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Italian Farms During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Main Problems and Future Perspectives. A direct analysis through the Italian FADN.

Cesaro, Luca; Giampaolo, Antonio; Giarè, Francesca; Sardone, Roberta; Scardera, Alfonso; Viganò, Laura


Accepted: 2021-11-12 | Published Online: 2021-11-26 |

DOI: 10.36253/bae-9552


The spread of the COVID-19 virus in Italy during the first phasis of the pandemic (February-May 2020) has caused a large-scale crisis, with an almost immediate decrease of industrial production and a consequent contraction in domestic consumption and external trade. However, the issue of food security was immediately recognized as one of the most sensitive, so that the Government has decreed the priority role of the food system, which has been included among those considered fundamental services and economically essential, allowing the related activities to be carried out during the lockdown. Agricultural production activities, transformation and commercialization remained fully operative during the lockdown, nevertheless, the sector has faced many difficulties related to the contraction of some of the marketing channels (restaurants, on farm sales, agrotourism, problems with the logistics and many other problems). To better understand the effects of the initial phasis of the pandemic on the Italian agricultural sector and provide useful information to the government and decision makers, a survey was carried out with a CAWI (Computer Assisted Web Interviewing) sent to over 10,000 farmers belonging to the sample of the Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN). The number of respondents has been of 733 farms, which represents around 7% of the Italian FADN sample. The results of the questionnaire have been matched with FADN data on the structure and the economic performance of farms, allowing a more precise evaluation of the condition and effects of the pandemic. The results highlight a relevant effect of the COVID-19 pandemic emergency on the agricultural sector: 37% of the interviewed farmers declare a significant liquidity crisis, while 60% predicted a contraction in turnover. These effects are more relevant for the wine, olives, and horticulture types of farming and more frequent in medium/large farms. A better situation has been found for farms which usually outsource processing and/or marketing/sale of the products.


The Role of Energy on the Price Volatility of Fruits and Vegetables: Evidence from Turkey

Uçak, Harun; Yelgen, Esin; Arı, Yakup

Alanya Alaaddin Keykubat University (Turkey)

Accepted: 2022-01-17 | Published Online: 2022-01-19 |

DOI: 10.36253/bae-10896


In agricultural economics, fluctuations in food prices and the factors affecting these fluctuations have always been an important research topic. From production to delivery to consumers, the supply chain of agricultural products has a dynamic structure with continuous changes. In this dynamic process, analyzing the intensive use of energy at each stage has gained more importance with its deepening effects in comparison to the past. This study will empirically explore the volatility spillovers between energy price index and fruit-vegetables price index in the period of 2007-2020 in Turkey using the Kanas and Diebold-Yilmaz approaches. According to the results obtained from the Kanas approach in the study, it has been observed that there is a statistically significant volatility spillover from the energy price index to the vegetable price index, whereas there is no statistically significant volatility spillover to the fruit price index. This finding was supported by the results obtained from the Diebold-Yilmaz approach showing that there is a volatility spillover of 13.52% to the vegetable price index and 0.86% to the fruit price index from the energy price index.


Impacts of Fertilizer Subsidy Reform Options in Iran: An Assessment using a Regional Crop Programming Model

Aghabeygi, Mona1,2; Louhichi, Kamel3; Gomez y Paloma, Sergio2

1Università degli Studi di Parma (Italy)

2European Commission, Joint Research Centre (Spain)

3Université Paris-Saclay (France)

Accepted: 2022-01-21 | Published Online: 2022-01-21 |

DOI: 10.36253/bae-10981


The aim of this paper is to assess the potential impacts of different fertilizer subsidy reform options on the performance of the Iranian crops production sector. This is achieved using a Regional Crop Programming (RCP) model, based on Positive Mathematical Programming, which includes in total 14 crop activities and encompasses 31 administrative regions. The RCP model is a collection of micro-economic models, working with exogenous prices, each representing the optimal crop allocation at the regional level. The model is calibrated against observed data on crop acreage, yield responses to nitrogen application, and exogenous supply elasticities. Simulation results show that a total removal of nitrogen fertilizer subsidies would affect the competitiveness of crops with the highest nitrogen application rates and lead to a slight reduction of national agricultural income, at approximately 1%. This effect, which is more pronounced at the regional level, is driven by area reallocation rather than land productivity. The reallocation of nitrogen fertilizer subsidy to only strategic crops boost their production and income but increase disparity among regions and affects negatively welfare compared to the current universal fertilizer program. The transfer efficiency analysis shows that both target and universal simulated options are inefficient with an efficiency score below one.


Land Tenure and Property Rights, and the Impacts on Adoption of Climate-Smart Practices among Smallholder Farmers in Selected Agro-ecologies in Nigeria

Kehinde, Mojisola O.1; Shittu, Adebayo M.1; Ogunnaike, Maria G.1; Oyawole, Funminiyi P.1; Fapojuwo, Oluwakemi E.2

1Department of Agricultural Economics and Farm Management, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (Nigeria)

2Department of Agricultural Administration, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (Nigeria)

Accepted: 2022-02-04 | Published Online: 2022-02-04 |

DOI: 10.36253/bae-9992


This study investigates the effects of land tenure and property rights (LTPRs) on smallholder farmers’ adoption of climate-smart practices (CSPs) among cereal farming households in Nigeria. The data were collected from maize and rice farmers in a Nation-wide Farm Household Survey conducted across the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria. Data collected were analysed within the framework of Multivariate Probit to determine the factors that facilitate and/or impede the adoption of CSPs. The results showed that the adoption of CSPs considered in this study – agroforestry, zero/minimum tillage, farmyard manure, crop rotation and residue retention - were generally low. Empirical analysis showed that farmers with transfer right were more likely to adopt farmyard manure, crop rotation and residue retention while the likelihood of adopting agroforestry reduced with having transfer right. The coefficient of de jure secure increased the likelihood of adopting zero/minimum tillage while the coefficient of control right increased the likelihood of adopting agroforestry. Again, we found that the adoption of zero/minimum tillage reduced with control and transfer rights. The study also contributes to the existing literature on adoption by recognizing the interdependence between different climate-smart practices as well as jointly analyse the decision to adopt multiple CSPs. The study therefore, suggests that governments, in whom the responsibility for land use policy reform lies, review the existing framework to ensure a prompt, fair, and efficient land tenure system.


Mapping global value chain participation and positioning in agriculture and food: stylised facts, empirical evidence and critical issues

Silvia Nenci1, Ilaria Fusacchia1, Anna Giunta1, Pierluigi Montalbano2, Carlo Pietrobelli1

1Roma Tre University (Italy)

2La Sapienza University of Rome (Italy)

Accepted: 2022-03-02 | Published Online: 2022-03-02 |

DOI: 10.36253/bae-12558


This paper aims to overview the recent body of empirical work on the importance of Global Value Chains (GVCs) in international production and trade. We begin by reviewing different approaches and levels of GVC analysis. We then consider developments in methods and data. Focusing on the agriculture and food sector, we present a map of GVC measures - at the country and sectoral level - computed using trade in value added data to allow researchers to better assess the countries’ engagement in GVCs. We also apply this data to show some stylized facts on GVC participation and positioning in agriculture and food and provide empirical evidence of the economic impact of the GVCs on these sectors. We conclude with some critical issues and speculative thoughts regarding the future of GVCs.


On the relationships among durum wheat yields and weather conditions: evidence from Apulia region, Southern Italy

Marco Tappi, Gianluca Nardone, Fabio Gaetano Santeramo

University of Foggia (Italy)

Accepted: 2022-04-27 | Published Online: 2022-04-28 |

DOI: 10.36253/bae-12160


The weather index-based insurances may help farmers to cope with climate risks overcoming the most common issues of traditional insurances. However, the weather index-based insurances present the limit of the basis risk: a significant yield loss may occur although the weather index does not trigger the indemnification, or a compensation may be granted even if there has not been a yield loss. Our investigation, conducted on Apulia region (Southern Italy), aimed at deepening the knowledge on the linkages between durum wheat yields and weather events, i.e., the working principles of weather index-based insurances, occurring in susceptible phenological phases. We found several connections among weather and yields and highlight the need to collect more refined data to catch further relationships. We conclude opening a reflection on how the stakeholders may make use of publicly available data to design effective weather crop insurances.


Pesticides, crop choices and changes in well-being

Geremia Gios1, Stefano Farinelli2, Flavia Kheiraoui3, Fabrizio Martini4, Jacopo Orlando5

1University of Trento, Italy

2Aboca, Italy

3University Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Italy

4University of Trento, Italy

5University of Pisa, Italy

Accepted: 2022-04-13 | Published Online: 2022-05-06 |

DOI: 10.36253/bae-10310


This study investigates how pesticide risk indicators (PRIs) can be applied to help develop sound economic policies. We modified one of the numerous PRIs proposed over the years, the Environmental Impact Quotient (EIQ), originally developed for the fruit industry, to consider co-formulants and adjuvants. The new formula includes three components representing the externalities of farm worker risk, consumer risk, and ecological risk. It also considers the potential externalities of the use of pesticides on residents living near the farms where these products are used. We applied the modified EIQ to two areas located in central Italy (the Chiana Valley in Tuscany and the Tiber and Upper Tiber Valleys in Tuscany/Umbria), surveying a sample of farms to determine the quantity and types of pesticides used on five crops: durum wheat, soft wheat, corn, tobacco, and olives. After calculating the impact quotient, we used data from a survey conducted in a different Italian region regarding the willingness to pay (WTP) for a pesticide-free environment and determined the WTP for even minimal changes in that quotient. Using those results, we simulated the changes in welfare (calculated as changes in willingness to pay) that would result from modifying the amount of land used for each crop. Our findings indicate that the proposed WTP indicator may have broad utility and that its application may lead to enhanced awareness of the consequences of pesticide use in farming.


Causal inference on the impact of nutrition policies using observational data

Mario Mazzocchi, Sara Capacci, Beatrice Biondi

University of Bologna, Italy

Accepted: 2022-05-20 | Published Online: 2022-05-20 |

DOI: 10.36253/bae-12411


We discuss the state-of-the-art in the application of quasi-experimental methods to estimate the impact of nutrition policies based on observational data. This field of application is less mature compared to other settings, especially labour and health policy, as food economists have started to implement widely counterfactual methods only over the last decade. We review the underlying assumptions behind the most prominent methods, when they can be regarded as credible and if/when they can be tested. We especially focus on the problem of dealing with unobserved confounding factors, emphasizing recent evidence on the limitations of propensity score methods, and the hard task of convincing reviewers about the quality of instrumental variables. We discuss the application of Difference-in-Difference, with an emphasis on its potential in consumer panel data applications, and how results from Regression Discontinuity Design studies should be interpreted. Finally, we cover the estimation of counterfactual outcomes using structural methods and provide an overview of recent developments and current gaps.


Bio-based Business Models: specific and general learnings from recent good practice cases in different business sectors

Nora Hatvani1*, Martien J.A. van den Oever2, Kornel Mateffy1, Akos Koos1

1Bay Zoltan Nonprofit Ltd, Hungary

2Wageningen Food & Biobased Research, The Netherlands

Accepted: 2022-05-31 | Published Online: 2022-05-31 |

DOI: 10.36253/bae-10820


Business models can be a perfect tool to meet the challenges in highlighting the competitiveness and sustainability potential of bio-based solutions, and facilitating primary producers to benefit from the opportunities offered by bioeconomy. In this work six concrete bio-based good practices that have succeeded in progressing from early ideas to a products on the market were analysed. These examples pose new insights that can be used by a wide range of experts and stakeholders for the analysis of benefits and challenges of value chains in the bio-based economy sectors. It is concluded that the traditional Business Model Canvas needs to be extended with additional factors related to sustainability and business ecosystem. In order to establish a practical framework promoting economic viability of bio-based business cases, the importance is highlighted for adjusting the exclusive focus on Technology Readiness Levels by introducing levels reflecting business or market readiness.


A choice model-based analysis of diversification in organic and conventional farms

Andrea Bonfiglio, Carla Abitabile, Roberto Henke

CREA, Italy

Accepted: 2022-06-15 | Published Online: 2022-06-19 |

DOI: 10.36253/bae-12206


Diversification is a polymorphic strategy to increase agricultural income and reduce the risks deriving from the surrounding environment. This strategy can also be successfully adopted in the context of organic farming. However, there is a lack of confirmation in this regard given the scarcity of studies that explicitly focus on diversification in organic farms. The objective of this paper is to analyse the influence of some territorial, socio-economic, and political factors on the probability of diversifying in both organic and conventional farms. To this aim, multinomial and binary logit models are applied to the Italian case. Results suggest that on-farm diversification requires specific competences and adequate organization. However, the reasons for diversifying differ depending on the production model. In conventional farming, farmers diversify to achieve income levels comparable with those of a more competitive agriculture. Conversely, for organic farmers, diversification represents an integrated part of the production model to take advantage of synergies between organic production and diversification. From these results, some policy implications are drawn.


Financial performance of connected Agribusiness activities in Italian agriculture

Gabriele Dono, Rebecca Buttinelli, Raffaele Cortignani

University of Tuscia – Viterbo, Italy

Accepted: 2022-06-06 | Published Online: 2022-06-19 |

DOI: 10.36253/bae-12211


An important theme in the design of rural development policy is the combination of measures that favour the growth of the productive dimension of farms and their specialization, and measures aimed at supporting diversification paths, with the expansion of the productive functions performed. The evaluation of the economic and financial results of farms engaged in activities of the second type can help to calibrate the intervention between the two options. To this end, we have studied a constant sample of FADN farms in the period 2014-2016, identifying the units engaged in organic farming or other forms of quality production, or engaged in direct sales or processing of their products or, again, in the management of farmhouses. We therefore discussed the condition of financial sustainability of the farms that conduct those activities by evaluating their ability to generate cash flows capable of compensating for the depreciation of the farm production system. We used the ratio Free Cash Flow on Equity on depreciation to compare the results of farms engaged in those activities and farms which are limited to conventional agriculture. The analysis of this comparison and of some structural, technical, and economic characteristics of the various types of farms involved in agribusiness resulted in various considerations on their characteristics and conditions of financial sustainability. Our attention has focused above all on the financial results of farms within the sectors of Italian agriculture in greater financial difficulty. The main objective was, in fact, to verify whether the involvement in agribusiness activity has contributed to improving the financial sustainability of the farms in those agricultural production sectors. Various considerations have arisen that can help fine-tune policies to support the types of diversification examined in this study.