Trends in Agricultural Economic Research (2008-2015)

Forgács, Csaba – Mészáros, Sándor

Keywords: agricultural economics research, sustainability, agricultural policy, mainstream, Q01, Q10, Q15

One of the most important developments since publishing our last related article is that the issue of sustainability has come into focus in agricultural economics research. Csaba Csaki, who recently celebrated his 75th birthday, has already published his re-search findings related to the sustainable development of global and Hungarian agricul-ture in the 1980s. A definition of sustainability by the Brundtland Committee was re-leased in the same decade. Two important issues have arisen since then: firstly, measur-ing sustainability by using ecological footprint and, secondly, extending the basic eco-nomic content of sustainability by taking into account demographic, social and environ-mental aspects as well. The current state of sustainability is not comforting neither from the point of view of energy over-consumption (ecological footprint), nor from its high dif-ferentiations between countries. However, we do hope the UN Annual Meeting of 2015, also dealing with climate change, will lead to good results in this field.
Another important trend can be observed in the field of measuring future challenges in food production and consumption. From this point of view, the OECD conference of 2015 on challenges of agricultural higher education took an important step forward. Catherine Mureddu underlined the three main challenges as (a) providing food supply to an in-creasing world population with growing standard of living; (b) the need for sustainable increase in productivity, and (c) responding to climate change. According to Mingues and Connor there is a need for a 70 per cent increase in agricultural production at the global level in this century. That can take place mainly in USA, Brazil, Argentina and Australia. Such high development in output can only be achieved in large farms and with huge in-vestments.
The programmes of 13 scientific conferences reviewed show, without a doubt, that the topic of sustainability has become increasingly important, and also that more attention has been paid to questions of small farms and their performance. Research activities ana-lysing questions of food chains and food security have exploded and there has been an increase in interest from researchers in consumer behaviour and innovation. All these changes in the focus of research have a message for Hungarian researchers too. Among others, the main issue for scientific research is to have a clear view on how the challenges mentioned above can be explained under current paradigms or if there is a need for new paradigms.