International Journal of Sustainable Agricultural Management and Informatics (8 papers in press)
The role of agricultural consultants and precision agriculture in the adoption of good agricultural practices and sustainable water management
by Giorgos Kountios
Abstract: Good agricultural practices (CGAPs) respond mainly to the need of protecting biodiversity, genetic resources and landscape, soil and water resources, as well as the provision of public goods by farmers. Biodiversity conservation is inextricably linked to agricultural activity. Cyprus, due to the variety of landscapes with special microclimatic and topographic characteristics, the variety of soil and geological substrates and the diversity of vegetation, forest and agriculture, contributes to the creation of a wonderful variety of habitats that meet the requirements of numerous species of wildlife. In this highly competitive environment, agricultural consultants can and do play an important role in disseminating knowledge regarding the adoption of information and communication technologies as well as precision agriculture. Those technologies apply to any type of agricultural holding and can be an integral part regarding the wider application of good agricultural practices by the farmers.
Keywords: agricultural consultants; agricultural advisory; ICTs; precision agriculture; education; agricultural extensions; Codes of Good Agricultural Practice; CGAPs.
Mapping digital transformation efforts: lessons from organisations in agribusiness sector
by Olga Pachni-Tsitiridou, Konstantinos Fouskas
Abstract: New innovative business model, changes in wholesale and customers needs and behaviour, and food safety issues force businesses in agri-food sector to develop a digital transformation strategy. As many of them are well-established organisations existing resources, capabilities, organisations experience, and financial resources are important parameters that are considered. Based on dynamic capabilities and digital transformation literature we proposed a research model that aligns digital transformation and could be an enabler for a successful digital transformation. To test our research model, we adopt a qualitative approach that is based on in-depth interviews of key respondents such as CEOs, owners, and managers of three incumbent agri-food businesses active in the Thessaloniki surrounding area. We explore how existing resources and capabilities, managerial perception, organisational beliefs, and identity affect the digital transformation process and if the proposed implementation initiatives enable agri-food businesses to easily implement the digital transformation strategy. The paper aims to propose a digital transformation framework that not only empirically helps managers easily implement a digital transformation strategy but also will add theoretical value to the existing literature about digital transformation as it proposes and tests a digital transformation framework that is based on businesses capabilities.
Keywords: digital transformation; production processes; operational processes; agri-food business; traceability; sustainability.
Special Issue on: HAICTA2020 New insights on Information and Communication Technologies in Agriculture, Food and Environment
Commodification vs. patrimonialisation? A community capitals framework for assessing digital technologies. The case of Southern Rural Manitoba, Canada
by Sherine Salmon, Mikaël Akimowicz
Abstract: Uneven access to broadband has deepened a divide that sees rural residents struggling with digital technologies (DTs). This situation has resulted in the emergence of creative attitudes to take advantage of the potential benefits of DTs. In this article, a continuum of community capitals framed by governance characteristics is proposed to analyse the impact of the utilisation of DTs in rural communities. Focus groups and interviews were carried out with youth, seniors, and businesses in three rural communities of southern Manitoba, Canada. The results show that the interactions between the resources of rural communities are being re-shaped by the progressive adoption and utilisation of DTs. Three conditions to take full advantage of rural digital opportunities are reliable access, affordable access, and digital skills. Nuanced findings that contribute to explaining the ambivalent effects of DTs encourage the pursuit of additional investigations to further refine the proposed continuum of community capitals.
Keywords: digital technologies; rural broadband; community capitals; Veblens (in)tangible assets; Musgraves typology of goods; Canadian Prairies.
Evaluation of a satellite drought indicator approach and its potential for agricultural drought prediction and crop loss assessment. The case of BEACON project.
by Emanuel Lekakis, Agathoklis Dimitrakos, Evangelos Oikonomopoulos, Gregory Mygdakos, Ifigeneia-Maria Tsioutsia, Stylianos Kotsopoulos
Abstract: BEACON is a market-led project that couples earth observation (EO) with weather intelligence to deliver a toolbox for timely, cost-efficient and actionable insights for the agricultural insurance (AgI) sector. This paper provides an approach based on MODIS NDVI anomaly (NDVIA), implemented in the operational workflow of BEACON that can be used by AgI companies to improve the prediction and crop loss assessment due to drought. The aim of the study was to demonstrate the feasibility of evaluating drought impact on wheat and barley crops at parcel level, exploiting the long historical MODIS NDVI records. Correlation analysis and machine learning were used to understand the relationship between a satellite-based drought indicator and (non-)damaged parcel yield data. The moderately strong correlation results highlight the complexity in determining the crop loss in the case of drought, by taking only into account the seasonal evolution of widely used satellite derived indices, such as NDVI/NDVIA.
Keywords: BEACON; claim-based agricultural insurance; AgI; drought damage; drought impact; MODIS NDVI; NDVI anomaly; NDVIA.
Application of an integrated methodology for spatial classification of the environmental flow in the Bulgarian-Greek Rhodope Mountain Range
by Ekaterina Ivanova, Dimitrios Myronidis
Abstract: Nowadays, the environmental flow (e-flow) is globally recognised as an essential component of the sustainable water resources management. Therefore, defining flow requirements is an important step forward, especially in transboundary regions where different water management practices exist. This study aims to propose a GIS-based methodological framework for regional-scale environmental flow modelling and hydrological regime classifications to further define environmental flow requirements in the Bulgarian-Greek Rhodope Mountain Range. The methodology incorporates GIS-based interpolation techniques and environmental flow magnitude modelling in order to identify the quality of ecosystems, based on indicative environmental flow values at any point in the region. Suitability model was generated to classify the preferential locations for aquatic and riparian communities into five ecological management classes (EMC). Furthermore, cluster analysis was applied to 198 catchments in order to distinguish five different zones of watersheds with homogeneous hydrological and morphological characteristics.
Keywords: environmental flow magnitude modelling; Rhodope Mountain Range; GIS; freshwater ecosystems; ecological management classes; EMC.
Cultural heritage protection against floods using the business object relation modelling
by Armend Qerimi, Marek Pícka, Vojtěch Merunka, Jaroslav Nouza
Abstract: This paper deals with the use of business object relation modelling (BORM) methods in crisis management. Restoring the damage caused by natural disasters is not only expensive but in the case of cultural values, losses are incalculable. For this reason, it is crucial to have an accurate roadmap that is feasible and understandable to those who have not been involved in its development. This paper demonstrates the use of BORM method in planning a successful solution to emergency situations such as flood crises. The floods plan of the Czech Republic is based on a sketch diagram developed using the information gathered from individual consultations with participants. This diagram demonstrates the business processes, i.e., scenarios of BORM methods. The plan highlights steps to be taken in the implementation of BORM methods in future crisis management.
Keywords: business object relation modelling; BORM; business process modelling; flood crisis management; protection of cultural heritage; object-oriented approach; automata theory; Mealy automaton; business process simulation.
The new Italian web database to support irrigation investment policies: DANIA
by Marianna Ferrigno, Romina Lorenzetti, Luca Adolfo Folino, Raffaella Zucaro
Abstract: This paper presents the Italian national database of investment for irrigation and environment (DANIA), providing a multi-functional and interoperable tool for Italian policy makers and water resource management actors. DANIA was born in collaboration with the Italian regions and consists of a harmonised collection of collective irrigation interventions, both planned and financed, managed by irrigation entities, for the purposes of irrigation or hydrogeological instability defence. The technical, financial, and environmental data are useful for planning, monitoring financial progress, and evaluating policy effectiveness. Standardised codes allow a semantic interoperability with other national databases, particularly with SIGRIAN - the National Information System for Water Management in Agriculture. DANIA has already been applied to support the planning and monitoring of irrigation investments in Italy.
Keywords: web database; collective irrigation investments; database of investment for irrigation and environment; DANIA; Italy; water management; irrigation entities; policy programming and monitoring; interoperability; multi-functionality; SIGRIAN.
The concept for an integrated IoT-based traceability platform
by Aristotelis C. Tagarakis, Nikolaos Tsotsolas, Dimitrios Kateris, Christos Koidis, Eleni Koutsouraki, Dionysis Bochtis
Abstract: A significant proportion of fresh products either does not reach the market due to quality deterioration or reaches the consumer in poor condition raising concerns about marketing and public health. Latest advances in sensing and communication technologies in agriculture and agri-food supply chain, facilitate traceability, monitoring the products throughout the whole supply chain, starting from in-field production and through all steps of transportation, processing, and marketing. In this work, an IoT-based web and android-based platform is proposed which will monitor and guarantee the quality of the fresh products through a traceability system. The system supports enhanced communication between sellers and traders and includes all the significant steps from the farm to the storage, processing, packaging, transportation and placement at the stores shelf and the final receiver, the consumer. Thus, this work contributes with new knowledge, providing an overview of the design of integrated system for advanced traceability of fresh produce.
Keywords: internet of things; IoT; traceability; fresh produce; supply chain.