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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Leveraging social networks for agricultural development in Africa
Ross, Martha - \ 2017
University. Promotor(en): Erwin Bulte, co-promotor(en): Maarten Voors. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463431910 - 174
social networks - agricultural development - economic development - agricultural production - networks - technology transfer - innovations - innovation adoption - diffusion - interpersonal relations - communication - observation - social learning - social interaction - sociale netwerken - landbouwontwikkeling - economische ontwikkeling - landbouwproductie - netwerken - technologieoverdracht - innovaties - innovatie adoptie - diffusie - intermenselijke relaties - communicatie - observatie - sociaal leren - sociale interactie

This thesis contributes to a growing literature that explores relationships between social networks and innovation diffusion within a developing country context. Given this context, the networks of interest within this thesis are the offline interpersonal relationships between community members. Diffusion channels for new innovation are therefore limited to word-of-mouth communication, observation, and personal experience.

Chapter 2 of this thesis analyses two policy tools in targeting these information gaps. The first is through social learning as part of a farmer extension program. The second combines social learning with experiential learning, reducing the cost to personal experimentation with subsidized improved input packages. Our results indicate that farmers who are exposed to both social learning and learning-by-doing more significantly impacts farmer productivity relative to those receiving no intervention and those exposed only to social learning. I interpret this result as an indication of learning-by-doing combined with social learning being a more effective strategy for facilitating adoption of technologies that have more heterogeneous returns to adoption.

Chapter 3 of this thesis tests the difference in diffusion patterns that result by varying the network contact- point. Specifically, network contact-points are selected as being either the most central or least central individuals within the network. I find evidence that centrality affects the speed of distribution but does not affect the width of diffusion nor which individuals are participating within the diffusion process. Furthermore, large attenuation is observed throughout the diffusion process, which suggests the importance of selecting a sufficiently large set of lead community members for the spread of new technology.

Chapter 4 combines a community-wide polling of network entry-points combined with detailed community network and socio-economic data. First we explore what attributes are prioritized by community members in nominating a resident farmer as an extension contact-point. Second, we use simulations to compare the diffusion spread of top-nominated individuals as network entry-points compared to entry-points that achieve maximal spread within diffusion simulations. We find that community members prioritize network connectedness, pro-social preferences, and socioeconomic indicators of gender, age, formal leadership, and education levels within their nomination decisions. Furthermore, receiving the top three most amount of nominations is found to be significantly correlated with selection as an optimal entry-point within the diffusion simulation. These results suggest that community-wide polling offers a less data-intensive opportunity to realize gains in diffusion warranted through network-based seeding.

Chapter 5 explore whether an individual’s observed social preferences is correlated with an individual’s centrality within the network structure. Our results indicate that individuals with high centrality are more trusting and more trustworthy than individuals with lower centrality. Moreover, individuals with low centrality are treated worse in these interactions—people trust them less initially, and return less money to them. Within a group context, little evidence is found of more central individuals displaying more cooperative behavior. Instead, for group cooperation, when a single monitor can observe contribution decisions, the presence of a direct link and more mutual network connections with a monitor correlates to more cooperative behavior by that individual. Our results suggest that network centrality and pro-social preferences are related but more localized network ties are more strongly correlated with pro-sociality than overall network connectedness.

Using probabilistic graphical models to reconstruct biological networks and linkage maps
Wang, Huange - \ 2017
University. Promotor(en): Fred van Eeuwijk, co-promotor(en): Hans Jansen. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463431538 - 150
probabilistic models - models - networks - linkage - mathematics - statistics - quantitative trait loci - phenotypes - simulation - waarschijnlijkheidsmodellen - modellen - netwerken - koppeling - wiskunde - statistiek - loci voor kwantitatief kenmerk - fenotypen - simulatie

Probabilistic graphical models (PGMs) offer a conceptual architecture where biological and mathematical objects can be expressed with a common, intuitive formalism. This facilitates the joint development of statistical and computational tools for quantitative analysis of biological data. Over the last few decades, procedures based on well-understood principles for constructing PGMs from observational and experimental data have been studied extensively, and they thus form a model-based methodology for analysis and discovery. In this thesis, we further explore the potential of this methodology in systems biology and quantitative genetics, and illustrate the capabilities of our proposed approaches by several applications to both real and simulated omics data.

In quantitative genetics, we partition phenotypic variation into heritable, genetic, and non-heritable, environmental, parts. In molecular genetics, we identify chromosomal regions that drive genetic variation: quantitative trait loci (QTLs). In systems genetics, we would like to answer the question of whether relations between multiple phenotypic traits can be organized within wholly or partially directed network structures. Directed edges in those networks can be interpreted as causal relationships, causality meaning that the consequences of interventions are predictable: phenotypic interventions in upstream traits, i.e. traits occurring early in causal chains, will produce changes in downstream traits. The effect of a QTL allele can be considered to represent a genetic intervention on the phenotypic network. Various methods have been proposed for statistical reconstruction of causal phenotypic networks exploiting previously identified QTLs. In chapter 2, we present a novel heuristic search algorithm, namely the QTL+phenotype supervised orientation (QPSO) algorithm, to infer causal relationships between phenotypic traits. Our algorithm shows good performance in the common, but so far uncovered case, where some traits come without QTLs. Therefore, our algorithm is especially attractive for applications involving expensive phenotypes, like metabolites, where relatively few genotypes can be measured and population size is limited.

Standard QTL mapping typically models phenotypic variations observable in nature in relation to genetic variation in gene expression, regardless of multiple intermediate-level biological variations. In chapter 3, we present an approach integrating Gaussian graphical modeling (GGM) and causal inference for simultaneous modeling of multilevel biological responses to DNA variations. More specifically, for ripe tomato fruits, the dependencies of 24 sensory traits on 29 metabolites and the dependencies of all the sensory and metabolic traits further on 21 QTLs were investigated by three GGM approaches including: (i) lasso-based neighborhood selection in combination with a stability approach to regularization selection, (ii) the PC-skeleton algorithm and (iii) the Lasso in combination with stability selection, and then followed by the QPSO algorithm. The inferred dependency network which, though not essentially representing biological pathways, suggests how the effects of allele substitutions propagate through multilevel phenotypes. Such simultaneous study of the underlying genetic architecture and multifactorial interactions is expected to enhance the prediction and manipulation of complex traits. And it is applicable to a range of population structures, including offspring populations from crosses between inbred parents and outbred parents, association panels and natural populations.

In chapter 4, we report a novel method for linkage map construction using probabilistic graphical models. It has been shown that linkage map construction can be hampered by the presence of genotyping errors and chromosomal rearrangements such as inversions and translocations. Our proposed method is proven, both theoretically and practically, to be effective in filtering out markers that contain genotyping errors. In particular, it carries out marker filtering and ordering simultaneously, and is therefore superior to the standard post-hoc filtering using nearest-neighbour stress. Furthermore, we demonstrate empirically that the proposed method offers a promising solution to genetic map construction in the case of a reciprocal translocation.

In the domain of PGMs, Bayesian networks (BNs) have proven, both theoretically and practically, to be a promising tool for the reconstruction of causal networks. In particular, the PC algorithm and the Metropolis-Hastings algorithm, which are representatives of mainstream methods to BN structure learning, are reported to have been successfully applied to the field of biology. In view of the fact that most biological systems exist in the form of random network or scale-free network, in chapter 5 we compare the performance of the two algorithms in constructing both random and scale-free BNs. Our simulation study shows that for either type of BN, the PC algorithm is superior to the M-H algorithm in terms of timeliness; the M-H algorithm is preferable to the PC algorithm when the completeness of reconstruction is emphasized; but when the fidelity of reconstruction is taken into account, the better one of the two algorithms varies from case to case. Moreover, whichever algorithm is adopted, larger sample sizes generally permit more accurate reconstructions, especially in regard to the completeness of the resulting networks.

Finally, chapter 6 presents a further elaboration and discussion of the key concepts and results involved in this thesis.

Networks, flows and actors : promoting sustainability in globalising food provision
Oosterveer, Peter J.M. - \ 2016
Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462579750 - 24
networks - sustainability - globalization - food - health - social sciences - food chains - governance - netwerken - duurzaamheid (sustainability) - globalisering - voedsel - gezondheid - sociale wetenschappen - voedselketens
Answering the "Call of the Mountain" : co-creating sustainability through networks of change in Colombia
Chaves Villegas, Martha - \ 2016
University. Promotor(en): Arjen Wals, co-promotor(en): Gerard Verschoor. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462577251 - 152
sustainable development - sustainability - social networks - networks - communities - rural communities - change - social change - learning - colombia - south america - duurzame ontwikkeling - duurzaamheid (sustainability) - sociale netwerken - netwerken - gemeenschappen - plattelandsgemeenschappen - verandering - sociale verandering - leren - zuid-amerika

In response to the age of the ‘anthropocene,’ as some authors are calling this epoch in which one single species is disrupting major natural systems (Steffen et al 2011), there are calls for more radical, learning-based sustainability that generates deep transformations in individuals and communities so as to transition towards a more reflexive and process-oriented society (Wals 2009, Sterling 2009). The principal contention of this thesis is that new social movements (NSM) of the network society (Castells 2012, Buechler 2016), based on integrated visions of sustainability, can provide platforms for bringing about transformative learning. This thesis is based on empirical research (2012-2016) into a fraction of such NSM named the Council of Sustainable Settlements of Latin America (C.A.S.A.). Comprising a diversity of members from Indigenous pueblos, afro-colombian communities, neo-rural settlements (ecovillages), Hare Krishna communities, campesino farmers, NGOs and urban peoples and initiatives, the C.A.S.A. network organizes intercultural exchanges where transformative learning can be traced. Through new forms of collective action centered on a plurality of ideas and practices, and with a strong focus on reflection and personal development, in such encounters through ‘ontological politics’, ‘optimal dissonance’ and ‘deep reflexivity and flexibility’ members are articulating new paradigms of alternative development and creating spaces for transformation. Yet, such learning processes are incredibly complex, and the value-action gap remains substantial in many cases. What this thesis has shown, however, is that by putting into practice principles of buen vivir and the pluriverse such as reconnecting to ancestral wisdom, acknowledging the other, questioning values of competition and consumerism, and forming new relations to place and territory, one begins to question one's own set of norms, and those of society. Ultimately, the C.A.S.A. network’s struggles, negotiations and learning processes remind us that global sustainability entails more than 'menus' of good practices but a plurality of solutions which include humans and non-humans, different ontologies, and even a multiplicity of worlds, in what is a tough but rewarding aula.

Supramolecular networks of telechelic polymers
Bohdan, M.A. - \ 2016
University. Promotor(en): Jasper van der Gucht, co-promotor(en): Joris Sprakel. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462578678 - 117 p.
supramolecular chemistry - networks - polymerization - gels - mechanical properties - separation technology - rheology - supramoleculaire chemie - netwerken - polymerisatie - mechanische eigenschappen - scheidingstechnologie - reologie

This thesis focuses on the fundamental understanding of phenomena associated with the gelation of end-functionalized polymers and the dynamic processes occurring inside of the gel network. To address particular questions we use two types of telechelic polymers, in which the assembly occurs due to the solvophobic interactions and due to the metal-ligand coordination, respectively. In this research we employ a number of methods, mostly rheology and light scattering.

In Chapter 2 we revealed new insights into the complex microscopic dynamics of transient networks, assembled by hydrophobic forces. Using light scattering experiments we show how these materials exhibit complex multimodal relaxation spectra. To shed light on the nature of such relaxation processes we systematically changed the network architecture by gradually reducing the network connectivity while keeping the polymer concentration constant. This strategy allows us to disentangle the roles of concentration and connectivity on the dynamic modes of these systems.

In Chapters 3 and Chapter 4 we experimentally explored the pathways of network formation from telechelic polymers association by means of metal-ligand complexation. Interestingly, while some networks exhibit near-ideal Maxwellian behavior, as expected for transient networks, we find certain cases where we observe scale-free critical mechanics. To date this latter behavior was only identified close to a covalent percolation transition. The critical behavior observed for these end-functional self-assembled polymer networks, however, is robust to changes in concentration, temperature and crosslinking degree. Our studies show that such a self-organized and robust critical state is the results of arrested phase separation that kinetically traps the network-forming system at its percolation point. The system thus remains trapped in a critical state resulting in robust power-law scaling of shear and relaxation moduli. We also show how this state depends sensitively on the relaxation kinetics of the nodes by demonstrating an intermediate case where initial critical behavior slowly relaxes over the course of several days to the ideal linear Maxwell case. With our research we highlight the complex pathway where self-assembling systems reach their equilibrium ground state, involving persistent and long-lived kinetically arrested states which give rise to unusual mechanics and highly heterogeneous spinodal structures.

Chapter 5 brought us towards more applicable materials where we develop a highly tunable composite network based on orthogonal supramolecular interactions. For such a design we generate multivalent nanoparticle tectons, which are subsequently linked together into network structures, using metal-coordination interactions. Materials built this way are highly tunable with moduli and viscosities spanning many orders of magnitude.

In the remainder of this chapter, we focus on some unresolved and outstanding questions regarding the physical chemistry and properties of supramolecular networks and we will discuss some preliminary data obtained in our efforts to resolve them.

Composite hydrogels of bio-inspired protein polymers : mechanical and structural characterization
Rombouts, W.H. - \ 2015
University. Promotor(en): Jasper van der Gucht. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462575721 - 172
gels - formation - proteins - polymers - networks - mechanical properties - formatie - eiwitten - polymeren - netwerken - mechanische eigenschappen

In this thesis we presented various combinations of custom-designed protein polymers that formed composite hydrogels. In chapter 2, composite hydrogels were prepared by mixing silk-like block copolymers (CP2SE48CP2) with collagen-like block copolymers (T9CR4T9). We found that by adding the collagen-like protein polymer the storage modulus, the critical stress and critical strain values of the composite hydrogels were significantly improved in comparison to the single networks. With cryo-transmission electron microscopy (cryo-TEM) we observed that the silk-like fibers were bundled in the presence of the collagen-like protein polymer, probably due to depletion attraction interactions. In follow-up research on these composite hydrogels in chapter 3, we tried to get more insight into the exact toughening mechanism and self-healing capabilities of the composite network by performing cyclic loading/unloading tests. We found that mechanical hysteresis occurred in these composite hydrogels. The energy that was dissipated could be split into two contributions: a part belonging to the permanent rupture of silk-like fibers, and a viscoelastic part belonging to the assembly and disassembly of collagen-like triple helices. Both these contributions increased as the concentration of the collagen-like protein polymer in the composite network was increased, resulting in toughening of the composite network. Furthermore, it was observed that the silk-like fiber network was not able to recover, while the composites could recover up to 70% of the original storage modulus after failure. In chapter 4 we studied composite networks of silk-like block copolymers (CP2SE48CP2) and a FMOC-functionalized dipeptide (FMOC-LG) which could both form fibers. With cryo-TEM and atomic force microscopy (AFM) we found that two different types of fibers were formed, indicating that orthogonal self-assembly occurred in this system. We found with rheology that the storage moduli of the composite fiber networks were significantly higher (75 kPa vs. 400 kPa) than that of the single networks. Strain-hardening present in the FMOC-LG fiber network disappeared when the silk-like protein polymer was present. In chapter 5 hydrogels with both physical and chemical crosslinks were prepared from collagen-like protein polymers (T9CRT9). The chemical crosslinks were introduced by crosslinking lysine residues present in the random-coil middle blocks with glutaraldehyde. We found with rheology that the order in which the physical and chemical networks were formed did not influence the final storage modulus of the hydrogel. Depending on the amount of glutaraldehyde added we found an increase of up to an order of magnitude in the storage modulus for the collagen-like hydrogels. To investigate effects on the nonlinear rheological properties cyclic loading/unloading tests were performed. It was observed that before hydrogel failure occurred no hysteresis was observed between consecutive cycles. Both physical and chemical crosslinks ruptured when the hydrogel was fractured. In chapter 6 we studied hydrogels formed by the co- assembly of an asymmetric silk-collagen-like protein polymer (SH8CR4T9) with a symmetric oppositely charged silk-like protein polymer (CP2SE48CP2). This was done in a step-wise approach: (1) the S blocks were co-assembled into silk-like fibers. (2) the T blocks were assembled into triple helical nodes by reducing the temperature. We confirmed with confocal laser scanning microscopy and NMR that both monomers were present in the same fibers. With rheology we found that these composite hydrogels did respond in a reversible manner to temperature changes, with which the mechanical strength of the hydrogel can be tuned. In chapter 7 hydrogel formation of a modified silk-like protein polymer with a cysteine-residue attached to the C-terminal side (CP2SH48CP2-Cys) was studied. With rheology we showed that hydrogels that were formed in oxidizing conditions, where disulfide-bridges could form, were much stronger than those formed in reducing conditions. Both hydrogels formed in oxidizing and reducing conditions showed a scaling of modulus versus concentration consistent with entangled semi-flexible networks. This result implied that the disulfide-bridges formed between cysteine-residues formed loops in the coronae of the fibers. The increase in mechanical strength of the fibers was related to the increase in persistence length of the fibers in oxidizing conditions observed with AFM. With self-consistent field theory-simulations it was shown that the formation of loops in the corona resulted in a slight reduction of the lateral pressure in the corona of the fibers. However, this effect is by itself not sufficient to cause a significant change in persistence length. Due to the reduction in lateral pressure, the stacking of monomers into fibers is probably influenced: fibers with a more crystalline structure and with less detects are formed, resulting in improved mechanical properties of the hydrogels. In the general discussion in chapter 8, we reflect on our work, discuss about future directions of research, and possible applications of protein polymers.

Local institutions and rural development : evidence from Liberia
Beekman, G. - \ 2015
University. Promotor(en): Erwin Bulte, co-promotor(en): Lonneke Nillesen. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462575080 - 200
plattelandsontwikkeling - gezinnen - netwerken - lokale netwerken - sociale netwerken - instellingen - micro-economische analyse - micro-economie - economische ontwikkeling - landbouwontwikkeling - liberia - west-afrika - rural development - families - networks - local area networks - social networks - institutions - microeconomic analysis - microeconomics - economic development - agricultural development - west africa

Local institutions and rural development: Evidence from Liberia

This thesis focusses on the role of local (informal) institutions for development, based on data from Liberia. I show that dense family networks can be an obstacle for economic decision making, due to strict income sharing obligations that often belong to them. I also demonstrate the importance of local governance quality: corrupt village leaders negatively affect daily investment decisions by villagers. Finally, I evaluate the impact of a rural development project that aims to strengthen food security and social cohesion between villagers. The results indicate that the impact is marginal at most, and local institutions again do play a role.

Institutions are difficult to change, as they are rooted in an historical context. However, policy makers could support the emergence of alternative institutions. Either way, a deeper understanding of the far-going impact of local institutions is important: this research contributes to that.

Towards food autonomy: connectivity and self-help groups in Hisar, India
Singh, S. - \ 2015
University. Promotor(en): Guido Ruivenkamp; Han Wiskerke, co-promotor(en): Joost Jongerden. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462574922 - 228
landbouw bedrijven in het klein - voedsel - autonomie - voedselproductie - voedselconsumptie - zelfhulp - samenwerking - boerenstand - plattelandsgemeenschappen - netwerken - ondernemerschap - mungbonen - landbouwontwikkeling - rurale sociologie - india - peasant farming - food - autonomy - food production - food consumption - self help - cooperation - peasantry - rural communities - networks - entrepreneurship - mung beans - agricultural development - rural sociology

Keywords: self-help groups, connectivity, food autonomy, peasants, micro-enterprise

Towards Food Autonomy: Connectivity and Self-help Groups in Hisar, India

PhD Thesis

Shweta Singh

Rural Sociology Group, Wageningen University, Netherlands

Abstract Food autonomy requires consideration of the various connectivity and self-help action organizing by the peasants’ communities. The socio-spatial organization of mung-bean production, household processing and consumption practices in Hisar district of Haryana-India are studied. The socio-spatial organization of food connects agriculture to its local environment, the regionally tied agriculture produce to local consumption patterns, and food production and consumption to livelihood and health, which are enabled by the abilities and practices of peasants and stimulate food autonomy. The connections are related to mung-bean food qualities at various levels of production, processing and consumption. Local mung-bean preferences of producers, processors, consumers and the market conditions are studied. It showed that local mung-bean food qualities related to suitability in the local cropping system, processing requirement (short cooking-time, better consistency and appearance) and consumption choice (easy to cook, healthy food). Mung-bean market conditions indicated that the market works against peasants (traders and urban processors are winners). However, the producers’ viewpoint on mung-bean processing at the community level is linked to the creation of new social relations in the mung-bean food network to strengthen the territorial connectivity of mung-bean for reinforcing mung-bean food autonomy. The possibilities of Self-Help Group (SHG) and SHG-based (food) Micro-Enterprise (ME) developments were discussed. In reviewing the literature on SHGs and previous empirical studies, various factors were identified that contribute to a success or failure of a functioning of SHG. These include full participation from and homogeneity among members, and clear group goals and transparency in group operations and functioning. The SHG mung-bean food-based ME initiated in Mangali village of Hisar was studied, to investigate ways in which this group functions. Results revealed three identifiable roles of the self-help peasants’ group: i) it consolidates local mung-bean food production, local resources and motivations of the peasants; ii) it develops another perspective of development based upon a more localized choice for processing, distributing, marketing and accessing local mung-bean food; and iii) it empowers local people (especially peasants and the poor rural community) and strengthens the connectivity between local mung-bean production and consumption. The need remains for technological efforts to address the specific location of peasant resources while in the SHG there is clearly a need to restore or redefine collective responsibility.

Seeds, food networks and politics: different ontologies in relation to food sovereignty in Ecuador
Martinez Flores, L.A. - \ 2015
University. Promotor(en): Guido Ruivenkamp; Han Wiskerke, co-promotor(en): Joost Jongerden. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462574908 - 194
voedselsoevereiniteit - landbouw bedrijven in het klein - gemeenschappen - voedsel - netwerken - ontologieën - zaden - politiek - lupinus - voedselketens - landbouwbeleid - overheidsbeleid - etnografie - andes - ecuador - food sovereignty - peasant farming - communities - food - networks - ontologies - seeds - politics - food chains - agricultural policy - government policy - ethnography

Abstract

In this thesis I explore the ontological proposal of food sovereignty and I discuss the possibilities offered by studies like this one to the attempts of the social sciences to explain – in a symmetrical fashion - that develop between humans and other entities at the time of production, processing and consumption of food. In this effort I combine ethnography and history.

I argue that in countries like Ecuador, food networks such as that of the lupine, Lupino mutabilis Sweet, since they do not establish ontological differences between nature and culture, promote the implementation of food sovereignty in practice, as long as agricultural and science and technology (S&T) policies enable the autonomous development of such networks. More specifically, food networks in the Andean highlands have functioned in a rhizomatic way, without establishing hierarchies between entities of different ontology: foods as goods or foods as gifts, society and nature, and have spread without discontinuities between town and country. This analysis enables me to show that these networks can promote food sovereignty, because in them is condensed an ontology distinct from that of modernity with regard to the cultivation, processing and consumption of food. Considering these findings I analyse the rationality of S&T policies and the current policies of the Ecuadorian State. I argue that such policies go against the logic of food networks. Food sovereignty is an achievable goal if Ecuadorian government policies contribute to the strengthening of food networks, creating new links so that they can sidestep the agribusiness model.

The organisation of this thesis is unusual, as the object of study is a food network. This forced me to research and structure this dissertation in a particular way. So, I start with the ethnographic explanation of a food network. Here I analyse its operation, relationships and the paths it establishes. From this analysis it is possible to understand why S&T policies, specifically those related to plant breeding, created new social relations that affected the food networks of the highlands. I show here how the modern rationality on which agricultural policies are based inhibits the growth of food networks and works against food sovereignty. Then, from the analysis of the formation of the food sovereignty network, I examine the introduction of the food sovereignty proposal into the Ecuadorian Constitution and the changes made to the original proposal. I show how the translation of the Via Campesina proposal present in the constitution and the subsequent law is possible due to the intervention of actors linked with the big businesses of the food trade. All this enables me, finally, to discuss my contribution: the analysis of the ontological promise present in the food sovereignty proposal.

Dierenwelzijn in groen onderwijs
Ruis, M.A.W. ; Man, A. de - \ 2015
Tijdschrift voor Diergeneeskunde 140 (2015)7. - ISSN 0040-7453 - p. 16 - 16.
dierenwelzijn - agrarisch onderwijs - middelbaar beroepsonderwijs - kennisoverdracht - lesmaterialen - informatieverspreiding - netwerken - samenwerking - animal welfare - agricultural education - intermediate vocational training - knowledge transfer - teaching materials - diffusion of information - networks - cooperation
Dutch City Network feeds the Innovation of Urban Agriculture
Jansma, J.E. ; Veen, E.J. ; Kop, P.J. van de; Eijk, O.N.M. van - \ 2015
Urban Agriculture Magazine 28 (2015). - ISSN 1571-6244 - p. 38 - 41.
urban areas - urban society - urban agriculture - networks - innovations - cooperation - knowledge transfer - stedelijke gebieden - stedelijke samenleving - stadslandbouw - netwerken - innovaties - samenwerking - kennisoverdracht
Since 2010, the Dutch City Network on Urban Agriculture (Stedennetwerk in Dutch), has linked up civil servants of fourteen cities in order to see opportunities, share knowledge and solve issues on urban agriculture in their cities. Though it started as an internally focused network for civil servants to learn and share experiences, the network gradually evolved into a more outward-oriented Community of Practice that seeks to incorporate a broader range of participants. Participants developed an urban agriculture charter to influence local and national policies in support of urban agriculture.
Systems biology of plant molecular networks: from networks to models
Valentim, F.L. - \ 2015
University. Promotor(en): Gerco Angenent, co-promotor(en): Aalt-Jan van Dijk. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462572171 - 139
systeembiologie - netwerken - modellen - genetische regulatie - genexpressie - planten - moleculaire biologie - systems biology - networks - models - genetic regulation - gene expression - plants - molecular biology

Developmental processes are controlled by regulatory networks (GRNs), which are tightly

coordinated networks of transcription factors (TFs) that activate and repress gene expression

within a spatial and temporal context. In Arabidopsis thaliana, the key components and network

structures of the GRNs controlling major plant reproduction processes, such as floral transition

and floral organ identity specification, have been comprehensively unveiled. This thanks to

advances in ‘omics’ technologies combined with genetic approaches. Yet, because of the

multidimensional nature of the data and because of the complexity of the regulatory

mechanisms, there is a clear need to analyse these data in such a way that we can understand

how TFs control complex traits. The use of mathematical modelling facilitates the

representation of the dynamics of a GRN and enables better insight into GRN complexity; while

multidimensional data analysis enables the identification of properties that connect different

layers from genotype-to-phenotype. Mathematical modelling and multidimensional data

analysis are both parts of a systems biology approach, and this thesis presents the application of

both types of systems biology approaches to flowering GRNs.

Chapter 1 comprehensively reviews advances in understanding of GRNs underlying plant

reproduction processes, as well as mathematical models and multidimensional data analysis

approaches to study plant systems biology. As discussed in Chapter 1, an important aspect of

understanding these GRNs is how perturbations in one part of the network are transmitted to

other parts, and ultimately how this results in changes in phenotype. Given the complexity of

recent versions of Arabidopsis GRNs - which involves highly-connected, non-linear networks

of TFs, microRNAs, movable factors, hormones and chromatin modifying proteins - it is not

possible to predict the effect of gene perturbations on e.g. flowering time in an intuitive way by

just looking at the network structure. Therefore, mathematical modelling plays an important role

in providing a quantitative understanding of GRNs. In addition, aspects of multidimensional

data analysis for understanding GRNs underlying plant reproduction are also discussed in the

first Chapter. This includes not only the integration of experimental data, e.g. transcriptomics

with protein-DNA binding profiling, but also the integration of different types of networks

identified by ‘omics’ approaches, e.g. protein-protein interaction networks and gene regulatory

networks.

Chapter 2 describes a mathematical model for representing the dynamics of key genes in the

GRN of flowering time control. We modelled with ordinary differential equations (ODEs) the

physical interactions and regulatory relationships of a set of core genes controlling Arabidopsis

flowering time in order to quantitatively analyse the relationship between their expression levels

and the flowering time response. We considered a core GRN composed of eight TFs: SHORT

VEGETATIVE PHASE (SVP), FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC), AGAMOUS-LIKE 24 (AGL24),

SUPPRESSOR OF OVEREXPRESSION OF CONSTANS 1 (SOC1), APETALA1 (AP1),

FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT), LEAFY (LFY) and FD. The connections and interactions

amongst these components are justified based on experimental data, and the model is

parameterised by fitting the equations to quantitative data on gene expression and flowering

time. Then the model is validated with transcript data from a range of mutants. We verify that

the model is able to describe some quantitative patterns seen in expression data under genetic

perturbations, which supported the credibility of the model and its dynamic properties. The

proposed model is able to predict the flowering time by assessing changes in the expression of

the orchestrator of floral transition AP1. Overall, the work presents a framework, which allows

addressing how different quantitative inputs are combined into a single quantitative output, i.e.

the timing of flowering. The model allowed studying the established genetic regulations, and we

discuss in Chapter 5 the steps towards using the proposed framework to zoom in and obtain new

insides about the molecular mechanisms underlying the regulations.

Systems biology does not only involve the use of dynamic modelling but also the development

of approaches for multidimensional data analysis that are able to integrate multiple levels of

systems organization. In Chapter 3, we aimed at comprehensively identifying and characterizing

cis-regulatory mutations that have an effect on the GRN of flowering time control. By using

ChIP-seq data and information about known DNA binding motifs of TFs involved in plant

reproduction, we identified single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that are highly

discriminative in the classification of the flowering time phenotypes. Often, SNPs that overlap

the position of experimentally determined binding sites (e.g. by ChIP-seq), are considered

putative regulatory SNPs. We showed that regulatory SNPs are difficult to pinpoint among the

sea of polymorphisms localized within binding sites determined by ChIP-seq studies. To

overcome this, we narrowed the resolution by focusing on the subset of SNPs that are located

within ChIP-seq peaks but that are also part of known regulatory motifs. These SNPs were used

as input in a classification algorithm that could predict flowering time of Arabidopsis accessions

relative to Col-0. Our strategy is able to identify SNPs that have a biological link with changes

in flowering time. We then surveyed the literature to formulate hypothesis that explain the

regulatory mechanism underlying the difference in phenotype conferred by a SNP. Examples

include SNPs that disrupt the flowering time gene FT; in which the mutation presumably disrupts the binding region of SVP. In Chapter 5 we discuss the steps towards extending our approach to obtain a more comprehensive survey of variants that have an effect on the flowering time control.

In Chapter 4, we propose a method for genome-wide prediction of protein-protein interaction

(PPI) sites form the Arabidopsis interactome. Our method, named SLIDERbio, uses features

encoded in the sequence of proteins and their interactions to predict PPI sites. More specifically,

our method mines PPI networks to find over-represented sequence motifs in pairs of interacting

proteins. In addition, the inter-species conservation of these over-represented motifs, as well as

their predicted surface accessibility, are take into account to compute the likelihood of these

motifs being located in a PPI site. Our results suggested that motifs overrepresented in pairs of

interacting proteins that are conserved across orthologs and that have high predicted surface

accessibility, are in general good putative interaction sites. We applied our method to obtain

interactome-wide predictions for Arabidopsis proteins. The results were explored to formulate

testable hypothesis for the molecular mechanisms underlying effects of spontaneous or induced

mutagenesis on e.g. ZEITLUPE, CXIP1 and SHY2 (proteins relevant for flowering time). In

addition, we showed that the binding sites are under stronger selective pressure than the overall

protein sequence, and that this may be used to link sequence variability to functional

divergence.

Finally, Chapter 5 concludes this thesis and describes future perspectives in systems biology

applied to the study of GRNs underlying plant reproduction processes. Two key directions are

often followed in systems biology: 1) compiling systems-wide snapshots in which the

relationships and interactions between the molecules of a system are comprehensively

represented; and 2) generating accurate experimental data that can be used as input for the

modelling concepts and techniques or multi-dimensional data analysis. Highlighted in Chapter 5

are the limitations in key steps within the systems biology framework applied to GRN studies.

In addition, I discussed improvements and extensions that we envision for our model related to

the GRN underlying the control of flowering time. Future steps for multi-dimensional data

analysis are also discussed. To sum up, I discussed how to connect the different technologies

developed in this thesis towards understanding the interplay between the roles of the genes,

developmental stages and environmental conditions.

Agricultural practice and water quality on farms benefiting from derogation : Design and organisation of the monitoring network for 2006-2009 and annual reports from 2008 onwards
Fraters, B. ; Leeuwen, T.C. van; Reijs, J.W. ; Boumans, L.J.M. ; Aarts, H.F.M. ; Daatselaar, C.H.G. ; Doornewaard, G.J. ; Hoop, D.W. de; Schroder, J.J. ; Velthof, G.L. ; Zwart, M.H. - \ 2014
Bilthoven : RIVM (RIVM report 68717002/2007) - 53
veehouderij - veehouderijbedrijven - monitoring - netwerken - dierlijke meststoffen - nitraten - grondwaterkwaliteit - bemesting - gewasopbrengst - richtlijnen (directives) - eu regelingen - livestock farming - livestock enterprises - networks - animal manures - nitrates - groundwater quality - fertilizer application - crop yield - directives - eu regulations
Het RIVM en het LEI hebben in 2006 in Nederland een monitoringnetwerk opgezet dat de gevolgen meet als landbouwbedrijven mogen afwijken (derogatie) van de Europese gebruiksnorm voor dierlijke mest. Het meetnet volgt 300 landbouwbedrijven die zich hebben aangemeld voor derogatie. Het legt de gevolgen vast voor de landbouwpraktijk en de waterkwaliteit. In dit rapport is de opzet van het monitoringnetwerk beschreven, evenals de wijze waarop vanaf 2008 over de resultaten zal worden gerapporteerd. Het rapport geeft onder andere aan wanneer welke cijfers beschikbaar zijn, en welke rekenmethoden gebruikt zullen worden om onder andere de bemesting en gewasopbrengst te berekenen.
Op zoek naar het duurzame landschap, hoe wetenschap en praktijk van elkaar leren
Opdam, P.F.M. - \ 2014
Wageningen : Alterra, Wageningen-UR - 44
landschapsecologie - groene infrastructuur - ruimtelijke ordening - duurzame ontwikkeling - landschapsbeheer - wetenschappelijk onderzoek - netwerken - landschapsplanning - participatie - ecosysteemdiensten - governance - landscape ecology - green infrastructure - physical planning - sustainable development - landscape management - scientific research - networks - landscape planning - participation - ecosystem services
Binnen de wetenschap wordt vooruitgang vaak gestuurd door voort te bouwen op bestaande methoden. Dat betekent vaak innovatie met kleine stapjes binnen de eigen discipline. Een vraag uit de praktijk daarentegen daagt uit tot grote stappen en tot combineren van kennis uit allerlei wetenschappelijke disciplines. De auteur is vanuit zijn landschapsecologische basis op zoek gegaan naar raakpunten in de sociale wetenschappen, zoals de ruimtelijke planning en de bestuurskunde. Dit boekje is het verslag van die zoektocht, met verrassende ontdekkingen.
Governance innovation networks for sustainable tuna
Miller, A.M.M. - \ 2014
University. Promotor(en): Arthur Mol, co-promotor(en): Simon Bush. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462570252 - 194
tonijn - zeevisserij - governance - duurzaamheid (sustainability) - regelingen - netwerken - innovaties - milieubeleid - tuna - marine fisheries - sustainability - regulations - networks - innovations - environmental policy

Governance Innovation Networks for Sustainable Tuna

Alice M.M. Miller

Tuna fisheries are among the most highly capitalised and valuable fisheries in the world and their exploitation will continue for the foreseeable future. This means the sustainability of tuna stocks is a pressing global issue that has received attention from a wide range of societal actors. The analysis presented in this thesis investigates governance innovation networks to understand how interdependent governance arrangements for production and consumption in the tuna global production networks, steer and shape processes of sustainability innovation.

The question this research seeks to answer is how do different market- and state-led governance innovations advance the governance of sustainable tuna? Using the analytical lens of global production networks, four different governance innovations for sustainability in tuna fisheries in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, targeting European and North American markets are examined. More specifically: state-led governance innovations in the West and Central Pacific Ocean both through regional bodies and through the interaction between the EU and the Pacific Islands countries; and market-led innovations through the implementation of private standards for certifying tuna fisheries and the firm-NGO development and implementation of consumer-facing traceability systems.

The cases in this thesis indicate that the state- and market-led distinction is inadequate for understanding sustainability governance in the tuna global production network. Instead, different efforts to both frame and deal with issues surrounding sustainability in the tuna global production network sees actors produce innovative instruments to influence production and consumption practices and that these instruments interact with each other and with different actors to form actor-instrument arrangements. This interaction leads to a reclassification of actor roles away from their assignation as standard state, market and NGO and in turn, this reclassification presents us with the need to form different concepts of power. Therefore, through governance innovation networks we can understand how the interaction between actors and instruments is reconfiguring global production networks when sustainability moves to the fore.

Networking, social capital and gender roles in the cotton system in Benin
Maboudou Alidou, G. - \ 2014
University. Promotor(en): Anke Niehof, co-promotor(en): Jarl Kampen. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462570634 - 187
katoen - productie - boeren - landbouwhuishoudens - boerenorganisaties - sociaal kapitaal - netwerken - geslacht (gender) - strategieën voor levensonderhoud - benin - cotton - production - farmers - agricultural households - farmers' associations - social capital - networks - gender - livelihood strategies

Cotton production in Benin, West Africa, is intertwined with colonialism, which contributed to the trans­formation of the crop’s production system from traditional to modern. Through­out the years, the importance of the crop for the stakeholders varied. The last decades have witnessed a growing interest in cotton of farmers, businessmen, and the State. From having a marginal status during the seventies and the first half of the eighties, cotton grew in importance during the nineties, both in terms of area covered and income generated, averaging 37 percent of the total cultivated area in the country. Thus, cotton has a critical cash function and plays a key role in Benin’s economic growth, accounting for an important share in the State’s revenues and farm house­holds incomes. Indeed, the share of cotton exports represented 75 percent of the country’s total agricultural exports during the 2000s, and the crop provided up to 80 percent of rural households incomes in the North. Though cotton is grown throughout the country, its production was always concentrated in the North, where it is embedded in a farming system formerly dominated by food crops. Hence, cotton transformed subsistence farming into semi-subsistence farming.

The central position of the crop in the country’s economy, which loomed large at the beginning of the 1990s, led to agricultural and economic policies being greatly influenced by the crop for decades. The Structural Adjustment Program of the early 1990s prescribed the liberalisation of the cotton sector, which had huge effects on the sector. This resulted in an increased importance of cotton farmer organisations that elapsed into the first ever hierarchical network in the country, and the crop being put at the forefront of agricultural development programs. Enduring benefits for farmers, farming communities, private actors, and the State were derived from that evolution. This gained cotton the status of ‘white gold’. The institutional dynamics that followed in the wake of liberalisation and their corollary of actors’ interactions generated never-ending conflicts of various kinds, particularly within the cotton farmers’ networks. These resulted in atomised networks. As a consequence, the benefits attached to cotton then started to wane and cotton production became a dilemma for farmers, as reflected in a steep decline of cotton production.

This thesis aims at understanding the dynamic interactions between the economic activity of cotton production and the structure of social relations from community to household and individual level. It addresses the question of how farmers’ agency affected their organisations, the cotton system, and the collective action that evolved around the crop. The research was aligned along three main axes: the emergence of breakaway networks, the decline of social cohesion and the squeeze of collective action, and the livelihoods reconstruction after the demise of cotton production. The main theoretical perspectives underlying the conceptual framework were an actor-oriented approach, actor-network theory, livelihood theory, and a gender perspective.

The research is based on fieldwork carried out in four provinces in the North of Benin from January 2009 to April 2011. Benin is a country whose employment capacity and economic growth heavily rely on the agricultural sector, in which cotton is a dominant factor. This is still the case for rural areas in the North, where rural households have been heavily dependent on cotton as a critical cash crop for poverty alleviation. Northern Benin supplies more than 75 percent of the cotton yearly produced in the country, thanks to the favourable agro-ecological conditions prevailing there, and because there is less population pressure than in the southern part. The exploratory phase of the research covered four provinces: Borgou, Alibori, Atacora and Donga. Since the provinces of Borgou and Alibori host the heart of the cotton belt, subsequent data collection progressively focussed on these two provinces.

The research adopted a mixed-methods design, applying quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection. A survey was combined with focus-group discussions, in-depth interviews and the life history method, to unveil the dynamic interactions between social actors and their interactions with the material and technical elements of the cotton system. The life history method was used to document the experience of women leaders that had made them exceptions to the rule among women cotton farmers. Apart from cotton farmers and their leaders, other targets groups of the research, like inputs suppliers and executives of cotton bodies, often had to be found beyond the two provinces in other parts of the country. The research covered eight cotton networks in ten villages in the four provinces. Survey interviews and in-depth interviews were conducted with 148 heads of cotton farming households, men as well as women.

About 80 percent of the farmers in the sample were in their 40s or 50s, and more than half of them had no formal education. Educated women represented only 17 percent of their category, suggesting that male cotton farmers are significantly more educated than their female counterparts. The average household size was 16, with about 11 workers in male adult equivalents. While agriculture is the main occupation and often the only source of income in the area, women turned out to rely less on agricultural incomes than men.

With regard to networking, the process of atomisation resulted in about 20 percent of stayers in remnant networks, 51 percent of joiners of operating networks, and about 28 percent of creators of new networks. It was found that more than three quarters of cotton farmers broke away from their original network at least once during their cotton cropping career, and that creators of new networks were more likely to be leaders than stayers or joiners. The results further tell us that more than one in two cotton farmers (ever) had a leadership position. A significant association was found between these three categories of farmers and leadership status. Finally, a greater stock of social capital was correlated with the ability of leading cotton networks.

The research indicates that the liberalisation of an agricultural value-chain can be harmful rather than beneficial when the State fails to play a coherent role during the shift from State monopoly to private interest. Cotton proved to be the lifeline for farmer organisations, and drove collective action in rural areas from the important resources it generated. However, the decline of trust within the networks in conjunction with poor management of cotton resources led to a reversed dynamic that tore networks apart, which resulted in their atomisation. Social relations deteriorated when the financial stakes became higher. As attested by the way the process of network atomisation evolved, cooperation within large groups requires legal sanctions to be sustainable. The qualitative results showed that the process of atomisation was nurtured by ties of friendship, kinship, residence and ethnicity at the start, after which networks extended to include other areas and more general member­­ship. From the survey results it can be inferred that push and pull factors interacted to influence the process of cotton network atomisation. The most influential of these factors were, on the one hand, mismanagement of network resources and manipulation of farmers by outsiders, and, on the other hand, trust in board members, hope for board positions, the expectation of profit, and support from public officials and ethnic or religious connections.

The research further demonstrates that gender myths and stereotypes obstruct women's active involvement in managing organisations, in spite of their key position in the cotton production system at household level. Women were found 21 times less likely to be a leader than men in cotton organisations, and their presence on boards hardly empowered them because they spend their energy struggling to meet practical needs. Women’s admission to cotton boards appears to be instrumental for men and hides men's real motives, judging by the way male board members tend to restrict the power of their female colleagues. However, men are inclined to give more freedom to women when they find their activities benefitting themselves, as was revealed by the data on livelihood adaptation strategies.

The research clearly ascertains that farmers are more rational than often assumed and that they grow a crop as long as it is a source of livelihood and food security. Despite its current low to negative returns, cotton remains part of the livelihood diversification strategies of households because cotton production gives access to fertilisers which can then be used for food crops. However, relying on one source of income puts the livelihood system of rural households at risk. Faced with the cotton problems, households diversified their sources of income, first and primarily on-farm with food crops increasingly gaining a cash function. Additionally, they would deploy beyond-farm alter­native strategies, including migration of youth. It was also found that the decline of cotton production proved to result in more freedom for women. Because of their multiple extra-domestic activities, women are less vulnerable than men when it comes to coping with livelihood shortages. Their contribution to the provision for house­hold needs increased during the decline of cotton production and the ensuing income shortages compared to that of men. The livelihood adaptation strategies showed the decision making about income diversification to move from the centre of the household to its periphery.

Governance of global organic agro-food networks from Africa
Glin, L.C. - \ 2014
University. Promotor(en): Arthur Mol, co-promotor(en): Peter Oosterveer. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462570245 - 200
biologische landbouw - basisproducten - netwerken - samenwerking - milieubeleid - goederenmarkten - beleid - afrika - organic farming - commodities - networks - cooperation - environmental policy - commodity markets - policy - africa

The increasing global concerns with regard to agro-food risks and the subsequent consumerist turn in the global food economy challenges the conventional chemical-intensive agricultural production. In fact, the post-war dominant agro-industrial development fostered the intensive use of chemical inputs, corporate concentration, and standardization of products for mass consumption (Goodman et al. 1987; Raynolds et al. 2007). This prompted a rapid agricultural development, which contributed to overall growth, reducing poverty and food insecurity (Koning and Mol, 2009). Despite the success so far achieved, this Fordist regime generated several externalities on natural ecosystems and human and animal health. In addition, the further modernization of production techniques (for instance the genetically modified organisms) combined with globalization processes extended the scope and character of agro-food risks, which became global and cross-border. The global organization of the food system crystallized the ‘globalization’ of food related risks through the growing time and distance compression and the subsequent intensification of commodity flows and exchanges globally. Thus, to be effectively handled, these risks must be addressed from a global perspective; hence within supra nation-state institutions. In parallel, the concerns about the impacts of chemical use in agriculture also expanded over time to include others, such as animal welfare, food safety, energy use, landscape, biodiversity and climate change (Oosterveer and Sonnenfeld, 2012). However, state-led international regimes (WTO and environmental regimes) failed to adequately address modern agro-food related risks, particularly sustainability issues (including environmental, social, ethical, and animal welfare). However, globalization processes also facilitated networking processes and alliance and coalition buildings between various stakeholders within and across regions, aiming for sustainable food provision; hence the double phenomenon of ‘globalization of agro-food risks’ and the ‘reflexive globalization of alternative agro-food’. Thus, several non-state regimes, i.e. market- and civil society-led mechanisms emerged around standards and labeling schemes to respond to these issues while restructuring agro-food production and trade towards more sustainability and rebuilding consumer trust in food. Organic agro-food production and trade is of particular importance among these non-state regimes as this constitutes a major innovation towards the greening of the (global) agro-food economy and the fastest growing food sector worldwide with around 170% increase from 2002 to 2011 (Sahota, 2013).

In Africa, organic agriculture emerged as response to the environmental and health burden of conventional farming techniques and the growing demand for organic products from the North as a result of the emergence of new consumption patterns. Owing to globalization, agricultural products flows and exchanges between Africa and the other regions of the globe, particularly the Europe Union, have been intensified. The Europe Union is a major destination of most agricultural product exports from Africa. Thus, more demand in sustainable agro-foods in global and EU markets affects agricultural production systems in Africa towards more sustainability. In all, given the particular importance of agricultural exports for national and household economies, the fragility of natural resources and the vulnerability of livelihoods Africa is witnessing the double phenomenon of ‘globalization of agro-food risks’ and the ‘reflexive globalization of alternative agro-food’. In this respect, it may be expected

that the introduction of organic agriculture in Africa could help address the pressing challenges of income generation for smallholder farmers, poverty alleviation, and resilience of production systems and natural resources (land, water, forests, etc.).

Broadly, this thesis aims to contribute to the understanding of the governance arrangements of transnational organic commodity networks from Africa to inform policy makers, development organizations, civil society and business actors as well as scientists and academia about the underlying rationalities and processes, the challenges and prospects of organic agriculture in the continent. More specifically, this research aims to understand the governing (f)actors, i.e. rationalities and processes that steered the development of organic commodity networks from Africa and to highlight whether and how these processes transform civil society-business-state relationships. In this respect, the following research questions are addressed: (1) how did different rationalities and stakeholders initiate and co-structure the development and further transformation of organic commodity networks from Africa across time and space? (2) how is trust (re)created to establish and mediate relationships between the different stakeholders and material substances involved in the production, processing and marketing nodes across the organic commodity networks? (3) how and to what extent have governance arrangements within the organic commodity networks subsequently reshaped civil society-business-state relationships?

For this purpose we adopted a qualitative and holistic methodology by employing the (global) commodity network perspective (See Chapter 2). The commodity network approach is rooted in the (global) commodity chain tradition of investigation and analysis of the links between production, processing, and distribution of commodities. The commodity network perspective aims to provide a more holistic analysis of actors, institutions, and their interrelations. Governance in this lens refers to how social and political as well as economic actors ideologically and materially construct, maintain, transform, and sustain commodity networks (Raynolds, 2004). Purposively, three cases are selected and investigated in this thesis: the organic cotton from Benin, the organic cocoa from Ghana, and the organic sesame from Burkina-Faso.

Prior to these case studies, Chapter 3 provides an overview of organic agriculture in Africa. The trends in certified organic production as well as the history and development of organic agriculture in the continent are presented. The organic sector in Africa is relatively young and dynamic with some nuances and differentiations across sub-regions in terms of orientation, driving forces and leading stakeholders. Overall, the organic sector in Africa relies mainly on NGO networks, private stakeholders and development funds while government support is lacking. However, there are some recent experiences of engagement from state agencies, mostly through public-private partnerships and other hybrid arrangements. Chapter 3 also presents some features of trade and regulation of organic commodities in Africa and highlights the major challenges that face the development of organic agriculture on the continent.

Chapter 4 addresses the case of the organic cotton network from Benin by responding specifically to the question how the organic cotton production–consumption network is governed locally and internationally. The findings reveal that beyond the traditional producer versus buyer dualism, intermediate stakeholders, namely transnational and local environmental NGO networks, are instrumental in the construction, maintenance and transformation of the organic cotton network. It is also apparent that farmers’ leaders play an important role in mediating and (re)building trust among organic farmers, though they exert insufficient vertical power in the organic cotton network to control it. International conferences and events provided important occasions for establishing linkages between organic cotton promoters and businesses, and they strengthened the organic movement. The findings favour widening the concept of Global Value Chain beyond economics by acknowledging and including environmental rationalities and the representatives of their interests, not as external elements, but rather as co-governing or co-structuring factors (or actors) of sustainable value chains.

Chapter 5 presents the case study on the organic cocoa network from Ghana and addresses particularly the question how the state responded to and engaged with civil society actors in the evolving organic cocoa network and to what extent state involvement reshaped state-business-civil society relationships. While most of the literature argues that globalization and liberalization processes weakened the state’s position as key player in the development and management of agro-food networks, the case of the (organic) cocoa sector in Ghana is often depicted as an exception because of the strong position the state still occupies in it. The chapter demonstrates that although the state is still a major player in the contemporary (organic) cocoa network some hybrid governance arrangements, involving state, transnational and national NGO-networks, and businesses, are emerging. It came out that the tendency toward sustainability in the global cocoa industry with its increased attention for transversal critical matters (eradication of child labor, health safety, good farming practices) offers a fertile ground for newcomers (civil society and business actors) and the hybridization of the governance arrangements of the organic cocoa network. The organic cocoa network also prompted a double process of ‘dis- and re-embedding’ at the local level that helped shape and strengthen the organic cocoa network.

Chapter 6 addresses the case study on the organic sesame network from Burkina Faso. Specifically, this chapter examines the structure and development of this network to explain the declining trend in organic sesame export and addresses the question whether the organic sesame network is structurally (re)shaped as a conventional mainstream market or whether it still presents a real alternative to conventional sesame production and trade. For this purpose, the chapter elaborates on the concept of conventionalization of ‘alternative’ food economies from governance perspective. It is found that over the last decade organic sesame is increasingly incorporated into mainstream market channels. But contrary to the well-known case of conventionalization in California, where organic agriculture grew into mainstream agro-food arrangements, this study illustrates a case where organic sesame agriculture shrank into mainstream agro-food arrangements. In fact, the organic sesame trading system is strongly affected by fierce price competition and volatility in the conventional sesame sector and the free market behavior of conventional sesame traders. This makes the organic sesame network vulnerable and permeable to the international commercial pressure from the mainstream conventional sesame market. The weak coherence in the organic sesame chain resulted in failures to vertically mediate information, balance power relationships in and across sesame chains, build trust, and limit price volatility and speculation, resulting in a shrinking organic sesame market. For developing a viable alternative to conventional sesame trading, relations between production and trading nodes in the organic networks need to be strengthened through public-private partnerships, combined with other public and legal reinforcement.

Chapter 7 elaborates on the major findings from the case studies to draw conclusions on the governing (f)actors, i.e. the rationalities and processes that steer the initiation, development and further transformation of the organic commodity networks from Africa. By doing so, this chapter also responds to the research questions of the thesis. From the empirical findings, it came out that various rationalities, stakeholders, processes, values and practices from different spheres (political, environmental, social, and economic) interfere to co-structure and shape the development and life of the commodity network. Several networking processes, different in their scope and importance, are instrumental in the construction, (re)shaping, and (re)configuration of the organic commodity networks. These networking processes include: (1) mobilization of personal social networks and interpersonal social ties; (2) mediation of material and natural resources; (3) market networking and relations and (4) transnational events and gatherings. However, this does not suggest that the governance arrangements and dynamics are linear or similar across the three cases. In fact, it stands out that the degree and relative engagement of each category of stakeholders and rationality evolved over time and differs from one case to another. As Coe et al. (2008: 271) argue unraveling the complexities of the global economy, with its fundamental geographical unevenness and huge inequalities, poses immense conceptual and empirical difficulties. The commodity network perspective applied in this thesis helped to conceptualize and capture the diverse, fluid, and dynamic processes involved in the governance of organic commodities from Africa. The research methodology based on a multi-case study and a qualitative approach unraveled the multifaceted factors, rationalities, processes, and realities of the governance arrangements and dynamics of the organic commodity networks from Africa.

Trust appears to be a major determinant of connectivity and networking among individuals, organizations, places, and material objects involved in the organic commodity networks from local to global level and vice versa. Three trust building mechanisms are identified including trust in persons, trust in organizations/institutions, and trust in things. In organic commodity networks practices these forms of trust often intermingle. However, this trust is sometimes challenged because of opportunism, information and power asymmetry, and suspicion between producer groups and traders, potentially resulting in severe consequences for the success of organic commodity networks. In this case, a mediation process (often led by farmer leaders or a third-party, in general a development organization) may be necessary to rebuild trust and reconnect the ties between these categories. Otherwise, this situation may ultimately lead to mistrust and distrust in, and put at risk the viability of the organic commodity network.

It also appears that the governance of organic commodity networks opened up the way for (further) collaboration and partnerships between civil society organizations, private enterprises and public agencies. In fact, throughout the processes of initiation, development and further transformation of the organic commodity networks the relationships between the three key players (State, Businesses, and CSOs) have been reshaped as result of ongoing across sesame chains, build trust, and limit price volatility and speculation, resulting in a shrinking organic sesame market. For developing a viable alternative to conventional sesame trading, relations between production and trading nodes in the organic networks need to be strengthened through public-private partnerships, combined with other public and legal reinforcement.

Chapter 7 elaborates on the major findings from the case studies to draw conclusions on the governing (f)actors, i.e. the rationalities and processes that steer the initiation, development and further transformation of the organic commodity networks from Africa. By doing so, this chapter also responds to the research questions of the thesis. From the empirical findings, it came out that various rationalities, stakeholders, processes, values and practices from different spheres (political, environmental, social, and economic) interfere to co-structure and shape the development and life of the commodity network. Several networking processes, different in their scope and importance, are instrumental in the construction, (re)shaping, and (re)configuration of the organic commodity networks. These networking processes include: (1) mobilization of personal social networks and interpersonal social ties; (2) mediation of material and natural resources; (3) market networking and relations and (4) transnational events and gatherings. However, this does not suggest that the governance arrangements and dynamics are linear or similar across the three cases. In fact, it stands out that the degree and relative engagement of each category of stakeholders and rationality evolved over time and differs from one case to another. As Coe et al. (2008: 271) argue unraveling the complexities of the global economy, with its fundamental geographical unevenness and huge inequalities, poses immense conceptual and empirical difficulties. The commodity network perspective applied in this thesis helped to conceptualize and capture the diverse, fluid, and dynamic processes involved in the governance of organic commodities from Africa. The research methodology based on a multi-case study and a qualitative approach unraveled the multifaceted factors, rationalities, processes, and realities of the governance arrangements and dynamics of the organic commodity networks from Africa.

Trust appears to be a major determinant of connectivity and networking among individuals, organizations, places, and material objects involved in the organic commodity networks from local to global level and vice versa. Three trust building mechanisms are identified including trust in persons, trust in organizations/institutions, and trust in things. In organic commodity networks practices these forms of trust often intermingle. However, this trust is sometimes challenged because of opportunism, information and power asymmetry, and suspicion between producer groups and traders, potentially resulting in severe consequences for the success of organic commodity networks. In this case, a mediation process (often led by farmer leaders or a third-party, in general a development organization) may be necessary to rebuild trust and reconnect the ties between these categories. Otherwise, this situation may ultimately lead to mistrust and distrust in, and put at risk the viability of the organic commodity network.

It also appears that the governance of organic commodity networks opened up the way for (further) collaboration and partnerships between civil society organizations, private enterprises and public agencies. In fact, throughout the processes of initiation, development and further transformation of the organic commodity networks the relationships between the three key players (State, Businesses, and CSOs) have been reshaped as result of ongoing .

Open innovation in the Food Industry: An Evidence Based Guide
Omta, S.W.F. ; Fortuin, F.T.J.M. ; Dijkman, N.C. - \ 2014
Wageningen : Food Valley (1 1) - ISBN 9789082221206
innovaties - voedselindustrie - firma's - netwerken - economische samenwerking - kleine bedrijven - bedrijven - europa - europese unie - richtlijnen (guidelines) - bedrijfsmanagement - innovations - food industry - firms - networks - economic cooperation - small businesses - businesses - europe - european union - guidelines - business management
Naar een dorpshart voor Spijk : een levend dorp met een rijke geschiedenis
Kruit, J. ; Cate, B. ten; Beljaars, D.N.M. - \ 2014
Wageningen : Wageningen UR, Wetenschapswinkel (Rapport / Wageningen UR, Wetenschapswinkel 302) - ISBN 9789461738738 - 60
plattelandsgemeenschappen - participatie - cohesie - netwerken - sociale netwerken - recreatie - bevolkingsafname - gelderse poort - rural communities - participation - cohesion - networks - social networks - recreation - population decrease
De Stichting Actief Spijk staat voor een leefbaar Spijk. Een dorpshart moet hiervoor een belangrijke drager worden. Een plek waar ontmoeten centraal staat en waar ruimte is voor alle dorpsactiviteiten. Een plek die verbonden is met de geweldige natuurlijke omgeving en de rijke steenfabricagegeschiedenis. In het dorpsplan uit 2012 is aangegeven dat passerende recreanten onder meer een rustplek, een eet-en drinkgelegenheid en sanitaire voorzieningen zouden willen hebben. Verder bestaat er bij de bewoners van Spijk behoefte aan een groener dorpsaanzicht. De Stichting Actief Spijk heeft de Wetenschapswinkel van Wageningen UR gevraagd om te helpen een dorpshart vorm te geven. Met aandacht voor ontwikkelingen (kansen) die kunnen bijdragen aan de leefbaarheid van Spijk. In de zomer van 2012 is het project van start gegaan. Er is een onderzoek geweest onder de jeugd van Spijk om te achterhalen wat hun ideeën zijn voor een dorpshart. Daarnaast hebben zes studenten landschapsarchitectuur van Hogeschool Van Hall Larenstein het Gelders Eiland als onderzoeksgebied voor hun afstudeerproject uitgekozen. Ze hebben gekeken naar het bijzondere door de rivier gevormde landschap, de rol van de landbouw in het gebied, de relatie met het water, de industriële activiteiten en haar geschiedenis en de potentie van de recreatie. Soms is ingezoomd op Spijk, en zijn ideeën geschetst voor een nieuw dorpshart. Een begeleidingscommissie met vertegenwoordigers uit de gemeente, Stichting Actief Spijk, diverse experts en de onderzoekers heeft het project regelmatig van feed back voorzien. Verblijven en ontmoeten zijn de kernwoorden voor het nieuwe dorpshart, niet alleen voor de Spijkenaren maar ook voor de bezoekers. Het dorpshart moet het groene karakter van Spijk versterken en goed aansluiten op de directe omgeving van het dorp. De conclusie van het onderzoek is dat Spijk eigenlijk al een ‘dorpshart’ heeft. Het dorpshart zit in de mensen en hun netwerken. Het zijn namelijk de verbindingen die het dorpshart ‘maken’: een divers, complex en sterk netwerk dat je Spijk zou kunnen noemen.
Management of innovation in networks and alliances
Garbade, P.J.P. - \ 2014
University. Promotor(en): Onno Omta, co-promotor(en): Frances Fortuin. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789461738127 - 125
innovaties - bedrijfsvoering - netwerken - samenwerking - fusies - strategisch management - prestatieniveau - marktconcurrentie - innovations - management - networks - cooperation - mergers - strategic management - performance - market competition
To remain competitive in a world of global competition a company has to adapt to changing situations at an increasing speed. This book discusses the important topic of the management of innovation in inter-organizational networks by focusing on the management of innovation both at the network level and at the strategic alliance level of the individual company.
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