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.

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Triggering regime change: A comparative analysis of the performance of innovation platforms that attempted to change the institutional context for nine agricultural domains in West Africa
Hounkonnou, Dominique ; Brouwers, Jan ; Huis, Arnold Van; Jiggins, Janice ; Kossou, Dansou ; Röling, N.G. ; Sakyi-dawson, Owuraku ; Traoré, Mamoudou - \ 2018
Agricultural Systems 165 (2018). - ISSN 0308-521X - p. 296 - 309.
The article synthesises the experiences of innovation platforms (IPs) that engaged in open-ended experimental action to improve the institutional context for smallholder farm development in West Africa. The IPs sought change at the level of the institutional regime covering an entire agricultural domain (such as cocoa, cotton, oil palm or water management). Their purpose was therefore not to ‘roll out’ farm-level technologies across rural communities. The IPs's outcomes were documented and analysed throughout by means of theory-based process tracing in each of seven of the nine domains in which regime change was attempted. The evidence shows that by means of exploratory scoping and diagnosis, socio-technical and institutional experimentation, and guided facilitation IPs can remove, by-pass, or modify domain-specific institutional constraints and/or create new institutional conditions that allow smallholders to capture opportunity. The article describes the 5-year, €4.5 million research programme in Benin, Ghana and Mali, covering theory, design, methods and results. It is the sequel to Hounkonnou et al. in AGSY 108 (2012): 74–83.
External influences on agro-enterprise innovation platforms in Benin, Ghana and Mali – Options for effective responses
Essegbey, George O. ; Sakyi-Dawson, Owuraku ; Kossou, Dansou ; Ouologuem, Bara ; Dembele, Fidiala ; Adu-Acheampong, Richard ; Jiggins, Janice - \ 2017
Cahiers Agricultures 26 (2017)4. - ISSN 1777-5949 - 9 p.
This paper discusses external influences on innovation platforms (IPs) and the options for effective responses. The platforms examined in this paper were conceived as vehicles for facilitating institutional change in support of innovation that benefits smallholders, in selected agro-enterprise domains in Benin, Ghana and Mali. They were designed and implemented in a manner that enabled experimentation with processes of change in the selected domains. A Research Associate in each case facilitated the work of the IPs and applied Theory-Guided Process Tracing (TGPT) methodology to document the innovation processes pursued by platform members. The recorded data allow analysis of the external influences on the IPs. This paper first presents a typology as derived from literature of the main external influences on the domains of interest, and then uses the typology to analyse the influences on and responses of the IPs. The main influences were found to emanate from global, sub-regional and national levels. The IPs' responses were diverse but generally included reconstitution of the membership, lobbying, capacity-building among smallholders, and empowerment of smallholders by organizing provision of new knowledge, skills or financial resources. The paper highlights lessons drawn by the platform members in addressing the challenges involved. It concludes that external influences are important in determining the direction of socio-technical and institutional innovation.
An innovation platform for institutional change in Ghana's cocoa sector
Adu-Acheampong, Richard ; Jiggins, J.L.S. ; Quartey, Ebenezer Tei ; Karikari, Nana Maxwell ; Jonfia-Essien, William ; Quarshie, Edward ; Osei-Fosu, Paul ; Amuzu, Maxwell ; Afari-Mintah, Charles ; Ofori-Frimpong, Kwasi ; Sakyi-dawson, Owuraku - \ 2017
Cahiers Agricultures 26 (2017)3. - ISSN 1777-5949
Cocoa - Pest control - Price formation - Stakeholder-led change - Value chain

Cocoa is a major source of employment, smallholder farmers' incomes, and export revenue in Ghana. However, by 2010 institutional constraints throughout the value chain were failing to sustain bean quality and cocoa production. A national-level innovation platform, comprising key public and private actors in the cocoa sector, was established in 2010 to analyse and act to address this concern. The members' initial inquiries revealed that: farmers indirectly were paying for the national mass spraying and Hi-Tech input programmes, both provided free at the point of delivery. As the largest components in the cost structure, these programmes to a large extent accounted for the low price paid to farmers for their beans; a volatile exchange rate regime meant that often the prevailing rate was not equal to its equilibrium level; policies that heavily taxed cocoa were destroying farmers' expectation of long-term profitability. This paper draws on data recorded from the beginning 2009 to end 2013 by means of theory-guided process tracing 5(TGPT), to show how the platform contributed to increased prices for farmers, to subsequent reform of the input supply arrangements, and to changes to the mass spraying programme. The key causal mechanisms identified are policy learning and progressive amendment of existing institutions. The paper concludes by drawing lessons for the role of an innovation platform.

Innovation platforms and projects to support smallholder development - Experiences from Sub-Saharan Africa
Jiggins, J.L.S. ; Hounkonnou, Dominique ; Sakyi-Dawson, Owuraku ; Kossou, Dansou ; Traoré, Mamoudou ; Röling, N.G. ; Huis, Arnold van - \ 2016
Cahiers Agricultures 25 (2016)6. - ISSN 1777-5949
Agro-enterprises - Innovation platforms - Institutional change

Innovation as a policy goal, normative practice, and a conceptual framing of purposeful human activity, has received increasing attention. The question of what kinds of purposeful innovation might benefit smallholders in developing countries has been raised. This issue presents and analyses the work of Innovation Platforms (IPs) established by the COS-SIS (Convergence of Sciences-Strengthening Innovation Systems) programme in nine agro-enterprise domains in West Africa, drawing on Theory Guided Process Inquiry data recorded through 2011-end 2013. Six papers synthesise individual IP experiences, complemented by a cross-case analysis of external influences on the IPs and their responses, a reflection on how well the IPs in Mali dealt with local conflicts, and an analysis of how the work of the IPs in Ghana led to changes in university curricula and in the researching practices of three leading agricultural institutes. An analysis of thirteen case studies from Kenya, Benin, and South Africa supported by the JOLISAA (Joint learning in and about Innovation Systems in African Agriculture) programme, adds further insights. Five general lessons are drawn, expressed as propositions that can be further tested against others' experiences: (i) IPs can bring about significant socio-technical and institutional changes at a range of levels, and in a wide variety of agro-enterprise domains and contexts; (ii) the IPs are not isolated from nor independent of the networks of influence in which they are embedded; thus they cannot be treated as the sole causal agents of the changes accomplished; (iii) research that tracks the IPs' work and performance provides evidence that enables the members to learn from experience and adjust activities in the light of effects; (iv) there is no blueprint for what an IP is nor a recipe for the processes by which such changes are brought about; the form, activities, and changes co-evolve with whatever is happening in the wider context; (v) field-based diagnosis of opportunity, evidence-based information-sharing and experimental exploration of pathways of change establish the legitimacy and influence of IPs.

Embedding research for innovation to meet societal needs in national research systems : Experiences from Ghana
Osei-Amponsah, Charity ; Sakyi-Dawson, Owuraku ; Adjei-Nsiah, Samuel ; Adu-Acheampong, Richard ; Essegbey, George ; Quarmine, William - \ 2016
Cahiers Agricultures 25 (2016)6. - ISSN 1777-5949
Cocoa - Cross-scale agricultural transformations - Ghana - Innovation platforms - Institutional innovation - Oil palm

The experiences synthesised in this article indicate how significant effects in two agricultural domains have been achieved by creating pathways for inter-dependent socio-technical and institutional changes, at a range of levels of action, governance and policy-making. The synthesis emphasizes the importance of co-learning, experimentation, and critical reflection among a wide network of 'champions' of transformational change on behalf of smallholder farmers and processors. It shows that innovation processes may involve actors along entire value chains, industry leaders at national level, or local level actors seeking to widen the space for change beyond their immediate circle of direct influence. While the research and development initiatives of the domains are shown to have been critical in identifying the constraints and opportunities of smallholders, and also to the effects documented, this was largely because the research effort converged around empirically grounded problems and opportunities identified. The information sought, and the solutions found useful, were determined by the members of innovation platforms that drove the processes of change.

Facilitating institutional change in West Africa: the CoS–SIS experience
Adjei-Nsiah, S. ; Sakyi-Dawson, O. ; Klerkx, L.W.A. - \ 2014
In: Proceedings of the International Workshop on Agricultural Innovation Systems in Africa (AISA) : Innovation in smallholder farming in Africa: recent advances & recommendations. - Montpellier : CIRAD - p. 18 - 25.
The Convergence of Sciences–Strengthening Innovation Systems (CoS–SIS) programme is based on the premise that the livelihood of the African smallholder farmer is constrained by the existence and/or performance of formal and informal institutions that are not conducive to small-farm development. CoS–SIS employs nine platforms in Ghana, Benin and Mali – “Concertation and Innovation Groups” (CIGs) – that aim to facilitate institutional change above the farm level (e.g. rules and regulations, bylaws, policies, interaction patterns in the value chain), in order to create a conducive environment for farm-level innovation, which is also often linked to technical innovation. Issues that should be taken into consideration when implementing an innovation platform include: conditions external to the platform, power relations within and outside the platform, role of research and development, capacity building of stakeholders, scaling up and sustainability. Lesson learnt include the need to: i) build motivation and manage expectations from the start; ii) get the right representation of actors on the platform; iii) invest in time; iv) manage power imbalances and mitigate power relations; v) create opportunities and seize them when they arise; vi) be sensitive to gender dynamics; vii) adjust platform membership when the need arises; viii) monitor external factors; and ix) embed critical platform functions in the existing structures. Some challenges encountered were: i) high expectations from platform members; ii) tight work schedules of some of the platform members, especially actors from the public sector; iii) how to sustain platform activities when funding ceases; and iv) influence of external factors such as government policy, political changes and changes in commodity price on platform activities.
Did the price-related reforms in Ghana's cocoa sector favour farmers?
Quarmine, W. ; Haagsma, R. ; Huis, A. van; Sakyi-Dawson, O. ; Obeng-Ofori, D. ; Asante, F. - \ 2014
International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability 12 (2014)3. - ISSN 1473-5903 - p. 248 - 262.
cointegration
It is generally hypothesized in the innovation systems literature that institutions can create production incentives for farmers. This paper examines whether the introduction in 1984 of the Producer Price Review Committee (PPRC) in Ghana's cocoa sector has improved the transmission of world prices to farmers. We test how fast and to what extent world prices have been transmitted, and also address the stability of the prices received by cocoa farmers. For the period 1960–2011, the results were as follows: (1) the production of cocoa beans depended positively on the prices farmers received and negatively on price variance; (2) the establishment of the PPRC provided higher prices for farmers; and (3) the PPRC's use of the flexible freight on board (FOB) price-setting rule resulted in a better price transmission than the employed cost-plus-margin approach. However, under the FOB price-setting rule, producer price variance rose sharply. We conclude that, although FOB pricing mechanisms are often recommended for markets where prices are institutionally determined, stabilization policies should be factored in to protect farmers against international price fluctuations.
Institutional dimensions of veterinary services reforms: responses to structural adjustment in Northern Ghana
Amankwah, K. ; Klerkx, L.W.A. ; Sakyi-Dawson, O. ; Karbo, N. ; Oosting, S.J. ; Leeuwis, C. ; Zijpp, A.J. van der - \ 2014
International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability 12 (2014)3. - ISSN 1473-5903 - p. 296 - 315.
animal health-services - developing-countries - delivery - innovation - privatization - constraints - provision - economics - systems - world
This study examines the effect of the post-1980s' structural adjustment reforms on the delivery and smallholders' use of veterinary services in two districts in Northern Ghana. Our analytical framework distinguishes between allocative, cognitive, and normative institutions to analyse the effects on four areas of service delivery: (1) prevention; (2) clinical services; (3) provision of drugs, vaccines, and other products; and (4) human health protection. The reforms were accompanied by substantial reductions in the allocation of both financial and human resources to public veterinary services; this in turn induced fragmentation in service supply, preferential service to progressive (or wealthy) farmers, and non-adherence to international protocols for livestock health reporting. A few communities self-organized to access veterinary services. Thus, the reforms triggered changes mostly in formal allocative institutions, but these triggered further changes in informal allocative, cognitive, and normative institutions that structured the impact of the reforms. The paper concludes that institutional change is not a one-off outcome of an intervention. Rather, such interventions trigger new dynamics that policy-makers and analysts need to take into account. This requires regular monitoring of anticipated and unanticipated effects of privatization and decentralization to enable policy adjustment.
The cocoa mirid (Hemiptera: Miridae) problem: evidence to support new recommendations on the timing of insecticide application on cocoa in Ghana
Adu-Acheampong, R. ; Jiggins, J. ; Huis, A. van; Cudjoe, A.R. ; Johnson, V. ; Sakyi-Dawson, O. ; Ofori-Frimpong, K. ; Nyarko Eku-X, N. ; Quarshie, E.T.N. - \ 2014
International Journal of Tropical Insect Science 34 (2014)1. - ISSN 1742-7584 - p. 58 - 71.
genotypes - africa - farm
The government’s cocoa spraying gangs in Ghana treat about two million hectares of the crop against black pod disease and mirids, the key insect pests of cocoa in West Africa, each August through to December, based on recommendations issued in the 1950s. A few cocoa farmers use additional pesticides.We studied the temporal distribution of two important mirid species, Distantiella theobroma (Dist.) and Sahlbergella singularis *E-mail: r.aduacheampong@yahoo.co.uk International Journal of Tropical Insect Science Vol. 34, No. 1, pp. 58–71, 2014 doi:10.1017S1742758413000441q icipe 2014 Hagl., in 1991, 1999, 2003 and 2012 to determine the appropriate timing for the application of controlmeasures in current farming systems. There was a significant correlation between mirid abundance and pod availability on trees, as well as the number of basal shoots and the cocoa variety grown. Mirid populations peaked between January and April and from September to October. Surveys (interviews and focus group discussions involving over 300 farmers in 33 cocoa-growing districts) on pesticide use, sources of recommendations, and perceived successes and failures of current cocoa pest treatments suggested that the 1950 recommendations on the timing of insecticide application need revising.
Institutional change and the quality of palm oil: an analysis of the artisanal processing sector in Ghana
Osei-Amponsah, C. ; Stomph, T.J. ; Visser, L.E. ; Sakyi-Dawson, O. ; Adjei-Nsiah, S. ; Struik, P.C. - \ 2014
International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability 12 (2014)3. - ISSN 1473-5903 - p. 233 - 247.
fields
In Ghana, most oil palm fruits are produced by smallholders and processed by female artisanal processors. However, the ensuing crude palm oil (CPO) is high in free fatty acids and therefore cannot be sold in remunerative local or export markets. An earlier diagnostic study indicated that two main factors cause the poor quality: the processing practice of leaving harvested fruits unprocessed for up to 21 days and the use of lorry tyres as fuel to cook the fruits. Furthermore, the tyre-burning practice affects the health of people working and living around the processing facilities. This study describes the effect of action research undertaken with processors and the creation of a stakeholder platform in which Chiefs, the District Assembly, and a Concertation and Innovation Group collaborated to address the issues. The emerging institutional changes are assessed against baseline information. Awareness was raised about the dangers of tyre-burning, and CPO quality was improved by establishing the optimal time to leave fruits before processing. However, the prevailing market circumstances led producers to opt to produce greater quantities of oil rather than better-quality oil.
Five Years After; the Impact of a Participatory Technology Development Programme as Perceived by Smallholder Farmers in Benin and Ghana
Sterk, B. ; Kobina, A.C. ; Gogan, A.C. ; Sakyi-Dawson, O. ; Kossou, D. - \ 2013
Journal of agricultural education and extension 19 (2013)4. - ISSN 1389-224X - p. 361 - 379.
Purpose: The article reports effects on livelihoods of a participatory technology development effort in Benin and Ghana (2001–2006), five years after it ended. Design: The study uses data from all smallholders who participated in seven experimental groups, each facilitated by a PhD researcher. Baseline data and controls were not available. In their dissertations the researchers had each made claims about the impact of their work on the livelihoods of those involved. These claims guided the study in each group, and referred to both impacts based on the superiority of the technology developed, and increased knowledge or capacity that participants claimed to have gained. Two local social scientists interviewed 187 farmers. Findings: The study found considerable evidence of continued beneficial use of technologies developed with farmers. The most important reason for no longer using a technology or institutional innovation was that smallholders had not been able to sustain the conditions for use. Lasting non-technological effects included more mutual understanding among community members, emancipation vis-à-vis researchers and colleagues, and an experimental attitude and research skills. Such effects were recorded for nearly all groups. Practical implications: Smallholders face small windows of opportunity. Technologies and institutional changes that depend on artificially created conditions are likely to be discontinued once those conditions are withdrawn (for example, access to Neem seeds or agreements about land use between landlords and tenants). The findings draw attention to the conditions that enable smallholders to innovate. Originality/value: The study represents a rare attempt to study impact five years later and compares seven independent cases.
Improving the quality of crude palm oil: transdisciplinary research on artisanal processing in Kwabibirem District, Ghana
Osei-Amponsah, C. - \ 2013
University. Promotor(en): Leontine Visser; M.K. Abekoe, co-promotor(en): Tjeerd-Jan Stomph; O. Sakyi-Dawson. - Wageningen : Wageningen UR - ISBN 9789461737588 - 146
palmoliën - kwaliteit - verbetering - verwerking - olieproducten - plattelandsontwikkeling - ghana - palm oils - quality - improvement - processing - oil products - rural development
Enhancing food security in Northern Ghana through smallholder small ruminant production and marketing
Amankwah, K. - \ 2013
University. Promotor(en): Akke van der Zijpp, co-promotor(en): Laurens Klerkx; O. Sakyi-Dawson; N. Karbo. - Wageningen : Wageningen UR - ISBN 9789461738202 - 160
herkauwers - voedselzekerheid - geitenhouderij - schapenhouderij - kleine landbouwbedrijven - dierlijke productie - dierhouderij - marketing - ghana - ruminants - food security - goat keeping - sheep farming - small farms - animal production - animal husbandry

Key words

Livestock markets, technical and institutional constraints, innovation systems, veterinary services; smallholder farmers; structural adjustment, scaling out, co-learning, supplementary feeding, herd growth, food security, positive deviants, commercialization, Ghana.

Smallholder livestock production systems in sub-Saharan Africa and other developing countries are very important because a large share of the rural poor keep livestock, livestock can contribute to improved soil fertility and household food security, and there is rapid growth in demand and market for livestock products. As elsewhere, almost 80% of smallholder farmers in Northern Ghana keep livestock, especially small ruminants (i.e. sheep and goats). The high demand for livestock products at the national level remains unexploited by the farmers. This thesis sought to examine 1) the salient technical and institutional constraints that hinder innovation with respect to improved production and market participation of smallholder small ruminant farmers in Lawra and Nadowli districts in Northern Ghana, and 2) how previous interventions and farmers themselves sought to address the constraints.

The thesis proceeded from a broad diagnosis of the technical and institutional constraints to market participation. Then, detailed empirical studies were conducted on the emergent issues. Three main constraints were prioritized by farmers i.e. water shortage during dry season, high mortality and theft of livestock. The corresponding institutional limitations include weak structure of veterinary services delivery, and weak traditional and formal justice delivery structures. As a result of the constraints, a majority of farmers keep livestock to support crop production and consequently invest minimally in animal husbandry. Few farmers changed from minimal to moderate investment as a result of accumulated experiences and recorded significant herd growth, but then, did not enlarge the volume of their market share. The main conclusion was that household food security is the principal driver of smallholder small ruminant production and that market demand is only a marginal driver. The thesis also showed that self-organization of smallholder producers and the support systems in which they are embedded was quite effective in response to the different institutional constraints that these face, but that self-organisation has not been captured and built upon in interventions. Furthermore, farmers select or generate intervention elements that were useful to resolving the constraints they cared about. However, interventionists were often inflexible in the planning and implementation of projects and paid little attention to feedback and changes in the broader social and institutional surroundings. Among other things, the thesis recommended a more inclusive approach to livestock development and interventions to resolve the broader social and institutional conditions that hem in smallholder farmers to uncompetitive husbandry practices.

Looking at agricultural innovation platforms through an innovation champion lens. An analysis of three cases in West Africa
Klerkx, L.W.A. ; Adjei-Nsiah, S. ; Adu-Acheampong, R. ; Saïdou, A. ; Zannou, E. ; Soumano, L. ; Sakyi-Dawson, O. ; Paassen, A. van; Nederlof, S. - \ 2013
Outlook on Agriculture 42 (2013)3. - ISSN 0030-7270 - p. 185 - 192.
systems - networks - lessons - roles - ghana - time
The concept of an innovation platform is increasingly used in interventions inspired by agricultural innovation systems thinking, as a way of bringing stakeholders from a sector together to enable transformative change. An essential role on such innovation platforms is thought to be that of the ‘innovation champion’, but this role has so far not been unravelled. In this paper, by applying insights from management science to analyse three innovation platforms in West Africa from the Convergence of Sciences – Strengthening Innovation Systems programme (CoS–SIS), different types of innovation champions are mapped. The authors conclude that making a distinction among different types of innovation champions can be useful in identifying members for innovation platforms, but that the specifics of agricultural innovation appear not to be adequately captured by roles attributed to existing categories of innovation champions. Further research is needed to ascertain whether other categories exist, and how different innovation champions interact over time on agricultural innovation platforms.
Processing Practices of small-scale palm oil producers in the Kwaebibirem District, Ghana: A Diagnostic study
Osei-Amponsah, C. ; Visser, L.E. ; Adjei-Nsiah, S. ; Struik, P.C. ; Sakyi-Dawson, O. ; Stomph, T.J. - \ 2012
NJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences 60-63 (2012). - ISSN 1573-5214 - p. 49 - 56.
Ghana produces about 2,000,000 metric tons of oil palm fruits annually, and small-scale processors contribute about 60% of crude palm oil production. The country is not self-sufficient in the fats and oils needed for industrial use and home consumption. A large percentage of the palm oil produced by small-scale processors cannot be utilized by the larger scale industries in Ghana or abroad because of its poor quality. There is an urgent need to explore the causes and to identify ways to address the situation. We carried out a diagnostic study in the Kwaebibirem District using key informant interviews, focus group discussions and surveys based on a semi-structured questionnaire to assess the processing practices of small-scale oil palm fruit processors, and to analyse the rationale behind these practices and their effects on the quality of palm oil produced. The processing practices identified included storage of loosened fruits for long periods before boiling, disposal of effluent into drains, use of spent tyres for boiling fruits and no clarification of the oil. About 54% of the processors store oil palm fruits for 1–3 weeks before processing, possibly allowing some fermentation, to increase extractability and reduce labour costs. This practice may reduce the quality of palm oil by increasing the levels of free fatty acids. The effects of the storage period on the quality and quantity of palm oil, the seasonal oil content of oil palm fruits, and the types of linkages and interactions amongst actors in the oil palm industry were identified together with stakeholders as issues for further research. Innovation in small-scale oil palm fruit processing is revealed as a multi-stakeholder, multiple-scale, and interdisciplinary process.
Incentives for cocoa bean production in Ghana: Does quality matter?
Quarmine, W. ; Haagsma, R. ; Sakyi-Dawson, O. ; Asante, F. ; Huis, A. van; Obeng-Ofori, D. - \ 2012
NJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences 60-63 (2012). - ISSN 1573-5214 - p. 7 - 14.
management
This paper investigates the institutional factors that constrain farmers’ incentives to enhance the quality of cocoa beans in Ghana. Data were collected at three levels of aggregation in the cocoa bean value chain: village, district, and national level. Multi-stage cluster sampling was employed to sample 120 farmers and 12 purchasing agents of licensed buying companies from 12 villages in Assin Foso, Suhum, Dormaa and Wasa Akropong cocoa districts. Convenience sampling was used to sample key informants from relevant organizations and service providers at district and national levels. The study revealed that, even though quality is important to all categories of actors in the cocoa sector, interactions among them are hampered by problems of information asymmetry that result especially in farmers evading recommended practices. While cocoa sector policies ensure the export of premium quality cocoa, policies have not sufficiently alleviated the information problem especially in the relation between farmers and cocoa purchasing agents. It explains why Ghanaian farms have not been able to reach their full potential to produce more than 1,000,000 metric tons of premium quality cocoa annually. Amongst other options, self-selection policies, such as quality testing with price premiums, are recommended for testing as potential incentive mechanisms that address information asymmetry.
Exploring opportunities for enhancing innovation in agriculture: The case of oil palm production in Ghana
Adjei-Nsiah, S. ; Sakyi-Dawson, O. ; Kuyper, T.W. - \ 2012
Journal of Agricultural Science 4 (2012)10. - ISSN 1916-9752 - p. 212 - 223.
We carried out a study using key informant interviews, focus group discussions and individual interviews to explore opportunities to enhance innovation in the oil palm sector in Ghana. Current technical innovations at the farm level are insufficient to promote sustainable oil palm production and to alleviate poverty because of overriding institutional constraints at the larger-than-farm level. Oil palm was selected for the study for three main reasons: (1) It is considered a national priority crop because of its potential for reducing poverty, (2) It has a wide geographical coverage and (3) It is considered as both food and cash crop. Oil palm has evolved in the past 40 years from a public-sector to a private-sector crop. The study identified the following main actors in oil palm production: small private farms that produce about 80% of the crop; large-scale industrial estates with their network of smallholder and out-grower farmers who produce to supply their large-scale mechanized processing mills; small-scale semi-mechanized processing mills, medium-scale mechanized mills and secondary processors. Opportunities that will make it rational for farmers to invest in increased production and improved sustainability include: (1) creating institutional conditions that will enable small-scale processors to be integrated into the value chain; (2) organising farmers to be able to negotiate for better deals for themselves; (3) improve system of distribution of improved planting material in regions where accessibility to seedlings of the high-yielding tenera hybrid variety is difficult; and (4) developing new tenancy rules and arrangements that improve the income of tenant farmers and encourage them to invest in increased productivity.
Diagnosing the scope for innovation: Linking smallholder practices and institutional context : Introduction to the special issue
Roling, N. ; Hounkonnou, D. ; Kossou, D. ; Kuyper, T.W. ; Nederlof, S. ; Sakyi-Dawson, O. ; Traoré, M. ; Huis, A. van - \ 2012
NJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences 60-63 (2012). - ISSN 1573-5214 - p. 1 - 6.
The article introduces the diagnostic studies reported in this special issue and prepares the reader for understanding their full portent, not only as stand-alone articles but also as an expression of a research programme with a common purpose and scientific objective. As such, the article introduces the focus of the CoS–SIS programme on the nexus between farmer practices and institutional context, and primes the reader on the special challenges posed by diagnosis of this nexus. The diagnostic studies scoped the landscape and the regime but mainly as these might impact the niche. What is reported is ‘the view from the niche’. The article explains the structure of the research programme and the role of the PhD researchers in it. It further describes a number of methodological issues common to all.
Diagnosing constraints to market participation of small ruminant producers in northern Ghana: An innovation systems analysis
Amankwah, K. ; Klerkx, L.W.A. ; Oosting, S.J. ; Sakyi-Dawson, O. ; Zijpp, A.J. van der - \ 2012
NJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences 60-63 (2012). - ISSN 1573-5214 - p. 37 - 47.
livestock production - strategies - management - farmers - policy
This paper assesses why participation in markets for small ruminants is relatively low in northern Ghana by analysing the technical and institutional constraints to innovation in smallholder small ruminant production and marketing in Lawra and Nadowli Districts. The results show that the limitations experienced by smallholders, i.e., water shortages during the dry season, high mortality and theft of livestock, persist because of institutional constraints. These include structural limitations related to availability of arable lands, weak support systems for animal production and health services delivery, community values that are skewed towards crop production more than animal husbandry, ineffective traditional and formal structures for justice delivery, and gaps in the interaction between communities and district and national level organizations such as the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, district assemblies, rural banks, and non-governmental organizations as well as traders and butchers. Confronted with such constraints, the strategies that most smallholders have adopted to be resilient entail diversified sources of livelihood, low input use in small ruminant production, and maintaining the herd as a capital stock and insurance. Only a few smallholders (i.e., ‘positive deviants’) engage in market or demand-driven production or exhibit successful strategies in small ruminant husbandry. It is argued in this paper that for the majority of smallholders, market production, which requires high levels of external inputs or intensification of resource use, is not a viable option. The main implications of the study are (1) that other institutional constraints than market access constraints should be addressed, (2) that commercial livestock production should not be idealized as the best or only option (as is being done in many contemporary interventions that aim at incorporating smallholders into commodity value chains), and (3) that different types of small ruminant system innovation pathways should be explored by making use of local positive deviants.
An innovation systems approach to institutional change: Smallholder development in West Africa
Hounkonnou, D. ; Kossou, D. ; Kuyper, T.W. ; Leeuwis, C. ; Nederlof, S. ; Roling, N. ; Sakyi-Dawson, O. ; Traoré, M. ; Huis, A. van - \ 2012
Agricultural Systems 108 (2012). - ISSN 0308-521X - p. 74 - 83.
agricultural-research - perspective - intensification - environment - management - prices - costs - corn
Sustainable intensification of smallholder farming is a serious option for satisfying 2050 global cereal requirements and alleviating persistent poverty. That option seems far off for Sub-Sahara Africa (SSA) where technology-driven productivity growth has largely failed. The article revisits this issue from a number of angles: current approaches to enlisting SSA smallholders in agricultural development; the history of the phenomenal productivity growth in the USA, The Netherlands and Green Revolution Asia; and the current framework conditions for SSA productivity growth. This analysis shows that (1) the development of an enabling institutional context was a necessary condition that preceded the phenomenal productivity growth in industrial and Green Revolution countries; and that (2) such a context is also present for successful SSA export crop production, but that (3) the context is pervasively biased against SSA’s smallholder food production. The article traces the origins of technology supply push (TSP) as a dominant paradigm that hinders recognition of the role of enabling institutions. The article then reviews the literature on institutional change and zooms in on Innovation Platforms (IPs) as a promising innovation system approach to such change. We describe the concrete experience with IP in the Sub-Sahara Challenge Program (SSA-CP) and in the Convergence of Sciences: Strengthening Innovation Systems (CoS-SIS) Program. The former has demonstrated proof of concept. The latter is designed to trace causal mechanisms. We describe its institutional experimentation and research methodology, including causal process tracing. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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