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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Agronomic and socioeconomic sustainability of farming systems : A case in Chencha, South Ethiopia
Dersseh, Waga Mazengia - \ 2017
University. Promotor(en): Paul Struik, co-promotor(en): Rogier Schulte. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463436830 - 157
potatoes - solanum tuberosum - ethiopia - food security - farming systems - mixed farming - sustainability - optimization - efficiency - farm surveys - household surveys - socioeconomics - self sufficiency - profits - training - agronomic characteristics - productivity - soil fertility - rotation - animal feeding - improved varieties - inorganic fertilizers - aardappelen - ethiopië - voedselzekerheid - bedrijfssystemen - gemengde landbouw - duurzaamheid (sustainability) - optimalisatie - efficiëntie - bedrijfsonderzoeken - huishoudonderzoeken - sociale economie - zelfvoorziening - winsten - opleiding - agronomische kenmerken - productiviteit - bodemvruchtbaarheid - rotatie - diervoedering - veredelde rassen - anorganische meststoffen

Potato has multiple benefits and thus can play a vital role in ensuring food security in Ethiopia. However, for diverse reasons, its productivity is low. The farming systems in Ethiopia in which potato is grown, are predominantly mixed farming systems.

Most of the research in Ethiopia is focused on crop-specific constraints and thus there is limited research in which the interrelations between crop and livestock management practices are investigated. There is also not enough research focused on combined analysis of soil nutrient and animal feed balances and agronomic and socioeconomic efficiencies at farm level.

This study assessed production constraints and agronomic and socioeconomic sustainability of the farming systems in South Ethiopia and explored the possible synergetic options to alleviate major constraints. More specifically, the study intended to quantify the variation in input and output among farms, to identify constraints hindering expansion of potato production, to evaluate the sustainability of the farming systems at farm level, to identify constraints of sustainable intensification, and to explore synergetic solutions for the major constraints. Different research approaches were used ranging from lab analysis, household surveys, group discussions, to farm surveys.

Results showed that constraints related to input and product use in potato production vary across households indicating a need for a pluriform advisory model recognizing (and building upon alleviation of) the diversity of constraints identified in this analysis. The sustainability of the farming system is constrained by low agricultural productivity, low soil fertility, poor labour efficiency and limited economic return associated with improper crop rotation, inappropriate soil fertility management practices, shortage of animal feed, labour- and economically inefficient farm practices and labour shortage. However, there is ample scope to overcome the major constraints and simultaneously to optimize farm management.

The core messages of the study can be summarized as follows:

1) the current potato production is characterized by low productivity and economic returns due to various socioeconomic, agronomic and biological factors;

2) the soil fertility is low and there is uneven distribution of nutrients over plots with relatively high fertility levels in the homestead areas;

3) the current labour shortage can be attributed to mainly inefficiency of agricultural management practices and labour migration to towns for economic reasons indicating that the farming system is not sustainable in terms of labour;

4) considering the direct return from animal production, most of the farms had very low gross margin with the current management system and this reduced the overall operating profit of farms. The low return from animal rearing was offset by the relatively high profit from crop production indicating the benefit of mixed farming system in sustaining agricultural production; and

5) each farm can have a wide range of optimized solutions mainly through introduction of improved technologies and subsequent redesigning of the farm managements.

In general, the findings of the current study indicate that it is worthwhile to assess the sustainability of agricultural production in different farming systems and agro-ecologies of Ethiopia. In addition, the combined effect of introducing improved agricultural technologies and subsequent reconfiguring the farm management is very crucial to increase and sustain agricultural production.

On the role of soil organic matter for crop production in European arable farming
Hijbeek, Renske - \ 2017
University. Promotor(en): Martin van Ittersum, co-promotor(en): Hein ten Berge. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463436632 - 211
soil fertility - soil fertility management - soil management - soil conservation - organic matter - soil organic matter - nitrogen - nitrogen fertilizers - green manures - manures - straw - soil carbon sequestration - cover crops - crop yield - yields - meta-analysis - food security - europe - drivers - barriers - bodemvruchtbaarheid - bodemvruchtbaarheidsbeheer - bodembeheer - bodembescherming - organische stof - organisch bodemmateriaal - stikstof - stikstofmeststoffen - groenbemesters - mest - stro - koolstofvastlegging in de bodem - dekgewassen - gewasopbrengst - opbrengsten - meta-analyse - voedselzekerheid - europa - chauffeurs - barrières

The aim of this thesis was to improve understanding of the role of organic inputs and soil organic matter (SOM) for crop production in contemporary arable farming in Europe. For this purpose, long-term experiments were analysed on the additional yield effect of organic inputs and savings in mineral fertiliser. In addition, a farm survey was conducted to find drivers and barriers for the use of organic inputs and to assess if arable farmers in Europe perceive a deficiency of SOM.

The findings in this thesis suggest that at least on the shorter term, on average, there seems to be no immediate threat from a deficiency of SOM to crop production in arable farming in Europe. The long-term experiments showed that with sufficient use of only mineral fertilisers, on average, similar yields could be attained over multiple years as with the combined use of organic inputs and mineral fertiliser. This was reflected in the farm survey, in which a large majority of farmers indicated not to perceive a deficiency of SOM. Analysis of long-term experiments also showed that more mineral fertiliser N was saved when using farmyard manure at high N rates (with mineral fertiliser application) than at low N rates (without mineral fertiliser application), based on comparisons at equal yield.

Specific crops and environments did benefit from organic inputs and more SOM in terms of crop production. Long-term experiments showed that organic inputs give benefit to crop production in wet climates and on sandy soils. In addition, farmers perceived a higher deficiency of SOM on steep slopes, sandy soils, wet and very dry climates. The additional yield effect of organic inputs was significant for potatoes. More in general, farmers who cultivated larger shares of their land with specialized crops (including potatoes, sugar beets, onions and other vegetables) than cereals perceived a higher deficiency of SOM. It seems that while the functions of SOM can be replaced with technical means to a large extent (e.g. tillage, use of mineral fertilisers), there are limits to this technical potential when environmental conditions are more extreme and crops are more demanding.

The farm survey revealed that farmers perceive a trade-off between improved soil quality on the one hand and increased pressures from weeds, pests and diseases and financial consequences on the other hand when using organic inputs. If policies aim to stimulate the maintenance or increase of SOM, more insight is needed into the conditions that regulate the pressures of weeds, pests and diseases in response to organic inputs. Financial consequences (at least on the short term) should also be accounted for. More importantly however, benefits from SOM for crop production cannot be taken for granted. Only in specific situations such benefits will exist. If European policies on SOM aim to include benefits for crop production, focus should be on areas with more extreme environmental conditions (very dry or wet climates, steep slopes, sandy soils), or cropping systems with more specialized or horticultural crops rather than cereals.

Modelling the dynamic interactions between food production and ecosystem services : a case study in Benin
Duku, C. - \ 2017
University. Promotor(en): Lars Hein, co-promotor(en): S.J. Zwart. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463431613 - 141
ecosystem services - modeling - food production - case studies - hydrology - irrigation - forests - woodlands - climatic change - nature conservation - food security - benin - ecosysteemdiensten - modelleren - voedselproductie - gevalsanalyse - hydrologie - irrigatie - bossen - bosgebieden - klimaatverandering - natuurbescherming - voedselzekerheid

Given the high levels of food insecurity and the loss of vital ecosystem services associated with deforestation, countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) face a major dilemma. How can they produce enough food in a changing climate to feed an increasing population while protecting natural forests and woodlands that provide a wide array of ecosystem services beneficial to livelihoods? Thus, the objectives of this thesis are twofold. First, to further enhance the understanding of the dynamic interactions between food production, and natural and semi-natural ecosystems with a case study in Benin. Second, to further enhance the understanding of how hydrological ecosystem services can be captured in an accounting framework. Understanding hydrological ecosystem services is key to understanding the multi-directional relationship between food production and ecosystem services supply from natural and semi-natural ecosystems. First, I examine how a spatially explicit ecohydrological model can be used to analyse multiple hydrological ecosystem services in line with the ecosystem accounting framework. The hydrological ecosystem services include crop water supply for rainfed agriculture, household water supply (both groundwater supply and surface water supply), water purification, and soil erosion control. Second, I develop a general modelling approach for analysing the effects of deforestation on the availability of water for irrigation at the watershed level, and I apply the approach to the Upper Oueme watershed in Benin. Third, I analyse the impact of climate change on agricultural intensification options. Finally, I quantify trade-offs between per capita food availability and protecting forests and woodlands at different levels of yield increases taking into account climate change, population growth. This thesis shows that the integration of hydrological ecosystem services into an accounting framework can provide relevant information at appropriate scales suitable for decision-making. It is empirically feasible to distinguish between service capacity and service flow of hydrological ecosystem services. This requires appropriate decisions regarding physical and mathematical representation of ecohydrological processes, spatial heterogeneity of ecosystems, temporal resolution, and required model accuracy. This thesis also shows that opportunities for irrigation expansion depend on conservation of forests and woodlands in the headwaters of the rivers feeding the irrigation scheme. Opportunities for agricultural intensification in SSA are likely to diminish with climate change, hence increasing pressure to expand cultivated areas in order to meet increasing food demand. Climate change will lead to substantial reductions in; exploitable yield gaps for major food crops, rainfed cropland areas that can support the cultivation of two or more crops per year, and water availability for irrigation expansion. Furthermore, in the far future crop yields will have to increase at a faster rate than has been recorded over the past two and half decades in order to maintain current levels of per capita food availability. Failure to achieve the required levels of yield increases is likely to lead to the conversion of substantial areas of forests and woodlands for crop cultivation. Based on the results of this thesis, four main recommendations to help address the dual challenge of food security and ecosystem protection in Benin and the larger SSA region are made: (i) promote a precautionary approach to forest and woodland conservation, (ii) promote cross-sectoral policy coherence and consultations, (iii) promote the development of satellite ecosystem accounts consistent with national accounts, and (iv) identify, evaluate and implement adaptation and resilience measures to reduce agricultural vulnerability to climate change.

Agricultural extension, technology adoption and household food security : evidence from DRC
Santos Rocha, Jozimo - \ 2017
University. Promotor(en): Erwin Bulte, co-promotor(en): Marrit van den Berg. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463434485 - 231
agricultural extension - technology - adoption - food security - households - development economics - agricultural production - knowledge transfer - congo democratic republic - landbouwvoorlichting - technologie - adoptie - voedselzekerheid - huishoudens - ontwikkelingseconomie - landbouwproductie - kennisoverdracht - democratische republiek kongo

In this thesis, I use experimental and quasi-experimental data from 25 villages and a total of 1,105 farmers from eastern DRC to investigate the relationship among agricultural training, the adoption of agricultural technologies, crop productivity, and household food insecurity and dietary diversity. I present evidence that contributes to narrow the gap in the literature on the role of input subsidies fostering small-scale farmers' uptake of productivity-enhancing technologies, how farmer field school and farmer-to-farmer trainings affect the adoption of agricultural technologies, how F2F training may reduce the costs of FFS implementation, how adoption materializes on yields of food crops, and how training through the adoption of improved agricultural technologies impacts household food insecurity and the diet diversification of target households.

As a complement to econometric evidence and in order to understand the main findings, I also discuss behavioral features and farmer driven initiatives which somehow condition these impacts. Throughout the four main chapters, I identify practical implications that are highly important for the design and implementation of new programs and policies aimed to address agricultural productivity issues and reduce household food insecurity. In Chapter 1 I develop a general introduction to the research which discusses the evolution of agricultural extension in the last few decades, and describe FFS and F2F training methodologies. Chapter 2 provides a detailed description of the project intervention, technologies promoted, research settings and the data collection process. In Chapter 3, I report the results of an experimental study that analyses the impact of one-shot input starter packs on the adoption of productivity-enhancing complementary practices, which have the potential to maximize the impact of starter pack inputs. Additionally, I assess the levels of persistence on farmers’ use of improved crop seeds which are included in the starter packs. Overall, I find no evidence of starter packs’ impact on small-scale farmers’ adoption of productivity-enhancing technologies. Similarly, the levels of persistence regarding the use of seeds following the delivery of starter packs were not significant. These results are consistent with studies that have found minimal or no persistence on the use of inputs following the provision of subsidies, including Duflo, Kremer et al. (2011). The limited impact that starter packs had on yields in the first year may logically explain that farmers refrained from using improved seeds subsequently because the inputs are not economically attractive.

Chapter 4 studies the effectiveness of knowledge transmission from farmers trained in FFS through farmer-to-farmer training (F2F), which could potentially result in lower extension costs and higher impacts. I find that FFS training has a higher impact than F2F training in the first period, but the magnitude of the treatment effect in the second period is not statistically different between the two training methods. I argue that the dissemination of technologies promoted in FFS groups can well be formalized through farmer-to-farmer deliberate training attached to the FFS approach. Given the low costs of F2F training compared to FFS, the introduction of F2F training may substantially alleviate a major constraint to the large-scale introduction of FFS as a training method, its high costs.

In Chapter 5, I study the impact of farmer’s participation in FFS and F2F training on small-scale agricultural productivity. A multi-crop yield-index and the yields of cassava were used as impact indicators. The results indicate that both FFS and F2F trainings contribute to a significant increase in farmers’ yields, especially in the second period when the magnitude of the effect substantially increased. We also learned that the effect size does not differ between the two training approaches in neither period, suggesting that F2F communications are a suitable alternative or complement to FFS training. While the chapter was unable to confirm if training materializes in higher yields through technology adoption, I argue that in the context of the sample the adoption of productivity-enhancing practices and inputs are likely the most important impact mechanism.

I also study the relationship between agricultural training, the adoption of improved technologies and household food insecurity. I find that farmers’ participation in agricultural trainings has a positive effect, through the adoption of improved technologies, on improvements in household dietary diversity (HDDS). Nonetheless, the impact on household access to food (HFIAS) is less evident. These results suggest that FFS/F2F training can well reduce household food insecurity, which is mostly achieved through the adoption of improved agricultural technologies. Yet, there are farm and household specific factors which constrain how training impacts technology adoption and how adoption affect household food insecurity and diet diversification. In Chapter 7, I synthesize the results of the four main chapters and articulate the sequence of results from training to adoption to productivity to food security.

Safeguarding water availability for food and ecosystems under global change : modelling and assessment of the role of environmental flows
Pastor, Amandine V. - \ 2017
University. Promotor(en): Pavel Kabat, co-promotor(en): Fulco Ludwig; Hester Biemans. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463431767 - 177
water availability - water management - flow - water deficit - food security - food production - global warming - aquatic ecosystems - waterbeschikbaarheid - waterbeheer - stroming - watertekort - voedselzekerheid - voedselproductie - opwarming van de aarde - aquatische ecosystemen

In a context of future population increase and intensification of water cycle by climate change, water demand for irrigation is projected to double. However, freshwater resources have been degraded the last decades especially in rivers via fragmentation, dam contraction and pollution. Flow alteration and degradation lead to 80% of freshwater ecosystem species loss. In this thesis, a robust and reliable Environmental Flow (EF) method was developed for global scale: the Variable Monthly Flow (VMF) method. This method allowed estimating EF deficit at global scale including its origin, timing, frequency and magnitude. By setting EFRs as priority user in a global vegetation and hydrological model (LPJmL), irrigation loss due to EFRs implementation were assessed at 30% leading to 5% global calorie loss. To maintain water allocation to humans and ecosystems under global change, food imports would require to increase by 15% especially from Latin America to South of Asia.

Microcredit to women and its contribution to production and household food security
Namayengo, Mayanja Muyonga Faith - \ 2017
University. Promotor(en): Gerrit Antonides, co-promotor(en): Johan van Ophem. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463431101 - 235
credit - women - agricultural production - food security - crop production - animal production - household income - household budgets - food supply - uganda - krediet - vrouwen - landbouwproductie - voedselzekerheid - gewasproductie - dierlijke productie - gezinsinkomen - huishoudbudgetten - voedselvoorziening

The contents of this dissertation are based on a quantitative and qualitative survey that was conducted to assess the contribution of microcredit access of women to production and household food security status, and the factors associated with enterprise performance and food security outcomes. In order to do so four main issues were addressed: (a) assessment of the borrowing context and the match or mismatch between lender and borrower goals and objectives; (b) the extent to which taking microcredit affected business input expenditures and performance of non-farm MEs; (c) the extent to which taking microcredit affected production input expenditures and outputs from farming activities; (d) the changes in household food security associated with microcredit.

The study was conducted among female microcredit clients of BRAC, one of the largest micro lenders in Uganda. The overall study design was a panel approach, involving two waves of data collection. In one analytical approach, baseline data for a group of existing borrowers (Old borrowers=OB) and incoming borrowers (New borrowers=NB) before they received their first loan, was used in a quasi-experimental cross-sectional design to assess the effect of borrowing as the difference between the two groups using propensity score matching (PSM).

In an alternative approach, two waves of data for the NB and a control group (CG) of women who never borrowed from BRAC or other MFI, was subjected to difference-in-difference analysis (DID), with Kernel matching, to assess differences between borrowers and non-borrowers.

We found that BRAC reaches poor, less educated subsistence farmers who also run diverse non-farm microenterprises (MEs). The group-lending model BRAC uses is effective in ensuring loan repayment. However, much as BRAC gives out production loans, many women borrow to meet lump-sum monetary needs, in addition to investment in non-farm MEs. High costs of borrowing, limited loan amounts, the stress caused by weekly loan repayment and resolution of lump-sum cash needs were identified as reasons for women to stop borrowing. The diversion of loans to non-production activities, the size and types of businesses, and loan terms and processes were identified and factors that could diminish the contribution of microcredit to ME expansion and income increase.

Assessment of the effect of borrowing on non-farm ME performance revealed that much as borrowers invested reasonable fractions of received loans into non-farm MEs leading to improvement in monetary worth, the borrowing context, loan repayment terms, type and size of microenterprises did favour higher profits.

In regard to farm production, borrowing did not lead to extra recurrent crop and animal production expenditures. The prevailing subsistence nature of crop and animal production did not seem to favour extra investment. As such, borrowing did not improve household food availability, through own production.

Assessment of the effect of borrowing on household food security revealed a decline in food security following the uptake of microcredit. The analysis reveals robustly lower dietary diversity among long-time borrowers than among new borrowers, and larger reductions in dietary diversity scores among new borrowers, after one year, compared to controls. The reduction in dietary diversity was traced to a reduction in animal-source food, fruit and sugar intake. This was partly explained by observation of an apparent shift from own production to reliance on food purchase by households, which is not accompanied by substantial increase in income.

Overall, we found that taking microcredit did not lead to improved farm and non-farm production or food security among the rural women borrowers studied. This was mainly attributed to nature of activities the women engage in, the loan terms and processes, and the local context the women operate under.

Mission report Kenya : scoping Mission Marine Fisheries Kenya
Hoof, Luc van; Steins, Nathalie A. - \ 2017
IJmuiden : Wageningen Marine Research (Wageningen Marine Research report C038/17) - 136
marine fisheries - food security - aquaculture - seaweeds - trade - kenya - zeevisserij - voedselzekerheid - aquacultuur - zeewieren - handel
Exploring opportunities for rural livelihoods and food security in Central Mozambique
Leonardo, Wilson José - \ 2017
University. Promotor(en): Ken Giller, co-promotor(en): Gerrie van de Ven; Henk Udo. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463431651 - 183
agricultural production systems - food security - crop production - livelihoods - small farms - biofuels - farming systems - models - intensification - mozambique - agrarische productiesystemen - voedselzekerheid - gewasproductie - middelen van bestaan - kleine landbouwbedrijven - biobrandstoffen - bedrijfssystemen - modellen - intensivering

Growing awareness of widespread hunger and poverty in many countries in the SSA is spurring a focus on productivity increase in smallholder farming systems. The rationale is that with current production systems many SSA countries are not keeping pace with population growth and changing of peoples’ lifestyles. To respond to this challenge the Government of Mozambique developed its Strategic Plan for Agricultural Development (PEDSA) aiming to improve agricultural productivity of the majority of smallholder farmers who depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Smallholder farmers are diverse in terms of resources and aspirations. The main objectives of this study are first to understand the diversity among maize-based smallholder farms and their current constraints in improving agricultural productivity in the Manica Plateau, Central Mozambique, and second, building on that understanding to explore options for biomass production either for food, cash or biofuel at farm level and contributions to maize availability in the region. The study was conducted in the Dombe and Zembe Administrative Posts. Farmers in the two posts cultivate both food and cash crops using the same resources, however, distances to the urban market differ, with Zembe close and Dombe far away from the markets. In addition, the agroecological conditions for crop production are more favourable in Dombe compared with Zembe. Using farm surveys, direct observations and on-farm measurements, followed by Principal Components Analysis (PCA) I identified land and labour as the variables that can best explain the variability found among smallholder farms (Chapter 2). Based on these variables I categorised farms into four Farm Types (FT): FT1. Large farms (4.4 ha in Dombe and 2.2 ha in Zembe), hiring in labour; FT2. Intermediate sized farms (1.9-1.2 ha), hiring in and out labour; FT3a. Small farms (1.1-0.9 ha), sharing labour; and FT3b. Small farms (1.0-0.7 ha), hiring out labour. The maize yield and maize labour productivities were higher on large farms (2.3 t ha-1 in Dombe and 2.0 t ha-1 in Zembe; 2.5×10-3 t h-1 in Dombe and 2.6 ×10-3 t h-1 in Zembe) compared with small farms (1.5 t ha-1 in Dombe and 1.1 t ha-1 in Zembe; 1.4×10-3 t h-1 in Dombe and 0.9×10-3 t h-1 in Zembe). The hiring in labour from small farms allowed large farms to timely weed their fields. Small farms were resource constrained and hired out labour (mutrakita) for cash or food to the detriment of weeding their own fields, resulting in poor crop yields. Excessive alcohol consumption by small farms also raised concerns on labour quality. Chapter 3 explored options aiming at addressing farmers’ objectives of being maize self-sufficient and increased gross margin and the contribution to national objective of producing food. A bio-economic farm model was used to investigate two pathways to increase agricultural production: (i) extensification, expanding the current cultivated area; and (ii) intensification, increasing input use and output per unit of land.

In the extensification pathway I considered the use of animal traction, herbicides and cultivators to save labour, whereas in the intensification pathway I explored the use improved varieties of maize, sesame, sunflower, pigeonpea and fertilizers. I focused on the large farms and the small farms hiring out labour as they represent both sides of the spectrum. The simulated results showed that combining labour and labour saving technologies substantially increased both gross margin and maize yields of large and small farms in both posts. Minor trade-offs is observed on large farms between the two goals whereas for small farms we see synergies between the goals. We concluded that prospects for increasing gross margin and food production are much better for large farms in Dombe compared with other farms. In Dombe, the maximum gross margin of large farms was 7530 $ y-1 per farm and maximum maize sales of 30.4 t y-1 per farm. In Zembe, the maximum gross margin of large farms (2410 $ y-1 per farm) and maximum maize sales (9.5 t y-1 per farm) were comparable to small farms in Dombe. I further assessed the impact of two biofuel investments (jatropha plantation and sunflower outgrower schemes) on farm level food security (food availability, access to food, stability of food, utilization of food). The results showed positive impact on small farms from employment on a jatropha plantation by increasing access to food and no impacts on intermediate and large farms. Impacts on food security from the sunflower outgrower scheme were minor which may be explained by the poor yields.

The need to link smallholder farmers to markets has been increasingly recognized as important strategy to promote rural development and poverty reduction. I developed an analytical framework, the Windmill Approach that looked at decision making at farm level to grow certain crops and at transaction strategies (Chapter 5). Through this framework I showed that a farmer decision to participate in a particular (new) value chain is determined by (a) the suitability of the new crop in the farm system (including the adaptability of the current farm system), and (b) the farmer’s experience with selling in various value chains. This has major policy implications as it highlights that to support smallholder farmers access to markets a holistic approach is needed that combines farming systems analysis and transaction cost theory.

In order to explore the opportunities for smallholder development there is need to understand the diversity of farms and farmers’ social and economic context. For large farms, in Central Mozambique farms with on average 2-4 ha of land, opportunities to improve their livelihoods through crop production can follow two pathways: intensification and extensification. Smallholders continue to produce staple food crops even when working on a plantation or participating in outgrower schemes. For small farms, off-farm opportunities such as those in a biofuel plantation are the best options to improve their livelihoods.

Mission report Tanzania : scoping mission marine fisheries Tanzania
Hoof, Luc van; Kraan, Marloes - \ 2017
IJmuiden : Wageningen Marine Research (Wageningen Marine Research rapport C004/17) - 66
zeevisserij - visserij - voedselzekerheid - zeewieren - samenwerking - handel - tanzania - marine fisheries - fisheries - food security - seaweeds - cooperation - trade
Essays on the political economy of trade and regulation: biotechnology and conservation
Shao, Qianqian - \ 2017
University. Promotor(en): Justus Wesseler, co-promotor(en): Maarten Punt; Dusan Drabik. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463430500 - 200
agricultural trade - genetically engineered foods - food biotechnology - political economy - food products - agricultural production - agricultural products - food technology - food policy - food security - agrarische handel - genetisch gemanipuleerde voedingsmiddelen - voedselbiotechnologie - politieke economie - voedselproducten - landbouwproductie - landbouwproducten - voedseltechnologie - beleid inzake voedsel - voedselzekerheid

Economics and politics interact. Political and economic forces influence the choices of policy instruments, the distribution of economic rent, and the distribution of political power. Politicians balance the interaction of economic rents and political interests in the policy-making process. Some policies aim to correct market failures, others aim to pursue politicians’ own interests, some are a combination. I discuss two policies in this thesis, the regulation of genetically modified (GM) food crops, and forest conservation policy.

The relationship between GM food technology and food supply is a dilemma for policymakers in many countries. Theoretical and empirical studies show that GM food technology helps increase crop yields, reduces pesticide and fertilizer use, and generates economic, environmental, and health benefits. However, many consumers are concerned about the potential risks from using the technology and treat GM and non-GM food products as different products. The differences in public attitude towards GM food technology influence GM food policy-making. Many scientists believe that the public attitude is not purely based on scientific evidence, but is influenced by different interest groups. The two major interest groups involved in the GM food policy debate can be clustered into the GM food-supporting and non-GM food-supporting groups, depending on their attitude towards the GM food technology.

The GM food group points to the high yields, environmental benefits, and potential for sustainable agricultural production. The non-GM food group, however, emphasizes the unconfirmed potential risks of genetic modification to human health and the environment. There are two major GM food policy regimes: the EU Member States have very strict GM food regulations, whereas the US has relatively lenient GM food policy regulations with respect to cultivation and imports. A stricter GM food policy would generate high welfare costs to countries that face food security issues, and possibly reduce a country's food self-sufficiency. Also, different GM food policy regulations give rise to different national standards, differentiate agricultural trade markets, and result in trade disputes.

Environmental policy regulates economic activity. To balance economic interests and environmental benefits, conservation policy is often needed for the protection of natural resources. Forests as a renewable resource provide both economic and environmental benefits. Forest conservation policy often requires governments to settle the trade-off between interests of the timber industry and the environmental benefit of maintaining parts of the forests. Political conflicts may exist between a profit-maximizing timber industry lobby and an environmental lobby. An industry-biased conservation policy could cause faster exploitation of this domestic resource, while a stricter protection of the resource could result in profit reduction for the timber industry, but increase environmental benefits.

I discuss the relationships between food security and GM food policy regulations in Chapter 2. I develop a standard political economy model of GM food policy regulations and model GM food policy as the outcome of a GM-versus-non-GM food lobbying game. I find that stricter GM food policy has negative effects on three aspects of food security: availability, access, and utilization. Politically determined GM food policy has a negative effect on the food security situation if lobbying is costly. I also discuss the situation in which the policymaker weighs the GM food and non-GM food lobbies’ contributions differently, depending on whether the food security target has been reached or not. The GM food lobby becomes more efficient in the political game than the non-GM food group when the country commits itself to improving its food security. If the non-GM food lobby is large and strong, it will make high lobbying contributions for stricter GM food policy, even when the country is food-insecure.

Chapter 3 studies the relationship between politically determined GM food policy and domestic food self-sufficiency. I first develop a theoretical model of a small-open economy and investigate the GM food policy. The government maximizes its own payoff, which is the weighted sum of social welfare and lobbying contributions. I take maize production in South Africa as an example for illustrating the politically influenced self-sufficiency rate. I find that the food self-sufficiency rate will decrease with an increase in GM food policy regulation cost. I also specify the mechanism of policy change in this small open economy case. I include changes in the lobby groups' sizes in the model, and assess the effect on food self-sufficiency. In the case of a large non-GM food group, the government payoff does not monotonically decrease when the government weighs social welfare at a low level in the political process. The GM food policy can be strict in this case. In addition, the food self-sufficiency rate can be high when a large non-GM food group is present and the government places a low weight on social welfare. Most importantly, this case demonstrates that the food self-sufficiency rate is not always a good indicator of food availability. In some cases, the food self-sufficiency rate can increase, while food availability may decrease.

In Chapter 4, given the two different GM food policy regimes and in light of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations, I discuss a bilateral negotiation regarding GM food trade policies. Two countries pursue an increase in trade volume for both GM and non-GM food products. With a high GM food non-tariff barrier (NTB) on the foreign GM food imports and a relatively high non-GM food NTB in the foreign country, I find that the Nash bargaining solution lies between the two countries’ optimal unilateral stances for a successful negotiation. Simulation results show that the foreign country would not like to reduce much of its non-GM food NTB in the negotiation. The level of the non-GM food NTB only influences the absolute payoffs of the domestic and foreign governments, but not the negotiation results. The outcome of the negotiation only depends on the level of GM food NTB reduction in the domestic country.

In Chapter 5, I discuss the effects of international trade on forest conservation and welfare in a two-country model with an industry-biased policymaker and Cournot-competing firms. I find that opening to trade increases the harvest taxes compared to the taxes under autarky. The tax increase is large enough to decrease the production levels, which increases the conservation level. In addition, the numerical simulation illustrates that the industry bias parameter monotonically decreases the output and increases the welfare gains from trade. As a result, industry-biased policymaking does not necessarily have to increase the environmental costs when opening to trade.

Three main conclusions can be drawn from this thesis. First, strict biotechnology regulations decrease the level of global food security, especially in developing countries. Second, in the GM food trade negotiations, the country that has high trade barriers has to make concessions for a successful trade agreement. Third, second-best conservation policies can still protect the environment in an open economy. This thesis does not provide solutions to either the GM-versus-non-GM or the environmental-versus-trade debates. It does, however, offer some insights into the politically determined GM food and conservation policy-making and the impact of lobbying.

Moralities of sharing and caring : Gender and food in the moral household economy
Niehof, A. ; Wahlen, S. - \ 2017
Jaarboek voor Vrouwengeschiedenis 36 (2017). - ISSN 1574-2334 - p. 147 - 163.
moral economy - household - food security - gender - food consumption
This paper propounds the concept of the moral household economy in order to understand and explain gender performances in food practices of sharing and caring in the socio-cultural domain of unpaid food work. Households are the immediate context for meeting people’s food and nutrition needs and for everyday practices of caring and sharing, which are based on moral responsibilities. By applying the concept of moral economy to households, the boundary that separates abstract morality from the morality acknowledged and implied by social practices is challenged. Since the household is a gendered sphere, moral household economies are gendered. We integrate these notions into one theoretical construct, drawing on illustrative cases to exemplify linkages and processes. The paper offers a novel theoretical framework for understanding the relationship between gender and food by looking at food practices of sharing and caring in the context of the household as a space of gendered morality.
Towards an inclusive and sustainable economy
Meijl, Hans van; Ruben, Ruerd ; Reinhard, Stijn - \ 2017
Wageningen : Wageningen University & Research - 44
food security - food supply - food production - sustainable agriculture - sustainable development - biobased economy - agro-industrial chains - economic development - voedselzekerheid - voedselvoorziening - voedselproductie - duurzame landbouw - duurzame ontwikkeling - agro-industriële ketens - economische ontwikkeling
One of the major challenges facing global society today is the provision of food, water, energy, healthcare and other resources & services in a world characterised by increasing population, mounting environmental stresses and rising inequality. There is a need for circular and resilient food systems which close material flow loops in the entire supply chain from farm ers to consumers and back. This should be done in a resource-efficient manner that includes all relevant actors. This position paper summarises insights by Hans van Meijl, Stijn Reinhard and Ruerd Ruben from Wageningen Economic Research into what has been dubbed the inclusive and sustainable economy. Therefore, five overarching challenges, five scoping issues, and five beneficial economic principles are discussed. In addition, the authors formulate five key insights regarding feasible policy strategies and attempt to contribute to the analysis of leverage points relevant to upscaling and to anchoring market innovations that sustain sustainable and inclusive agri-food systems.
Hard-to-cook phenomenon in bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea (L.) Verdc.) processing : Options to improve its role in providing food security
Mubaiwa, Juliet ; Fogliano, Vincenzo ; Chidewe, Cathrine ; Linnemann, Anita R. - \ 2017
Food Reviews International 33 (2017)2. - ISSN 8755-9129 - p. 167 - 194.
Bambara groundnut - food security - hard-to-cook phenomenon - hard-to-mill phenomenon - processing - sub-Saharan Africa

Indigenous legume crops are pivotal in providing proteins and food security to sub-Saharan African rural communities, but most of these crops are underutilized because of the so-called hard-to-cook (HTC) phenomenon in combination with inadequate processing techniques. This review studies the case of bambara groundnut, which is third in importance after groundnut and cowpea and especially adapted to semi-arid areas. Published data on the HTC phenomenon implicate microstructural and compositional changes as factors leading to its development. Useful and sustainable techniques to process HTC legumes in developing countries include cooking with alkaline salts, milling, roasting, fermentation, and malting. Improvement of these processing techniques in relation to nutrient bioaccessibility, safety, and consumer acceptance of the products is urgently needed. Recommendations are to lessen the problems of food security in sub-Saharan African countries through, amongst other means, the optimization of bambara groundnut processing methods.

Data from: Origins of food crops connect countries worldwide
Khoury, C.K. ; Achicanoy, Harold A. ; Bjorkman, Anne D. ; Navarro-Racines, Carlos ; Guarino, Luigi ; Flores-Palacios, Ximena ; Engels, Johannes M.M. ; Wiersema, John H. ; Dempewolf, Hannes ; Sotelo, Steven ; Ramírez-Villegas, Julian ; Castañeda-Álvarez, Nora P. ; Fowler, Cary ; Jarvis, Andy ; Rieseberg, Loren H. ; Struik, P.C. - \ 2016
food security - crop diversity - crop origins - plant genetic resources - crop domestication - crop improvement
Research into the origins of food plants has led to the recognition that specific geographical regions around the world have been of particular importance to the development of agricultural crops. Yet the relative contributions of these different regions in the context of current food systems have not been quantified. Here we determine the origins (‘primary regions of diversity’) of the crops comprising the food supplies and agricultural production of countries worldwide. We estimate the degree to which countries use crops from regions of diversity other than their own (‘foreign crops’), and quantify changes in this usage over the past 50 years. Countries are highly interconnected with regard to primary regions of diversity of the crops they cultivate and/or consume. Foreign crops are extensively used in food supplies (68.7% of national food supplies as a global mean are derived from foreign crops) and production systems (69.3% of crops grown are foreign). Foreign crop usage has increased significantly over the past 50 years, including in countries with high indigenous crop diversity. The results provide a novel perspective on the ongoing globalization of food systems worldwide, and bolster evidence for the importance of international collaboration on genetic resource conservation and exchange.
Report of the kick off meeting of the Knowledge Network on Sustainable Intensification (KNSI), 3 June 2016, Wageningen
Bura, M. ; Boekhorst, D. te - \ 2016
FACCE-JPI
FACCE - FACCE JPI - KNSI - Sustainable intensification - knowlegde network - agriculture - food security - climate change - knowledge network - sustainable intensification - FACCE-JPI - Bioeconomy
Report of FACCE Cluster-2-Workshop - Support by policy and research for adaptation to climate change in farming systems and food-related industries
Köchy, M. ; Bittner, F. ; Lange, S. ; Bunthof, C.J. - \ 2016
FACCE-JPI - 15 p.
FACCE JPI - climate change - farming systems - adaptation to climate change - food-related - industries - agriculture - food security - policy - FACCE-JPI - Agriculture - Food security - Climate Change - adaption to climate change - Climate change adaptation - Farming systems - food-related industries - research - Bioeconomy
Report of DG AGRI Conference on Agriculture and Innovation - Pre-Event on International Soil Research: Opportunities for Synergy and Cooperation with FACCE-JPI, 27 January 2016, Brussels
Aller Moran, P. ; McKhann, H. ; Boekhorst, D. te - \ 2016
FACCE-JPI - 6 p.
agriculture - food security - climate change - innovation - soil - FACCE-JPI - Climate change - soil - DG AGRI - conference - FACCE JPI - Bioeconomy
FACCE JPI Implementation Plan 2016 - 2018
Gøtke, Niels ; McKhann, Heather ; Albouy, I. ; Bunthof, C.J. ; Bura, M. ; Lesser, C. ; Aller Moran, P. ; Boekhorst, D. te; Wiley, P. - \ 2016
FACCE-JPI - 16 p.
Implementation - Plan - FACCE JPI - FACCE - JPI - agriculture - food security - climate change - implementation plan - FACCE-JPI - Bioeconomy - policy
Workshop phenotyping, genotyping, breeding, reproduction techniques and evaluating alternative crop species for adaptation to climate change - State-of-art and opportunities for further cooperation, 27-28 October 2016, Wageningen : Final report
Boekhorst, D. te - \ 2016
FACCE-JPI - 15 p.
agriculture - food security - climate change - FACCE JPI - Adaptation to climate change - breeding techniques - FACCE-JPI - Bioeconomy - phenotyping - Genotyping - breeding - Climate change adaptation
The workshop highlighted opportunities, gaps, needs and priorities for novel breeding techniques like phenotyping for resilience under climate change. Starting with four key presentations, the scene was set from the perspectives of policy, end-users and science, accompanied by an overview of phenotyping initiatives. In five presentations several other initiatives were introduced, after which dedicated discussion sessions identified priorities in opportunies, needs and gaps. This resulted in the following ten priorities:
Phenotyping needs multi- and transdisciplinary research, but fundamental research with regard to gene-environment-management interactions is also essential;
High quality open data speeds up research, but policy also needs to deal with the associated risks and legal issues (big data questions);
Regulation of funding needs to be adapted: linkages are needed between (more structural) project funding and infrastructure funding;
Phenotyping needs long-term research;
More focus is needed on breeding for climate change: widening up genetic traits;
More focus is needed on breeding for climate change: crops - also ‘multi-valorization’ and perennial crops;
Climate change research and phenotyping research needs te be connected; this also includes phenotyping research on different management systems;
Phenotyping for whole value chain approach, including aspects related to quality, is needed;
Public-private cooperation could strengthen research and accelerate impact;
Management of expectations and views of the public at large.
Genenweelde in oorsprongsgebieden essentieel voor toekomstige voedselzekerheid
Struik, Paul ; Hintum, Theo van - \ 2016
food security - genetic diversity - field crops - gene banks - plant breeding - genetic engineering - biodiversity - malus - varieties - kazakhstan - middle east

Theo van Hintum in tijdschrift Vork over genenbanken en oorsprongsgebieden als basis voor plantenveredeling

Behoud van genetische diversiteit is een belangrijk wapen om in te spelen op veranderingen in de leefomstandigheden van landbouwgewassen. Genenbanken vormen een onmisbare basis voor plantenveredeling, maar bieden onvoldoende waarborg voor toekomstige voedselzekerheid. Ook de lokale genenweelde in de oorsprongsgebieden moet behouden blijven, maar die wordt bedreigd door verstedelijking, verwaarlozing en klimaatverandering, constateert Michiel Löwik.

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