Special Issue "Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (21 June 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Piotr Prus
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
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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.

Prof. 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 (41 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
The Mineral Fertilizer-Dependent Chemical Parameters of Soil Acidification under Field Conditions
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 7165; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12177165 - 02 Sep 2020
Abstract
Soil acidification in agroecosystems is a natural process that could be accelerated, mainly by the inappropriate application of mineral fertilizers, or prevented, by sustainable management practices. On the basis of a three-year field study in a grassland agroecosystem, the impact of different rates [...] Read more.
Soil acidification in agroecosystems is a natural process that could be accelerated, mainly by the inappropriate application of mineral fertilizers, or prevented, by sustainable management practices. On the basis of a three-year field study in a grassland agroecosystem, the impact of different rates of fertilization with nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) on soil chemical parameters related to soil acidity was evaluated. It was found that high-rate fertilization with ammonium nitrate accelerated the soil acidification process, which was additionally intensified by the application of superphosphate and potassium salt. The sum of exchangeable base cations, the values of base saturation and hydrolytic acidity in the soil reflected the interactions between the applied NPK-fertilizer levels. Considering chemical parameters related to soil acidity studied in this experiment, it seems that the best strategies for mitigating soil acidification in grasslands are reducing nitrate leaching, changing fertilizer types and increasing the input of base cations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
The “Smart Village” as a Way to Achieve Sustainable Development in Rural Areas of Poland
Sustainability 2020, 12(16), 6503; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12166503 - 12 Aug 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
In each country, rural areas cover the bulk of available land; however, they generally remain outside the mainstream of innovative development processes. Still, they have potential and are vital for implementing the highly valid concept of persistent and sustainable development. The idea of [...] Read more.
In each country, rural areas cover the bulk of available land; however, they generally remain outside the mainstream of innovative development processes. Still, they have potential and are vital for implementing the highly valid concept of persistent and sustainable development. The idea of such growth can be implemented in many ways, and the smart development concept is one of these ways. The aim of this paper is to present the smart village concept as a means to achieve the sustainability and resilience of rural areas, relying on the analysis of basic theories of sustainable and persistent growth. The study examines and evaluates the state of the potential for the smart growth of rural areas in all regions of Poland, as well as presents the results of the empirical research on such potential in three regions of Eastern Poland. The smart growth potential of the regions in question was determined by means of 24 variables representing the following fields: management, life quality, economy, society, natural environment and mobility. It was concluded that the smart village concept can be useful in facilitating sustainable development of rural areas. Further research concerning the problem should in particular focus on strengthening the relations between rural communes with cities and towns in their close vicinity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Financial Diversity and the Development Process: Case study of Rural Communes of Eastern Poland in 2009–2018
Sustainability 2020, 12(16), 6446; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12166446 - 10 Aug 2020
Abstract
In the modern state, the role and importance of communes is growing. They can carry out their tasks when equipped with stable and efficient sources of income. Financial resources are the basis for the operation and implementation of current and development tasks. Their [...] Read more.
In the modern state, the role and importance of communes is growing. They can carry out their tasks when equipped with stable and efficient sources of income. Financial resources are the basis for the operation and implementation of current and development tasks. Their analysis makes it possible to assess the budget structure and provides information on the state of the local economy or endogenous growth potentials. The aim of the article is to assess the diversity of the financial situation of rural communes using a synthetic measure. In addition, using the econometric models, the impact of socio-economic factors on the diversity of the measure of synthetic financial situation was examined. In order to build synthetic measures, the Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to an Ideal Solution method and based on distance in real space with Euclidean metrics were used. The aggregated value of the synthetic variable facilitates the comparison of objects in multidimensional spaces, but also makes it possible to order them due to the examined phenomenon. Empirical data were collected in spatial terms of 484 rural communes in the Eastern Poland region. In the case of municipalities, the choice of variables was largely determined by the availability of secondary data collected in a municipal system at the Local Data Bank of the Central Statistical Office for 2009–2018. The analysis showed that the rural communes of eastern Poland are characterized by significant disproportions in terms of financial standing. Rural communes with the best financial condition were characterized by a higher share of own revenues in total revenues, a higher level of income from local taxes and obtained from the share in the tax on natural and legal persons. It seems that the main reason for the relatively small impact of financial conditions on economic and social development is their strong dependence on transfer revenues transferred from the state budget and the amount of current expenditure. The above circumstances stiffen and stabilize the financial economy, making it relatively less susceptible to the influence of other factors. The obtained results may constitute for the local authorities an important source of information on the disproportions occurring between units on setting out potential directions for optimizing the structure of local finances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainability Challenges and Drivers of Cross-Border Greenway Tourism in Rural Areas
Sustainability 2020, 12(15), 5927; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12155927 - 23 Jul 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
This article provides a practical example of the development of cross-border tourism and its link to achieving sustainable development goals. Greenways (GWs) are successful and recognized initiatives in Western Europe, but have recently also shown development trends in Eastern Europe, notably, in the [...] Read more.
This article provides a practical example of the development of cross-border tourism and its link to achieving sustainable development goals. Greenways (GWs) are successful and recognized initiatives in Western Europe, but have recently also shown development trends in Eastern Europe, notably, in the Baltic Sea Region and Russia. These initiatives improve the quality of life and provide opportunities for sustainable economic activities for the local communities, especially in rural areas, adding value to their natural, cultural, historical and human heritage. The authors studied examples of best practice in scientific literature and practice, encouraging the development of cross-border tourism and GWs in Europe and Russia, in order to further adapt it to other continents. Analyzing the environmental, economic, social and institutional factors in the region and their role in sustainable development, the need for institutional regulation that would allow the development of a wider development of GWs is identified. Research results reveal sustainable development dilemmas of positive socioeconomic effects of GWs and negative environmental effects of increased flows of tourists. Focus groups and expert interviews allowed us to assess the level of various factors contributing to sustainable development and clarify the directions of the future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Trends in Agricultural Land in EU Countries of the Baltic Sea Region from the Perspective of Resilience and Food Security
Sustainability 2020, 12(14), 5851; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12145851 - 21 Jul 2020
Abstract
Agricultural land is crucial for the production of food and is, thereby, directly connected to food security. Agriculture is threatened by a multitude of hazards, such as climate change, peak oil, peak soil and peak phosphorus. These hazards call for a more resilient [...] Read more.
Agricultural land is crucial for the production of food and is, thereby, directly connected to food security. Agriculture is threatened by a multitude of hazards, such as climate change, peak oil, peak soil and peak phosphorus. These hazards call for a more resilient food system that can deliver food security for the global population in the future. In this paper, we analyse the Baltic Sea region’s ten European Union (EU) member states, investigating which trends are to be found in statistics between 2005 to 2016 on the development of agricultural land. In our paper, we analyse these trends of agricultural land by looking at three categories of data: (1) utilised agricultural area, (2) number of farms and (3) agricultural labour input. The results showed a trend that agricultural land is increasingly dominated by large farms, whilst over 1 million predominantly small farms have disappeared, and agricultural-labour input has dropped by more than 26%. These trends point towards a mechanisation of production, where larger and less labour-intensive farms take over production. This could partly be due to the EU common agricultural policy, which tends to favour large farms over small. Further, we argue for the importance of farm-size diversity, and about the dangers to food security that a system that is dominated by large farms possesses. Lastly, we conclude that the concept of resilience needs to be better included in policy development and food-system planning, and that more research needs to be done, analysing how existing agricultural policies impact the parameters studied in this paper. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Roadmapping as a Driver for Knowledge Creation: A Proposal for Improving Sustainable Practices in the Coffee Supply Chain from Chiapas, Mexico, Using Emerging Technologies
Sustainability 2020, 12(14), 5817; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12145817 - 20 Jul 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Technologies are essential for productive sectors to increase competitiveness and improve sustainable development. However, the technology benefits present a great delay in adoption in agricultural sectors, due to discrepancies between scientific research and local needs. This article presents a study for improving sustainability [...] Read more.
Technologies are essential for productive sectors to increase competitiveness and improve sustainable development. However, the technology benefits present a great delay in adoption in agricultural sectors, due to discrepancies between scientific research and local needs. This article presents a study for improving sustainability practices in the coffee supply chain, using emerging technologies, of two localities in the Frailesca region from Chiapas, Mexico, based on the current situation, expectations and actions expressed by 165 coffee producers and 12 representatives of two coffee producers’ organizations. Based on Mentzer theoretical support, the technology roadmaps, knowledge management and digital compass were used to draw coffee supply chain processes to identify concrete actions and explore technologies. The results show that the technological route must be focused on renewing and improving coffee quality, getting quality certifications and access to specialized markets. Digital quality management and advanced statistical process control seem to be the appropriate emerging technologies for enhancing the acquisition of resistant varieties, proper pest management, improvement in the collection of coffee beans, the right time and way to plant a coffee plant, soil analysis and for the management of weeds and water conservation and harvesting as sustainable practices in this region. In addition, statistical correlation showed that digital technologies can be better adopted, on average, by producers with 4–6 family members, aged between 40–44 years and without additional crops. The findings propose sustainable practices linked with emerging technologies, based on a technology roadmap and knowledge management methodologies for this region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainable Weed Control and Enhancing Nutrient Use Efficiency in Crops through Brassica (Brassica compestris L.) Allelopathy
Sustainability 2020, 12(14), 5763; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12145763 - 17 Jul 2020
Abstract
Weed–crop competition and reduced soil fertility are some of the main reasons for decreased crop yields in Pakistan. Allelopathy can be applied to combat the problems of environmental degradation by reducing pesticide use and through reduction of herbicide-resistant weeds. A two-year field experiment [...] Read more.
Weed–crop competition and reduced soil fertility are some of the main reasons for decreased crop yields in Pakistan. Allelopathy can be applied to combat the problems of environmental degradation by reducing pesticide use and through reduction of herbicide-resistant weeds. A two-year field experiment (2014–2015) was conducted to assess the impact of incorporation of various levels of brassica residues and brassica water extract on the growth of mung bean and soil attributes. Two brassica water extract levels (10, 20 L/ha) and two residue levels (4, 6 t/ha) were tested, and a treatment with no water extract and residue incorporation was used as the control. The results showed that the water extract and residue incorporation had diverse impacts on soil fertility indices and weed dynamics, where treatment with 6 t/ha had more significant impacts. Compared with the control, reductions of 61% in dry weight of weeds and 52% in weed density were observed. After cropping, improved soil properties in terms of available potassium, available phosphorus, soil organic matter, and total nitrogen were higher in the rhizosphere (0–15 cm) soil after the treatments of residue incorporation, i.e., 59–91%, 62–84%, 29–45%, and 52–65% higher than the control, respectively. Meanwhile, alkaline phosphatase and dehydrogenase concentrations in the rhizosphere soil were 26–41% and 52–74% higher than with the control, respectively. The highest economic return with a high benefit–cost ratio was recorded with residue incorporation. In conclusion, addition of crop residues at 6 t/ha was the most effective and economical treatment with the highest net benefit rate of returns. This approach can provide a potential alternative for implementing sustainable weed control in mung bean with significant improvement in soil properties and can be a part of sustainable and eco-friendly agriculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Thermal Conditions for Viticulture in Poland
Sustainability 2020, 12(14), 5665; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12145665 - 14 Jul 2020
Abstract
The ongoing global warming promotes an expansion of the areas of land already used for viticulture, as well as the establishment of new vineyards in areas that were previously considered unsuitable. In this study, a temporal and spatial assessment of the thermal conditions [...] Read more.
The ongoing global warming promotes an expansion of the areas of land already used for viticulture, as well as the establishment of new vineyards in areas that were previously considered unsuitable. In this study, a temporal and spatial assessment of the thermal conditions for viticulture in Poland was conducted using a series (1971–2019) of daily data on air temperature (mean, maximum and minimum) obtained from 52 stations of the Polish Institute of Meteorology and Water Management—National Research Institute. On the basis of the values of air temperature for the year (January–December), the vegetative period (April–September), and July, as well as the duration of the period of active growth of the plant (air temperature >10 °C) and the sum of active temperatures (SAT) in this period, five potential areas for viticulture in Poland were identified with respect to thermal conditions. It was found that approx. 60% of the country’s area shows conducive and moderately conducive conditions for intense viticulture. In the analysed multiannual period, there is a dynamic increase in air temperature in Poland, an increase in the sums of active temperatures (SAT) as well as an increase in the duration of the period of active growth of the plant. The ongoing global warming causes a shift of the current boundary of intense viticulture to the north of Poland (from 100 to 150 km). The greatest increases in air temperature and SAT values were found in the south-west and west of Poland, with a marked decrease shown towards the north-east and east. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
The Price of Farmland as a Factor in the Sustainable Development of Czech Agriculture (A Case Study)
Sustainability 2020, 12(14), 5622; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12145622 - 13 Jul 2020
Abstract
Each year, around 2% of the four million hectares of farmland in Czechia changes owners. However, after years of significant growth in prices, a slowdown in pace and demand is expected. Rising interest rates, a strengthening of the crown and legislative changes in [...] Read more.
Each year, around 2% of the four million hectares of farmland in Czechia changes owners. However, after years of significant growth in prices, a slowdown in pace and demand is expected. Rising interest rates, a strengthening of the crown and legislative changes in 2018 have influenced the price of farmland. Yet the prices of farmland in Czechia are a third of those in the countries of Western Europe, and so it still represents an interesting opportunity for investors. Currently, land is bought primarily by the farmers who work it. In Czechia, 80% of farmers farm on hired land, and rent increases are starting to be an issue for many of them. The return on the investment in agricultural land is currently around 50 years for an owner and 25 years for a farmer working the land. As research has shown, the price of farmland is an important factor in the sustainable development of agriculture in Czechia, along with the greening of production and the fight against soil erosion and the effects of climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Employment and Gross Value Added in Agriculture Versus Other Sectors of the European Union Economy
Sustainability 2020, 12(14), 5518; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12145518 - 08 Jul 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The aim of the paper is to recognize the level of employment and gross value added (GVA) in agriculture in relation to the other sectors of the European Union economy. The following research tasks were formulated: analysis of employment levels and GVA in [...] Read more.
The aim of the paper is to recognize the level of employment and gross value added (GVA) in agriculture in relation to the other sectors of the European Union economy. The following research tasks were formulated: analysis of employment levels and GVA in the sectors of economy in 2000 and 2018 as well as the relationship between employment and GVA, assessment of GVA per 1 person employed in the investigated sectors and its changes in the analysed years, and assessment of the scale of surplus employment in agriculture assuming that GVA per 1 person employed in this sector would be equal to the average level reached in the industry and the services sectors. Comparative analysis and the deduction method were used in the study. Correlation coefficients between the level of employment in individual sectors and GVA per 1 person employed in the time series covering the years 2000–2008 were also calculated. A new measure of the “goal” of employment reduction in agriculture has been proposed, related to the measurement of the distance between agriculture and other sectors in terms of GVA generated per 1 employed—the Excess Employment Rate In The Agricultural Sector (EERAS). The research was based on EUROSTAT data from the years of 2000 and 2018. The process of changes in the sectoral structure of employment will probably be determined by the growth rate of demand for services, structural adjustment referring to matching the characteristics of the agricultural population to the demand for labour force in the services sector and the pace of structural transformations in rural areas. Rationalisation of employment levels in agriculture promotes improvement of its economic and social sustainability. Instruments based on financial transfers from nonagricultural sectors to agriculture should play a secondary role, since they are a burden to more efficient sectors, and in the long term, they may hinder reduction of employment in agriculture. However, due to the inevitable differences in productivity observed between agriculture and the nonagricultural sectors, at a technologically, economically, ecologically and socially justified level of employment in agriculture, transfers of the surplus generated in the secondary and tertiary sectors need at least to reduce, if not eliminate, economic consequences of these differences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
The Role of Agriculture in Ensuring Food Security in Developing Countries: Considerations in the Context of the Problem of Sustainable Food Production
Sustainability 2020, 12(13), 5488; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12135488 - 07 Jul 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Ensuring food security has become an issue of key importance to countries with different degrees of economic development, while the agricultural sector plays a strategic role in improving food availability. The aim of this paper is to identify relationships between the undernourishment scale [...] Read more.
Ensuring food security has become an issue of key importance to countries with different degrees of economic development, while the agricultural sector plays a strategic role in improving food availability. The aim of this paper is to identify relationships between the undernourishment scale and selected characteristics describing the agricultural sector within identified clusters of developing countries. Typological groups of countries were separated using Ward’s method. It results from the analyses that the greatest problems with maintaining food security are observed in the developing countries with a high share of agriculture in their Gross Domestic Product (GDP), adverse conditions hindering agricultural production and deficient infrastructure. Based on research results desirable and tailored strategies for food security improvement in individual clusters were developed. Promoting investments in agricultural infrastructure and extension services along with adopting measures aimed at increasing the households’ purchasing power, especially those in rural areas, appear to be key drivers for improving both food availability and food access. The paper focuses not only on identifying the reasons of undernourishment, but also contributes to recognition of the most effective ways to solve the hunger problem under a country’s unique conditions. It offers a comprehensive perspective for the policy formulation in various areas world-wide, which may be of interest to scholars and policy makers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Examining the Role of Local Products in Rural Development in the Light of Consumer Preferences—Results of a Consumer Survey from Hungary
Sustainability 2020, 12(13), 5473; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12135473 - 07 Jul 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The scientific examination of short food supply chains is justified by consumer interest and their role in the European Unions’ subsidy policy and rural development. In our current article, we present the results of a consumer survey of more than a thousand people [...] Read more.
The scientific examination of short food supply chains is justified by consumer interest and their role in the European Unions’ subsidy policy and rural development. In our current article, we present the results of a consumer survey of more than a thousand people from Hungary. It was conducted in the North Hungarian (rural) region. Our research goals were: (1) To access consumer demand for short food supply chains and to determine the characteristics of consumers who prefer local foods; and (2) to examine the role of short food supply chains in rural development by a territorial comparison. The results showed that consumers’ willingness to pay a theoretical premium for local products was high (averagely +20.7%). Compared to that, we considered their monthly purchased quantity low. We found a statistically valid, yet weak, correlation that on a monthly basis, the purchase of local products was more significant for consumers from smaller settlements and villages than those from (greater) cities. Furthermore, there were factors in some consumers’ preferences that indicated a greater interest for small producers’ goods. Although it was not possible to assess the absolute demand of the studied rural area, these results (at a certain level) confirm the potential of short food chains in rural development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Linking of Traditional Food and Tourism. The Best Pork of Wielkopolska—Culinary Tourist Trail: A Case Study
Sustainability 2020, 12(13), 5344; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12135344 - 01 Jul 2020
Abstract
Agriculture, food and tourism is combined into offering tourist products in rural areas. The development of local activities combining traditional food and tourism becomes an investment for the future with both the concept of sustainable gastronomy and agriculture sustainability, and helps in the [...] Read more.
Agriculture, food and tourism is combined into offering tourist products in rural areas. The development of local activities combining traditional food and tourism becomes an investment for the future with both the concept of sustainable gastronomy and agriculture sustainability, and helps in the development of local entrepreneurship in rural areas. The European Union has introduced provisions for the protection of traditional and regional food that can be used to create a variety of tourist products. Currently, tourists are looking for unique local products. More and more people travel because of culinary motifs, and local products, dishes and local processors can become an attraction in these places. This paper presents the idea of ‘The Best Pork of Wielkopolska’ culinary trail, which is based on a local product from Wielkopolska, in Poland—the native breed of pig—the Złotnicka White pig. The rapid development of culinary tourism means that tourists are looking for offers in this area. There are many cooking-related products available in the tourism market, one of which is the culinary trail. Food becomes one of the advantages of places where tourism related to the culture of the region develops. Based on cultural heritage, a variety of tourist products can be created, e.g., culinary trails combining agriculture and food produced in this area with tourism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Territorial Clusters of Farmers’ Interest in Diversification in Poland: Geospatial Location and Characteristics
Sustainability 2020, 12(13), 5276; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12135276 - 30 Jun 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
With a gradual shift towards sustainable rural development, farm diversification has recently gained importance in EU policy. To increase the efficiency of policies aiming to support farm diversification, it is of crucial importance to know the factors motivating farmers to diversify. The purpose [...] Read more.
With a gradual shift towards sustainable rural development, farm diversification has recently gained importance in EU policy. To increase the efficiency of policies aiming to support farm diversification, it is of crucial importance to know the factors motivating farmers to diversify. The purpose of this paper was to research spatial determinants of farm diversification in Poland by identifying and describing territorial clusters of rural areas (municipalities), in which farmers’ interest in diversification is above or below the national average. The Moran’s global spatial autocorrelation coefficient was used to test for spatial autocorrelation, while the local Moran’s statistic served to group together municipalities which exhibited a level of the frequency of applying for diversification support above/below the average value for the entire territory covered by the analysis. Furthermore, the clusters were described with the use of synthetic characteristics of the Polish agriculture and rural areas. The existence and characteristics of clusters suggest that the policy toward diversification in Poland favors areas of better developed agricultural structures. In clusters with structural disadvantages where diversification is most needed, the program’s performance has been very modest. However, our analysis also revealed the existence of outlier municipalities which demonstrated outstanding performance in applying for diversification funds despite structural disadvantages. These observations suggest that the farmers’ interest in diversification may be driven by a number of additional factors beyond a structural disadvantage alone. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Vulnerability of European Union Economies in Agro Trade
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5210; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12125210 - 26 Jun 2020
Abstract
The European Union (EU) is characterized by a high level of openness to trade, consequently increasing its member countries’ vulnerability to external shocks coming from the rapidly changing global environment. The paper’s objective was to compare and evaluate the factors of the EU [...] Read more.
The European Union (EU) is characterized by a high level of openness to trade, consequently increasing its member countries’ vulnerability to external shocks coming from the rapidly changing global environment. The paper’s objective was to compare and evaluate the factors of the EU agribusiness, its vulnerability and its measurement tools, and consequently to create subgroupings within EU member countries with different levels of vulnerability to exogenous shocks. The study hypothesized that the EU is not a homogenous unit regarding its trade sensitivity and vulnerability. It analyzed this phenomenon using data of recognized international institutions. Its method was a multi-criteria analysis with summative scaling. The assessment of the analysis was provided by the linear aggregation of 19 relevant vulnerability-influencing parameters, including climate change risk and political stability. The study results confirmed the hypothesis of the EU heterogeneity and identified four groups of member countries with different levels of the vulnerability to global shocks. It can improve an understanding of the agrarian sector position within the EU economy and a more precise re-formulation of its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) priorities under the new conditions requiring the comprehensive resilience of the sector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Shifting from Fragmentation to Integration: A Proposed Framework for Strengthening Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation System in Egypt
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5131; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12125131 - 23 Jun 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Agricultural knowledge and innovation system (AKIS) has a strong potential to enhance economic performance of farming and contribute to agricultural sustainability, as it may increase synergies and complementarity among actors. This paper is aimed to develop a proposed framework to strengthen AKIS in [...] Read more.
Agricultural knowledge and innovation system (AKIS) has a strong potential to enhance economic performance of farming and contribute to agricultural sustainability, as it may increase synergies and complementarity among actors. This paper is aimed to develop a proposed framework to strengthen AKIS in the study area based on the results of this study. This paper explores perception and views about strengthening AKIS in Dakhalia governorate of Egypt by applying a multi-actor approach. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected through face-to-face interviews and focus group discussion. This paper focuses on three structural dimensions, namely actors, interactions, and technologies, to describe the nature of innovation processes within AKIS. Results indicate that legal and regulatory frameworks, lack of infrastructure, and weak the role of intermediary organizations are the main barriers that AKIS faces. Linkages of contracting and public–private partnerships were viewed as main interactions required to strengthen AKIS. The analysis also explores the availability of innovation requirements at each actor, as well as the distributive technologies, that should be encouraged to build the capacity the agricultural sector. A proposed framework is developed based on the results of this study and the characteristics of the AKIS in the study area. This framework could be used for stimulating innovation and enhancing coordination between actors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Rice as a Determinant of Vietnamese Economic Sustainability
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5123; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12125123 - 23 Jun 2020
Abstract
This paper aims to examine the rice industry in Vietnam during the period 1997–2017, focusing its production and export. The total area of Vietnam is 33.121 million hectares, out of which 39.25% consists of agricultural land. The agricultural sector adds up to 24% [...] Read more.
This paper aims to examine the rice industry in Vietnam during the period 1997–2017, focusing its production and export. The total area of Vietnam is 33.121 million hectares, out of which 39.25% consists of agricultural land. The agricultural sector adds up to 24% of the gross domestic product (GDP), 20% of the total exports and over 70% of the total employment. Vietnam’s economy is highly dependent on the agricultural sector, specifically rice production, which constitutes 30% of the country’s total agricultural production value. While its production at first aimed to ensure food security in the country, to date, Vietnam is one the world’s largest exporters. While extensive research has explored the rice industry, studies looking at the production through the use of fertilizers, external factors such as the exporting price of other countries and world consumption rates are still lacking. Given the complexity of the topic, data were analyzed through descriptive, econometric and quantitative methods. For production and export analyses, two and four hypotheses were derived and examined, respectively, all based on economic theory. The model consisted of two equations: (i) the paddy production is impacted by rice’s yield and fertilizer use and (ii) in addition to internal factors, the growth of exporting rice in Vietnam depends also on external factors such as Thailand’s rice export price and world consumption rates. Based on the model, a dynamic forecasting method was employed, using the previous forecast values of the dependent variables to compute the future ones. Findings showed that 98% of Vietnam’s rice production is explained through the yield and fertilizer usage and 83% of Vietnam’s rice export is explained by the production, the price in Vietnam and Thailand and the consumption levels around the world. When it comes to forecasting, an 8% growth is predicted with a peak in quantity produced, with 49,461 thousand tons in 2023, yet with difficulties when it comes to exporting. The research predicts a stagnation in exports. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Factors Determining the Development of Small Farms in Central and Eastern Poland
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5095; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12125095 - 23 Jun 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The agrarian structure in Poland is dominated by small farms; the large share of these is a result of historical consequences. The economy has pushed small farms toward economic efficiency, which in farming often translates into increasing the scale of production. The primary [...] Read more.
The agrarian structure in Poland is dominated by small farms; the large share of these is a result of historical consequences. The economy has pushed small farms toward economic efficiency, which in farming often translates into increasing the scale of production. The primary objective of this research was to present the directions of the changes in the number of small farms in Central and Eastern Poland and to indicate the factors determining their functioning and development. The research was based on a random sample selection from rural municipalities, villages and small farms. The researchers collected 19 completed surveys from municipal agricultural officers, 75 surveys from village mayors and 116 surveys from small and active farms. The data from the farm surveys was analysed using k-mean cluster analyses and the Principal Component Analysis (PCA) to distinguish farms into homogenous groups. Three types of farms were identified: “hobby”, “two-occupation” and “professional” farms. The research shows that in the municipalities of Central and Eastern Poland, the number of landowners (over 1 ha of arable land) paying agricultural tax increased by 9% between 2005 and 2017. A significant gap was identified between the number of “official farmers” and “active” farmers. In the farm category surveyed, “active” farmers numbered only 33% of all farming entities. The surveys confirmed that the development of small farms is particularly influenced by external factors (EU funding; national benefits), rather than internal (entrepreneurial) factors. An in-depth survey of farmers, municipal agricultural officers and village mayors shows that “professional” farmers (Cluster 0) are expected to invest, develop and innovate. Farmers managing “hobby” and “two-occupation” farms have a reserved attitude towards investment and their objective is to maximise the benefits related to the arming status. In the authors’ opinions, “professional” farms have the highest probability of being economically viable, while others tend to focus on the provision of public goods related to financial support. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Inequality of Income in Agricultural Holdings in Poland in the Context of Sustainable Agricultural Development
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 4963; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12124963 - 18 Jun 2020
Abstract
The study investigates the redistributive effects of agricultural policy and the importance of income inequalities among agricultural holdings for sustainable agricultural development based on the intra-sectoral differences of the disposable income of farmer households and the income from family agricultural holdings in Poland [...] Read more.
The study investigates the redistributive effects of agricultural policy and the importance of income inequalities among agricultural holdings for sustainable agricultural development based on the intra-sectoral differences of the disposable income of farmer households and the income from family agricultural holdings in Poland in the years 2004–2018. The problem of excessive and growing income inequalities in agriculture has been recognized as an important barrier to the sustainable development of agriculture in Poland. The aim of the study is to establish a relationship between the process of income polarization in agriculture and the process of concentration of production factors in this sector, and the level of budget support. The Gini coefficient, concentration index, and multivariate regression analysis were used as research methods. It was shown that the process of the concentration of land and capital has led to an increase in income disparities in this sector. Budgetary expenditure directed to the sector in the form of subsidies supporting farmer incomes was not able to reverse the process of income polarization, but mitigated the growing inequalities (reducing the scale of income spreads). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
E-Consumers and Local Food Products: A Perspective for Developing Online Shopping for Local Goods in Poland
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 4958; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12124958 - 18 Jun 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
The constant development of consumer awareness regarding sustainable development has spread to food markets. Decisions related to food consumption are increasingly becoming, for consumers, an opportunity to demonstrate a specific value system, contesting mass and globally distributed food. Local products began to appreciate [...] Read more.
The constant development of consumer awareness regarding sustainable development has spread to food markets. Decisions related to food consumption are increasingly becoming, for consumers, an opportunity to demonstrate a specific value system, contesting mass and globally distributed food. Local products began to appreciate local produce, which is the opposite of mass production. Local food is gaining popularity, being perceived as healthier, unprocessed, and containing fewer preservative compounds, while also requiring fewer natural resources, leading to a lower environmental footprint. The phenomenon of shopping virtualization has also been growing in strength lately, especially among food consumers. Although Polish food e-commerce is still relatively undeveloped, online food sales have been the fastest growing category of Internet sales. According to experts, by 2026, nearly 40% of all products globally will be sold online. The main purpose of this article was to identify the behavior of Polish consumers shopping online for local food products and to identify barriers to purchase. Our findings were then used to determine development opportunities for this form of trade in relation to local food in the light of new legislative solutions currently in force in Poland. As part of the research procedure, an extensive literature review was carried out. In addition, some of the research findings were cited regarding consumer behavior in the local food market, conducted on a population of 1067 respondents. The study showed that Polish e-consumers of local products are usually aged 30–40, well-educated, and are in a good financial situation. Respondents pointed to high prices as the main barrier to buying local products via the Internet, a drawback which may be remedied to some extent by the recently adopted legislative solutions falling under the scope of what is termed in Poland as agricultural retail trade as well as by the promotion of short supply chains such as the Polska Smakuje initiative. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
Open AccessArticle
Income or Assets—What Determines the Approach to the Environment among Farmers in A Region in Poland?
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 4917; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12124917 - 16 Jun 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
The theory about the impact of farm size, income and assets on the environmental approach of farmers is ambiguous. We contribute to the existing discussion in two ways. Firstly, we look for the determinants of the environmental approach. Secondly, we treat farm size [...] Read more.
The theory about the impact of farm size, income and assets on the environmental approach of farmers is ambiguous. We contribute to the existing discussion in two ways. Firstly, we look for the determinants of the environmental approach. Secondly, we treat farm size as a heterogeneous factor, affected not only by the value of assets but also flows of incomes. The main objective of the article is, therefore, to recognize the impact of assets and income on the environmental approach of agricultural producers. We analyze the results of surveys carried out in 2020 on a group of 120 farms from the Wielkopolska region (Poland), using structural equation modelling (generalized structural equation modelling (GSEM)-multiple indicators and multiple causes (MIMIC) model). Our results indicate that both the income and assets of the agricultural producers have a positive impact on their approach to the environment. However, to a greater extent, the farmer’s approach to the environment is influenced more by income than by assets. This may be influenced by the capitalization of subsidies in the price of agricultural land, which makes this element of farm assets detached from real processes. It is easier for farms with a higher income and assets to realize the orientation towards sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Innovations in Agritourism: Evidence from a Region in Poland
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 4858; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12124858 - 14 Jun 2020
Cited by 6
Abstract
The objective of the article is to present the study of agritourism innovativeness. The analysis covers agritourism farms in Poland. It is also essential to identify the factors affecting the process of implementing innovation in agritourism. The objective of the article is to [...] Read more.
The objective of the article is to present the study of agritourism innovativeness. The analysis covers agritourism farms in Poland. It is also essential to identify the factors affecting the process of implementing innovation in agritourism. The objective of the article is to formulate conclusions on the impact of innovations on the development of agritourism and the competitiveness of agritourism farms that can be used by representatives of various agritourism-supporting institutions and organizations. A diagnostic survey–study was conducted in 2018, applying a survey questionnaire with a sample of 81 self-employed agritourism farm owners. Ward’s hierarchical clustering method was applied to group the counties in terms of innovativeness. For this purpose, the data provided by the central statistics authority (GUS) and the authors’ own survey study were used. The study confirms, e.g., the key significance of innovation for the development of agritourism in the counties analyzed. Additionally, in the article there is developed an original farm’s competitive positioning index and gaining a competitive advantage on the agritourism services market, with three farms in Germany, France and Poland, respectively as an example. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
On the Way to Eco-Innovations in Agriculture: Concepts, Implementation and Effects at National and Local Level. The Case of Poland
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 4839; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12124839 - 13 Jun 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The aim of the study was to provide the examples of eco-innovations in agriculture relating to the concept of sustainable development and the indication of their conditions. Quantitative and qualitative methods were applied to the research, namely: descriptive statistical and economic analysis of [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to provide the examples of eco-innovations in agriculture relating to the concept of sustainable development and the indication of their conditions. Quantitative and qualitative methods were applied to the research, namely: descriptive statistical and economic analysis of the Polish Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN) data and Statistics Poland data, as well as case studies of organic food producers, covering the years 2005–2019. Indicated information sources, encompassing long time span of analysis and various data collections, allowed presenting the complementary picture of eco-innovations at the sector and farm levels. The research examined the different types of ecological innovations in Polish agriculture, including: (1) organisational innovations with an institutional background (e.g., the organic farming support and greening mechanism of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)—implemented in the family farming sector); and (2) the product, marketing, process and organisational innovations in selected organic farms that were individual farmers’ initiatives. On the one hand, the research documented the effectiveness of new agricultural policy solutions in the agricultural sector that are examples of organisational eco-innovations. During 2005–2016, the certification system, as well as policy support, contributed to the development of organic farms in Poland in terms of the growth in the share of this type of holdings in total (from 0.5% to 4.6%) and in the overall utilised agricultural area (UAA) (from 0.3% to 3.7%). Moreover, during 2014–2015, as a result of the greening in agricultural holdings, the area sown with pulses and papilionaceous, i.e., crops improving soil structure and protecting soils, rose by 174% and 161%, respectively. On the other hand, the case studies conducted showed that the food producers’ knowledge and skills combined with a favourable local economic and social situation, as well as institutional support, played a key role in the process of the emergence of eco-innovations. Among those factors, the respondents’ individual characteristics associated with attitudes towards farming and the social, human and physical capital passed on by family members should be highlighted. This paper contributes to existing literature in two ways. First, this study combines both quantitative and qualitative (including in-depth interviews) approaches to eco-innovations at the micro and macro level of analysis. Second, by differentiating two approaches to ecological innovations, namely the conventional and the sustainable, the article indicates and considers the key factors favourable to the latter. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of Possibility to Apply Preharvest 1-Methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) Treatment to Delay Harvesting of Red Jonaprince Apples
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4575; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114575 - 03 Jun 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The production of Red Jonaprince cultivar is increasing, but the quality of apples is still challenging. Therefore, various options may be used including 1-Methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) application, as it influences ethylene receptors and blocks them, resulting in the possibility of delaying harvesting. The preharvest [...] Read more.
The production of Red Jonaprince cultivar is increasing, but the quality of apples is still challenging. Therefore, various options may be used including 1-Methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) application, as it influences ethylene receptors and blocks them, resulting in the possibility of delaying harvesting. The preharvest application of 1-MCP has not been studied so far for this cultivar but for other ones it has been successful, as it is based on the understanding of the natural apple ripening process. The study aimed to analyze the possibility of applying a 1-MCP treatment in the preharvest period for Red Jonaprince apples. The study was conducted based on a comparison of apples from two groups of Red Jonaprince apple trees (4 years) cultivated in an experimental orchard, where for one of them 1-MCP was applied in the preharvest period (HarvistaTM; 150 g per ha; 20 September—12 days before the optimum harvesting window (OHW)). For both groups, the apples were studied twice, for harvesting in the OHW (2 October) and for delayed harvesting (24 October). The harvested fruits were stored in an Ultra Low Oxygen chamber (ULO; 1.2% CO2, 1.2% O2) until May. They were analyzed before storage (preharvest) five times (20 September–24 October) and after storage (postharvest) three times (20 March–18 May). The following parameters were included: firmness, total soluble solids (TSS) content, titratable acidity (TA). For the preharvest period, the parameters also included internal ethylene content (IEC), starch index, and Streif index. For the preharvest period, significant differences associated with the 1-MCP treatment (p ≤ 0.05) were observed for the IEC (lower results for apples treated for 4th and 5th assessment), TA (higher results), and Streif index (higher results). Meanwhile, for firmness, TSS, and starch index for the majority of measurements there were no differences (p > 0.05). For the postharvest period, significant differences associated with 1-MCP treatment (p ≤ 0.05) were observed for firmness (higher results) and TA (higher results) both for OHW and delayed harvesting. It was concluded that a preharvest 1-MCP treatment allowed delayed harvesting and reduced the quality deterioration during the ULO storage of Red Jonaprince apples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Agriculture as a Determinant of Zambian Economic Sustainability
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4559; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114559 - 03 Jun 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
For several years, the Zambian economy relied on the mining sector, which has been affected by fluctuations in commodity prices. The new century enhanced the calls for economic diversification, with the agricultural, manufacturing, and services sectors amongst those pronounced. This article focused on [...] Read more.
For several years, the Zambian economy relied on the mining sector, which has been affected by fluctuations in commodity prices. The new century enhanced the calls for economic diversification, with the agricultural, manufacturing, and services sectors amongst those pronounced. This article focused on the role of agriculture in supporting the economy, particularly, the effect of agriculture on economic growth. The data analyzed was reviewed for the period 1983–2017. The ARDL Bounds Test was applied in order to meet the said objectives. The ECM results suggest that agriculture, manufacturing, services, and mining converge to an equilibrium and affect economic growth at the speed of adjustment of 90.6%, with the effect from agriculture, mining, and services being significant. The impact of agriculture on economic growth was significant in both the short-run and long-run, with coefficient unit effects of 0.428 and 0.342, respectively. The effects are strong because more than two-thirds of the rural population rely on farming, and agriculture has stood as a catalyst for food security. For the effect of agriculture to be much more profound, farmers must be supported with adequate infrastructure, accessibility to markets, farming inputs, better irrigation techniques, which would address the problem of reliance on rain, all of which were inconsistent in the last decade. Additionally, governments must ensure the institutionalization of food processing industries which add more value to the national income. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Measuring the Impacts of Saffron Production Promotion Measures on Farmers’ Policy Acceptance Probability: A Randomized Conjoint Field Experiment in Herat Province, Afghanistan
Sustainability 2020, 12(10), 4026; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104026 - 14 May 2020
Abstract
The government of Afghanistan promotes saffron production as a means to achieve economic development while reducing the widely spread opium cultivation in the country by providing necessary support to its farmers via saffron farmer service centers. This study investigates the causal effects of [...] Read more.
The government of Afghanistan promotes saffron production as a means to achieve economic development while reducing the widely spread opium cultivation in the country by providing necessary support to its farmers via saffron farmer service centers. This study investigates the causal effects of relevant attributes of potential saffron production promotion policies on the participation probabilities of saffron farmers. This study applies a randomized conjoint experiment to primary survey data of 298 farmers in Herat Province, which is perceived by the government as the center of saffron production in the country. The proposed hypothetical saffron production promotion policy consists of six attributes, namely, provision of machinery equipment, weather-based crop insurance, accessibility to long-term loans, location of saffron farmer service centers, provider of services, and annual payment. In the randomized conjoint experiment design, the respondents rank two alternative policies and policies against the status quo. The desirable policy comprises the machinery provision, long-term (up to 5 years) loan accessibility, an easily accessible service center, and policy implementation by international non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The estimated results reveal that saffron farmers are highly supportive of the proposed saffron promotion policy and that their willingness to pay is as high as 17% of their per capita income. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Time-Dependent Effects of Bentazon Application on the Key Antioxidant Enzymes of Soybean and Common Ragweed
Sustainability 2020, 12(9), 3872; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093872 - 09 May 2020
Abstract
The presence or absence of light is one of the most significant environmental factors affecting plant growth and defence. Therefore, the selection of the most appropriate time of application may maximize the benefits of photosynthetic inhibitors. In this work, the concentration and daytime [...] Read more.
The presence or absence of light is one of the most significant environmental factors affecting plant growth and defence. Therefore, the selection of the most appropriate time of application may maximize the benefits of photosynthetic inhibitors. In this work, the concentration and daytime or night-time-dependent effects of bentazon were tested in soybean and common ragweed. The recommended dose (1440 g ha−1) and also half the recommended dose significantly reduced the maximum quantum yield (Fv/Fm) and increased H2O2 levels in common ragweed. Interestingly, bentazon did not change Fv/Fm in soybean. The activity of superoxide dismutase changed in a dose-dependent manner only in common ragweed. The activity of ascorbate peroxidase, catalase and glutathione S-transferase (GST), as well as the contents of ascorbate (AsA) and glutathione (GSH) did not change significantly in this plant species. In soybean, alterations in H2O2 levels were lower but GST and APX activity, as well as AsA and GSH levels were higher compared to common ragweed. At the same time, the rate of lipid peroxidation and ion leakage increased upon bentazon, and were higher in the light phase-treated leaves in the case of both plant species. These results can contribute to optimizing the effects and uses of herbicides in agriculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Determinants of the Adoption of Sustainable Intensification in Southern African Farming Systems: A Meta-Analysis
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3276; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083276 - 18 Apr 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Climate change and environmental degradation are major threats to sustainable agricultural development in Southern Africa. Thus, the concept of sustainable intensification (SI) has become an important topic among researchers and policymakers in the region over the last three decades. SI involves getting more [...] Read more.
Climate change and environmental degradation are major threats to sustainable agricultural development in Southern Africa. Thus, the concept of sustainable intensification (SI) has become an important topic among researchers and policymakers in the region over the last three decades. SI involves getting more output from less input using practices such as agroforestry, organic fertilizer, sustainable water management, among others. A comprehensive review of the literature on adoption of SI in the region identified nine relevant drivers of adoption of SI among (smallholder) farmers. These drivers include (i) age, (ii) size of arable land, (iii) education, (iv) extension services, (v) gender, (vi) household size, (vii) income, (viii) membership in a farming organization and (ix) access to credit. We present the results of a meta-analysis of 21 papers on the impact of these determinants on SI adoption among (smallholder) farmers in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) using random-effects estimation techniques for the true effect size. While our results suggest that variables such as extension services, education, age, and household size may influence the adoption of SI in SADC, factors such as access to credit are also of great importance. Decision-makers should, therefore, concentrate efforts on these factors in promoting SI across the SADC. This includes increasing the efficiency of public extension service, as well as the involvement of the private sector in extension services. Furthermore, both public and private agriculture financing models should consider sustainability indicators in their assessment process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Leadership Styles of Rural Leaders in the Context of Sustainable Development Requirements: A Case Study of Commune Mayors in the Greater Poland Province, Poland
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2676; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072676 - 29 Mar 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
In the context of sustainable and durable development postulates, local leadership and rural governance is a matter of particular importance. As a local leader, the commune mayor should have a vision of the commune’s development and possess the ability to influence the citizens [...] Read more.
In the context of sustainable and durable development postulates, local leadership and rural governance is a matter of particular importance. As a local leader, the commune mayor should have a vision of the commune’s development and possess the ability to influence the citizens and involve them in the process of realizing that vision. Such a manner of governance is the essence of transformational leadership, which, according to the multifactor model developed by Bass and Avoilo, facilitates the achievement of positive organizational and social results. The authors’ research is an attempt to answer the question about the style of governance adopted by the political leaders of rural communes in Poland and its links with their engagement in social activation and the use of participatory tools. A survey was conducted on a sample of 49 commune mayors from the Greater Poland Province (43%) using the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) and a questionnaire about public participation developed by the authors. The results indicate that components of transactional leadership predominate among commune mayors from the Greater Poland Province. Transformational leadership, which is largely based on the leader’s charisma, is exhibited much less frequently. At the same time, the majority of commune mayors use only the most basic forms of participation, without going beyond the requirements specified in the provisions of the law. Those commune mayors who rely more strongly on transformational leadership more often use public participation techniques as well. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
How a Participatory Budget Can Support Sustainable Rural Development—Lessons From Poland
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2620; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072620 - 26 Mar 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Since the announcement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the need for localization of SDGs has been emphasized. In this context, sustainable rural development is still a relatively undescribed area in the context of using the participatory budget as a tool to implement [...] Read more.
Since the announcement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the need for localization of SDGs has been emphasized. In this context, sustainable rural development is still a relatively undescribed area in the context of using the participatory budget as a tool to implement SDGs. Few countries have introduced legal regulations in practice, enabling the creation of participatory budgets (especially in rural areas), so a multifaceted analysis of a decade of Poland's experience may provide important guidelines for countries considering introducing such solutions, which we consider to be the main purpose of this study. This is the first study covering all communes where participatory budgets (Solecki Fund—FS) were created in Poland during the 2010–2018 period (up to 60% of all), covering both the analysis of the process of creating FSs, the directions of spending and the scale of spending (including regional differentiation), as well as legal regulations and the consequences of including central government support in this mechanism. On the basis of the research, it can be observed that, despite the small scale of FS spending, the number of municipalities using this form of citizen participation is increasing. At the same time, there is significant variation between regions, which indicates the flexibility of the FSs in adapting to the needs reported by residents. The analysed directions of expenditure indicate that the FSs are in line with the SDG objectives related to the improvement of residents' quality of life. It can be concluded that, despite the existing legal regulations, the introduction of the Solecki Fund undoubtedly depends on the political will of the local government's legislative authorities and the willingness of residents to participate in decisions on spending directions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainability of Agritourism Activity. Initiatives and Challenges in Romanian Mountain Rural Regions
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2502; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062502 - 23 Mar 2020
Cited by 7
Abstract
Sustainability has become a priority in the last decades. If we consider rural regions, agritourism, an activity strongly related to local communities, represents an opportunity to ensure the sustainability of rural settlements and of the environment, and at the same time an innovative [...] Read more.
Sustainability has become a priority in the last decades. If we consider rural regions, agritourism, an activity strongly related to local communities, represents an opportunity to ensure the sustainability of rural settlements and of the environment, and at the same time an innovative and diversifying possibility for the economic support of rural settlements. Many studies have shown that the sustainability trend of the current period can be achieved by combining rural and local resources and traditional products specific to the rural regions with tourist activities, the challenge being the revitalization of rural economy. A large number of Romanian mountain rural regions can provide opportunities for sustaining agritourism activity; some of them may succeed to capitalize on the niche characteristic of agritourism, and through appropriate and effective strategies to move from the pioneering stage to an economically and socially valuable chance for improving the living conditions from rural area and finally to ensure sustainable development of rural communities. This paper begins from the importance of agritourism for rural regions. It aims at identifying the current situation of the agritourism activity in three regions and at developing proposals that are based strictly on the specific needs of the regions. In our opinion, the implementation of these specific actions would represent future challenges and at the same time ways of supporting the sustainable development of agritourism activities and of local settlements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
The Quality of Carrot after Field Biostimulant Application and after Storage
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1386; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041386 - 13 Feb 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
The carrot (Daucus carota L.) is a staple vegetable in human nutrition in Europe. In recent years, the use of biostimulants in vegetable crops has become a way to affect the quantity and quality of yields. The aim of this study was [...] Read more.
The carrot (Daucus carota L.) is a staple vegetable in human nutrition in Europe. In recent years, the use of biostimulants in vegetable crops has become a way to affect the quantity and quality of yields. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of the type and methods of biostimulant (natural seaweed extract Kelpak and synthetic Asahi) application on the nitrates and nitrites content in carrot roots after harvest and storage. The study was based on a strict field experiment with carrot cv. ′Karotan′, conducted in Poland (53°13′N; 17°51′E) in three successive growing seasons and after six months of storage (RH 95%, and air temperature +1 °C). The biostimulants were applied during the growing season in a foliar form. The content of NO3ˉ and NO2ˉ in carrot after harvest depended on the dose and the date of biostimulant application. The single application of biostimulant Kelpak as well as two times of Asahi had no effect on the nitrate and nitrite content, while the application of Kelpak in a total dose of 6 or 7 dm3 ha−1 increased them. The maximum intake of nitrates and nitrites following the harvest and storage was, respectively, 7.1, 2.3% and 6.7, 2.1% of the ADI. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Globalization of the Market for Vegetable Protein Feed and Its Impact on Sustainable Agricultural Development and Food Security in EU Countries Illustrated by the Example of Poland
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 888; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12030888 - 24 Jan 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
In recent years, food security—defined as the economic and physical availability of food—has become a topic of particular importance to European countries, including Poland. In the European Union, the production volume of protein raw materials has failed to meet the demand for many [...] Read more.
In recent years, food security—defined as the economic and physical availability of food—has become a topic of particular importance to European countries, including Poland. In the European Union, the production volume of protein raw materials has failed to meet the demand for many years now. The deficiency reaches 60–80% of protein raw material and is covered by imported goods, primarily including soya bean meal sourced from the Americas. This type of dependency could pose a threat to food security in Poland and in many other EU countries. The main purpose of this paper was to identify the condition of the market for vegetable protein feed around the world, in the EU and in Poland and to use the example of Poland to indicate the economic and environmental consequences of globalization processes affecting the feed industry. An attempt was also made to determine the impact of these processes on sustainable development and on self-sufficiency in vegetable proteins. As a source of information, this study relied on numeric data from databases delivered by the FAO, FEFAC, Alltech, Oil World, Central Statistical Office and the Institute of Agricultural and Food Economics—the National Research Institute. The study period was 2010–2018. The methodology proposed by Chechelski was used to assess the globalization process in the Polish feed industry. Primary data used to meet the objective defined above were retrieved from empirical studies carried out with 180 selected farms from all over the country and 74 feed factories. One of the conclusions is that the globalization process in the Polish market for vegetable protein feed resulted in changing the feed production technology by marginalizing the use of native sources of plant protein. As the farmers lack interest in cultivating these plants, they cannot reap the natural benefits derived from them. From the perspective of environmental impacts, this perturbs the sustainable agriculture concept. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
The Impact of Crop Mix on Decreasing Soil Price and Soil Degradation: A Case Study of Selected Regions in Czechia (2002–2019)
Sustainability 2020, 12(2), 444; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020444 - 07 Jan 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
While the market price of land in Czechia has increased in recent years, the officially set land price, published by the State Land Office and the Research Institute for Soil and Water Conservation, has decreased in several regions (Olomouc, Zlín, South Moravia, Moravian-Silesian, [...] Read more.
While the market price of land in Czechia has increased in recent years, the officially set land price, published by the State Land Office and the Research Institute for Soil and Water Conservation, has decreased in several regions (Olomouc, Zlín, South Moravia, Moravian-Silesian, and Central Bohemia Region). Four out of five of these regions are said to have the most fertile soil. The main reason for the official land price decrease has been the re-evaluation of land parcels which are based on field sample testing. Based on these sample tests some parcels have been re-evaluated as less fertile. This paper aims to identify the main determinants, which led to the decrease of the official land price and soil fertility in these regions of Czechia. It has been determined that crop structure significantly differs from the “valuation type structure” which indicates optimal share of individual crops to achieve the optimal yield without soil degradation. It has also been determined that there were statistically significant differences in all selected regions for all observed crops (excluding rapeseed in Moravian-Silesian Region) and Czechia between the shares of individual crops and shares according to the “valuation type structure”. It may be concluded that farmers follow short-term interests (profit) instead of long-term goals (soil fertility) in the selected regions. Moreover, results for Czechia suggest that this trend is becoming more common in every region of Czechia. Thus, the Herfindahl–Hirschman Index was utilized. The Herfindahl–Hirschman Index shows decreasing crop diversity in all selected region, as in Czechia as well. Based on the data analysis, it is possible to identify several crops, which are prevailing (wheat, barley, rapeseed, and fodder crops). Three of these crops (wheat, barley, and rapeseed) in combination with intensive farming and poor crop rotation have been found to be problematic and a potential threat which may cause degradation in soil fertility. Based upon this the following measures have been recommended: First, to focus on proven agricultural practices, including crop rotation and fodder crops. Second, the fodder crops production should be supported, and the structure of the “single area payment subsidies” should reflect the negative impact of the three main prevailing crops (wheat, maize, and barley) on soil fertility and the decrease of livestock production in Czechia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Between the Social and Economic Dimensions of Sustainability in Rural Areas—In Search of Farmers’ Quality of Life
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 148; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010148 - 23 Dec 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Life quality is an important indicator of sustainable development. Farmers’ quality of life strongly affects the farm’s viability. The main goal of this study was to identify the relationships between three main components of farmers’ quality of life: economic situation, living conditions, and [...] Read more.
Life quality is an important indicator of sustainable development. Farmers’ quality of life strongly affects the farm’s viability. The main goal of this study was to identify the relationships between three main components of farmers’ quality of life: economic situation, living conditions, and mental comfort. In the first phase of the study, the theoretical model representing potential relationships between quality of life components was constructed, and in the second phase the relationships were verified with the use of the structural equation modelling method. The sample consisted of 600 farmers participating in the Polish Farm Accountancy Data Framework (FADN). In the analyses, data from the FADN database and data obtained during supplementary interviews with farmers were used. The analyses revealed that living conditions are significantly and positively correlated with the economic situation and mental comfort, while mental comfort turned out to be negatively correlated with the economic situation. It was concluded that future agricultural and rural development policies should be more focused on the social dimension of sustainable development than before, particularly considering the fact that a farmer’s higher engagement in the improvement of their family’s economic condition might result in lowering their mental comfort due to the stress and work overload. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
The Influence of the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy on the Socio-Economic Sustainability of Farms (the Case of Poland)
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7173; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247173 - 14 Dec 2019
Cited by 7
Abstract
Sustainable development plays an important role in shaping conditions for economic growth, social development and care for the natural environment. The issue was also noticed at the level of the European Union, which is expressed among others by creating sectoral policies, including the [...] Read more.
Sustainable development plays an important role in shaping conditions for economic growth, social development and care for the natural environment. The issue was also noticed at the level of the European Union, which is expressed among others by creating sectoral policies, including the Common Agricultural Policy. The aim of the article is to determine the influence of the Common Agricultural Policy on the level of socio-economic sustainability of farms in Poland. The authors formulate a hypothesis that the existing solutions serve the achievement of economic sustainability, determined by the agricultural to non-agricultural income ratio, but they do not provide sustainability of farms in terms of the social element understood as taking income disparities into consideration. In the article, panel regression and the ratio of income from representative FADN farms to average annual gross salary per employee in Poland in the years 2004–2017 were used. It was found that thanks to the support from the Common Agricultural Policy, the average income of farms comes close to the average income of the non-agricultural sector. However, the influence of the subsidies on changes in economic sustainability was uneven in various economic size classes of farms—the strongest farms benefited the most, which means that social sustainability in terms of equal distribution of income was not achieved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development of Rural Areas and Agriculture)
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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
Cited by 4
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
Cited by 2
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
Cited by 1
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 7
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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