, and based on theoretical analyses and hypothetical data, this thesis aims to prove the effectiveness of the multilateral coalition to develop the green agricultural product market in China. The results show the effectiveness of the developed model of the green agricultural product market in which producers, consumers, food safety inspection departments, and e-commerce platforms cooperate with each other. This model meets the objective needs of the times and that of the market economy. According to the marginal contribution value of participants in different coalition orders, this thesis finds 6 kinds of coalition orders. When producers and consumers of green agricultural products enter the coalition in the last place, the marginal contribution value is maximized, which reflects the importance of the supply side and demand side of green agricultural products. In other words, the development of the green agricultural product market is a dynamic process—determined by consumers and promoted by producers—in which both sides promote and restrict each other. Finally, this article presents two policy recommendations: at the national level, to clearly proposes a strategy to build a green agricultural product e-commerce platform in China and to launch a pilot application for the specialized e-commerce platform for green agricultural products in the Guizhou province. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agribusiness and Food Supply Chain)
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Open AccessArticle
The Management of Unsold Food in Outdoor Market Areas: Food Operators’ Behaviour and Attitudes
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1180; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041180 - 14 Apr 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Food wastage has been widely discussed and investigated from different perspectives in literature. The EU-28 produces about 88 million tonnes of food wastage every year, making the awareness of this phenomenon a vital matter. This paper focuses on the outdoor-market operators’ perception and [...] Read more.
Food wastage has been widely discussed and investigated from different perspectives in literature. The EU-28 produces about 88 million tonnes of food wastage every year, making the awareness of this phenomenon a vital matter. This paper focuses on the outdoor-market operators’ perception and behaviour towards the food waste phenomenon in a particular phase of the agro-food supply chain. It assesses the different approaches used to manage unsold produce and its destination. A sample of 214 market retailers in the Greater Torino market areas of Italy were identified, to whom a questionnaire was administered by interview to analyze the main actors involved in the food-wastage process and profile them according to their perception, behaviour, and attitude. The results show that there are three distinct kinds of market operators, i.e., farmers, peddlers, and hybrids. Their attitudes and behaviour towards unsold food differ, as does their inclination towards a sustainable approach, which depends on their personal experience and role in the supply chain. Moreover, the results provide some relevant elements that may contribute to improving the management of the food-waste phenomenon. Moreover, they bring some useful evidence to light that could lay the basis of more effective tools to be put at the disposal of various institutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agribusiness and Food Supply Chain)
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Open AccessArticle
Implications of the 2016 Oregon Minimum Wage Increase for Direct Market Farmers, Farmworkers, and Communities
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 370; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020370 - 31 Jan 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
We conducted interviews with 18 direct market (DM) farmers to explore the implications of the Oregon minimum wage (MW) increase for the state’s DM agricultural sector. How, if at all, will DM farms in the Willamette Valley (OR, USA) adjust their production and [...] Read more.
We conducted interviews with 18 direct market (DM) farmers to explore the implications of the Oregon minimum wage (MW) increase for the state’s DM agricultural sector. How, if at all, will DM farms in the Willamette Valley (OR, USA) adjust their production and marketing practices in response to the MW increase? How will these adjustments affect DM farm viability, farmworkers, the environment, and the communities in which the farms are embedded? This region has a vibrant food system with many small-to-mid sized, diversified farms that sell through direct and intermediated marketing channels. The diversified production and marketing practices of these DM farmers are labor intensive and, in many respects, environmentally friendly. These practices result in relatively high costs and the farmers’ ability to respond by increasing prices is constrained by mainstream retail prices. Most growers reported that they will adjust to the MW increase by reducing their production and marketing costs with a decrease in total labor hours being an important strategy. This study, while small and exploratory, is the first in Oregon (and perhaps nationally) to collect empirical farm-level data about how DM farms will adjust to a MW increase. It sets the stage for future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agribusiness and Food Supply Chain)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Logistics Best Practices for Regional Food Systems: A Review
Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 168; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10010168 - 11 Jan 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
The modern industrial food supply system faces many major environmental and social sustainability challenges. Regional food systems, in which consumers prefer geographically proximate food producers, offer a response to these challenges. However, the costs associated with distributing food from many small-scale producers to [...] Read more.
The modern industrial food supply system faces many major environmental and social sustainability challenges. Regional food systems, in which consumers prefer geographically proximate food producers, offer a response to these challenges. However, the costs associated with distributing food from many small-scale producers to consumers have been a major barrier to long-term regional food system success. Logistics best practices from conventional supply chains have the potential to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of regional food supply chains (RFSCs). This paper provides a structured and in-depth review of the existing literature on RFSC logistics, including recommended and implemented best practices. The purpose of the review is to provide RFSC researchers and practitioners with convenient access to valuable information and knowledge derived from years of experimentation and research. This information will help to inform practitioners’ implementation decisions and to increase researchers’ awareness of the existing work on RFSC logistics, the unmet needs of practitioners, and topics that have not been fully explored, yielding insights into potential future directions for RFSC research. The overarching aim of the paper is to facilitate improvements in RFSC logistics, thereby improving regional food system viability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agribusiness and Food Supply Chain)
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Other

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Open AccessConcept Paper
Resilience of Agricultural Value Chains in Developing Country Contexts: A Framework and Assessment Approach
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 916; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10040916 - 22 Mar 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Although agricultural value chain resilience is a crucial component to food security and sustainable food systems in developing countries, it has received little attention. This paper synthesizes knowledge from the social-ecological systems (SES), supply chain management, and value chain development literature to make [...] Read more.
Although agricultural value chain resilience is a crucial component to food security and sustainable food systems in developing countries, it has received little attention. This paper synthesizes knowledge from the social-ecological systems (SES), supply chain management, and value chain development literature to make three contributions to this research gap. First, we conceptualize agricultural value chain resilience and relate it to overall food system resilience. Second, we identify seven principles that are hypothesized to contribute to SES resilience, relate them to supply chain management theory, and discuss their application in agricultural value chains. A key insight is that the appropriateness of these principles are important to assess on a case-by-case basis, and depend in part on trade-offs between resilience and other dimensions of value chain performance. Third, we integrate two common tools, the Resilience Alliance’s assessment framework and value chain analysis techniques, to outline an adaptable participatory approach for assessing the resilience of agricultural value chains in developing countries. The objectives of the approach are to cultivate a chain-wide awareness for past and potential disturbances that could affect food security and other essential services provided by the value chain, and to identify upgrades that can build resilience against these key disturbances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agribusiness and Food Supply Chain)
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