Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    We will mail you new results for this query: keywords==Participatory research
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Co-learning cycles to support the design of innovative farm systems in southern Mali
Falconnier, Gatien N. ; Descheemaeker, Katrien ; Mourik, Thomas A. Van; Adam, Myriam ; Sogoba, Bougouna ; Giller, Ken E. - \ 2017
European Journal of Agronomy 89 (2017). - ISSN 1161-0301 - p. 61 - 74.
Ex ante trade-off analysis - Food self-sufficiency - Income - Participatory research

Farm systems were re-designed together with farmers during three years (2013–2015) in Southern Mali with the aim to improve income without compromising food self-sufficiency. A cyclical learning model with three steps was used: Step 1 was the co-design of a set of crop/livestock technical options, Step 2 the on-farm testing and appraisal of these options and Step 3 a participatory ex-ante analysis of re-designed farm systems incorporating the tested options. Two iterations of the cycle were performed, in order to incorporate farmers’ point of view and researchers’ learning. We worked together with 132 farmers representing four farm types: High Resource Endowed with Large Herd (HRE-LH); High Resource Endowed (HRE); Medium Resource Endowed (MRE) and Low Resource Endowed (LRE) farms. In the first cycle of 2012–2014 farmers re-designed their farms and the reconfigurations were assessed ex ante using the average yields and gross margins obtained in the 2013 on-farm trials. HRE-LH farmers experienced a disappointing decrease in food self-sufficiency and MRE farmers were disappointed by the marginal improvement in gross margin. In a second cycle in 2014–2015, farmer insights gathered during field days and statistical analysis of trial results allowed a better understanding of the variability of option performance and the link with farm context: niches were identified within the farms (soil type/previous crop combinations) where options performed better. The farm systems were re-designed using this niche-specific information on yield and gross margin, which solved the concerns voiced by farmers during the first cycle. Without compromising food self-sufficiency, maize/cowpea intercropping in the right niche combined with stall feeding increased HRE-LH and HRE farm gross margin by 20–26% respectively (i.e. 690 and 545 US$ year−1) with respect to the current farm system. Replacement of sorghum by soyabean (or cowpea) increased MRE and LRE farm gross margin by 29 and 9% respectively (i.e. 545 and 32 US$ year−1). Farmers highlighted the saliency of the niches and the re-designed farm system, and indicated that the extra income could be re-invested in the farm. Our study demonstrates the feasibility and the usefulness of a cyclical and adaptive combination of participatory approaches, on-farm trials and ex-ante analysis to foster learning by farmers and researchers, allowing an agile reorientation of project actions and the generation of innovative farm systems that improve farm income without compromising food self-sufficiency. The re-designed farm systems based on simple, reproducible guidelines such as farm type, previous crop and soil type can be scaled-out by extension workers and guide priority setting in (agricultural) policies and institutional development.

Farmers’ knowledge, use and preferences of parasitic weed management strategies in rain-fed rice production systems
Tippe, Dennis E. ; Rodenburg, Jonne ; Schut, Marc ; Ast, Aad van; Kayeke, Juma ; Bastiaans, Lammert - \ 2017
Crop Protection 99 (2017). - ISSN 0261-2194 - p. 93 - 107.
Oryza sativa - Participatory research - Rhamphicarpa fistulosa - Rice vampireweed - Striga asiatica - Witchweed

Rain-fed rice production in sub-Saharan Africa is often hampered by parasitic weeds. This study assessed farmers’ awareness, use, preference and adoption criteria of parasitic weed management practices in rain-fed rice production environments in Tanzania. Surveys and workshops were organized in three affected rice growing areas in Morogoro-rural, Songea and Kyela district, supplemented with on-farm experiments in Kyela. In all districts, farmers were aware of the locally occurring parasitic weed species, Rhamphicarpa fistulosa (lowland) and Striga asiatica (upland), and they considered these weeds more problematic than non-parasitic weeds. Though they mostly practise hand weeding, farmers were aware of a wide range of control options. Local access, affordability, ease of implementation and control efficacy were considered important criteria for adoption, whereas trade-offs, like lack of preferred grain quality traits in resistant varieties, were mentioned as an important break on adoption. Based on informal discussions with farmers, altered sowing times, resistant rice varieties and soil amendments were marked as feasible control options and tested in a farmer-participatory manner in four years of experimentation in upland and lowland fields. In both types of fields, the contribution of soil amendment to parasitic weed suppression was not evident, but rice husk was marked as a suitable and cheap alternative to inorganic fertilizers. Control of R. fistulosa in lowlands was perceived to be best realized by early crop establishment, escaping major parasite damage due to the relatively slow early development of this weed species. The local variety Supa India, appreciated for its grain qualities and marketability, remained the preferred variety. For the control of S. asiatica, late planting was preferred, requiring a short-duration variety to minimize risk of drought stress during grain filling. The short-duration NERICA-10 was most preferred, as it combined a favourable short cycle length with resistance to S. asiatica and good grain appearance. Farmer participation in technology testing showed to be crucial in defining locally adapted and acceptable parasitic weed control strategies. Yet, it is argued that without lifting important constraints related to credit and input supply, it will be impossible to sustainably solve the parasitic weed problem in rain-fed rice.

User-driven design of decision support systems for polycentric environmental resources management
Zulkafli, Zed ; Perez, Katya ; Vitolo, Claudia ; Buytaert, Wouter ; Karpouzoglou, Timothy ; Dewulf, Art ; Bièvre, Bert De; Clark, Julian ; Hannah, David M. ; Shaheed, Simrita - \ 2017
Environmental Modelling & Software 88 (2017). - ISSN 1364-8152 - p. 58 - 73.
Environmental decision support systems - Participatory research - Polycentric management - User-driven design

Open and decentralized technologies such as the Internet provide increasing opportunities to create knowledge and deliver computer-based decision support for multiple types of users across scales. However, environmental decision support systems/tools (henceforth EDSS) are often strongly science-driven and assuming single types of decision makers, and hence poorly suited for more decentralized and polycentric decision making contexts. In such contexts, EDSS need to be tailored to meet diverse user requirements to ensure that it provides useful (relevant), usable (intuitive), and exchangeable (institutionally unobstructed) information for decision support for different types of actors. To address these issues, we present a participatory framework for designing EDSS that emphasizes a more complete understanding of the decision making structures and iterative design of the user interface. We illustrate the application of the framework through a case study within the context of water-stressed upstream/downstream communities in Lima, Peru.

Towards an assessment of on-farm niches for improved forages in Sud-Kivu, DR Congo
Paul, Birthe K. ; Muhimuzi, Fabrice L. ; Bacigale, Samy B. ; Wimba, Benjamin M.M. ; Chiuri, Wanjiku L. ; Amzati, Gaston S. ; Maass, Brigitte L. - \ 2016
Journal of Agriculture and Rural Development in the Tropics and Subtropics 117 (2016)2. - ISSN 1612-9830 - p. 243 - 254.
Farming system research - Mixed crop-livestock systems - Napier grass - Participatory research - Tropical forages

Inadequate quantity and quality of livestock feed is a persistent constraint to productivity for mixed crop-livestock farming in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. To assess on-farm niches of improved forages, demonstration trials and participatory on-farm research were conducted in four different sites. Forage legumes included Canavalia brasiliensis (CIAT 17009), Stylosanthes guianensis (CIAT 11995) and Desmodium uncinatum (cv. Silverleaf), while grasses were Guatemala grass (Tripsacum andersonii), Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum) French Cameroon, and a local Napier line. Within the first six months, forage legumes adapted differently to the four sites with little differences among varieties, while forage grasses displayed higher variability in biomass production among varieties than among sites. Farmers’ ranking largely corresponded to herbage yield from the first cut, preferring Canavalia, Silverleaf desmodium and Napier French Cameroon. Choice of forages and integration into farming systems depended on land availability, soil erosion prevalence and livestock husbandry system. In erosion prone sites, 55-60% of farmers planted grasses on field edges and 16-30% as hedgerows for erosion control. 43% of farmers grew forages as intercrop with food crops such as maize and cassava, pointing to land scarcity. Only in the site with lower land pressure, 71% of farmers grew legumes as pure stand. When land tenure was not secured and livestock freely roaming, 75% of farmers preferred to grow annual forage legumes instead of perennial grasses. Future research should develop robust decision support for spatial and temporal integration of forage technologies into diverse smallholder cropping systems and agro-ecologies.

A comparison of statistical and participatory clustering of smallholder farming systems - A case study in Northern Ghana
Kuivanen, K.S. ; Michalscheck, M. ; Descheemaeker, K. ; Adjei-Nsiah, S. ; Mellon-Bedi, S. ; Groot, J.C.J. ; Alvarez, S. - \ 2016
Journal of Rural Studies 45 (2016). - ISSN 0743-0167 - p. 184 - 198.
Farming systems - Heterogeneity - Northern Ghana - Participatory research - Typology

Typologies are often used to understand and capture smallholder farming system heterogeneity, and may be derived using different approaches and methods. This article aims to compare a quantitative, statistical typology based on a survey dataset and multivariate analysis, with a qualitative participatory typology based on informal group sessions and activities with local stakeholders from three communities in Northern Ghana. The statistical typology resulted in six clusters, with farm households categorized on the basis of their structural (resource endowment)- and functional (production objectives/livelihood strategies) characteristics. The participatory typology identified five farm types, based primarily on endowment (farm size, income investment), gender and age-related criteria. While the entire household was adopted as the unit of analysis of the statistical typology, the participatory typology provided a more nuanced differentiation by grouping individual farmers; with possibly several farmer types per household (e.g. 'small' and 'female farmers') as well as 'farm-less' individuals as a result. Other sources of dissimilarity which contributed to limited overlap between the typologies included changes that occurred in the communities between the two data collection efforts and inaccuracies in the data. The underlying causes of the latter seemed to mainly relate to socio-cultural issues that distorted information collection in both typologies; including power and status differences between both the researchers and farmers, as well as the farmers themselves. We conclude that although statistical techniques warrant objectivity and reproducibility in the analysis, the complexity of data collection and representation of the local reality might limit their effectiveness in selection of farms, innovation targeting and out-scaling in R4D projects. In addition, while participatory typologies offer a more contextualized representation of heterogeneity, their accuracy can still be compromised by socio-cultural constraints. Therefore, we recommend making effective use of the advantages offered by each approach by applying them in a complementary manner.

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