No 4/2014, December

Competitiveness and Effects of Policies on Plantain Production Systems in Southwestern Nigeria


Plantain is one of the most important staple crops in Nigeria and has the potential to contribute to food security and economic development of the country. There is inadequate information on competitiveness, comparative advantage and effects of government policies on the commodity. The study therefore analyzed competitiveness and effects of government policies on plantain production systems in Southwestern Nigeria. Primary data were collected using structured questionnaire from 260 producers randomly selected from major production areas in the zone. Secondary data on port charges and world prices were also utilized. Data were analyzed using Policy Analysis Matrix (PAM). Results indicated that plantain production was privately and socially profitable in all the productions systems. Domestic resource cost ratio of 0.16 – 0.19 and social cost benefit ratio of 0.20-0.23 revealed that southwestern Nigeria had comparative advantage in the production of the commodity. The policy indicators and incentives structure such as the nominal protection coefficient on output (0.31-0.42) and input (1.02-1.04), effective protection coefficient (0.26-0.37), profitability coefficient (0.21- 0.32), subsidy ratio to produces (-0.51 to -0.62) and producers subsidy estimate (-1.70 to -2.02) showed that the producers were taxed and there exists transfers of resources from the systems. The study recommends formulation of policies which are consistent with the country’s goals of agricultural transformation, food security and economic development.

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Comparative Economic Study of Mixed and Sole Cassava Cropping Systems in Nigeria


Agricultural economists continue to argue if mixed or sole cassava cropping system is more economically profitable and in terms of yield and returns to farmers particularly for Nigeria which is the world’s largest producer of the crop. The study was carried out to analyse the economics comparatively of mixed and sole cassava cropping systems in Nigeria. The study made use of both primary and secondary data. Primary data were collected with the aid of well-structured questionnaires assisted with interview schedules. Field data collection was conducted between March and April, 2014. Multi-stage sampling technique was used to select four hundred and eighty (480) respondents across the six major cassava-producing states in Nigeria (Benue, Cross Rivers, Enugu, Kogi, Ondo, and Oyo). Data collected were analysed using descriptive statistics and comparative budgetary analysis. The study showed that mixed cropping system is more male-dominated than sole cropping system. The study also revealed that sole cassava cropping system is more economically profitable than mixed cassava cropping system while the later provides opportunities of all-year-round farm incomes to serve as a better poverty- alleviating mechanism.

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Travel Cost Model for an Agrifarm Specialised in Horse Riding Activities


Agritourism, as a form of tourism, brings tourists a valuable contact with nature. To assess such a value, several methods can be used. One of these methods is the travel cost method, which is used in conducted research. Especially, a single site model is applied to recreation in a farm specialised in horse riding activities. It is not only tourists staying in the farms that take part in horse riding activities, these are also visitors staying in other places and coming to farms for horse riding as an accompanying activity to their recreation. Therefore, two separate travel cost models are estimated, for tourists and for visitors. Results show that the parameter of travel costs has a negative influence on the number of visits, which confirms the economic theory. The parameters involved in the estimated models for visitors and tourists show similar tendencies, except for the parameter of education.

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Analysis of the Technical and Scale Efficiency of Farms Operating in LFA


The paper deals with an analysis of the technical and scale efficiency of farms operating in LFA. In particular, we provide an analysis of the relationship between farm size and technical and scale efficiency. The results of the fitted stochastic frontier model show that significant differences in the relationship between efficiency and farm size can only be found for technical efficiency in the group of farms with more than 1000 hectares.The paper arose within the framework of solution IGA 20131039.

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Evaluation of Effectiveness of Investment Projects of Agricultural Bio-gas Stations


The paper is focused on problems of evaluation of effectiveness of investment projects, building and operation of an agricultural biogas stations. It deals with significance of biogas production in the area of agriculture. Biomass from which biogas is produced is one of important renewable energy sources.A part of introduction is devoted to creation of term-creating base from economic and environmental literary resources, a definition of the term “investment”, connected “investment decision making”, and particular realization phases of the investment project. In the chapter Materials and methodology, dynamic technologies of investment effectiveness evaluation are introduced and used profitability indicators are delimited.A practical part is focused at first on basic characteristics of the evaluated biogas stations, on a way of their financing and achieved cost-revenue relation. The mass centre of the paper is the evaluation of operation and management of the selected biogas stations in the monitored period 2010 - 2013. Effectiveness of the investment is evaluated by the help of dynamic indicators of investment effectiveness. All four used indicators show very favourable values of the station's operation from the effectiveness point of view.The found out profitability indicators also confirmed a positive development of economy in all evaluated stations. It holds fully in use of non-reversible investment subsidy in a range 25 – 37 % of expended costs which the agricultural enterprises obtained from the Rural Development Programme. In case of building of stations without the mentioned financial subsidy the parameters of effectiveness slightly decreased.

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Quantitative Differences among Normal and Knowledge Texts on Agriculture Waste Processing


The objective of this work is to identify the differences among educational texts written in two styles: normal educational text and their knowledge form. The research sample consists of 60 documents – educational texts on agriculture waste processing – converted by the authors into the knowledge form. Over the set of indicators used for evaluating the educational texts, we formulated working and operational hypotheses and validated them using the paired sample t-test. The results show that the complex text difficulty rate of knowledge texts is significantly (α = 0.05) lower than of the normal texts. They present the same amount of information logically divided into more simple sentences merged to complex sentences. Based on the difference in frequencies of selected identifiers we are able to distinguish the literary styles. The further research aims at an automatic recognition of the text styles and measuring the amount of knowledge inside the text.

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Supporting a Regional Agricultural Sector with Geo & Mainstream ICT – the Case Study of Space4Agri Project


Agriculture is a global issue nowadays. At the European level, it is a sector, in which we are investing many resources. In particular, the Agri-Food sector plays a central role in the policies of the European Commission and the Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, as well as being the main theme of Expo 2015 that will be held in Milan, Lombardy. In the Lombardy region, the farmers represent 2% of the entire population, cultivating about 80% of the agricultural land. Increasing needs to develop a common body of knowledge shared at the regional and national level so as to make it possible to effectively monitor cropping systems, water stress and impacts of climate changes affecting more frequently the territory, are becoming more and more urgent. In this context, the project Space4Agri (S4A) intends to support the regional and local needs in terms of management of the agriculture sector, by designing and developing an information and knowledge based platform for managing geospatial and mainstream information by making it accessible over the Internet by standard communication technologies (Geo&Mainstream ICT). This platform has been designed to allow data workflows integrating i) spatial data and observations, ii) non-spatial information available from existing agronomic databases, iii) data collected in the field by farmers, agronomists and volunteers using mobile applications, iv) data collected by unmanned aerial sensors, and/or data produced by researchers as a result of applying scientific analysis on high quality remote sensing data. Foreseen results of the Space4Agri project and from other similar ongoing research activities may significantly spur the socio-economic development of Europe and create new growth opportunities for companies, public administrations, students and citizens.

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Open Land Use Map


Open Land Use Map is an initiative that has been started by the Plan4business project and that will be extended as part of the SDI4Apps project in the future. This service aims to create an improved worldwide land use map. The initial map will be prepared using the CORINE Land Cover, Global Cover dataset and Open Street Map. Contributors, mainly volunteers, will able to change the geometry and assign up-to-date land use according to the HILUCS specification. For certain regions more detailed datasets, if available, will be used as an update of the Open Land Use Map. The product is treated as Open Data and users will be able to download the data in a specified format and for a selected area. The paper introduces the technical and business aspects of Open Land Use Map app including the integration and harmonisation tools, sustainability plan and apps that accompany the entire platform.

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Monitoring of Integrated Accounts Rendering and Non-Financial Information Disclosure to Agricultural Holdings (on the Basis of the Volgograd Region)


The article describes the quality and reliability of the public reporting rendering by large agricultural holdings and full disclosure of financial and non-financial information reporting. The results of long-term monitoring and research carried out at the Department of Accounting and Auditing of the Volgograd state agrarian university as well as the Strategy for integrated development of the rural areas of the Volgograd region results were given here. Recommendations for the coherently integrated reporting adapting in the accounting process of agricultural enterprises were made.

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Simulation and Prediction of Water Allocation Using Artificial Neural Networks and a Spatially Distributed Hydrological Model


Lake Koronia is located in the North part of Greece and is protected by the Ramsar Convention of wetlands. A deficit in the water balance has been presented at the last twenty years due to the excessive water consumption for agricultural uses. This research is an attempt to simulate water flow with MIKE SHE model in order to observe how the water is allocated in the study area. The results of water flow module used for the estimation of Lake’s water balance for 4 hydrological years (2008-2012). Furthermore the Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) was used for the prediction of water flow in two sub-catchments. The coefficient correlation (R) was found for Bogdanas (0.9) and Kolxikos (0.86). The Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) and the Mean Absolute Percentages Error (MAPE) were also calculated in order to evaluate the quality of the ANNs results.

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Determinants of the Farmers’ Conversion to Organic and Biodynamic Agriculture


The aim is to assess selected determinants which influence the conversion of the Czech farmers from conventional to organic or biodynamic agriculture. We assess farm’s efficiency (calculated by SFA), whether farm obtains AEM or LFA payments, if the farmer is “young” and the holding is a micro firm, and region. A random effects logistic regression model was estimated on the panel of Czech farms in 2005–2012.The results showed that efficiency of the farm is not a significant driver of conversion. On the other hand, the odds that the farm will change land management are significantly higher if it obtains subsidies. Also when the farm has < 10 employees and the farmer is > 40 years, the odds that it will switch are higher. If the farm is located Olomoucký region or Vysočina the odds for conversion are lower.The research is financed from IGA the grant No. 11110/1312/3160 of FEM, CULS.

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Analysis of Development of Czech Foreign Trade in Foods and Beverages


The aim of this paper is to analyse the development of Czech foreign trade in food products and beverages (the CPA groups 10 and 11 within the Classification System) and to evaluate the position of individual CPA groups and their products, even within the EU, using two indices of comparative advantage (RCA) and trade balances. The purpose is to contribute to a deeper understanding of the given issue as the analytical work dealing with whole Czech agrarian foreign trade is less focused on foods and drinks. However, they should be a core area of business, especially with regard to competitiveness of the agricultural sector. The sources of data on foreign trade are public databases of Czech Statistical Office (External Trade Database) and Eurostat (International Trade database ComExt). Regarding the time series, period of the years 2005-2013 is analysed. Significant changes in the sales and purchases of foodstuff and beverages were occurred in the context of accession to the EU but these changes are not in focus yet. The paper is engaged in the period when the Czech Republic has already been a member of the EU, and fully entrenched. The point is which results in foreign trade with.Results showed that value of Czech imports of food products and beverages in the years 2005-2013 increased in the larger extent than exports, and negative trade balance deepened by 51 % to 29.3 Bn CZK. The degree of coverage of imports by exports, however, improved from 73.0 % to 77.3 % due to lower dynamics of growth of imports than exports.Besides of the own assessment of the Czech food and beverage foreign trade, our work has consisted in specific transfer of the Combined Nomenclature to the nomenclature CPA. The methodological contribution is then our own list of customs codes, respectively their aggregations, belonging to the individual CPA disciplines. This should be useful for next analysis.

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The Hot Spot Analysis: Utilization as Customized Management Tool towards Sustainable Value Chains of Companies in the Food Sector


The food and agricultural sector will face numerous challenges in the next decades, arising from changing global production and consumption patterns, which currently go along with high resource use, causing ecological and socio-economic impacts. The aim of this paper is to illustrate and evaluate the practical applicability of the Hot Spot Analysis methodology in the context of supply chain management in companies. The HSA is a method to identify social and ecological problems along the entire life cycle of a product. Special emphasis is put on a customized implementation in the value chain beef of McDonald’s Germany. The HSA of McDonald’s beef value chain shows that the main ecological problems arise in the phase of raw material extraction, whereas the main social problems can be identified in the phase of slaughtering. Finally, the paper shows potentials and shortcomings of such a customized application and how the results can be implemented in the sustainability management of a company.

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Rainfall Forecast Analysis using Rough Set Attribute Reduction and Data Mining Methods


Developments in information technology has enabled accumulation of large databases and most of the environmental, agricultural and medical databases consist of large quantity of real time observatory datasets of high dimension space. The curse to these high dimensional datasets is the spatial and computational requirements, which leads to ever growing necessity of attribute reduction techniques. Attribute reduction is a process of reducing the data space by removing the irrelevant, redundant attributes from large databases. The proposed model estimates the enhancement achieved in spatial reduction and classifier accuracy using Rough Set Attribute Reduction Technique (RSART) and data mining methods. The first module of this proposed model has identified an efficient attribute reduction approach based on rough sets for spatial reduction. The next module of the proposed model has trained and tested the performance of Naive Bayes (NB), Bayesian Logistic Regression (BLR), Multi Layer Perceptron (MLP), Classification and Regression Tree (CART) and J48 classifiers and evaluated the accuracy in terms of each classification models. The experimental results revealed that, the combination of RSART based on Genetic Algorithm approach and Bayesian Logistics Regression Classifier can be used for weather forecast analysis.

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Cross-Platform User Interface of a Web Application in Agrarian Sector


The paper treats the process of the creation of a web application optimal output for mobile devices in the form of a responsive layout with focus on the agrarian web portal. The utilization and testing of user experience (UX) techniques in four steps - UX, research, design and testing - were of great benefit. Two groups of five people representing the task group were employed for the research and testing. The resulting responsive layout was developed with the emphasis on the ergonomic layout of control elements and content, a conservative design, the securing of content accessibility for disabled users and the possibility of fast and simple updating. The resulting knowledge is applicable to web information sources in the agrarian sector (agriculture, food industry, forestry, water supply and distribution) and the development of rural areas. In wider context, this knowledge is valid in general.

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Competition among Companies in the Fast Food Market in the Czech Republic


The aim of the paper is to express the nature and the extent of changes in the consumer preferences in the context of the oligopolistic multinational chains of fast food restaurants. The methodology of the paper is based on the analysis of growing market shares of fast food restaurants in the Czech Republic using the performance indicators of companies. Among the largest fast food restaurants in the Czech Republic are McDonald’s, KFC, Subway and the new fast food chain Parky’s. McDonald’s market share in terms of output is currently 46% of the fast food market. The paper therefore analyzes the last part of the agri-food vertical with clear consequence on the demand for agricultural commodities and for food as a whole. This study is supported by the Internal Grant Agency of Faculty of Economics and Management, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague (Projects No. 20141025 – The growing share of fast food restaurants in consumer demand).

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Evaluation of Effectiveness of Feedback‘s Amount


Information links are an integral part of the functioning of any real system (whether it is a biological system, the economic system of the state or the control system of the company). For proper operation of the system is necessary to have a well-defined information flows both: direct, indirect and feedback. The work is focused on feedback information links. Overall, the issue of the feedbacks is considered eminently as a theoretical domain and the practical consequences of the correct function or dysfunction feedbacks in real life are systematically not paying proper attention. It is ignored the need of purposeful use of feedback and improvement within the building or maintenance of systems at all levels and areas, including control systems. In the literature does not exist consensus on the existence and amount of feedback, which are - regardless of their structure and quality - the limiting factor in the practical performance of control system. This paper is focused on the resolution (or selection) feedbacks relevant to the effective performance of the functions of communication in the process of management and organizational structures of selected companies in the Czech Republic and quantitative expression of their relationship and the transmission reliability control and feedback information. The research was implemented in 178 farms. The output of theoretical and practical research is designed of mathematical model testing information links. This model was applied to the example of management information links within business processes and is also described in the paper.

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Systematic Risk in Agriculture: A Case of Slovakia


The paper uses the alternative Markowitz portfolio theory approach, by replacing the stock return with return on equity (ROE) and estimates the systematic risk of unquoted agricultural farms. The systematic risk is standardly measured by the mean-variance model and standard deviation of stock return. In case of unquoted firms the information regarding the market rate of return is missing. To assess the risk and return, the use of individual financial statements is necessary. The systematic risk in Slovak agriculture over the period 2009-2012 was 3% of equity or capital invested with the average return 0,048%. We calculated the systematic risk separately for two prevailing legal forms in Slovak agriculture: cooperatives and companies (JSC., Ltd.). Cooperatives represent farms with lower individual risk and lower ROE, but higher systematic risk. Companies represent farms established after 1989. These farms generate higher profit for the owner with lower systematic risk.

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Architectural Issues of a Location-Aware System Applied in Fruit Fly E-Monitoring and Spraying Control


In the present paper we describe an e-monitoring location-aware system, based on a real-time Wireless Multimedia Sensor Network (WMSN), integrated with a semi-automatic trapping and insect counting, based on existing traps, able to acquire and transmit data to a remote server, and a Decision Support System (DSS) that will perform the final optimization of the control treatments. In spite the tremendous technological advances in recent years, WSNs cannot meet all the requirements of ubiquitous intelligent environment mainly because scalar data such as temperature, air humidity, air pressure, etc., are not able to detect all environmental events, like insect detection. For this reasons the efforts are concentrated on the design issues of a WMSN platform, able to collect and integrate multimedia data from the field. Further, a flexible architecture needs to be adopted for integration of a WMSN to the cloud for multimedia sensor data collection and sharing using Web services.

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Analysis of Some Drivers of Cocoa Export in Nigeria in the Era of Trade Liberalization


This contribution analysis some determinants of cocoa export in Nigeria in the era of free trade. Using Johansen cointegration and OLS regression methods, the cointegration results show there exists a long- run equilibrium relationship between cocoa exports and the explanatory variables such as quantity of cocoa production, domestic consumption and the world price in Nigeria. More so, the OLS results provide a positive relationship between cocoa export and world price, trade openness, REER, and quantity of world cocoa export (statistically significant at the 0.01 and 0.05 levels). However, the results show an inverse association between cocoa export and domestic cocoa consumption (statistically significant at 0.01 level). The findings indicate that Nigeria has a comparative advantage in cocoa export. The Nigerian government and partners should create an enabling environment and some incentives to stimulate cocoa producers and traders by subsidizing farm inputs, and providing affordable loans to them to ensure sustainable cocoa production and export in the country.

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