December 2013 Volume 42 Number 4
219 Guest Editorial: A constrained outlook for EU agriculture
291 Index to Volume 42, 2013
Abstract: Risk management in agriculture is a major policy issue in current EU agriculture policy reforms. Public support systems may play two different roles, one as a device to deliver disaster assistance and another to enhance insurance for marketable risks. This paper contributes to the literature by analysing the trade-offs between providing catastrophic assistance and subsidizing insurance premiums. The goal of the study is to highlight policy options that are coherent in stabilizing income volatility while limiting distortions of public intervention. In this study, farmer incomes were first modelled using Monte Carlo simulation, and options were then ranked by applying the stochastic efficiency with respect to a function. The results suggest that, if catastrophic assistance is available, even higher insurance support is needed to make it a preferred option. The results highlight the fact that well defined and credible ex ante rules for the use of disaster assistance are essential to enable insurance markets to develop. One possibility would be to make a farmer’s eligibility for disaster aid conditional on his or her participation in the insurance programmes.
Abstract: Agricultural research for development (AR4D) is often discussed in terms of abandoning ‘business as usual’. One important element of the reframing of agricultural research is an emphasis on the development of useful ‘products’, which immediately brings ‘users’ to centre stage. In this paper the authors review the literature on user involvement from the field of new product development (NPD). They then propose a conceptual model of feedback and feedback loops within AR4D and use this model to analyse examples of feedback generation in rice research in West Africa. On the basis of this initial analysis they conclude that, while there are many ongoing activities that could potentially provide useful feedback, in the majority of cases this potential is probably not being realized. Unless feedback is approached much more systematically, the promise of AR4D as a means of generating useful products for farmers and others will probably remain unfulfilled.
Abstract: One of the strategies that farmers have used to differentiate their products and increase the perceived value in the eye of the consumer has been to sell organic products. Nevertheless, as demand for organic foods has not risen in the same way as for other food products, it is reasonable to suppose that the effectiveness of this strategy is not universal and can vary as a result of other factors. This study explores the impact of the attribute ‘organic’ on typical, culturally strong or iconic products by using focus groups to examine perceptions of olive oil in Spain. The results indicate that the positive connotations of the word ‘organic’ have less effect on the overall appreciation of products that hold richer meanings for consumers (iconic products), as is the case for olive oil in Spain. The results also suggest that the word ‘organic’ has a greater effect (a) the less the product is valued or the less important it is to consumers; (b) the more consumers consider the product and/or its processing to be less complex or sophisticated; and (c) the less cultural richness or identity the product possesses.
Abstract: This paper analyses differences in productivity by worker’s gender in greenhouse agricultural work, using time-study techniques applied to indoor tomato cultivation in Spain. The results show that women had on average a 107.5% greater efficiency compared with men, and that this was evident across all tasks subject to evaluation. Although they were rarely assigned to them due to gender stereotyping, the performance of female workers in tasks involving machinery operation, such as a motorized elevated platform, was shown to be superior to that of men. If the labour were exclusively female for the tasks studied, it would result in net time savings of 44.8%, or 1,286 hours of work per hectare for tomato cultivation. This analysis contributes to our understanding of the consequences of gender stereotyping in rural employment, and shows how greenhouse agriculture could be more sustainable if these issues were addressed.
Abstract: This paper presents a quantitative model for assessing the spatio-temporal patterns in the growth of grain production in China between 1985 and 2008 using provincial panel data and a GIS model. The results show that the pathway for grain production relied mainly on land productivity growth as a rational response to the scarcity of cultivated land and a small peasant-based economy. Large-scale land management is the inevitable trend for agricultural development in China. In Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang, promoting labour productivity accords with the requirement for the transition of cultivated land management in the future. The area of cultivated land per agricultural employee (1.33 ha) may be the reference threshold for large-scale land management. Finally, suggestions for regulations against regional cultivated land management are proposed.
Abstract: Arable land consolidation potential (ALCP) evaluation is an ex ante evaluation, the purpose of which is to select areas that are suitable for land consolidation projects and to support the decision- making processes of the LC Bureau. In this paper, ALCP is divided into two types – theoretical and practical. Theoretical ALCP represents the potential that can be fulfilled from a natural standpoint and has five main categories: (1) increase in available arable land area; (2) increase in agricultural productivity; (3) decrease in agricultural production costs; (4) improvement in the ecological environment; and (5) decrease in land property disputes as a result of ALC. Practical ALCP represents the potential that can be achieved. The transformation from theoretical into practical ALCP is affected by factors such as existing technology and farmer support. Moreover, in this paper an evaluation system for both theoretical and practical ALCP is established, with all evaluation indices having values between 0 and 1. The ALCP for the Daxing district of Beijing is evaluated based on statistical and field survey data, using GIS analysis and a fuzzy synthetic evaluation model.
Abstract: The authors conduct a value chain analysis of horticultural supply chains in Rwanda. They describe the actors, activities and transactions in the chains, using data from stakeholder interviews. They show that a wide variety of horticultural supply chains exists in the country and argue that value chains can be differentiated beyond the current dichotomy of global (modern) chains versus local (traditional) ones. Processes of modernization, especially value-adding, quality differentiation and vertical coordination, also take place in domestic and local horticultural chains. The authors argue that there is a gap in the literature on innovations in these chains and their implications for rural development and poverty alleviation.
Abstract: This paper investigates the water use and marketing behaviour of smallholder cabbage producers from the Zanyokwe Irrigation Scheme in South Africa to identify the behaviour associated with the highest financial returns to water allocated to smallholder farmers to decrease rural poverty. The blue water footprint for cabbages was estimated; the value of the water was then calculated as the gross margin and value added per cubic metre of water at the respective stages along the value chain. The analyses show that the attributes of the products have a major influence on the degree of access to the highest value market alternatives, and hence on the ability of smallholder farmers to generate the highest possible return from the water they receive for agricultural purposes.