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Outlook On Agriculture cover Outlook on Agriculture logo Outlook On Agriculture cover

The international journal devoted to agricultural science, policy and strategy.

ISSN 0030-7270 (print); 2043-6866 (online)


Editor: Dr Jerry Knox

This journal is covered by Thomson Reuters in the Science Citation Index, the Science Citation Index Expanded, Current Contents/Agriculture, Biology & Environmental Sciences, and BIOSIS Previews. Impact Factor: 0.478. 5-Year Impact Factor: 0.692. (Journal Citation Reports®, 2015 release, Thomson Reuters.).

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Editorial coverage

Outlook on Agriculture is published quarterly and welcomes original research papers, research notes, invited reviews and commentary for an international and interdisciplinary readership. Special attention is paid to agricultural policy, international trade in the agricultural sector, strategic developments in food production, the links between agricultural systems and food security, the role of agriculture in social and economic development, agriculture in developing countries and environmental issues, including natural resources for agriculture and climate impacts. Articles should be in the region of 4,000 words; relevant literature should be cited with a recommended limit of 30 references.

Submissions - Notes for authors

Outlook on Agriculture uses an online webtool called Editman for manuscript submission, review and feedback. Please follow the link below to submit your manuscript through Editman:

http://www.editman.co/

You will first need to register with Editman and then upload details regarding your manuscript. The process is quick and straightforward. Once complete, you will receive an acknowledgement and your paper will then be screened for journal relevance.

Length and presentation of contributions

Articles should be in the region of 4,000 words. Research notes and shorter pieces will also be considered for publication. In addition, papers derived from work done under the EU Research Framework Programme will be readily considered. Submissions should be double-spaced. Electronic versions must be in Word.

The text should be ordered under appropriate sub-headings (not numbered paragraphs or sections) and where possible these should not be more than 800 words apart. Three levels of sub-heading are possible.

The title page should show the names and addresses of the authors, their professional status and affiliation and the address (including e-mail) to which correspondence should be sent. As this page will not be sent to referees, the title of the article (without author names) should be repeated on the first text page.

An abstract should be provided, comprising 100-150 words.

Between 3 and 6 keywords should appear below the abstract, highlighting the main topics of the paper. References should follow the Harvard system. That is, they should be shown within the text as the author's surname (or authors' surnames) followed by a comma and the year of publication, all in round brackets: for example, (Smith, 1998). For textual citations, where there are two authors please use the word 'and', not the ampersand (thus: '(Smith and Jones, 2012)'. Where there are more than two authors, please use the first-named author only, followed by 'et al' in italics (thus: Smith et al, 2012). At the end of the article a bibliographical list should be supplied, organized alphabetically by author (surnames followed by initials - all authors should be named). Bibliographic information should be given in the order indicated by the following examples: 

Articles: Wheeler, T., and Kay, M. (2010), ‘Food crop production, water and climate change in the developing world’, Outlook on Agriculture, Vol 39, No 4, pp 239–243.

Books: Lovelock, J. (2009), The Vanishing Face of Gaia: a Final Warning, Allen Lane, London.

Notes should be numbered consecutively in the text and typed in plain text at the end of the paper (not as footnotes on text pages).

Tables should be reduced to the simplest form and present only essential data. They should be submitted on separate sheets at the end of the article. The use of vertical rules in tables should be avoided.

For illustrations, line drawings and photographs are acceptable. Authors are asked to supply originals of line drawings for reproduction. Photographs should be glossy prints with good contrast. Authors should bear in mind that colour illustrations will be reproduced in black and white in the print version of the journal.

Prior Publication

Articles are received on the understanding that they are original contributions, and have not been published officially, either in print or electronic form, or submitted for publication elsewhere. In this respect, ‘discussion’ or ‘working’ papers, conference presentations and proceedings are not considered to be official publications, unless they have been formally deemed so by conference organizers, or presented as edited works through recognized publishing channels. If in doubt, authors are asked to draw the attention of the Editor to any prior dissemination of the paper in their letter of submission. Please note that articles should not be posted on personal Websites or social networking sites before or after submission.

Refereeing

Other than research notes, reports, and personal opinion pieces, articles will be refereed. Papers by authors who are not academics (eg submissions from industry) will also be subject to review before acceptance, but their distinct nature and aims will be fully taken into account.

Copyright

Authors will be asked to assign copyright, where possible, to IP Publishing Ltd. Relevant authors’ rights are protected.

Author Checklist for Final versions

Editorial Board

  • Editor: Dr Jerry Knox, Cranfield Institute for Water Science, Dept of Environmental Science and Technology, Cranfield University, Bedford MK43 0AL, UK. E-mail: j.knox(a)cranfield.ac.uk
  • Consulting Editor: Dr David Lister, Somerset, UK

Editorial Advisory Board

  • Professor P.K. Aggarwal
    Indian Agricultural Research Institute, India
  • Dr Simon Anderson
    International Institute for Environment and Development, UK
  • Professor Deng Xi-Ping
    Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
  • Dr C. Devendra
    Consulting Tropical Animal Production Specialist, Malaysia
  • Dr R. C. Hardwick
    Brussels, Belgium
  • Dr Alfred Hartemink
    University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
  • Hsin Huang
    International Meat Secretariat, France
  • Dr Jill Lenne
    Consulting Tropical Agriculture Specialist, Fyvie, UK
  • Dr Antoinette Mannion
    Department of Geography, University of Reading, UK
  • Professor Graham Matthews
    Imperial College London, UK
  • Dr Sushil Pandey
    International Rice Research Institute, The Philippines
  • Dr Thomas Fitz Randolph
    International Livestock Research Institute, Kenya
  • Dr Fabrice Renaud
    United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), Germany
  • Dr J. Sumberg
    Institute of Development Studies, UK
  • Professor Guido van Huylenbroeck
    Department of Agricultural Economics, Ghent University, Belgium
  • Professor J. Van Staden
    Research Centre for Plant Growth & Development, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
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MARCH 2016 ISSUE (VOL 45 NO 1)

3 The adoption problem; or why we still understand so little about technological change in African agriculture

Dominic Glover, James Sumberg and Jens A. Andersson

7 They can read all about it: an analysis of global newspaper reporting of genetically modified crop varieties between 1996 and 2013

Stephen Morse

18 Vegetable seed availability and implications for developing countries: a perspective from Morocco

S. Alan Walters

25 The impact of investors in agricultural commodity derivative markets

Michele Donati, Marco Zuppiroli, Marco Riani and Giovanni Verga

33 Intensification to reduce the carbon footprint of smallholder milk production: fact or fiction?

Henk Udo, Viola Weiler, Ogun Modupeore, Theo Viets and Simon Oosting

39 Modelling climate change impacts and adaptation strategies for sunflower in Pakistan

Wajid Nasim, Hatem Belhouchette, Ashfaq Ahmad, M. Habib-ur-Rahman, Khawar Jabran, Kalim Ullah, Shah Fahad, Muhammad Shakeel and Gerrit Hoogenboom

47 Enviro-economic assessment of energy conservation methods in commercial greenhouses in Iran

Amir Vadiee and Mahmoud Yaghoubi

55 A quantitative framework for evaluating the sustainability of Irish potato cropping systems after the landmark agrarian reform in Zimbabwe

O. Svubure, P.C. Struik, A.J. Haverkort and J.M. Steyn

67 A review of an international sustainability standard (GlobalGAP) and its local replica (MyGAP)

Yeong Sheng Tey, Natasha Rajendran, Mark Brindal, Shaufique Fahmi Ahmad Sidique, Mad Nasir Shamsudin, Alias Radam and Ahmad Hanis Izani Abdul Hadi


Title: The adoption problem; or why we still understand so little about technological change in African agriculture

Author(s): Dominic Glover, James Sumberg and Jens A. Andersson

Abstract: The notion of adoption is central to efforts to measure technological change in African agriculture, and plays an important role in the evaluation of return on investment in agricultural research and technology development. However, the adoption concept, as it is commonly used in both the literature and development research practice, is seriously flawed and leads to inaccurate and misleading conclusions. The authors outline a design specification for a replacement concept that would provide a better basis for robust empirical research on the economic, social and environmental impacts of investment in agricultural technology development and promotion. They propose that this new concept can contribute to a better and more nuanced understanding of the impacts of technology development interventions.

Read the full article here

Title: They can read all about it: an analysis of global newspaper reporting of genetically modified crop varieties between 1996 and 2013

Author(s): Stephen Morse

Abstract: This paper provides an analysis of the reporting of genetically modified (GM) crop varieties by newspapers across the globe between 1996 and 2013. The aim of the research was to explore whether the significant increase in GM crop area between those years had been paralleled by an increase in press reporting and, if so, whether this was linked to more positive or negative views of the technology. The results suggest that the increase in GM area has been paralleled by an increase in newspaper reporting, and the pattern over time is similar across Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America and Oceania. Topics typically associated with critiques of GM had significantly lower article counts compared with some that could be associated with more positive visions of GM. Indeed, the pattern suggests reporting that was, if anything, mildly positive towards GM up until 2013.

Read the full article here

Title: Vegetable seed availability and implications for developing countries: a perspective from Morocco

Author(s): S. Alan Walters

Abstract: New vegetable variety development is generally non-existent in most developing countries, with seed typically sourced from developed countries. This situation results in a dependence on developed countries to supply vegetable seed for most of the world’s demands. This dependence is troubling as it creates a myriad of problems, from improper recommendations of vegetable varieties to products growing in areas to which they are not necessarily adapted. This paper provides an overview and analysis of vegetable seed industries in developing countries, with a focus on Morocco, and the resulting influences on smaller subsistence farmers. The three types of vegetable seed materials (landraces, pure- line inbred and hybrid varieties) are discussed in the context of these farmers. The ongoing problems and issues related to the absence of vegetable seed industries in developing countries will undoubtedly affect food production, nutritional health and the resulting food security in these countries for future generations.

Read the full article here

Title: The impact of investors in agricultural commodity derivative markets

Author(s): Michele Donati, Marco Zuppiroli, Marco Riani and Giovanni Verga

Abstract: The objective of this paper was to test whether investing activity in the futures markets of different commodities (grains, sugar, coffee, cotton, cocoa, livestock) could be identified as a source of the increasing level and volatility of agricultural commodity prices. The causal link between trading activity and market factors (returns, volatility) can be investigated using weekly data, usually derived from the Commitment of Traders Reports released by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), or daily data expressed as the ratio of volume to open interest (VOIR). To increase the power of the estimation process and investigate the role of causal variables to determine the trends of all the market factors, the authors tested the estimates obtained by seemingly unrelated regression (SUR). One innovation is represented by the evaluation of the inverse relationships between market factors and causal variables. The market factors were also tested as causal variables, avoiding giving priority to only one part of the relationship according to Granger’s causality. The lack of significance revealed by the Granger causality test on weekly models could be due to the inappropriate frequency of the information. The ratio of volume to open interest in futures contracts performs better than other parameters extensively adopted in the literature. The likely reason is that it depends on the daily frequency of this parameter, which provides statistical evidence of phenomena that include their effect in weekly intervals. The estimations for the daily model provide statistical evidence of a mutual relationship only between trading activity and realized volatility. No causal relationships were found for returns. The behaviour of all 12 futures markets examined is quite similar and uniform with respect to the scale of the coefficients and their temporal profile.

Read the full article here

Title: Intensification to reduce the carbon footprint of smallholder milk production: fact or fiction?

Author(s): Henk Udo, Viola Weiler, Ogun Modupeore, Theo Viets and Simon Oosting

Abstract: Will the intensification of cattle-keeping lower the carbon footprint of milk production in resource-poor environments? The authors included the multiple functions of cattle in carbon footprint estimates of milk production in farming systems with different degrees of intensification in Kenya. The carbon footprints (measured in kg CO2 equivalents per kg of milk) of free-grazing with 2.6 cows (1.8 kg) and zero-grazing with 1.5 cows (1.3 kg) on smallholder farms were only slightly higher or at the same level as on large farms with 13.6 cows (1.1 kg) and on a very large farm with 107 cows (1.3 kg). These carbon footprints were comparable with those of milk producers in developed regions. Better feeding is often suggested as a climate change mitigation option; however, only small-step feed improvements can be made. In the debate on intensification as a major strategy to reduce the carbon footprint of milk production, the opportunities are overestimated and constraints for changes in smallholder farming are underestimated.

Read the full article here

Title: Modelling climate change impacts and adaptation strategies for sunflower in Pakistan

Author(s): Wajid Nasim, Hatem Belhouchette, Ashfaq Ahmad, M. Habib-ur-Rahman, Khawar Jabran, Kalim Ullah, Shah Fahad, Muhammad Shakeel and Gerrit Hoogenboom

Abstract: Climate change, food security, water scarcity and environmental sustainability have all become major global challenges. As a consequence, improving resource use efficiency is an important aspect of increasing crop productivity. Crop models are increasingly being used as tools for supporting strategic and tactical decision making under varying agro-climatic and socioeconomic conditions. These tools can also support climate change assessment and the evaluation of adaptation strategies to limit the adverse impacts of climate change. In this paper, the authors report on a case study conducted to assess the potential impact of climate change on grain yield in sunflower under arid, semi-arid and subhumid conditions in the Punjab region of Pakistan. Experimental data obtained between 2008 and 2009 were used for model evaluation. The study focused on the impacts of incremental temperature change on sunflower production. The modelling suggests that grain yield could reduce by up to 15% by the 2020s with an average increase in temperature of +1oC, and by up to 25% if temperatures increased by up to 2oC for the 2050s. Adaptation strategies showed that, if the crop were sown between 14 days (for 2020) and 21 days (for 2050) earlier than the current date (last week in February), yield losses could potentially be reduced.

Read the full article here

Title: Enviro-economic assessment of energy conservation methods in commercial greenhouses in Iran

Author(s): Amir Vadiee and Mahmoud Yaghoubi

Abstract: Population growth, rapid cultural development and urbanization have led to increased food demand. However, in Iran, due to limited water resources, only about 50% of the total arable area can be used for horticultural purposes. Therefore, yield improvement is very dependent on high-efficiency horticultural technologies such as commercial greenhouses. Although better yields can be obtained in commercial greenhouses than in field-scale cultivation, the energy demand is considerably higher. Moreover, the investment and energy costs are correspondingly larger in commercial greenhouses compared with any other horticultural sector. Hence energy conservation in commercial greenhouses has been emphasized in recent years in order to sustain more cost-efficient crop production. A study on energy use in the commercial greenhouse sector can thus help to identify the challenges and options for improving profitability. In this paper, the authors assess the commercial greenhouse industry in Iran, including the number of existing and planned greenhouses, plus the range in yield and energy use in the sector compared with other agricultural sectors. The results are based on a ‘typical’ commercial greenhouse for the region. The results show that the solar blind system can reduce heating and cooling demand by 60% and 90% respectively. The solar blind system can supply 70 kWh/m2 of electricity annually, which can be used for supplementary lighting or cooling systems. The maximum electrical power that can be supplied by a solar blind system is estimated to be about 113 kW per m2 of photovoltaic module. The implications for the horticultural greenhouse industry are discussed.

Read the full article here

Title: A quantitative framework for evaluating the sustainability of Irish potato cropping systems after the landmark agrarian reform in Zimbabwe

Author(s): O. Svubure, P.C. Struik, A.J. Haverkort and J.M. Steyn

Abstract: Frameworks to evaluate the sustainability of cropping systems in developing countries are scarce. This study proposes a framework to select easily quantifiable indicators that can be used to assess and communicate the sustain-ability of cropping systems in developing countries. The widely accepted social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainability were covered using predefined criteria from which the indicators were then drawn. An initial list of indicators was established based on literature review and expert opinion, and through filtering reduced to 16 core indicators. Using the case of Irish potato-based cropping systems, a grower survey was conducted to collect data on production practices in four different cropping systems. The survey data were then used to calculate the sustainability indicators expressed as resource use efficiencies based on actual potato yields. The survey data also served as input into the Cool Farm Tool – Potato model to estimate greenhouse gas emissions from farm operations involved in potato production. With the help of local agricultural extension officers, focus group discussions were held with farmers of each production system to decide on sustainable and unsustainable indicator threshold levels. The participatory nature of the framework involving farmers and local extension officers secured buy-in from key stakeholders important for operationalization, monitoring and evaluation.

Read the full article here

Title: A review of an international sustainability standard (GlobalGAP) and its local replica (MyGAP)

Author(s): Yeong Sheng Tey, Natasha Rajendran, Mark Brindal, Shaufique Fahmi Ahmad Sidique, Mad Nasir Shamsudin, Alias Radam and Ahmad Hanis Izani Abdul Hadi

Abstract: In light of growing concerns about sustainable development, international sustainability standards are prevalent and are replicated by local governments to form country-specific sustainability standards. A consensus has been reached that local sustainability standards can be considered to underperform in view of their limited adoption. Supplementing the current literature, this study hypothesizes additional explanations of this phenomenon through a review of both the GlobalGAP (international) and Malaysian Good Agricultural Practices (MyGAP) standards. Through content analysis, the findings indicate that MyGAP provides a weak institutional framework and market opportunity structure. In addition, since it lacks transparency and accountability, its credibility is questionable. Although it is not clear whether such a credibility issue has a direct impact on the local market, sustainable produce is neither differentiated nor rewarded through premiums. The GlobalGAP standard was found to be an exemplar, and potential improvements are suggested to help support local sustainability standards.

Read the full article here

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