No 2/2014, June

Alternative Approaches to Technical Efficiency Estimation in the Stochastic Frontier Model


Estimating the stochastic frontier model and calculating technical efficiency of decision making units are of great importance in applied production economic works. This paper estimates technical efficiency from the stochastic frontier model using Jondrow, and Battese and Coelli approaches. In order to compare alternative methods, simulated data with sample sizes of 60 and 200 are generated from stochastic frontier model commonly applied to agricultural firms. Simulated data is employed to compare the alternative methods. Empirical results show a strong correlation between the alternative methods regardless of the differences in the actual values of the efficiency estimates. Mean technical efficiency is sensitive to the choice of estimation method. Analysis of variance and Tukey’s test suggest difference in means between the efficiency scores from different methods. Battese and Coelli’s approach produces more homogenous estimates of technical efficiency when compared with the Jondrow’s mean or mode approach. Our results suggest that differences in conclusion are possible when the alternative methods of measuring technical efficiency are applied.

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The Influence of Children on the Parents Buying Behavior: Food Purchase in the Czech Republic


The article examines the influence of a child on the buying behavior of parents in the Czech Republic. Previous studies claim that Czech consumers are only slightly influenced by the marketing tool of the product package when purchasing food. Whereas children are increasingly becoming influencers of consumption, the question arises, whether or not the parent succumbs to their requesting through their pester power. The main goal of this article is to evaluate the influence of children during deciding and purchasing the food in a supermarket. A secondary goal is to identify the techniques of pester power used by children and to identify the reaction of parents to children’s food product requesting; to identify children’s packaging preferences for food products. The primary data have been collected through an electronic questionnaire for parents. Complex factors are identified using exploratory factor analysis. Factor analysis explored 4 factors: (1) “The effort of the child to influence shopping”, (2) “Children’s preferences in package design”, (3) “Preference of unhealthy foods”, (4) “Buying healthy foods with children”. Results of hypotheses testing revealed a strong dependence relating to techniques of pester power, accommodating their requests and transact the purchase.

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Parents' Attitudes to Introduction of Organic Food in School Catering


Organic food can be understood as a platform for long-term sustainable development, as well as a tool to enhance quality of human alimentation and life. School is an ideal environment to learn good dieting habits. Organic food is often a common part of school catering in foreign countries. This issue is currently widely discussed topic in the Czech Republic. Following the end of the Bioschools (Bioškoly) project of the Ministry of Agriculture, no significant increase in the use of organic food in schools has been observed. The question is whether the problem is on the side of the canteens or the parents. The main aim of this paper is to evaluate the approach of parents towards organic food in school canteens in primary and nursery schools in Prague, capital city of Czech Republic. The key method used was a questionnaire survey in year 2013 with 1500 questionnaires distributed to the parents. Based on the survey results three hypotheses were laid down and statistically tested. The research was conducted under the CZU PEF IGA 20131014 project.

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A Neural Network Model for Forecasting CO2 Emission


Air pollution is today a serious problem, caused mainly by human activity. Classical methods are not considered able to efficiently model complex phenomena as meteorology and air pollution because, usually, they make approximations or too rigid schematisations. Our purpose is a more flexible architecture (artificial neural network model) to implement a short-term CO2 emission forecasting tool applied to the cereal sector in Apulia region – in Southern Italy - to determine how the introduction of cultural methods with less environmental impact acts on a possible pollution reduction.

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Effects of Public Support on Producer Groups Establishment in the Czech Republic and Slovakia


Ten countries that have joined the European Union in 2004, had a chance to use EU rural development instruments for support of establishment new producer groups of agricultural producers between 2004 and 2006. Both analysed countries (Czech Republic and Slovakia) have used the opportunity and co-financed programme that aimed on supporting establishment and alleviation of administrative burden. Main aim of the article is to compare conditions and outcomes of the programmes in the Czech Republic and Slovakia and to propose programme innovations. The article describes theoretical assumptions, compares legislative background in selected countries, measures amount of support available and compares outcomes of newly established groups after receiving last supporting payment. One of the conclusions finds Slovak approach more effective. Lower number of supported groups and different conditions result in higher share of successful organisations, higher average revenues of supported groups and higher proportion of revenues in relation to total output of agricultural industry. Finally there are proposed recommendations for the Czech Republic, how programme conditions should be innovated. The article originated as a part of the Internal Grant Agency (IGA) of the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Registration Number 20121077.

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Seeding Courses on Moodle: the AgriMoodle Case


The agricultural education covers all levels of formal education but focuses mostly on the higher ones as well as the vocational education and training. Online courses play an important role in the educational context and compared to traditional courses they eliminate the location and time restrictions and allow a self-paced attendance of a curriculum. At the same time, the existence of online courses raised the need for the design and implementation of the appropriate platforms which may be used for the organization and deployment of online courses. This paper presents the case of agriMoodle, a course management platform based on the widely used Moodle platform, which provides a number of enhancements in the form of modules or widgets specialized for the agricultural domain. These modules aim to enhance the user experience and the functionalities of a standard Moodle installation.

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Business Informatics and its Role in Agriculture in the Czech Republic


Presented paper deals with analysis of use of business informatics in agricultural enterprises in the Czech Republic. The source data for the paper were gathered in the survey among agricultural enterprises from various regions of the Czech Republic. There are results of the survey and the overview of the current state of the use of business informatics is described here. Main findings are that it is the owner of the farm who mostly works with business informatics and for most of them the informatics is a necessary technological solution. The investments in farms are currently directed to mobile hardware equipment. Most frequently used programs are accounting information systems, stock control and specialized programs for plant production and livestock.

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Stochastic Frontier Modeling of Maize Production in Brong-Ahafo Region of Ghana


Maize is a major staple crop in Ghana which needs to be produced optimally towards food security and commercialization. In relation to this the study adopts the stochastic frontier model to analyze technical efficiency of maize farms in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana using a cross sectional data of 232 farms. The findings demonstrate that the input variables scaled per hectare: seed, herbicide, labor and cost of intermediate input influence maize output positively at a decreasing returns to scale. The study further finds that maize producers realize 83% of the frontier output averagely and there is the possibility to increase maize output by 17% at the given technology and input levels in the short run through the adoption of the best farm practices. The study concludes that producer specific factors impede the full potential of the farmers and the inefficiency effects can be mitigated by focusing on policies that enhances the use of best farm practices.

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Analysis of Factors Influencing Caterers of the Ghana School Feeding Programme to Purchase Rice from Local Farmers in the Tamale Metropolis, Tolon-Kumbungu and Karaga Districts


The Ghana School Feeding Programme is the local version of the Home Grown School Feeding. Launched in 2005, the programme has three basic objectives; Poverty Reduction and Food Security, Reducing Hunger and Malnutrition and Boosting Domestic Food production in Ghana. Studies have shown that the programme have had tremendous impact on school enrolment, retention and malnutrition but the same cannot be said about its agricultural portfolio. Indications are that the programme has not succeeded in boosting domestic food production. Over the years no clear procurement procedures relating to the purchase of foodstuff have been followed. Linkage between the Ghana School Feeding Programme and local farmers is a subject matter that is under-researched. This study therefore seeks to assess the factors that influence Ghana School Feeding Programme caterers to buy rice from local farmers in the Tamale metropolis, Tolon-Kumbungu and Karaga districts of the northern of Ghana. The findings will be useful to policy makers and rice farmers in generally especially with regard to agricultural marketing opportunities created by the School Feeding Programme. Analysis of the Ghana School Feeding Programme’s procurement of rice from local farmers was conducted using a probit regression model. The willingness of caterers to buy rice from the local farmer which is a binary choice is the dependent variable and the factors which are hypothesized to influence the decision of the caterer are the independent variables. The results show that majority of caterers buy rice from local millers and the market and very little from local farmers. The factors which had significant influence on the caterers to buy from the local rice farmer include, availability of storage facility, other jobs done by caterers, price of milled rice, easy location of rice farmers and delays in the payment of feeding bursaries. The Ghana School Feeding Programme Secretariat should employ caterers who are unemployed and do not have any other jobs doing. Also the provision of adequate storage facilities in schools and the early disbursement of feeding bursaries to caterers are essential in solving the problem of buying foodstuffs directly from farmers.

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Mobile Access to Information in the Agrarian Sector


The paper treats the analysis of possibilities how to make web applications of the agrarian web portal Agris accessible to mobile devices of various platforms. The principal requirements for the mobile version of the application are: a possibility to be functional off-line, the implementation of all basic modules (papers, prices, warnings) and a conservative design. On the basis of the agrarian web portal Agris analysis we postulated a concept when a native mobile application for the Android platform, a hybrid mobile application for the Android, iOS and Windows Phone 8 platforms and an optimal valid web output for mobile web browsers (responsive layout) will be developed. Native and hybrid applications will allow users to work both in online and off-line modes. The access via a web browser will require a permanent connection. The proposed solution of mobile versions of the agrarian web portal Agris represents a universal solution of problems with mobile access to information sources when rural areas are not adequately covered with a high-speed wireless connection to the Internet, in contrast to a large extension of modern mobile devices.

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