Vol. 10 No. 1 (2016)
The fourth bi-annual AGRIMBA congress was organised in Porec, Croatia, June 16-20, 2015. Its
theme was ‘Smart agribusiness for the society of tomorrow’. We thank the organizing committee
lead by Mario Njavro and Josip Juraciak, Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Zagreb,
who did an excellent job.
This congress was successful both in terms of number of participants as in the quantity and quality
of the papers presented. Participants came from east and west Europe, and from other parts of the
world. Lively discussions were reported during and after the congress.
This volume of Apstract is a special issue, in which papers are published that have been presented
at this congress. The reviewing and editing was organised by Marija Cerjak, Faculty of
Agriculture of the University of Zagreb. We thank her for the excellent work that she did for this
Various aspects of agribusiness and commerce are dealt with in this issue. It starts with a case
study on organic food sourcing, processing and distribution in Slovakia, followed later on in this
issue by a paper on two case studies of the characteristics of value based organic food chains in
Slovenia. Two papers deal with the wine industry in Croatia. In one paper attention is paid to risk
and competitiveness of the wine sector, whereas another paper focusses on the wine market and
wine exports of Croatia. Another paper discusses the economic performance of Croatian farms
based on the newly introduced Farm Accountancy Data Network.
Attention is paid to the societal context of agribusiness and commerce. One is rural development
and rural modernization. In an extensive study trajectories of agricultural modernization and rural
resilience are explored based on case studies in 14 countries. It is emphasised that local capacities
for transdisciplinary research need to be strengthened and that more attention should be paid to
modernizing potentials that are less mainstream. Another paper investigates challenges to sustainable
rural development in Russian rural areas. It gives growth points and recommendations.
One paper focusses on the bio-based economy and the transformation of biomass into energy in
particular. It is found that the energetic efficiency of biogas is higher than the one of bio-ethanol.
The gap between act and deed of consumers in the social responsibility question is addressed in
the paper with the title “Is it worth being socially responsible?”
Meditation may be useful for you, but it can also an interesting business for sustainable tourism,
as is demonstrated in a paper on this topic for the case of Hungary.
Two papers deal with labour market status of graduates. In one paper graduate students’ opinions
about entrepreneurship as an employment opportunity are analysed in a high unemployment
setting for youngsters, whereas the special issue ends with a short paper on the societal success
The next congress in 2017 will be organised by the University of Debrecen, Hungary. The first
call for papers will reach you soon.
Organic food sourcing, processing and distribution: a case of satisfying a growing market5-10Views:249
A case study of an organic food company in the Slovak Republic involved in producing and sourcing inputs, food processing and distribution is presented. The case is based on a June 2014 “live” case study prepared for students in International MBA in Agribusiness programs at the Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra, Warsaw University of Life Sciences and the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine, Kiev. The company was established in 2001 with the objective to bring organic food to health conscious consumers. The company grows organic spelt grain, wheat, rye, buckwheat, herbs and apples on its 156 ha and 400 ha of owned and rented farmland. The company further processes these crops into more than 40 finished products. Students are presented with company information and summaries of a company visit and discussions with management. Students perform PEST and SWOT analyses, identify a shortage of owned and leased land as a problem the company must address, conduct research and analysis, and recommend product specification contracts as a solution to the problem.
Risks and competitiveness in agriculture with emphasis on wine sector in Croatia11-17Views:122
International competitiveness, being a key objective of each economic entity, is at the same time significantly determined by the level of risk the entity is coping. Based on the assumption that risk management is directly linked to competitiveness in agribusiness, the scope of this paper is predominantly focused on the wine agribusiness in Croatia. The aim of this paper is to encompass available literature and transfer findings to interested parties, about risks and competitiveness in agriculture, with particular reference to the wine sector. Qualitative analysis of secondary data, descriptive i.e. monographic method, deductive method and comparison of available papers from the world and Croatia were applied in the paper. There are very few companies in general, however, that tend to use their abilities to manage risks as a source of competitive advantage. These companies go beyond compliance or cost-controlling defensive approaches and take a more aggressive stance toward risk. They have realized that their risk management capabilities can be leveraged as a source of competitive advantage (Elahi, 2013). Current literature showed that such companies indirectly exist within global agribusiness. Examples of such companies in the wine sector could be found in Old World and New World wine countries. In regards with the mentioned, further research in the wine sector that would more directly link competitiveness and risk management and benefits that could be drawn from such “linkage” is needed.
Croatian wine market, support policy and specific obstacles to wine exports19-22Views:145
In this paper, analysis of Croatian wine sector in period 2006-2013 is conducted through the record of wine production, exports and imports together with Government support measures. In the light of Croatian EU membership together with opening of EU wine market and global wine market, recommendations for further discussion of support measures for small and medium winemakers are given.
Graduate students’ opinions about entrepreneurship as an employment opportunity23-29Views:147
One of the most unwanted and unavoidable consequences of the economic recession is the high rate of unemployment. Graduate students in Croatia are faced with lack of employment possibilities, and for some of them the self-employment looks like a good solution. In this paper, we investigate attitudes and intentions of graduate students at the University of Zagreb Faculty of Agriculture regarding to selfemployment. Most of the surveyed students are in the age between 21 and 25 years, and they have already got some kind of knowledge about entrepreneurship during the formal education. In addition, majority of them have the experience of part-time jobs. The Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) model was used to find out to which extent students’ attitudes and experience influence their expressed self-employment intentions. The results revealed that Zagreb students’ scores are close but somewhat lower than the same scores found in the comparable study from Australia. This goes for the investigated variables: (1) previous entrepreneurial experience (PEE), perceived desirability of selfemployment (PDSE), perceived entrepreneurial self-efficacy (PESE) and self-employment intentions (SEI). It was found that the score on the PEE is significantly related to scores on the PDSE (p=0.000), and PESE (p=0.000), which means that the experience positively influence respondents’ attitudes on self-employment and self-efficacy. There is also a statistically significant difference in the on the SEI with respect to the PDSE (ANOVA F=9.804, p=0.000): respondents that consider self-employment more desirable expressed higher intention to perform it. The PDSE was found as the most influencing model variable in regards to the self-employment intention. The results points out the importance of previous experience, role models and positive attitudes towards self-employment in the process of the entrepreneurship development in young, educated population.
Trajectories of agricultural modernization and rural resilience: some first insights derived from case studies in 14 countries31-43Views:189
In this paper, alternative trajectories of agricultural modernization and rural resilience are explored based on case studies in 14 countries. The analysis is to support discussions about the further development of agriculture at a time when the agricultural sector must respond to an increasing scarcity of natural resources, challenges like climate change, urbanization, demographic change, food security, consumer demands, distributional issues in food value chains and changing urban-rural relations. The discussion relates different trajectories of agricultural modernization to the multiple mechanisms underlying rural prosperity and resilience. The mainstream capital-intensive and technology-driven model of agricultural modernization is contrasted with more incremental, socially embedded and localised forms of development. Potential synergies between different modes of farm ‘modernization’, resilience and sustainable rural development are highlighted and a different future-oriented understanding of the term ‘modernization’ explored. The basis for the analysis are case studies in 14 countries (including Turkey and Israel). The key question asked is how actors are connecting economic, social and natural systems in the different cases and how the connections made (or not) point to different ideas about modernization. The conclusions focus on some current information needs of policy-makers: the links between different forms of farm modernization, rural development and resilience, and the implications for agricultural knowledge systems and the new European Innovation Partnerships. It is emphasized that local capacities for transdisciplinary research need to be strengthened and that more attention should be paid to addressing modernization potentials that are less mainstream. The paper seeks to foster discussions that help overcome simplistic viewpoints of what ‘modernization’ entails. It is based on an earlier review paper by Knickel, Zemeckis and Tisenkopfs (2014).
Challenges to sustainable rural development in Russia: social issues and regional divergences45-51Views:195
Paper aims at investigation of contemporary approaches to sustainable rural development in Russia. It includes the overview of current experiences in rural development, analysis of major economic and social indicators of rural areas in comparison with urban ones. Analysis included the set of indicators such as number of rural people, number of rural settlements, rates of births and mortalities, natural and migration increases and declines of population, rates of employment and unemployment, average monthly nominal per capita wages, and level of the subsistence minimum. Indicators have been measured separately for rural and urban areas; regions have been grouped in relation to the particular indicator. The research is concluded by discovery of growth points for rural development and a set of recommendations on perspective measures of state and local policies in rural areas, directed on increase of living standards of rural population and retention of labour resources in their traditional rural areas of inhabitation.
JEL: Q18, P25
Economic results of Croatian farms53-58Views:105
The objective of the paper is to provide an overview of the situation and performance of Croatian farms. Croatian farmers rarely keep business books and therefore farm level business data are deficient. Croatian accession to the European Union in 2013 brought numerous innovations to agricultural sector. One is introduction of Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN) which aims to determine the impact of the Common Agricultural Policy on national agriculture of EU member states. The sample of Croatian FADN comprises 1,250 commercial farms. The paper brings results of agricultural sector financial analysis for the period 2011-2013. Total farm output decreased, but since the stronger decrease trend occurred in total inputs, this led to positive trend of gross and net farm income in the year 2013. Positive results are also shown at efficiency and productivity of Croatian farms. In the years 2011 and 2012 farms operated below the efficiency level while in 2013 efficiency increased above the efficiency level. In the observed period there was a 70% increase in productivity. The analysis shows that the most efficient farms are those in vegetables and flowers type. It also has the highest debt ratio due to their capital intensiveness. The vegetable and floriculture farms have the largest gross farm income in all three analysed years, but with a large drop in 2013, while the farms in type pigs and poultry have largest increase of gross farm income in last observed year.
Characteristics of value based organic food chains: two cases from Slovenia59-63Views:116
In the literature the value based food chains express two main characteristics: business relationships among strategic partners interacting in the supply chain are based on a written set of values and food products are differentiated from similar food products (Stevenson, 2009). To verify the first part of the definition the analysis of two organic food chains were carried out. For the analysis of business relationships and food quality communication in the food chain two different methodological approaches were used. For collecting the input data semi-structured interviews of various stakeholders were performed. The results of the analyzed case studies show the characteristics of value based food chains could be broader and more complex if some additional perspectives were considered.
Plant production for biomass into energy: economics and energy efficiency view65-71Views:131
The aim of the paper was to determine the influence of the fertilization level on the energy and economics efficiency of the production technologies of selected crops processed into bioethanol or biogas. There were investigated the following crops: rye, triticale, wheat, sugar beets, maize, sorghum, reed canarygrass and Virginia fanpetals. In the energetic efficiency the Energy Return on Energy Investment index (EroEI) was used. Apart from the ERoEI ratio, the Net Energy Value (NEV) ratio was also used. In the economics efficiency attitude, the Gross Margin (GM) was determined.The investigations proved that in general, the production technologies of crops where the lowest levels of nitrogen fertilization were applied proved to have the highest energetic efficiency. The highest economic efficiency was characterized by the production of corn for biogas. In the case of the production of bioethanol (all plants), ratios were on the verge of profitability or the lack of it showed.The analysis proved that the efficiency of the technologies of production of the crops to be processed into biogas is several times higher than the energetic efficiency of the technologies of production of the crops to be processed into bioethanol.
Is it worth being socially responsible?73-80Views:165
Several definitions for corporate social responsibility (CSR) exist and these vary greatly as to the activities it should cover and their motivators. Among the benefits of CSR are positive marketing/brand building, brand insurance and employee loyalty. Numerous arguments against CSR prevail, e.g. social responsibility is not a problem that belongs in the sphere of activities a corporation should be addressing or even that CSR distracts businesses from addressing the primary need to concentrate on sales. Thus, the strong economic question: is CSR worth it? In 2014, we carried out a representative survey in Hungary, in which the effects of responsible business practices on consumer purchase behaviour were studied. With our research results, we could show that there is a considerable gap between the apparent interest of consumers in CSR and the limited role of CSR in purchase behaviour.
Tourism, meditation, sustainability81-91Views:232
The economic value of meditation based services is clearly demonstrated by a growing number of companies using such services. In the USA one quarter of the companies offer in-house meditation training to their employees. On the otherhand,the number of those who think that the western consumption paradigm in its present form is unsustainable is also increasing. In addition to its business value, meditation and its most popular western form mindfulness is a practical tool that can catalyze a change in our world view and value system. A basic precondition for learning meditation techniques is to have an open, receptive, feminine attitude. As it is revealed in the present research, tourists poses a significantly elevated level of openness to new experience. This increased openness together with an upward trend for spiritual experiences can create a synergy for certain destinations, accommodation types, tourism locations to expand their service portfolio with meditation based services. While favourable physical and psychological effects of traditional tourism services fade within a few weeks, meditation is a portable tourism product which can be taken home and practiced regularly in a virtually cost-free way. By learning and practicing meditation the extremely poor physical and psychological condition of the Hungarian population could be improved in a preventive and cost-effective way. As the level of mindfulness is positively correlated with sustainable behaviour by offering meditation services tourism might take on a new level of significance in the battle for sustainability.
The MBA labour market: A note on the global perspectives for graduates in 201591-93Views:123
What are the labour market perspectives for MBA graduates in 2015? Each year the GMAC carries out a year-end poll to find out the hiring plans of the employers with respect to graduates in business studies. This short notes presents the most important results for MBA graduates.