Assessing the benefits of sustainability certification of biofuels: how much are consumers willing to pay?

Abstract

The European Union (EU) considers biofuels as an option to reduce GHG emissions. However, biofuels mandates are controversial because of the concerns regarding unintended environmental, social and economic consequences. EU renewable energy directives introduced some requirements that biofuels should meet to be certified as sustainable. Today almost all the EU’s biofuel consumption intended for transport complies with the EU’s sustainability requirements. This paper investigates social preferences in Spain for sustainable biofuels and, in particular, the willingness to pay (WTP) for sustainable biodiesel. To do that, a choice experiment approach was used with data from a survey conducted in Zaragoza. Results indicate that consumers are willing to pay, a premium of 5% for biodiesel. This premium is slightly lower than the extra-price they are willing to pay for the convenience of finding biodiesel in their usual petrol station (6%). We identified two segments of consumers according to their WTP for the different biodiesel characteristics. One segment was more willing to pay for biodiesel while the other one attached more importance to fuelling convenience and biodiesel availability.

Food security and migration in Africa: a validation of theoretical links using case studies from literature

Abstract

The connection between food security and migration is increasingly discussed by both international agencies and academic literature. However, despite several improvements, we continue to know little about the complex causal-effect relations that link these aspects and, in particular, how much migration patterns are affected by food security issues and how much, as a feedback, migration can affect food security, on both the origin and destination areas. This paper aims firstly to draw a general framework of this nexus and then to validate it using empirical literature on the African continent. A few common points can be emphasized for the continent: due to structural and familiar characteristics, different strategies based on opportunity costs or risk minimization (including food security aspects) may emerge; individuals often migrate following household strategies; multi-nodal households are emerging; land grabbing and land tenure security represent important drivers to be considered; emergencies or critical situations often cause the erosion of women rights. In many situations, the poverty trap prevents most food insecure households to leave marginal lands.

L’étiquetage environnemental et social : Quel intérêt pour valoriser l’huile d’olive espagnole en France?

Abstract

From a perspective of valorization of the Spanish olive oil at the international market, this research tries to determine the benefits of adopting environmental and social labeling of the product. Findings from a qualitative study performed to French consumers, using the Scenario method, confirm that the Spanish olive oil is perceived as a lower quality. Environmental and/or social labeling, through institutional certification, could help to improve the perceived country’s image.

Food safety investments factors in the Italian meat sector: conceptual framework and empirical evidence

Abstract

The paper investigates how food safety investment decisions are affected on the one hand by laws and on the other by firm’s economic and organizational drivers. The paper shares findings from an empirical study that considers investments in HACCP, Certification, and Traceability in the Italian meat sector. The main finding of the study is that the allocation of the decision rights to invest in food safety explains the patterns of investment decisions observed. The conclusion is that regulatory interventions are more effective if there is a private possibility to allocate investment decision rights with respect to the distribution of information between private and public agents and the degree of uncertainty. The study contributes to the analysis of the allocation of the decision rights in the organization of value chain. Under this innovative view, it empirically shows how regulation and freedom of contract act as drivers of food safety investments. The research is particularly interesting in its policy implication: information regarding the role of these collective bodies will become relevant in the near future in the context of expected changes in the EU’s agricultural policy.

Environmental sustainability of typical agro-food products: a scientifically sound and user friendly approach

Abstract

The paper introduces an approach, developed in Agriculture & Quality programme, to evaluate the environmental sustainability of Apulian quality agro-food products that is integrated in the regional quality scheme “Quality Products”. It highlights the methodological approach adopted, the sustainability themes identified and the indicators selected. Indicators measurable at the farm/firm level were selected in relation to the following environmental themes: biodiversity, land use and management, energy use and climate change, use of chemical inputs, and responsible management of by-products and waste. A scoring scale was developed for each indicator; going from 0 (unsustainable) to 10 (very sustainable) with 5 corresponding to the sustainability threshold or reference value. The presented approach is both robust and user friendly and is in line with the principle entailing continuous improvement; the key sustainability thresholds will be periodically reviewed and updated. It represents a practical and innovative way to develop an information scheme for typical agri-food products and can be, with some refinement and contextualisation, easily scaled up to other territories.

The unexpected profile of agricultural innovators: evidence from an empirical study

Abstract

Innovation capacity is essential for farmers to remain competitive and overcome the challenges facing Mediterranean agricultural systems. Based on an extensive empirical study, this paper elucidates the common attributes of innovative farmers in the Region of Valencia (Spain). The model presented in this study investigates whether an innovative attitude can be explained by market-entrepreneurial orientation, learning orientation, individual profile traits and farm size. The findings provide insights into how age and experience affect innovation in agricultural smallholdings. The study shows that the most innovative farmers run large farms and have a strong market-entrepreneurial orientation. Farm size and learning orientation are key requirements to enhance the innovative attitude of farmers.

The contractual relationships in the Italian durum wheat chain: empirical survey evidence

Abstract

The paper investigates the vertical relations along the Italian durum wheat chain and the factors affecting farmers’ behavior in adopting contractual agreements. Sale/crop-growing contracts in the durum wheat sector are analyzed through a direct survey to a sample of 261 durum wheat farmers. The questionnaire collected data on downstream relations and contract terms between farmers and processing and/or marketing firms along the durum wheat chain. A logit model is used to identify factors affecting the likelihood of contract farming between farms and processors. One of the main issues emerging is the low frequency of written contractual forms between durum wheat farmers and downstream operators. In most cases the farmers do not want constraints and reveal a lack of trust in contracts. They prefer to sell their product to a local downstream operator with whom they have a long-standing and solid relationship of trust. Moreover, results of a logistic model show that certain farm features, such as turnover and degree of specialization in durum wheat production, play an important role in driving the decision to adopt written contracts.

Entrepreneurial performance of the European Union – pivot of its economic security

Abstract 

The goal of the present paper is to demonstrate whether the varying performance of the European Union states in terms of business and entrepreneurial attractiveness and activity is diminishing the level of overall economic security. Accordingly, the particular objectives which are to be achieved include: firstly, structuring the EU countries by performance groups in terms of economic efficiency; secondly, development of an innovative approach through which it can be analysed the dynamics and present level of economic security across the identified groups; and thirdly, analysis of interdependence between the selected indicators within the developed approach and, as result, suggestion of relevant policy measures at the level of the European Union. The methodology applied to reach the goal and objectives of the research includes a throughout quantitative analysis of data regarding the discrepancies in the European Union in terms of innovation output, resource productivity, employees’ salary, business R&D expenditure, international investment positions, gross fixed capital formation, exports, energy efficiency and unemployment. The results reached expressively underline that the level of discrepancies among the performance groups in the European Union is high, these differences growing in the areas of business and entrepreneurial performance.

Measuring the economic performance of mixed crop-livestock farming systems in Egypt: A non-parametric DEA approach

Abstract

This study examines the relative technical efficiency of mixed crop-livestock farming systems and assesses their economic performance between the Upper and Delta regions of Egypt. A non-parametric data envelopment analysis (DEA) method is empirically applied for measuring technical efficiency using farm-level data for 838 mixed crop-livestock farmers. The findings show that the mixed crop-livestock farms in Egypt are operating at a low level of technical efficiency, indicating most farms are unable to catch up with the current production frontier and existing production technologies. Farms in the Delta region perform slightly better than those farms in Upper Egypt. Results also suggest that technical efficiency improvement is positively affected by farmers’ education, having a farm milk production certificate, and being located in the Delta region, whereas farm size negatively affects the economic performance of mixed crop-livestock farming systems in Egypt.

Tunisian consumers perception and behavior towards organic food products

Abstract

Organic agriculture production in Tunisia is relatively recent and was mainly oriented to the export market. However, local market demand is growing for such products. The objective of the current study is to assess consumers’ awareness and consumption of organic food products. A survey was implemented and included 250 respondents from the capital city Tunis. We used descriptive statistics, factor and cluster analysis to analyze the data. The results indicated that respondents’ perceptions towards organic food are positive. Four groups of consumers were identified with respondents from the main three groups have good understanding about organic food products characteristics. However, the proportion of consumers who purchase organic food on a regular basis is quite low (16%). Improving availability and access to organic products through the integration in mainstream sales channels and lower price premiums will help narrowing the gap between the intention to purchase organic products and the actual purchase.