Innovation / technology

Development and diffusion of innovations is fundamental for economic development. Our research aims to empirically analyze and forecats causes as well as effects of innovations in the agricultural sector. To this end, we collect data and employ econometric models also in combination with geographical information systems and computational simulation techniques. Our findings are then used for policy and management recommendations.


Within the framework of the infrastructural development of Germany as well as Bavaria, a persistently high land use for additional traffic routes, industrial areas and residential areas can be observed, which generally comes at the expense of agricultural land use.

The partial withdrawal of land not only leads to a loss of agricultural land, but it also creates a practical management disadvantage for the remaining land. In this case, the farmers and landowners are entitled to compensation payments. Determining this is the task of publicly appointed appraisers. Currently, they fall back on a calculation method that does not fully meet current requirements and technical possibilities in terms of land and ownership structure as well computational power.

Commissioned by the State Road Construction Office Rosenheim, the Agricultural Production and Resource Economics chair develops a new compensation methodology for incidental and cut-through damages and diversion damages in the case of land withdrawal for the Free State of Bavaria. This includes a fundamental revision of the underlying database, using GPS data and state-of-the-art simulation models. The final goal of the project is the development and provision of a freely available and comprehensive compensation software.

The research project is funded by the State Building Authority Rosenheim. (Christian Stetter, Stefan Wimmer)

The IPM Popillia project seeks to limit the invasion of quarantine pests such as the Japanese Beetle, a beetle that was found in Europe for the first time in 2014, using sustainable and environmentally friendly control strategies. Japanese Beetles are already abundant in natural conservation areas, grasslands, forest margins, small structured, fragmented landscapes, or close to residential areas and private gardens, but slowly become a threat to agriculture. The European Union's (EU) Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive (SUD) restricts the use of conventional methods of controlling invasive pests in crops and non-crop areas. This implies that pest management strategies using conventional pesticides are technically not feasible or socially inacceptable to address the menace of the Japanese Beetle in crops and non-crop areas that are currently or will in the future be affected.

The IPM Popillia project will provide evidence on a pest management strategy for crops and non-crop areas that is based on innovation. It will develop an innovative monitoring tool with risk-map based plans for the deployment of sustainable control measures. The project consortium, a group of twelve European universities, research institutes and biotechnology companies (the Chair Group of Production and Resource Economics representing the Technical University of Munich), makes use of modern digital technology, developing traps with remote sensing technology and “deep learning”-sustained pest determination. Finally, IPM Popillia will raises awareness and engages the public using a citizen science approach in the monitoring of the Japanese Beetle on a European scale.

IPM Popillia is a four-year project (2020-2024), funded under the EU Horizon 2020 framework. (Dr. Emmanuel Benjamin)

To a large extent, hunger is still a poverty-related problem. In order to achieve enhanced production and higher incomes in a small-farm agricultural system, productivity, organization, marketing and processing along the entire agricultural value chain require significant and sustainable improvement. In other words, locally adapted innovations are needed for the sustainable development of the whole agricultural and food sector.

In Africa, there is an increasing emphasis on the role of innovation in development. Innovation for sustainable and high agricultural growth forms an important part of this ambition. The German Government has acknowledged this innovation potential and wants to support the improvement of food and nutrition security and sustainable agricultural value chains in Africa through Agricultural Innovation Centers (AICs) in 12 African countries.

The main goal of the PARI is to contribute to sustainable agricultural growth, and food and nutrition security in the AIC countries of Africa and in India through independent scientific advice. Related goals are to:

  • promote and support the scaling of proven innovations in the agri-food sector in collaboration and partnership with all relevant actors,
  • support and enhance investments in the AICs through research, and thereby
  • contribute to the development of the agri-food sector in Africa and India through the identification, assessment and up-scaling of innovations.

The PARI’s main components are:

1.      Accompanying research with future-oriented impact analyses including :

  • Methodology and concept for strategic analysis and visioning
  • Baseline studies
  • Modelling the direct and indirect impacts of potential innovations
  • Institutional analysis of the AICs and their role in the national agricultural innovation system.

2.      Research-based design and assessment of technological and institutional innovations, including:

  • Identification of promising innovations (“top-down“ innovations)
  • Screening and identifying innovations generated by farmers and other actors in the value chains (“bottom-up“ innovations)
  • Focus on youth and women farmers.

The PARI brings together partners from different countries and research institutions to contribute to sustainable agricultural growth, and food and nutrition security in Africa and India as part of the AIC initiative supported by the German government.

PARI is funded by the German Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ). (Dr. Getachew Abate Kassa)

The increasing world population and the emergence of climate risks pose new challenges for agriculture. In this context, Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) is an approach that aims at reor-ienting agricultural development through a sustainable increase in production, enhancement of resilience, and the mitigation of greenhouse gases. However, despite its multiple ad-vantages, CSA adoption remains low in developing countries. Previous studies show that even if farmers perceive its benefits, they are unwilling to implement CSA due to its high costs. Considering that many of the smallholder farmers’ needs are usually not met by tradi-tional banking, several financing options have been developed to promote the adoption of CSA. One of them is the concept of Agricultural Value Chain Finance (AVCF) which refers to the financial flows between actors linked within the same value chain that can refer to prod-ucts, financial and support services and intend to alleviate the financial constraints of the ac-tors involved in the chain. While AVCF could have a strong potential for boosting the imple-mentation of CSA in developing countries, the effectiveness of this link has not been rigorous-ly assessed and empirical evidence is required for policy implementation. 

The Value Chain Financing for Climate-Smart Agriculture (VCFCSA) project aims at identify-ing viable value chain financing models that strengthen the adoption of CSA technologies at the farm level in South Asia. Based on the strong link between CCAFS South Asia and the Chair Group of Production and Resource Economics of TUM, VCFCSA will shed light on three core aspects of CSA adoption by: i) evaluating the degree of adoption of CSA technolo-gies and identifying which ones allow to increase farm productivity, farm income and food security; ii) identifying current financing mechanisms and identifying constraints and opportu-nities for CSA technology adoption; and iii) assessing the potential of Value Chain Finance as a mechanism to enhance CSA technologies adoption among farmers. 

VCFCSA is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). (Roberto Villalba)

There are plenty of key figures, indicators, benchmarks, rankings and ratings to assess performance in science. They provide a comprehensive impression of the framework conditions, the available resources and the achievements, their connectivity and comparability. However, the indicators often fail to compare the results produced with the resources used and to make their interdependencies comprehensible. How are graduates, third-party funds, publications, cooperations, doctorates, patents, etc. of a university related to each other? And what do they depend on? It is by no means enough to count the output. Without input there is no output.

The project ELEWI will develop a model of scientific qualification that takes into account the interdependencies and feedback between the production processes and the achievements of the scientists. On this basis, the project will investigate what the employees contribute to research and teaching at the university and what, conversely, the activities in the context of employment contribute to scientific qualification.
ELEWI is a joint project between HIS-HE and the Chair of Production and Resource Economics at the TU Munich. The work steps of the subprojects are continuously interlocked. The focus of HIS-HE is on the qualitative issues of modelling and variables as well as on the connection to university research. The project at TUM focuses on quantitative issues and on the econometric aspects of modeling and calculation.

The project ELEWI is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and is part of the program “quantitative science studies”. (Maya Göser)

The evolution of agricultural/farmer income represents an important chapter in the BavarianAgricultural Report. The Bavarian State Research Center for Agriculture (BSRCA) is the institution responsible for estimating and forecasting the income development and trend presented in this report. The quality of the income information is highly reliant on the features of the statistical methods utilised. The methods currently used are obsolete. Thus, the statistical results reported by the BSRCA are incomparable with other agricultural statistics, both at national and at EU level. Therefore, there is an urgent need for using both a current methodological framework and an appropriate data storage system.

The goal of this research project is to employ a modern statistical method, namely unbounded extrapolation, as an estimation technique to determine and forecast the income reported in the Bavarian Agricultural Report, and simultaneously to improve the evaluation methods for farmers’ income in Bavaria.

In terms of methodology, the project will assess and verify which statistical methods are most suitable for the unbounded extrapolation technique. If necessary, Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS)-statistics datasets could be incorporated in the newly developed system. The research project will take into account the need for comparability with other agricultural statistics at all levels (national and EU). Also developed will be a standardised reporting form, elaborated in close cooperation with the BSRCA and approved by the Bavarian State Ministry for Nutrition, Agriculture, and Forestry.

The project is funded by the Bavarian Ministry for Nutrition, Agriculture and Forestry (StMELF). (Lucian Stanca)

Conditions for milk production in the European Union face a significant modification in 2015. The milk quota regime which restricted member states and individual dairy farmers since 1984 to a given production volume will be abolished at the end of March 2015. So far there is still uncertainty how this will affect the milk market and dairy processors in detail. Projections assume, that within the EU the total amount of produced milk increases. Thus, dairy processors are challenged to market a greater volume of milk products abroad because domestic markets are mostly saturated. One consequence is that competition among European dairy processors will intensify. However, expressed in a positive way, dairy processors are also provided with the basis for the expansion of their distribution channels and selling their products on foreign markets outside the EU. The question is which enterprises cope best with increased competitive pressure and the opportunity to expand into foreign markets. Given the heterogeneous market structure in Germany and also Bavaria, the preconditions for the further development differ among the dairy processors. On the one hand there are several (multi‑) national enterprises which can afford the required resources for successfully handling foreign markets. On the other hand a great share of the produced milk is processed by small and medium-sized enterprises which act with differing intensity on foreign markets. The question of the most promising strategy for internationalization can therefore be asked for every enterprise individually.

In connection with this need for internationalization, also the enterprise’s production strategy has to be revaluated. A key question here may be the innovation performance of dairy processors. Innovation in production processes and organization can help to cut costs, while product and marketing innovations can increase the scope of application, quality and attractiveness of products and are able to open new markets. Enterprises with a greater innovation output are therefore expected to show better performance and may also be more active in foreign markets or vice versa.

Thus, the objective of the research project is to examine the mechanisms between internationalization, innovation and firm performance in the dairy industry. With focus on Bavarian dairy processors it aims to answer the following questions:

  • To what extent do dairy processors have to follow different strategies of internationalization to be successful in the future?
  • What are the specific strategies that are suitable for different types of enterprises?
  • What is the significance of innovation for increasing internationalization in the future? Does greater innovation activity lead to success on foreign markets and/or vice versa?
  • Which conclusions can be drawn from the experiences of international dairy industries of other countries for Bavarian dairy processors?
  • Is there a need to modify the framework of public support or are additional measures necessary?

The econometric analyses will be applied to a set of panel data consisting of existing and additionally collected data. Relevance of the results for dairy processors is ensured by close cooperation with representatives of the Bavarian dairy industry throughout the research project.

The research project is funded by the Bavarian State Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry. (Fabian Frick)

FIThydro (Fish-Friendly Innovative Technologies for Hydropower) is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program from 2016-2020. With 26 partners including three TUM chairs, the project focuses on identifying cost-effective environmental mitigation measure. Requiring expertise in engineering, ecology and economics, the project addresses the decision support in commissioning and operating hydropower plants (HPP) by use of existing and innovative technologies. To understand how these measures affect energy production and ecosystems, the project involves hydropower plants all over Europe as test sites.

The Chair Group of Production and Resource Economics supports research on the public acceptance of alternative hydropower solutions and assesses the costs of ecological mitigation measures. The project’s findings are crucial for hydropower managers and policymakers interested in balancing the goals of sustainable energy production and European environmental targets. (Terese Venus)