Vol 6, No 1-2 (2012)

Published June 30, 2012

Issue Description

June 23–24, 2011, the second AGRIMBA-AVA congress
was organised in Wageningen, The Netherlands. Its theme
was: Dynamics of International Cooperation in Rural
Development and Agribusiness.
This conference was successful both in terms of number
of participants as in the quantity and quality of the paper
presentations. Participants came from east and west Europe,
and from other parts of the world. Lively discussions were
reported during and after the sessions.
Through a process of selection the editors arrived at 23
papers, that are published in this special issue of Apstract,
skilfully edited by two members of the organizing committee:
Harry Bremmers and Johan van Ophem. They have done an
excellent job!
To a large part, the success of the congress can be
attributed to the enthusiasm and professional support of two
other members of the organizing committee: Karen van der
Heide and Marian Jonker. Without their assistance it would
have been impossible to reach such a high standard.
Also Ruud Huirne, the director of the Department of
Social Sciences of Wageningen University, contributed much
to the su. . .

June 23–24, 2011, the second AGRIMBA-AVA congress
was organised in Wageningen, The Netherlands. Its theme
was: Dynamics of International Cooperation in Rural
Development and Agribusiness.
This conference was successful both in terms of number
of participants as in the quantity and quality of the paper
presentations. Participants came from east and west Europe,
and from other parts of the world. Lively discussions were
reported during and after the sessions.
Through a process of selection the editors arrived at 23
papers, that are published in this special issue of Apstract,
skilfully edited by two members of the organizing committee:
Harry Bremmers and Johan van Ophem. They have done an
excellent job!
To a large part, the success of the congress can be
attributed to the enthusiasm and professional support of two
other members of the organizing committee: Karen van der
Heide and Marian Jonker. Without their assistance it would
have been impossible to reach such a high standard.
Also Ruud Huirne, the director of the Department of
Social Sciences of Wageningen University, contributed much
to the success of the congress. I would like to take this
opportunity to thank him for that.
During the AGRIMBA meeting in Wageningen it was
decided that the annual meeting in 2012 will be organised in
Bolzano during the ICA week of conferences on June 21st and
22nd. I am looking forward to meet a substantial part of the
members of our network there.
Another important topic was the planning of our next
AGRIMBA-AVA congress in 2013. It was decided that our
third bi-annual congress will be organised in Podgorica, the
capital of Monte Negro. Member of the Board, Prof.
Dragoljub Jankovic, was appointed chairman of the
organizing committee. I wish him success in organizing this
important event.

More

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Articles

Feeding the planet and the role of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)
7-13

Keynote speech held at the Second AGRIMBA-AVA Congress 2011 on Dynamics of International Cooperation in Rural Development and Agribusiness, 23-24 June, 2011, atWageningen, the Netherlands.

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Policy challenges for food, energy and environmental security
15-25

Limited land is available globally to grow crops for food and fuel. There are direct and indirect pressures on forests and other lands to be converted from growing food for feedstock to be used for biofuel production. The balance of evidence indicates there will probably be sufficient appropriate land available to meet demands for both food and... fuel, but this needs to be confirmed before global supply of biofuel is allowed to increase significantly. There is a future for a sustainable biofuels industry, but feedstock production must avoid encroaching on agricultural land that would otherwise be used for food production. And while advanced technologies offer significant potential for higher greenhouse gas (GHG) savings through biofuels, these will be offset if feedstock production uses existing agricultural land and prevents land-use change. GHG savings can be achieved by using feedstock grown mainly on marginal land or that does not use land, such as wastes and residues. To ensure that biofuels deliver net GHG benefits, governments should amend, but not abandon, their biofuel policies in recognition of the dangers from indirect effects of land-use changes. Large areas of uncertainty remain in the overall impacts and benefits of biofuels. International action is needed in order to improve data, models and controls, and to understand and to manage effects.

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27
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Legal-economic barriers to price transfers in food supply chains
27-33

Recent price movements have put food supply chains under pressure. On the one side, upward price tendencies on commodity markets result in higher costs to processing firms. On the other side, these firms are confronted with a strong retail sector that is able to prevent compensation to protect consumers’ and own economic interests. Regulatory... impediments of European law, especially with respect to foodstuffs, can adversely be utilized as barriers to protect the interest downstream the supply chain. The problem is that legal-economic instruments which can serve to smooth price volatility in supply markets can also opportunistically be used at the expense of the middlesection in food supply chains (i.e., mainly small and medium sized producers). The aim of this article is to identify the legal-economic mechanisms that effect price transfers in food supply chains in the European Union and define policy adjustments to improve pricing mechanisms, while safeguarding the interests of the processing industry. Policy alternatives to improve the smooth functioning of notably intermediate markets in food supply chains are the restructuring of competition law, improved processor information management and creating transparency of value added in the supply chain by means of labelling devices.

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Disentangling the complexity of India ’s agricultural sector
35-42

Agricultural policies in India directly impact the livelihoods of close to two thirds of India’s population. Through policies, the government manages food security, urban and rural poverty, energy, and infrastructure, among others. Given the current state of India’s governance, the connection between policy making and its results in society... becomes a key issue for research. This paper presents a game for use as a research instrument. The game can facilitate research into the policy making process at various levels of the government in India. The design is intended to understand the complexity of the institutional arrangement that defines and implements agricultural policies. The game integrates with other games that simulate other aspects of the agricultural system in India. The paper presents the verification and validation cycles followed, and identifies further steps for field validation.

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27
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Green networks: Innovative capacity of SMEs in the Dutch greenhouse horticulture industry
43-50

The Dutch greenhouse horticulture industry is characterized by world leadership in high-tech innovation. The dynamics of this playing field are innovation in production systems and automation, reduction in energy consumption and sharing limited space. However, international competitive advantage of the industry is under pressure and sustainable... growth of individual enterprises is no longer a certainty. The sector’s ambition is to innovate better and grow faster than the competition in the rest of the world. Realizing this ambition requires strengthening the knowledge base, stimulating entrepreneurship, innovation (not just technological, but especially business process innovation). It also requires educating and professionalizing people. However, knowledge transfer in this industry is often fragmented and innovation through horizontal and vertical collaboration throughout the value chain is limited. This paper focuses on the question: how can the grower and the supplier in the greenhouse horticulture chain gain competitive advantage through radical product and process innovation. The challenge lies in time- to-market, in customer relationship, in developing new product/market combinations and in innovative entrepreneurship. In this paper an innovation and entrepreneurial educational and research programme is introduced. The programme aims at strengthening multidisciplinary collaboration between enterprise, education and research. Using best practice examples, the paper illustrates how companies can realize growth and improve the innovative capacity of the organization as well as the individual by linking economic and social sustainability. The paper continues to show how participants of the program develop competencies by means of going through a learning cycle of single-loop, double-loop and triple loop learning: reduction of mistakes, change towards new concepts and improvement of the ability to learn. Finally, the paper illustrates the importance of combining enterprise, education and research in regional networks, with examples from the greenhouse horticulture sector. These networks generate economic growth and international competitiveness by acting as business accelerators.

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Economic aspects of an agricultural innovation – precision crop production
51-57

Innovation in agriculture ensures the wide-spread use of the latest, up-to-date technology. Such new technology is precision farming in crop production, which serves as a validation of the criteria of environmental and economic sustainability. The economic applicability of precision crop production depends on several factors.Among them the foll...owing aspects must be emphasized: the size of the farm, the characteristics of the production structure, the current input-output prices and their tendencies, the investment needed for transitioning to precision technology and its capital source, the level of professional knowledge and the managerial attitudes of the farm. I have examined the economic relations between potential savings in chemicals on EU level. It has been found that after switching to precision farming, the active ingredient use for fertilizers can be reduced by 340 thousand tons at the same expected yield level in an optimistic scenario in the EU-27, while the savings in pesticide use can be 30 thousand tons (calculating with the current dose-level). If approximately 30% of the crop producing and mixed farms over 16 ESU adopt this new technology, this will diminish environmental loads by up to 10-35%. The majority of farms characterized by greater output and size can be based on their own equipment but it might as well be presumed that smaller farms can turn to precision farming not based on their own investment. They can buy the technical service from providers, they can establish producer cooperation, for example in the frame of machinery rings. At a certain farm size and farming intensity precision crop production is a real, environmentally friendly farming strategy, with the help of which the farm can reach earnings that cover at least the economic conditions of simple reproduction.

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36
31
The global financial crisis: Implications for capital to agribusiness
59-62

The global economy has continued to experience lingering effects of the global financial crisis that began in 2007. Although attention was initially given to the liquidity crisis and survival of some the world’s largest corporations and institutions, the financial crisis is likely to have long-lasting implications for agribusiness. As the wor...ld slowly recovers from the crisis, another round of problems are emerging as governments and international institutions attempt to unwind the positions they took in an effort to prevent the global economic bubble from bursting. Perhaps the most problematic factor for businesses is access to capital in sufficient amounts and at affordable rates. Governments and institutions, particularly in the United States (U.S.) and the European Union, have increased their financial obligations as the result of activities taken to curtail the economic crisis. These financial obligations and the associated financial risks place pressure on financial markets and tend to restrain the availability of capital and increase the cost of capital for businesses. However, the U.S. agricultural credit market has not experienced problems to the same extent as general business (commercial and industrial) and real estate credit markets have. In general, U.S. farm businesses have a strong balance sheet, adequate repayment capacity, sufficient amount of assets to offer collateral for loans, and reasonable profits. Thus, U.S. farm businesses have had an ample supply of credit at relatively low interest rates.

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Externality effects of honey production
63-67

Bee-keeping and honey production has a long history in Hungary. Honey is an important and healthy food of people and it can be consumed without any human processing. The honey production has important role, too. Some researchers say that if honey bee will extinct the humanity in the world would also extinct. It is true since plant pollination b...y honey bees is very important. It is confirmed by researchers’ studies that plant pollination by honey bees has significant positive external impacts on potential yields in orchards. Although the contribution of honey production to the GDP in Hungary is only a few per cent, other benefits play more important role. One of them is the positive external effect – mentioned above – and the other is the contribution to the biodiversity of the nature. This paper focuses on secondary research methods, gathering and evaluating data regarding the positive external impacts of plant pollination by honey bees as well as finding possible solution for the problem that bee-keepers have a lot of costs in connection with carrying honey bees to orchards, while farmers “only” benefit from the positive externality of plant pollination of their fields. To evaluate its economic effects a numerical HEEM-model was developed and applied for the Hungarian situation.

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24
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Competetiveness of the Montenegrin fruit and vegetables sector and recommendtations for impovement
69-75

A number of facts, primarily including high fragmentation at all levels, weak vertical integration, limited dimensions in comparison to competitors poor technological level and unbalanced quality/price ratio make the sector weak, low competitive and exposed to international competition, reducing its capacity to capture any existing market poten...tial. Almost all opportunities are frozen by prevailing weaknesses and threat impacts are exacerbated by a largely prevailing number of weaknesses. High production unit cost appears to be a major constraint to local supply market competitiveness. This situation appears to be mainly caused by general low levels of productivity – provoked by not adequate and up-to-date cultivation practices, reduced levels of input use, utilisation of old and, therefore, less performing varieties, and also farm management shortcomings. High losses from reduced availability of post-harvest facilities and equipment add up to the problem. The improvement of the sector is not easy. In other words, there is a lot to do for the Montenegrin sector operators to increase sales: tackle imports and increase market shares in the domestic market and abroad. Based on our research, we suggest that the Montenegrin fruit and vegetable sector should primarily aim at substituting imports, increasing domestic consumption and developing exports to the region (CEFTA countries) primarily via promising market opportunities. Based on our analyses of the state of affairs of the sector, the competitiveness and the market potentials, the recommendations for improvement competitiveness are outlined.

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16
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Comparison of the performance of a trained and an untrained sensory panel on sweetcorn varieties with the panelcheck software
77-83

In this paper the results of trained and untrained sensory panels are compared on five Hungarian commercial sweet corn samples. The two evaluations were carried out in a sensory laboratory (ISO 6658:2005), with the same experimental design, with two replicates, and the panels consisted of 10 panelists. In both cases the panels assembled the pro...files of the samples according to the vocabulary chosen by the trained panelists. The results show that the untrained panel has higher standard deviation, weaker repeatability and less significant parameters (ISO/DIS 11132). However 10 of the 17 sensory attributes were significant in the case of the untrained panel, the trained panel has 15 significant parameters with lower standard deviation and good repeatability. During the statistical investigation we focused on the panel performance and used the PanelCheck open source software package to achieve this goal. We followed the workflow suggested by the researchers of the Nofima, the developers of the PanelCheck. According to the examined parameters the trained panel has better discrimination ability (F values) for attributes ’yellow color’, ’hue’, roughness’, ’freshness’, ’juiciness’, ’tenderness’. There was not an attribute evaluated by the untrained panel where all the panel members reached the line representing the 5% significance level. Furthermore the trained panel has better agreement between its assessors (Tucker-1 plots) and the repeatability is much better according to the MSE plots. This examination confirms that it is necessary to train the panels in order to get reliable and consistent results.

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41
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The role of agribusiness in stimulating on-farm investments – case-study of the armenian dairy sector
85-91

This paper analyses the impact on investments of contractual arrangements between farms and agribusiness in the Armenian dairy sector. Our empirical evidence is based on a unique survey of 300 Armenian dairy farms. The dairy sector is of particular importance as it provides vital employment and income, in an environment of weak social security ...and scarce job opportunities. Furthermore, milk production is predominantly organized in small-scale farms, which are most likely to be affected by adversarial financial conditions and limited in their opportunities to raise resources to invest. The results show that a large share of milk producers in Armenia is actively investing to upgrade their farm business. Furthermore, investment activity is not limited to large dairy farmers as over 30% of respondents with less than eight cows have made dairy-specific investments. We find that the linkages between farms and agribusiness – and more specifically the support programs that agribusiness firms offer to their suppliers – have been crucial in stimulating this restructuring process at the farm level. Interestingly, farmers with a more exclusive relationship to the buyer and farmers that deliver to more internationally oriented buyers are more likely to receive support. On the other hand, buyers that operate in a more competitive market are less likely to provide support to their suppliers. These findings have interesting policy implications. On the one hand, our results point to the gains that can be made from openness to international firms. On the other hand, the negative competition effect indicates that buyers are unable to enforce repayment of the provided farm services in an environment where a lot of buyers are competing for the same supply. Policy makers should look at ways of improving the enforcement capability of dairy companies under these circumstances.

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23
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Complex problem analysis of the Hungarian dairy farms
93-100

Hungarian dairy farms went through significant changes in past two decades. The most significant changes were caused by our accession to the European Union in 2004. In Hungary milk production remarkably declined after EU accession due to the decreasing level of support and decreasing milk prices. Size of our dairy herd has been practically redu...cing since the political transformation (1989); meanwhile the relative yields per cow have been continuously increasing. Relatively low prices, high production costs and tightening quality requirements ousted several producers – mainly small farms - from the market in past years. Feeding cost represents the highest rate in cost structure of production, but animal health expenditures and various losses are also significant. Applied technology of the Hungarian dairies lags behind theWestern-European competitors’; in addition they have handicaps in efficiency and product innovation. Moreover Hungarian milk and milk product consumption is about half of the Union average. In 2007 at the University of Debrecen the opportunities and the problems of this sector were discussed in the framework of a research and development project entitled “Project-generating based on sector-specific innovation”.At this workshop farmers, experts and advisers shared their ideas which were all gathered. The main objective of our paper is to provide useful information for the decision makers and the most important members of the sector. Using the practically successful ideas plus the ideas based on previous experience a new strategic concept was created. To reach the objective of this paper we collected, synthesized and analysed the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the dairy farms and performed a SWOT analysis. On the basis of this SWOT analysis we set up a well organised problem hierarchy which would help to identify the main weaknesses of the sector. This analysis gives a great framework for the researches and it also gives a useful tool for the decision makers to improve the competitiveness of the Hungarian dairy sector.

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21
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The assessment of intellectual capital in Polish regions
101-105

In a knowledge-based economy intangible assets are indispensable to achieve competitive advantages. Resources like intellectual capital are perceived as crucial factors especially for regional growth. Intellectual capital is comprehended as a multidimensional concept, defined and explained in many various ways, depending on the context and furt...her application. The purposes of this article is to consider the role and importance of the intellectual capital for regional development and competitiveness and to try to use it for an estimation of regional advance progress. On the basis of literature review the article provides a framework to analyse the intellectual capital and its main components. The central attention of the paper focuses on the evaluation of the intellectual capital in Polish regions and its influence on regional performance. The paper surveys the empirical examination of 16 Polish regions in terms of intellectual capital and simultaneously assesses the level of intellectual capital in rural areas. The article provides the insight into the role and value of the intellectual capital in Polish regions.

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35
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Analysis of the influential factors on gross value added in the Hungarian sheep sector
107-112

The competitiveness of the Hungarian sheep sector has been in steady decline for some time now. Crucial has been the problem that the value added in the sector is not generated in Hungary, as most of the produced lambs in Hungary leave the country with an average weight of 21 kilograms, with slaughtering happening abroad.A model has been constr...ucted for our investigations, which introduces the connections between the product cycle phases for mutton in Hungary. This model allows us to calculate the volume of gross value added generated within specific product cycle phases. We used Monte Carlo simulation for our examination, for which the Crystall ball software package was utilized, namely the OptQuest module, for optimization. First, we conducted an optimization of an experiment number of 500,000 for “Gross value added” in the case of the slaughterhouse. During the optimization, Easter, Christmas and August lamb ratio and ewe number, as well as progeny, were set as decision variables and examined as values of gross value added, the decision variables of which contribute to obtaining the best results. The gained decision variables were set in the model and a Monte Carlo simulation was run with an experiment number of 500,000, where only the values of the conditions were changed along the pre-set dispersion; the values of the decision variables were fixed. The most significant aim of our investigation was to identify the volume of gross value added generated during processing in various phases of the product chain and the change of which inputs affected this volume the most. The findings proved that, in the case of capital uniformity, the output of processing was most influenced by sheep progeny on the bottom level of the mutton product chain. This factor is followed by that of weight gain in the source material producing and fattening sub-modules, as well as the gross wage in starter lamb feed and meadow hay in the source material producing sub-modules. Contour plots helped to describe the connections between these factors. By using contour plots, the volume of gross value added might be forecast for various combinations of factors.

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24
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Impacts of the global financial and economic crisis on the agro-food industry and rural livelihoods in Serbia
113-118

Sixty-five per cent of the Serbian land area is agricultural and 55% of the population is rural.Agriculture share of GDP is more than 10% and about 47% of the rural labour force deals with agriculture. The aim of this work is to analyse the impacts of the global financial and economic crisis on the Serbian agro-food sector and rural communities.... Measures introduced, mainly by public institutions, for relieving the consequences of the crisis are presented and discussed. Easily accessible yet high quality data from the central Office of Statistics in Serbia and specialized literature have been used. Impacts have been assessed by analyzing and discussing the trends of many socio-economic indicators. The crisis has had general impacts on the Serbian economy (low GDP growth, unemployment increase, price volatility, purchasing power decrease, etc.). Due to the crisis growth in agricultural production has been very low (0.1% in 2009). Agro-food exports decreased dramatically in 2008. About 9000 agricultural jobs were lost in 2008 and 2009. Reduced exports and lower domestic demand impacted negatively on agricultural commodity prices and agricultural household incomes.Access to credit became more difficult especially for small producers. However, agriculture is still a very important safety net. Agricultural employment share has increased both for men and women. The importance of agriculture is even higher if we consider the “grey agricultural economy”. To mitigate the crisis effects, the Government provided subsidies to rural people and will adopt the National Strategic Plan and Programme for Rural Development. Nevertheless, public institutions - in partnership with private, civil society and international organisations - should improve rural producers’ access to market information and credits and foster investments in rural areas including non-agricultural ones and those aiming at improving physical capital.

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Labour market attributes of disabled people in Hungary
119-122

Nowadays employment is an evergreen topic in Europe. The North Great Plain Region of Hungary is a typical rural area in Hungary, the unemployment rate is higher in this region as the national average, that’s why it is important, to give the possibility of job for the people living in rural areas. This paper focuses on the relationship between... the disabled and the labour market in the North Great Plain Region of Hungary. On the basis of the 8/1983 Hungarian Law many kinds of supplies are provided by the State for people living with disabilities. It is very difficult to provide jobs for these people after their rehabilitation. Statistical figures show that the highest ratio of ‘people living with disabilities’ can be found in the North Great Plain Region of Hungary (30 per cent of the total number of ‘people living with disabilities’). The research focuses on special rehabilitation firms (they are specialised to employ disabled employers) and their employees. Two questionnaires for the above mentioned firms and their employees were created in order to gather information on their activities as well as relationship between the firms and its employees. Altogether 400 employees filled in the questionnaires. The current study shows the results of this survey. It can be stated that this paper shows the relationship between the employment and the types of enterprises, and disabled workers’ qualification level, the need for further education. According to the latest trends we analyse the attitude to the rehabilitation of people living with disabilities and how they will be able to work again not only in ‘rehabilitation firms’. After summarizing all claims of participants we can make an impression in this area and demonstrate the problems for the labour market generally.

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23
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The role of education, knowledge and human resources for the agricultural development in the perspective of new cap: an hypothesis of change in Basilicata
123-129

The role of education, knowledge and human resources in the agribusiness becomes of primary importance for the development of agricultural sector and, more generally, of the territory. The main objective of the present paper is to verify the role of investment in human resources and, consequently, in services for the agricultural development fo...r the dynamics of rural development, trade and international cooperation of agribusiness.After a literature review, the paper firstly analyses the characteristics of the Italian Region of Basilicata, selected for our empirical application, and secondly develops an econometric model to explain the relationship between the rural GDP and a set of economic variables and of network-education-social (NES) dummy variable. These NES is representative of social, educational and, network factors, describing the degree of openness of the region firm. As expected, the results show that farmers may act as engines for economic development when they are trained on the basis of the needs and requirements related to innovation and research, and they are assisted through new models of organization of agricultural services.

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23
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The development of integrated accounting in small and medium-sized companies in the agri- and foodsector f the Russian federation
131-135

This paper focuses on the regulation of financial accounting in SMEs in the agri- and food sector in Russia. The paper presents the factors which influence the accounting system and the quality of the information it provides. The information and reports that are prepared according to international standards are not comparable with reports prepa...red by Russian standards. They do not facilitate external users in gathering relevant information on the current financial position. The present usage of different systems for procuring information to satisfy the needs of multiple stakeholder groups takes time, distorts information, and often does not provide a true and fair view on business performance. One way to overcome this is the use of an integrated accounting system which allows, within the limits of Russian legislation, to provide a broad information base for external reporting. International standards could be used like IAS41 or those applied in the Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN). The derived data could be used for attraction of investments, presentation of information to all interested users, comparison of results of activities in similar companies, and as a benchmark for the activities of companies in various regions and/or segments. They could be used to compare Russian companies with similar ones in the European Union. This paper describes the benefits and pitfalls which companies potentially experience from implementing an integrated accounting information system for company management and financial reporting purposes in the Russian Federation.

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25
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Regulatory challenges of innovation in food and agriculture market authorization requirements for new foods
137-142

Regulatory authorities face the challenge to strike a fair balance between the interests of consumers to ensure the safety of innovative foods and agricultural products and the interest of innovative businesses.Worldwide prior authorization schemes are applied. This contribution explores characteristics, pros and cons of such schemes. It identi...fies concerns but also best practices that may contribute to improving food safety without unduly hampering innovation.

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27
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Semi-subsistence farming situation and policy – the example of Hungary
143-148

In Hungary small farms have played very important role since collectivization (1959-61). Up to radical changes small households have received strong support from coops in the field of providing inputs on one side and, marketing their products on the other. The latter was disrupted by radical reforms and small farms started struggling with survi...val under market conditions. Government took measures to provide a development path for those having a chance to become competitive after five years development. Three calls (2004, 205 and 2006) were released. In Hungary SSF from three regions were more interested in getting the grant as North Great Plain, South Transdanubia and South Great Plain. All three regions are agriculture dominated ones. The policy with the call has reached a very moderate number of SSFs and, on the other side small farms, either because not meeting the criteria of the call or not wanted to take the additional costs of being registered and monitored for such a small amount of support decided not to apply. The paper ends with policy lessons.

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