Special Issue "Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Piotr Prus
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Laboratory of Economics and Counseling in Agribusiness, Department of Agronomy, Faculty of Agriculture and Biotechnology, UTP University of Science and Technology in Bydgoszcz, Poland
Interests: sustainable development, sustainable development of rural areas and agriculture, education for sustainable development, rural advisory services, agricultural knowledge and innovation systems (AKIS), diffusion and adoption of innovations in rural areas, multifunctional development of rural areas, entrepreneurship, non-agricultural entrepreneurship in rural areas, horizontal and vertical integration in the food sector and agriculture, formation and operation of agricultural producer groups

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Rural areas and agriculture play a significant role in the economy around the world. They are the settings for the life and work of a large part of society, and such areas produce food, as well as the non-food raw materials used in many branches of industry and in the energy sectors. Unfortunately, the development of rural areas and agriculture has generated many problems related to the lack of balance of economic, social, and ecological factors.

The rapid development of industrial agriculture in highly developed countries has created ecological threats and social problems. This type of agriculture has contributed to the generation and accumulation of environmental pollution. Among the consequences of increased agricultural production, including the increased use of chemical fertilizers and chemical plant protection products, is the accumulation of their residues throughout the food chain and, consequently, in food consumed by people. Nitrogen emissions in groundwater, rivers, and lakes have led to their eutrophication. The introduction of field monocultures has resulted in the impoverishment of biological diversity. Work-saving techniques and production technologies have undermined the economic existence of small farms. Economic conditions and quality of life have deteriorated in many rural communities, which has led to a negative migration balance in and depopulation of many rural areas.

The contemporary picture of agriculture and rural areas will undergo subsequent changes. The evolutionary nature of their development is a natural process, caused by the need to adapt to the changing reality, as well as the economic and social environment. It is important, therefore, due to the close connection between agriculture and natural resources, for this Special Issue to become a collection of scientific papers and valuable recommendations that will help to design and propose a model for the sustainable development of rural areas and agriculture that will guarantee economic development in equilibrium and harmony with social expectations and the requirements of the natural environment.

Dr. Piotr Prus
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Sustainable development of rural areas
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Organic agriculture
  • Agricultural biodiversity
  • Climate change
  • Mitigation of climate change
  • Adaptation to climate change
  • R&D programs for sustainable development of rural areas and agriculture
  • Public policies for development of rural areas and agriculture
  • The role of rural advisory services in supporting the sustainable development of rural areas and agriculture
  • The role of agricultural knowledge and innovation systems (AKIS) in facilitating the sustainable development of rural areas and agriculture
  • The role of ecological education (at the vocational and university level, as well as formal and informal programs) for the sustainable development of rural areas
  • Sustainable food production
  • Sustainable production of agricultural non-food raw materials
  • Sustainable production of agricultural energy resources
  • Sustainable yield increase
  • Markets and the preservation of agricultural diversity
  • Sustainable food marketing and new product development
  • Consumer behavior and food sustainability

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Rural Livelihoods and Climate Change Adaptation in Laggard Transitional Economies: A Case from Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sustainability 2019, 11(21), 6079; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11216079 - 01 Nov 2019
Abstract
This study analyzes farm households’ adaptation in a broad livelihood context, showing how both household internal dynamics and broader external factors, such as agro-ecological, climatic, and institutional economic and political frame conditions, influence both the perception of and adaptation to climate variations and [...] Read more.
This study analyzes farm households’ adaptation in a broad livelihood context, showing how both household internal dynamics and broader external factors, such as agro-ecological, climatic, and institutional economic and political frame conditions, influence both the perception of and adaptation to climate variations and change. Nearly a third of the households in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BH) are engaged in agriculture as one livelihood strategy to cope with the multiple shocks experienced over the past three decades, resulting in economic decline and loss of income opportunities. Based on a household survey, we analyzed the livelihoods of households in three agricultural regions in BH: how they are affected by climate change, their perceptions of climatic change, as well as various household adaptation strategies. The results were discussed in the context of the sustainable livelihoods approach. Our results indicate that rural households are relatively asset poor and highly dependent on agriculture, irrespective of geographical location or wealth. Their access to assets is further constrained by the ongoing changes in economic and political structures and processes. Negative effects of climate change were reported in terms of yield decline and reduced quality of products. On a positive note, the level of adoption of different agricultural practices and technologies indicates signs of an overall intensification strategy of agricultural production in BH, as well as adaptation to the perceived changes in climate and climate variability using the available asset base. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Coupling Relationship between Agricultural Labor and Agricultural Production Against the Background of Rural Shrinkage: A Case Study of Songnen Plain, China
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5804; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205804 - 18 Oct 2019
Abstract
Based on panel data from 1995, 2005, and 2015 in the Songnen Plain in Heilongjiang Province, this paper used quantitative and spatial analysis methods to reveal the spatiotemporal evolution characteristics and coupling relationship between agricultural labor and agricultural production at the county level [...] Read more.
Based on panel data from 1995, 2005, and 2015 in the Songnen Plain in Heilongjiang Province, this paper used quantitative and spatial analysis methods to reveal the spatiotemporal evolution characteristics and coupling relationship between agricultural labor and agricultural production at the county level against the background of rural shrinkage. The results showed the following: (1) From 1995 to 2015, the agricultural labor population in Songnen Plain increased first and then decreased. The transfer of agricultural labor in the northern and eastern areas was clear, and the agricultural labor population in the central and western areas showed an increasing trend. (2) From 1995 to 2015, the agricultural production showed a growth trend, from the characteristics of “high in the southwest and low in the northeast” to “high in the central areas and low around”, with clear regional differences. (3) The coupling relationship between agricultural labor and agricultural production was diverse, showing a trend of positive development from extensive, lagged, and declining types to growth or intensive types. In some areas, the transfer of agricultural labor brought about an increase in the per capita cultivated land and an intensive transformation of production, but problems such as hollow villages, the abandonment of cultivated land and food insecurity often occurred. In addition, the increase in the agricultural labor population promoted the growth of grain yield and agricultural output value, but the decrease in per capita cultivated land might lead to a decrease in the per capita income. Finally, based on the coupling types and spatial distribution characteristics of agricultural labor and agricultural production, some policy suggestions are proposed for rural revitalization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
A Sustainable, Regional Agricultural Development Measurement System Based on Dissipative Structure Theory and the Entropy Weight Method: A Case Study in Chengdu, China
Sustainability 2019, 11(19), 5313; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11195313 - 26 Sep 2019
Abstract
As a large agricultural nation, China attaches great importance to agricultural development, as sustainable, regional agricultural development affects the sustainable development of China. Taking Chengdu, Sichuan Province as an example, this paper selected indicators and data from the past 15 years from the [...] Read more.
As a large agricultural nation, China attaches great importance to agricultural development, as sustainable, regional agricultural development affects the sustainable development of China. Taking Chengdu, Sichuan Province as an example, this paper selected indicators and data from the past 15 years from the Chengdu Statistical Yearbook and applied the dissipative structure theory to establish an evaluation system for sustainable, regional agricultural development based on five main factors including economy, society, environment, education, and population. The entropy weight method was used to empower each indicator, and the changes in Chengdu’s sustainable agricultural development in the past 15 years were calculated. It was found that Chengdu’s sustainable agricultural development has been annually increasing, among which, economic and education subsystems had the greatest support for sustainable agricultural development. From 2003 to 2017, the entropy change of the total agricultural sustainable development system in Chengdu was negative, and the total entropy of the system gradually decreased. The sustainable agricultural development system in Chengdu has been developing towards a more orderly dynamic equilibrium state. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Socio-Economic Factors for Anthill Soil Utilization by Smallholder Farmers in Zambia
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 4849; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11184849 - 05 Sep 2019
Abstract
In this study, we surveyed two districts of Zambia—Choma and Pemba. The aim of this study was to obtain the perspective of farmers on anthill soil utilization practices for key information that could contribute towards the development of an anthill soil based research [...] Read more.
In this study, we surveyed two districts of Zambia—Choma and Pemba. The aim of this study was to obtain the perspective of farmers on anthill soil utilization practices for key information that could contribute towards the development of an anthill soil based research agenda. The study employed both a qualitative and quantitative method approach to gather data from the respondents, which included farmers and key informants. Qualitative data was analyzed using the triangulation method and Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software (CAQDAS), Nvivo version 10, while data generated from quantitative interviews with a smart phone Application (Open Data Kit) were analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Results revealed that the key hurdles to the utilization of anthill soil lay in agro-climatic, biophysical, technological, land and institutional constraints. Broadly, farmers reported poor rainfall patterns (95%), decreasing soil fertility (70%), limited farm products (69%), finance (66%), limited access to research and extension services (55%) and security of land tenure (48%) as major constraints. We therefore advocate for strengthenedinstitutional linkages between research and extension for information dissemination, which would aid in decision-making used to promote integrated soil fertility management for improved agriculture production and productivity of rural households. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Farmers’ Knowledge, Perceptions and Practices in Managing Weeds and Insect Pests of Common Bean in Northern Tanzania
Sustainability 2019, 11(15), 4076; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11154076 - 28 Jul 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Weeds and insect pests are among the serious constraints in common bean production in most rural communities. A survey of 169 smallholder farmers was conducted in two common bean-growing districts in northern Tanzania. The aim was to assess farmers’ knowledge, perceptions, current management [...] Read more.
Weeds and insect pests are among the serious constraints in common bean production in most rural communities. A survey of 169 smallholder farmers was conducted in two common bean-growing districts in northern Tanzania. The aim was to assess farmers’ knowledge, perceptions, current management practices and challenges in order to develop sustainable weed and insect pest management strategies. The results revealed that 83% of farmers perceived insect pests as the major constraint in common bean production, while 73% reported weeds as the main drawback. Insect pest management was mainly achieved through the use of synthetic pesticides, however, only 24% of farmers were able to apply, the rest could not afford due to high cost, limited access and lack of knowledge. Only 6.5% of farmers were aware of non-chemical methods and 2.1% did not practice any method in managing insect pests, both in the field and during storage. Moreover, farmers generally relied on experience in managing insect pests and weeds, and about 43% did not see the need to consult extension officers. These findings indicate that there is a need to sensitize and train farmers on the sustainable methods for pest and weed management in common bean farming systems in northern Tanzania. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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