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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    When baobab flowers and rainmakers define the season : Farmers’ perceptions and adaptation strategies to climate change in West Africa.
    Zoundji, Gerard C. ; Witteveen, L.M. ; Vodouhè, S. ; Lie, R. - \ 2017
    The International Journal of Plant, Animal and Environmental Sciences 7 (2017)2. - ISSN 2231-4490 - p. 8 - 21.
    Climate change is affecting the livelihoods of rural African populations. In fact, farmers, whose livelihoods depend on agriculture, are likely to bear the brunt of climate change impacts. The extent to which these impacts are felt depends in large part on the extent of adaptation in response to climate change. The aim of
    this paper is to assess Beninese farmers‟ perceptions on climate and adaptation strategies for information and knowledge that may guide decision making and draw the attention on the need to integrate local knowledge in climate adaptation. Focus group discussions and semi-structured interviews were organized with 51 farmers representing diverse farming experiences and farmland positions. In order to make the link between farmers‟ perception on the seasons prediction regarding to plant observation, we identified and observed phenology phases of five Baobab and five cashew plants based on their geographical distribution in the study area. Collected data were analyzed by using the agricultural adaptation and perception model and the dynamic system of knowledge, perception and adaptation. The study shows that farmers have different perceptions of climate change, but at the same time are almost unanimous about the changing of rainfall frequency, which is described as “rain seasons start late and end early”. The study revealed that the Baobab plants flowering phase seems to coincide with the rainy season and confirmed farmers‟ knowledge about good rainy season detecting. The article further lays out
    that farmers have developed a range of adaptation strategies, which are situated within the three distinguished spaces; the space of agricultural practices, the space of livelihood diversification, and the space of local culture and learning. The study suggests that understanding farmer‟s perceptions and practices and using them as a starting point for adaptation to climate change could help policy makers to formulate sustainable adaptation strategies.
    Trust and hidden conflict in participatory natural resources management: The case of the Pendjari national park (PNP) in Benin
    Idrissou Aboubacary, L. ; Paassen, A. van; Aarts, N. ; Vodouhè, S. ; Leeuwis, C. - \ 2013
    Forest Policy and Economics 27 (2013). - ISSN 1389-9341 - p. 65 - 74.
    critical discourse analysis - organizational trust - integrative model - distrust - realities - future
    This paper investigated how and why the issue of trust building between the park direction and the local communities gave way to a hidden conflict in the participatory management of the Pendjari national park (PNP) in Benin, and how it was managed. The findings revealed that calculus-based trust was built at the beginning of the process and enabled an improved relationship and collaboration between the park direction and local communities, and a subsequent raise of wildlife in the park. However, dysfunctional use of the trust built led to the emergence of distrust, which evolved into conflict. This conflict was hidden by the illusion of peaceful relationships between the stakeholders as pursued in common meetings. It was noticeable only through accusations on each other, including the shift of responsibility for solving the conflict when discussing the management separately with the different stakeholders. We conclude that (dis)trust should not be looked as a static/cognitive state, but as a dynamic frame that may be strategically used in interaction.
    The design of a contextualized responsive evaluation framework for fishery management in Benin
    Kouevi, T.A. ; Mierlo, B. van; Leeuwis, C. ; Vodouhè, S. - \ 2013
    Evaluation and Program Planning 36 (2013)1. - ISSN 0149-7189 - p. 15 - 28.
    environmental decision-making - learning-systems - health-promotion - inclusion
    The main question addressed by this article is how to adapt the responsive evaluation (RE) approach to an intervention context characterized by repetition of ineffective interventions, ambiguous intervention action theories among stakeholders, and high complexity. The context is Grand-Popo, a fishing municipality located on Benin's southwest Atlantic coast. The fishery management interventionists and the fishing communities in the municipality all espoused concern for the sustainable improvement of fishing actors’ livelihood conditions, but differed about the reasons for this livelihood impairment, and about what should be done, when, where, and by whom. Given this ambiguity, we identified RE as a promising action research approach to facilitate dialogue and mutual learning, and consequently to improve stakeholders’ ability to resolve problems. However, this approach seems to have some shortcomings in the Grand-Popo context, regarding the repetitive ineffectiveness of interventions, high complexity, and uncertainty. Therefore, based on our empirical study, we add three dimensions to the existing RE framework: historical analysis to deal with routine interventions, exploration and discussion of incongruities of action theories to trigger double-loop learning, and system analysis to deal with complexity and uncertainty. This article does not intend to address the implications or impact of this adapted RE framework. Instead, we suggest some criteria and indicators for evaluating whether the proposed amended RE approach has assisted in resolving the fishery problems in Grand-Popo after the approach has been applied.
    Technical and institutional constraints of a cotton pest management strategy in Benin
    Togbe, C.E. ; Zannou, E.T. ; Vodouhè, S. ; Haagsma, R. ; Gbehounou, G. ; Kossou, D.K. ; Huis, A. van - \ 2012
    NJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences 60-63 (2012). - ISSN 1573-5214 - p. 67 - 78.
    pesticide use - ipm - farmers - adoption - africa
    A pest management strategy entitled Staggered Targeted Control (in French Lutte Étagée Ciblée, known as LEC) has been promoted in Benin since 1988 as an alternative to the conventional spraying strategy in order to reduce production costs and improve cotton yield and quality. Many cotton growers are eager to use LEC and many projects are promoting it but the strategy is not widely applied in cotton growing areas. This study identifies the main reasons that hinder the adoption of LEC. Results show that LEC in its current form could not be considered a viable innovation because of a lack of alignment among key elements within the cotton sector. Socio-organizational arrangements for the management of pesticide leftovers and the setting up of a mechanism for farmers’ empowerment are key institutional changes that could shift crop protection towards wider adoption of LEC. Actors in the cotton sector have furthermore suggested a transition towards a participatory approach in extension to improve farmers’ expertise in LEC implementation, bypassing existing channels for delivery of LEC pesticides, and promoting alternatives like botanicals and biopesticides.
    Governing the transnational organic cotton network from Benin
    Glin, L.C. ; Mol, A.P.J. ; Oosterveer, P.J.M. ; Vodouhè, S. - \ 2012
    Global Networks 12 (2012)3. - ISSN 1470-2266 - p. 333 - 354.
    environmental governance - political-economy - globalization - commodity - forests - food
    In this article, we attempt to conceptualize the historical development and the governance structure of the transnational organic cotton network from Benin. We aim to discover how the organic cotton production-consumption network is governed locally and internationally. Existing bodies of literature on international agricultural production networks, in particular the Global Value Chains (GVC) perspective, focus on economic dimensions, but find it difficult to incorporate the sustainability dimension. We favour widening the concept of GVCs 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. Our 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.
    An analysis of the organizational linkages in the cotton industry in Benin
    Sinzogan, A.A.C. ; Jiggins, J. ; Vodouhè, S. ; Kossou, D. ; Totin, G.G.E. ; Huis, A. van - \ 2007
    International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability 5 (2007)(2&3). - ISSN 1473-5903 - p. 213 - 231.
    katoenindustrie - organisaties - benin - agro-industriële ketens - cotton industry - organizations - benin - agro-industrial chains
    A study of the institutional context of the cotton industry in Benin was conducted in 2004, based on an analysis of stakeholders' interests and influence. The impacts on innovation processes and production systems are analysed with respect to farmers' organizations, the research and extension system and the economics of cotton production. The methodology includes qualitative tools and analytic frameworks applied to data from five villages in two municipalities. The reforms undertaken since 1990 to improve efficiency formally could be expected to lead to a harmonized system. But stakeholders' conflicting interests and personal strategies, more or less bound to networks organized as alliances, subvert the aim of the reform and have led to a further, unplanned restructuring. As things stand now, the cotton industry encompasses the conventional network and a breakaway network of stakeholders. In both, the primary stakeholders are the producers. They are directly affected by any change, but they have little power or influence. The study concludes that neither the reform process nor the unplanned restructuring have been favourable to producers. We argue that unless farmers are assisted to a change in their production system, to release their dependence on production credit and pesticide inputs, they cannot be effective partners.
    Socio-cultural factors influencing and maintaining yam and cowpea diversity in Benin
    Zannou, A. ; Tossou, R.C. ; Vodouhè, S. ; Richards, P. ; Struik, P.C. ; Zoundjihékpon, J. ; Ahanchédé, A. ; Agbo, V. - \ 2007
    International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability 5 (2007)2-3. - ISSN 1473-5903 - p. 140 - 160.
    vignabonen - pachyrhizus erosus - diversiteit - benin - geslacht (gender) - rituelen - cowpeas - pachyrhizus erosus - diversity - benin - gender - rituals
    Yam and cowpea are important elements in the food culture of local communities in the Transitional Guinea-Sudan Zone of Benin. Yam and cowpea serve to satisfy vital needs in households and in communities, but also play an essential role in the rituals and ceremonies of the agrarian civilizations of Benin. The diversity of rituals, food habits, technological traits and food security strategies for the two crops contributes to the maintenance of varietal diversity. It is not possible for one or even a few varieties to meet all needs. The more a variety is culturally and socially embedded, the greater the chance that it will meet acceptance on the local and regional market. Farmers' ambition to meet market demands in order to satisfy socio-economic needs also sustains and increases varietal diversity. Especially female farmers growing cowpea showed positive diversity maintenance behaviour. Overall, the study shows that the management of on-farm genetic resources is a socially and culturally constructed system. Any external strategy to improve management of on-farm diversity should take into account these social and cultural aims.
    Socio-cultural determinants of yam and cowpea diversity
    Zannou, A. ; Tossou, R.C. ; Vodouhè, S. ; Richards, P. ; Struik, P.C. ; Zoundjihékpon, J. ; Ahanchédé, A. ; Agbo, V. - \ 2006
    In: Convergence of Sciences: Creating innovation systems with African farmers, Proceedings 1st Int. Workshop CoS Project, Wageningen, 2006. - Wageningen : CTA - p. 36 - 37.
    Yam and cowpea diversity management by farmers in the Guinea-Sudan transition zone of Benin
    Zannou, A. ; Ahanchédé, A. ; Struik, P.C. ; Richards, P. ; Zoundjihékpon, J. ; Tossau, R. ; Vodouhè, S. - \ 2004
    NJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences 52 (2004)3-4. - ISSN 1573-5214 - p. 393 - 420.
    The maintenance and utilization of crop genetic diversity is important to ensure food security. The relative importance of yam and cowpea varieties and the influence of the socio-cultural and local economy context on the diversity maintained were analysed in Benin. Whereas the diversity is large, some varieties were rare, other ones on the way of being abandoned or already lost. Socio-cultural as well as economic and agronomic characteristics explained why some of them were still maintained. For example, the early-maturing yam variety Laboko was planted by most farmers to have tubers available in time for religious purposes, and some specific cowpea varieties played a role in the funeral of the parents in law. Farmers' preferences were translated into criteria they use to appreciate varieties. The diversity of the varieties sold on the market and their availability over time reflect farmers' strategies and conservation practices. The large price differences between varieties confirm the variation in quality as perceived by consumers. The most widely grown yam variety, Florido, is available on the market throughout the year but has a very low price. Market price differences among varieties are much smaller for cowpea than for yam. The processes of loss and displacement of some local varieties are described and the need for conservation is addressed. Different factors that may influence the level of varietal diversity in these crops, like the need to synchronize harvesting with high market prices, were analysed in depth. As opposed to mono-disciplinary approaches of scientists to farmers' problems and constraints, farmers show an inter- or trans-disciplinary behaviour and express their preferences through multi-criteria processes.
    Farmers' knowledge and perception of cotton pests and pest control practices in Benin: results of a diagnostic study
    Sinzogan, A.A.C. ; Huis, A. van; Kossou, D.K. ; Jiggins, J.L.S. ; Vodouhè, S. - \ 2004
    NJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences 52 (2004)3/4. - ISSN 1573-5214 - p. 285 - 303.
    Cotton production constraints in Benin as perceived by farmers were studied from May to July 2003. The knowledge, perceptions and practices of farmers growing cotton under different pest management regimes were analysed. The methods used were open and semi-structured interviews with groups and individuals, as well as participatory exercises (brainstorming, prioritization, and problem analysis). Pest damage, low price of produce, late payment for seed cotton, and increasing input costs were the main production constraints perceived by producers. Regardless of the pest management system practised, most of the farmers adapt the recommendations of the research institute and nongovernment organizations to their livelihood systems. In general, farmers had a poor understanding of the key concepts underlying alternative pest control systems. Pest damage was considered important and farmers were eager to share their knowledge, perceptions and practices in pest management. The study provides the foundation for the creation of a learning platform; actors will be invited to collaborate in participatory experimental agricultural technology development linked to the farmers’ needs. In order to develop sustainable pest management strategies further interactive research is proposed, involving all stakeholders.
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