Special Issue "Adopting Technology in Local Agriculture to Achieve Sustainable Rural Development"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Urban and Rural Development".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Silva Larson
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
School of Science and Engineering, University of the Sunshine Coast, 90 Sippy Downs Drive, Sippy Downs Queensland 4556, Australia
Interests: rural development; wellbeing; social safeguards

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Technology adoption in local agriculture is at the core of many policy interests in developing countries, attracting a significant portion of development assistance funds. By technology, we refer here to any intervention that aims to “improve” the existing production process (including changes in inputs, practices, or labor requirements)—and by local agriculture, we refer to all fields of agriculture, including crop cultivation, livestock rearing, aquaculture and agro-forestry, as well as studies beyond the farm gate (i.e., agri-food value chains, agro-tourism, and similar).

The ultimate goals of rural interventions are often stated as “sustainable rural development” and “improved wellbeing and livelihoods of local communities”. Nonetheless, monitoring and evaluation of the “success” of such interventions tends to measure changes in financial returns to farmers only, relegating wellbeing and social and environmental sustainability to peripheral and often unaccounted for roles.

In this Special Issue, we are therefore particularly interested in studies that question assumptions of the “sustainability” of agricultural interventions. We argue that changes in short-term financial returns have questionable linkage to sustainability of an intervention and, quite the opposite, might encourage kinds of behaviors and practices which result in the loss of wellbeing, social or natural capital.

Further, we argue that women and youth often face barriers to truly engaging in decision making on the farm and beyond, which has consequences for succession planning, migrations, and ultimately, sustainability of rural development.

And finally, we argue that “new proven technologies” resulting in “visible benefits” might be neither so proven nor so beneficial, once wellbeing and the aspects of sustainability beyond economic sustainability are fully accounted for and explored. 

A better understanding of aspects of adoption discussed here might go a long way in furthering our understanding of why adoption rates are, more often than not, below donor and policy makers’ expectations and targets; and why the adoption process and scaling up take so long. We also invite submissions on aspects related to technology adoption and sustainable development that are not discussed here: Decisions that farmers must take are multidimensional, and thus, so will be the research fields that explore them. Manuscripts dealing with the sustainable rural development of peripheral regions of developed countries; risk taking and other relevant behaviors; information dissemination; climate change; etc. are all welcome. 

This issue will equally consider contributions based both on case studies that expand our current knowledge on the relationship between new technologies and sustainable rural development, as well as theoretical studies that provide an overview of the existing literature and/or methods that can be used to measure and evaluate financial and non-financial contributions that new technologies make.

We also argue that adoption (or lack thereof) of new technologies is not technology-specific but faces very similar challenges regardless of the field of agriculture. We trust that by starting from the point of view of sustainability and improved wellbeing, rather than that of the specific agricultural technology and the quest for its adoption, we can contribute to a more holistic exploration of this important field of work.

Dr. Silva Larson
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • agriculture
  • livestock
  • aquaculture
  • agro-forestry
  • gender
  • succession planning
  • wellbeing

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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