The Journal for Humanities and Social Sciences Research - Call for Papers

Beyond pesticides: smart farming prospects and advancements in Asia - in conjunction with Asia Smart Farming Conference 2023 (ASF2023), 3rd-5th October, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Estimates using official data from the United Nations (UN) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) show that global pesticide use doubled since 2000, increasing twice as much as food production. The majority of pesticide imports are to global South countries, many located in the Asian region. Asia is home to 60% of the world’s population, including the majority of the world’s farmers (United Nations Population Fund, 2023). In light of continued concerns surrounding the heavy and growing use of pesticides, researchers increasingly focus on the movement into a new era of agriculture referred to as Agriculture 4.0, or the Digital Agricultural Revolution (Araújo et al., 2021). Scholars and activists alike turn to various technologies and inputs in order to maintain global food supplies, protect local ecosystems, spread awareness of public health concerns and shift to more sustainably minded alternatives. While integrated pest management (IPM) has been discussed and utilized for several decades, growing interest focuses on the availability of novel technologies and innovations in research to develop a pesticide-free, climate friendly global agriculture system (Kogan, 1998; Wycherley, 1969). Remote sensing technologies, artificial intelligence (AI), hydroponics and urban farming are just a few of the potential pathways toward a more conscious system (Buehler and Ranka, 2016; Mattivi, 2021). In addition, looming climate threats have driven scholars to consider not just smart farming by way of technology, but climate smart farming to address issues of continued and in many cases, extreme changes in climate. Not to mention, many climate concerns arising today can be traced back to the current agri-food system (Reisman and Fairbairn, 2021).

This special issue therefore seeks to gather expertise, research and insight on the movement away from chemically-driven agriculture systems to sustainably-informed, technologically driven ones. Due to its large population, and heavy use of chemical inputs, the issue focuses on Asia as a hub for the next era of agriculture, Agriculture 4.0, and the region’s ability to transform national and global agri-food systems. We aim to highlight novel farming technologies and methods in an effort to be part of the transformation toward a more equitable and sustainable agrarian system. In particular, we are seeking papers that assess the socioeconomic impacts of such technologies in an effort to evaluate and holistically understand the future possibilities for smart farming in Asia. Research and reflections on technologies tested and used outside of Asia (with potential implications for the Asian region) will be considered.                                                                                                                                                                                             

Topics and disciplines of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Critical social sciences, geography, STS, agrarian studies, development studies, agroecology, economics, entomology
  • Smart farming and seed technologies
  • Use of big data/AI for smart farming
  • Internet of Things (IoT) for smart farming
  • Food security and smart farming
  • Smart farming as a tool to combat insect resistance
  • Political economy of pesticide production, use and alternatives
  • Lessons from COVID-19 supply chain issues and trade bottlenecks in the farming sector
  • Issues of livelihoods, access, cost and maintenance for smallholders
  • Intersections of environmental, economic and political considerations for a new mode of agriculture.



Araújo, S. O., Peres, R. S., Barata, J., Lidon, F., & Ramalho, J. C. (2021). Characterising the agriculture 4.0 landscape—emerging trends, challenges and opportunities. Agronomy, 11(4), 667.

Buehler, D., & Junge, R. (2016). Global trends and current status of commercial urban rooftop farming. Sustainability, 8(11), 1108.

Kogan, M. (1998). Integrated pest management: historical perspectives and contemporary developments. Annual review of entomology, 43(1), 243-270.

Mattivi, P., Pappalardo, S. E., Nikolić, N., Mandolesi, L., Persichetti, A., De Marchi, M., & Masin, R. (2021). Can commercial low-cost drones and open-source GIS technologies be suitable for semi-automatic weed mapping for smart farming? A case study in NE Italy. Remote sensing, 13(10), 1869.

Reisman, E., & Fairbairn, M. (2020). Agri-food systems and the Anthropocene. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 111(3), 687-697.

United Nations Population Fund (2023). Population trends.

Wycherley, P.R. (1969). Conservation in Malaysia: A manual on the conservation of Malaysia’s renewable natural resources. UNESCO and the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.


Manuscript submission information: Please submit a paper title, authors, 150-word abstract and full corresponding email addresses for consideration to[email protected] and [email protected] no later than 1st September, 2023.

Journal submission guidelines will be mailed to you after we receive your intent to submit. The full manuscript, as a Word and PDF file, should be emailed to the guest editor(s) by the deadline indicated below.

Submit your paper, share your work, and join the hundreds of experts from across industry and academia who are innovating and advancing in this field.


**Important Deadlines**

Intent to Submit: September 1, 2023
Full Version: September 20, 2023
Decision Date: October 1, 2023
Final Version: October 25, 2023

Guest Editor(s)

Prof Dr. Nayan Kanwal, Ph.D.                               
[email protected] 

Caitlyn Sears, M.A., Ph.D. candidate
[email protected]



Social sciences
Application deadline: 
31 Aug 2023
18 Aug 2023