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Sustainable Agribusiness and Agri-food Prospects

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2018) | Viewed by 33672

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
School of Geography and Planning, Cardiff University, Glamorgan Building, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff CF10 3WA, UK
Interests: indigenous geography; indigenous peoples; agribusiness frontiers; environment and development; natural resources; water management; human geography; environmental governance
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The expression ‘agribusiness’ was coined in the 1950s to evoke the range of technological and socio-economic transformations of agriculture under national and international development pressures. One main consequence was that the ‘business of the agro’ gradually became less about sustenance and health and significantly more concerned with short-term financial gains and the legitimisation of intensive agri-food systems. There is nothing new in the fact that food is purchased and sold, given that agricultural markets had existed for many centuries. The novelty is that the operational and commercial apparatus of large agri-food companies has come to be seen as natural and constantly re-naturalised, while other fundamental properties of food and agriculture—such as nutrition, the well-being of farmers and their families, the preservation of local knowledge and cultural practices, the biological equilibrium necessary for sustained harvests—are all being lost due to the imperatives of profit, low costs and consumer satisfaction. The focus on food’s life-supporting properties has been diluted or negated by the money-making priorities of the contemporary agri-food economy. Most food is now sold in plastic bags and paper boxes, prepared by agro-industrial companies that rely on numerous, anonymous farmers and intermediary traders disconnected from consumer needs and preferences. This Special Issue will deal with those material, biophysical and social dimensions of modern day agribusiness and the multiple contradictions that prevent higher levels of agribusiness sustainability. This will necessarily be an interdisciplinary academic task and it will also require an open debate between scholars working in different parts of the world and with different approaches to agribusiness dilemmas. Selected papers will be subject to a rigorous peer review procedure with the aim of rapid and wide dissemination of research results, developments and applications.

Dr. Antonio A. R. Ioris
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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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 2400 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

  • agricultural modernization
  • agribusiness
  • agri-food studies
  • agricultural sustainability
  • agroecology
  • nutrition
  • farm management
  • globalized food
  • agricultural frontiers

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Editorial

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21 pages, 279 KiB  
Editorial
The Politics of Agribusiness and the Business of Sustainability
by Antonio A. R. Ioris
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1648; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051648 - 20 May 2018
Cited by 26 | Viewed by 6224
Abstract
The sustainability and the prospects of contemporary agribusiness are discussed taking into account trends, controversies, ideologies, practices and pending demands. The growing hegemony of agribusiness in the world today is analyzed making use of a conceptual framework of agro-neoliberalism that embraces three main [...] Read more.
The sustainability and the prospects of contemporary agribusiness are discussed taking into account trends, controversies, ideologies, practices and pending demands. The growing hegemony of agribusiness in the world today is analyzed making use of a conceptual framework of agro-neoliberalism that embraces three main areas of interaction, namely, renewed public–private alliances, novel techno-economic strategies that intensify socio-ecological exploitation and the containment of critical reactions. The critical importance of export-led agribusiness for the Brazilian economy provides a paradigmatic opportunity to apply this conceptual framework and investigate the foundations and geographical specificities of agro-neoliberalism. The article also discusses recent politico-economic adjustments and early signs of the exhaustion of Brazilian agro-neoliberalism, despite its undisputed hegemony. Neoliberal agricultural policies in Brazil have enabled the mobilization of agricultural resources, not for the purpose of domestic food security, but primarily for capital accumulation and the reinforcement of long-term social and economic trends that, ultimately, undermine prospects for sustained agricultural growth and broader sustainable development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agribusiness and Agri-food Prospects)

Research

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15 pages, 1130 KiB  
Article
Using Insights from Prospect Theory to Enhance Sustainable Decision Making by Agribusinesses in Argentina
by Jimena Gonzalez-Ramirez, Poonam Arora and Guillermo Podesta
Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2693; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082693 - 1 Aug 2018
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 6641
Abstract
Farm production often involves family-owned agribusinesses where decisions are made by households or individuals, not corporate managers. As these decisions have important economic, environmental, and social implications, decision-making processes must be understood to foster sustainable agricultural production. Decision experiments, involving lotteries, targeting farmers [...] Read more.
Farm production often involves family-owned agribusinesses where decisions are made by households or individuals, not corporate managers. As these decisions have important economic, environmental, and social implications, decision-making processes must be understood to foster sustainable agricultural production. Decision experiments, involving lotteries, targeting farmers in the Argentine Pampas were used to estimate prospect theory (PT) parameters. Results suggest that decisions under risk are better represented by prospect theory than by expected utility (EU) theory: Decision makers treat gains and losses differently and use subjective probabilities of outcomes; they are quite loss averse and are more likely to overweigh probabilities of infrequent events, such as large droughts or floods. Statistical testing revealed heterogeneity in the risk tied to land tenure (land owners vs. renters) and agribusiness roles (farmers vs. technical advisors). Perceptions of risk, probability, and outcomes played a large role in the sustainability of production. Due to a strong desire to avoid losses, decision makers have a greater short term focus: Immediate economic outcomes are more salient, and environmental and social investments are framed as costs rather than long-term gains. This research can help design policies, programs, and tools that assist agribusinesses in managing better contradictions across the triple bottom line to ensure greater sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agribusiness and Agri-food Prospects)
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22 pages, 617 KiB  
Article
Levels of Technical, Allocative, and Groundwater Use Efficiency and the Factors Affecting the Allocative Efficiency of Wheat Farmers in Pakistan
by Sobia Asghar, Nophea Sasaki, Damien Jourdain and Takuji W. Tsusaka
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1619; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051619 - 18 May 2018
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 4269
Abstract
In Pakistan, excessive lowering of the groundwater table has made crop irrigation costlier and without improving production efficiency, Pakistan’s rural economy will be adversely affected. This study estimated the technical, allocative, and groundwater use efficiency of wheat producers, identified the factors affecting their [...] Read more.
In Pakistan, excessive lowering of the groundwater table has made crop irrigation costlier and without improving production efficiency, Pakistan’s rural economy will be adversely affected. This study estimated the technical, allocative, and groundwater use efficiency of wheat producers, identified the factors affecting their allocative efficiency, and suggested policy implications from these results. The data were collected from 84 tubewell owners, 65 tubewell shareholders, and 75 water buyers. The technical, allocative, and groundwater use efficiency were estimated by the Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) method, and the important factors affecting the allocative efficiency were identified by two-limit tobit regression analysis. The results highlighted that the tubewell owners, tubewell shareholders, and water buyers had above 90% technical and groundwater use efficiency. However, allocative efficiency was substantially lower for all groups, indicating that wheat production costs could be significantly reduced by the optimal allocation of inputs. The allocative efficiency of wheat farmers decreased significantly with the increasing capacity of the tubewells, with the sharing of tubewells, and with the use of tractor-operated tubewells. The results imply that wheat farmers should be provided with technical and decision-making support to select an appropriate tubewell system that minimises their cost of production and improves their allocative efficiency. Furthermore, the resource allocation system of tubewell shareholders should be further studied to improve the allocative efficiency of wheat farmers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agribusiness and Agri-food Prospects)
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18 pages, 549 KiB  
Article
A Novel Integrated Approach for Green Supplier Selection with Interval-Valued Intuitionistic Uncertain Linguistic Information: A Case Study in the Agri-Food Industry
by Hua Shi, Mei-Yun Quan, Hu-Chen Liu and Chun-Yan Duan
Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 733; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030733 - 7 Mar 2018
Cited by 52 | Viewed by 4514
Abstract
With strengthening global consciousness of environmental protection, green supply chain management plays an increasingly important role in modern enterprise production operation management. A critical means to implement green supply chain management is incorporating environmental requirements into the supplier selection practices. In this paper, [...] Read more.
With strengthening global consciousness of environmental protection, green supply chain management plays an increasingly important role in modern enterprise production operation management. A critical means to implement green supply chain management is incorporating environmental requirements into the supplier selection practices. In this paper, we put forward a novel integrated approach by using interval-valued intuitionistic uncertain linguistic sets (IVIULSs) and grey relational analysis (GRA)-technique for order preference by similarity to ideal solution (TOPSIS) method for the evaluation and selection of green suppliers. First, various qualitative assessments of alternatives provided by decision makers are described by the IVIULSs. Then, the GRA-TOPSIS method is extended and employed to prioritize the alternative suppliers. The proposed model can handle the uncertainty and fuzziness of decision makers’ subjective evaluations more easily and get a more realistic and accurate ranking of green suppliers. Finally, an illustrative example in the agri-food industry is presented to verify the proposed green supplier selection model and demonstrate its practicality and effectiveness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agribusiness and Agri-food Prospects)
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228 KiB  
Article
Evolution of a Development Model for Fruit Industry against Background of an Aging Population: Intensive or Extensive Adjustment?
by Bin Yuan, Jintao Zhan and Chao Chen
Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10010049 - 26 Dec 2017
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2852
Abstract
As an important starting point for optimizing the structure of agricultural products and implementing green production methods, the direction of orchard management development is directly related to the success of “supply side” reform in the fruit industry in China. However, in the context [...] Read more.
As an important starting point for optimizing the structure of agricultural products and implementing green production methods, the direction of orchard management development is directly related to the success of “supply side” reform in the fruit industry in China. However, in the context of the progressive aging of the rural labor force, is the old labor force still capable of the high labor intensity and fine cultivation management needed, such as for pruning, or to maintain or improve the application efficiency of fertilizers? In this paper, based on the micro-production data of peach farmers in Jiangsu Province, we explore the influence of aging on the management of fruit trees and further introduce fruit tree management into the production function to analyze the effects of different orchard management methods on fertilizer efficiency. The results show that with the increase of labor force age, although the total labor investment of aged farmer households has somewhat increased, significant differences exist in the distribution of labor investment between the different production processes due to the different labor demands from the various production processes. In technical stages that demand good physical capabilities, such as pruning and flower/fruit thinning, elderly farmers have significantly reduced labor investment than younger ones, and this relative shortfall further reduces the marginal output of their chemical and organic fertilizers. Foreseeably, the aging of the rural labor force will have a negative impact on the efficiency of chemical and other fertilizers, cost-cutting, and profit-making in the fruit and nut industries, which have the same management methods for pruning and flower (fruit) thinning. Therefore, this paper offers relevant policy recommendations for the optimization of production tools, expansion of operation scale, and development of socialized services for the fruit industry, etc. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agribusiness and Agri-food Prospects)

Review

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19 pages, 2200 KiB  
Review
History, Distribution, and Potential of the Olive Industry in China: A Review
by ChunJiang Su, Junfeng Sun, Wanze Zhu and Li Peng
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1426; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051426 - 4 May 2018
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 5072
Abstract
China, as a non-Mediterranean country with non-Mediterranean climate, is taking olive cultivation as an important part of its agricultural development. In order to highlight some important facts about the history, status, distribution, and trends of the olive industry in China, we performed analyses [...] Read more.
China, as a non-Mediterranean country with non-Mediterranean climate, is taking olive cultivation as an important part of its agricultural development. In order to highlight some important facts about the history, status, distribution, and trends of the olive industry in China, we performed analyses based on Internet databases, online GIS software, and scientific papers. Results show that the olive industries have been concentrated in several key areas in Gansu, Sichuan, Yunnan, Chongqing, and Hubei. However, the business scope of olive enterprises is still narrow, the scale of enterprises is generally small, and individual or family management of farmers plays an important role. Thus, increased investment and policies are needed to enhance their capacities of R&D and production, and Chinese investigators should carry out socio-economic studies at the microcosmic level and take the initiative to innovate the products by cooperating with people in the same professions worldwide. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agribusiness and Agri-food Prospects)
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11 pages, 1155 KiB  
Review
Usefulness of Technological Capacity Evaluation for Brazilian Farmer Stakeholders: A Bibliometric Analysis
by Mônica Cristine Scherer Vaz, Luciano Medina Macedo, Dimas Soares Junior and Juliana Vitória Messias Bittencourt
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1036; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041036 - 31 Mar 2018
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3320
Abstract
The use of technology in agriculture plays an important role in the production chain cycle, as well as in the improvement of processes and productivity. To develop a model for measuring the technological capacity of family agriculture systems, it is necessary to assess [...] Read more.
The use of technology in agriculture plays an important role in the production chain cycle, as well as in the improvement of processes and productivity. To develop a model for measuring the technological capacity of family agriculture systems, it is necessary to assess the gaps related to indicators and the technological potentialities of these farmer groups, which are often not considered when they require financial support and do not get enough. Thus, the aim of this study is to identify the indicators used to evaluate the technological capacity of farm systems and agriculture. A bibliometric analysis between 2005 and 2017 was carried out on five scientific databases, identifying a first set of 233 scientific articles, which, after an in-depth reading, led to outlining an article portfolio of 33 studies. The H-index results estimated over databases verified that Springer is the most important regarding the topic Technological Capability in Agriculture Systems. The Technological Capacity Systems evolution is important in that technologies are in constant development and the use of indicators provides a quantitative evaluation to compare different agricultural properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agribusiness and Agri-food Prospects)
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