Research Articles (Agricultural Economics)

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    Scientific selection: a century of increasing crop varietal diversity in US wheat
    (National Academy of Science, 2022-12-13) Chaia, Yuan; Pardey, Philip G.; Silverstein, Kevin A. T.
    A prevalent and persistent biodiversity concern is that modern cropping systems lead to an erosion in crop genetic diversity. Although certain trait uniformity provides advantages in crop management and marketing, farmers facing risks from change in climate, pests, and markets are also incentivized to adopt new varieties to address complex and spatially variable genetics, environment, and crop management interactions to optimize crop performance. In this study, we applied phylogenetically blind and phylogenetically informed diversity metrics to reveal significant increases in both the spatial and temporal diversity of the US wheat crop over the past century. Contrary to commonly held perceptions on the negative impact of modern cropping systems on crop genetic diversity, our results demonstrated a win-win outcome where the widespread uptake of scientifically selected varieties increased both crop production and crop diversity.
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    The development of vegetable enterprises in the presence of transaction costs among farmers in Omusati Region of Namibia : an assessment
    (Elsevier, 2020) Vink, Nick; Thomas, Benisiu
    The paper investigates how transaction characteristics influence the development of vegetable enterprises among smallholder farmers in north-central Namibia. As transaction costs are difficult to measure the theoretical framework of analysis is based on transaction costs economics of new institutional economics. The results revealed that the spot market-based governance structure was the most preferred market arrangements by smallholders farmers in north-central Namibia because vegetable farmers struggle to meet the quality and quantity standards as required by the contractors market-based and commission market-based arrangements. The results also suggest that due to incomplete information, farmers and market agents suffer from high transaction costs. Skewed information distribution between farmers and marketing agents leads to slow development of vegetable enterprises. The study recommends that information shared to farmers must be packaged in an adequate manner to minimise transaction costs in the vegetable value chain.
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    Effects of economic growth, foreign direct investment and internet use on child health outcomes : empirical evidence from South Africa
    (Taylor & Francis, 2020-02) Salahuddin, Mohammad; Vink, Nick; Ralph, Nicholas; Gow, Jeff
    This study examines the effects of economic growth and foreign direct investment (FDI) on child health outcomes measured by Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) and Child Mortality Rate Under 5 (CMRU5) with several control variables such as corruption, inequality and HIV among others. It analyzes South Africa's annual time series data for the period 1985–2016. As variables were found with mixed order of integration, Autoregressive Distributed Lag (ARDL) model is applied to determine cointegration and estimate short-run and long-run coefficients. Results indicate that economic growth and FDI have negative significant effects on both indicators of child health outcomes in both the short run and the long run. This implies that both economic growth and FDI contribute towards reducing IMR and CMRU5 in South Africa and thus help improve child health outcomes. Toda and Yamamoto (TY) causality test confirms causal association between these variables. Policy implications are discussed.
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    Unlocking and securing ecological infrastructure investments : the needs and willingness to invest and institutional support mechanisms used
    (Academy of Science of South Africa, 2021-09-29) Mbopha, Malukhanye S.; Marais, Christo; Kleynhans, Theo E.; Esler, Karen J.
    Ecological infrastructure (EI) is a natural and near-natural functioning ecosystem that delivers a range of essential services to humankind. Examples include mountain catchments, wetlands, coastal dunes, and riparian corridors. In a world where EI is underinvested, rapid degradation and threats such as unsustainable veld-fire regimes, droughts, climate change, and invasive alien plants persist in dominating the ecological landscape. In South Africa, there are government programmes that encourage the restoration, rehabilitation and protection of EI. However, inadequate funding allocations constrain scalingup and thus necessitate the unlocking of public and private sector investments to augment resources for ecosystem-based management interventions. A systematic literature review was conducted at a global scale to (1) understand the drivers behind EI investments, (2) understand the willingness and desire of private landowners and land users to participate and contribute to EI investments and (3) identify institutional support mechanisms used to encourage investments. Results suggest that the need to invest is driven by growing degradation of EI and the urgency to meet environmental sustainability goals. The willingness to invest is stimulated by the use of economic-based policies and compensatory mechanisms. Public–private partnerships, public policy, and market-based conservation instruments are institutional arrangements executed to protect EI. These include processes and systems used by the institutions to legislate and manage interventions towards fulfilling the conservation objective. Our review contributes to the EI investment research agenda by recommending coordinated efforts to encourage EI investment from both public and private partners. These measures will help to secure financial resources and mobilise investments beyond monetary terms by coordinating planning and developing capacity and reform policies.
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    Distribution and predictors associated with the use of breast cancer screening services among women in 14 low-resource countries
    (2020-09) Mahumud, Rashidul Alam; Gow, Jeff; Keramat, Syed Afroz
    Abstract Background: Breast cancer is one of the leading public health problem globally, especially in low-resource countries (LRCs). Breast cancer screening (BCS) services are an effective strategy for early determining of breast cancer. Hence, it is imperative to understand the utilisation of BCS services and their correlated predictors in LRCs. This study aims to determine the distribution of predictors that significantly influence the utilisation of BCS services among women in LRCs.