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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    Information exchange links, knowledge exposure, and adoption of agricultural technologies in northern Uganda
    Shikuku, Kelvin Mashisia - \ 2019
    World Development 115 (2019). - ISSN 0305-750X - p. 94 - 106.
    Adoption - Climate smart agriculture - Farmer to farmer extension - Information exchange links - Social learning - Uganda

    Direct training of selected individuals as disseminating farmers (DFs) can help to implement a farmer to farmer extension approach. This study systematically examines the relationship between social distance and the likelihood of information exchange, subsequently evaluating effects on awareness, knowledge, and adoption of drought-tolerant (DT) varieties of maize, disease-resistant varieties of groundnuts and conservation farming. Using a panel dataset from northern Uganda, the study combines matching techniques with difference-in-difference (DID) approach and employs two-stage least squares regression (2SLS) to identify causal effects. The study finds an increased likelihood of information exchange when the DF is female, regardless of the sex of the neighbour. The likelihood of information exchange increased when distance in farm size cultivated with maize was larger than the median in the sub-village. In terms of non-agricultural assets index, there was an increased likelihood of information exchange both when the distance was smaller and greater than the village median. Information exchange links improved awareness and knowledge for all of the technologies, but only increased adoption of maize varieties. Together, these findings suggest that social distance shapes the diffusion of agricultural knowledge even when DFs are selected by the community to be “representative” and reinforces that social learning can help to address informational constraints to adoption of agricultural technologies.

    Business models of SMEs as a mechanism for scaling Climate Smart Technologies: The case of Punjab, India
    Groot, A.M.E. ; Bolt, J.S. ; Jat, H.S. ; Jat, M.L. ; Kumar, M. ; Blok, Vincent ; Agarwal, T. - \ 2019
    Journal of Cleaner Production 210 (2019). - ISSN 0959-6526 - p. 1109 - 1119.
    Climate smart agriculture - smes - Business models
    Many Climate Smart Agricultural (CSA) technologies fail to achieve their full potential impact due to low levels of adoption by smallholder farmers and difficulties in scaling CSA. This paper presents how small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can act as change agents for the uptake of CSA technologies where their business models may be seen as adoption and scaling mechanisms. Drawing upon our fieldwork in Punjab (India) during which over 100 respondents have been interviewed, critical issues and enabling factors for the business model of two types of SMEs, i.e. farmer cooperatives and individual service providers of climate smart technologies have been identified. Enabling factors supporting adoption are driven by scientific and practical evidence of CSA technologies, good partnership between SMEs and research institutes, good customer relationships and effective channels through farmers’ field trials. Critical issues consist of distortive government subsidies on energy and the lack of market intelligence affecting the profitability of the business model. Scaling is enhanced through market intelligence and a favouring regulatory landscape. However, difficult socio-economic circumstances and distortive government subsidies limit the role of SMEs business model as mechanism for scaling
    Agricultural intensification scenarios, household food availability and greenhouse gas emissions in Rwanda : Ex-ante impacts and trade-offs
    Paul, B.K. ; Frelat, R. ; Birnholz, C. ; Ebong, C. ; Gahigi, A. ; Groot, J.C.J. ; Herrero, M. ; Kagabo, D.M. ; Notenbaert, A. ; Vanlauwe, B. ; Wijk, M.T. van - \ 2018
    Agricultural Systems 163 (2018). - ISSN 0308-521X - p. 16 - 26.
    Climate smart agriculture - Ex-ante impact assessment - Household modeling - Low carbon development - Sub-Saharan Africa - Sustainable intensification
    Rwanda's agricultural sector is facing severe challenges of increasing environmental degradation, resulting in declining productivity. The problem is likely to be further aggravated by the growing population pressure. A viable pathway is climate smart agriculture, aiming at the triple win of improving food security and climate change adaptation, while contributing to mitigation if possible. The Government of Rwanda has initiated ambitious policies and programs aiming at low emission agricultural development. Crop focused policies include the Crop Intensification Program (CIP) which facilitates access to inorganic fertilizer and improved seeds. In the livestock subsector, zero-grazing and improved livestock feeding are encouraged, and the Girinka program provides poor farm households with a crossbred dairy cow. In this study, we aimed at assessing the potential impact of these policy programs on food availability and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of 884 households across different agro-ecologies and farming systems in Rwanda. Household level calculations were used to assess the contribution of current crops, livestock and off-farm activities to food availability and GHG emissions. Across all sites, 46% of households were below the 2500kcalMAE-1 yr-1 line, with lower food availability in the Southern and Eastern Rwanda. Consumed and sold food crops were the mainstay of food availability, contributing between 81.2% (low FA class) to 53.1% (high FA class). Livestock and off-farm income were the most important pathways to higher FA. Baseline GHG emissions were low, ranging between 395 and 1506kg CO2e hh-1 yr-1 per site, and livestock related emissions from enteric fermentation (47.6-48.9%) and manure (26.7-31.8%) were the largest contributors to total GHG emissions across sites and FA classes. GHG emissions increased with FA, with 50% of the total GHG being emitted by 22% of the households with the highest FA scores. Scenario assessment of the three policy options showed strong differences in potential impacts: Girinka only reached one third of the household population, but acted highly pro-poor by decreasing the households below the 2500kcalMAE-1 yr-1 line from 46% to 35%. However, Girinka also increased GHG by 1174kg CO2e hh-1 yr-1, and can therefore not be considered climate-smart. Improved livestock feeding was the least equitable strategy, decreasing food insufficient households by only 3%. However, it increased median FA by 755kcalMAE-1 yr-1 at a small GHG increase (50kg CO2e hh-1 yr-1). Therefore, it is a promising option to reach the CSA triple win. Crop and soil improvement resulted in the smallest increase in median FA (FA by 755kcalMAE-1 yr-1), and decreasing the proportion of households below 2500kcalMAE-1 yr-1 by 6%. This came only at minimal increase in GHG emissions (23kg CO2e hh-1 yr-1). All policy programs had different potential impacts and trade-offs on different sections of the farm household population. Quick calculations like the ones presented in this study can assist in policy dialogue and stakeholder engagement to better select and prioritize policies and development programs, despite the complexity of its impacts and trade-offs.
    Targeting, out-scaling and prioritising climate-smart interventions in agricultural systems: Lessons from applying a generic framework to the livestock sector in sub-Saharan Africa
    Notenbaert, An ; Pfeifer, Catherine ; Silvestri, Silvia ; Herrero, Mario - \ 2017
    Agricultural Systems 151 (2017). - ISSN 0308-521X - p. 153 - 162.
    Climate smart agriculture - Livestock - Priority setting - Targeting

    As a result of population growth, urbanization and climate change, agricultural systems around the world face enormous pressure on the use of resources. There is a pressing need for wide-scale innovation leading to development that improves the livelihoods and food security of the world's population while at the same time addressing climate change adaptation and mitigation. A variety of promising climate-smart interventions have been identified. However, what remains is the prioritization of interventions for investment and broad dissemination. The suitability and adoption of interventions depends on a variety of bio-physical and socio-economic factors. Also their impacts, when adopted and out-scaled, are likely to be highly heterogeneous. This heterogeneity expresses itself not only spatially and temporally but also in terms of the stakeholders affected, some might win and some might lose. A mechanism that can facilitate a systematic, holistic assessment of the likely spread and consequential impact of potential interventions is one way of improving the selection and targeting of such options. In this paper we provide climate smart agriculture (CSA) planners and implementers at all levels with a generic framework for evaluating and prioritising potential interventions. This entails an iterative process of mapping out recommendation domains, assessing adoption potential and estimating impacts. Through examples, related to livestock production in sub-Saharan Africa, we demonstrate each of the steps and how they are interlinked. The framework is applicable in many different forms, scales and settings. It has a wide applicability beyond the examples presented and we hope to stimulate readers to integrate the concepts in the planning process for climate-smart agriculture, which invariably involves multi-stakeholder, multi-scale and multi-objective decision-making.

    In Memoriam: M. S. Swaminathan : His contributions to science and public policy
    Rabbinge, Rudy - \ 2015
    Current Science 109 (2015)3. - ISSN 0011-3891 - p. 439 - 446.
    Climate smart agriculture - Inclusive thinking and inclusive approaches - Production ecological principles

    The role of Swaminathan in science and public policy for more than 65 years is unapproachable. His contribution to strengthen agriculture and improve food security is tremendous and more than impressive. His incisive vision on the role of science to serve societal aims is widely accepted, and leading to evergreen revolutions in many continents and countries. In this article that role of Swaminathan will be described and it will be illustrated how three main guidelines were used in his thinking, approaches and interventions: (i) Promoting basic scientific insights and understanding where physical, (bio)chemical, physiological, ecological and genetical principles and knowledge are used and integrated; (ii) Stimulating and introducing inclusive approaches where various objectives such as environmental aims, sustainable development, gender, next to productivity increases are combined and used to strengthen harmonious developments; (iii) Activating and adapting institutions, national and international, and rules and regulations such that farmers are empowered and protected and that biodiversity is protected and where possible promoted and strengthened. All these policy issues were crucial for the functioning of Swaminathan and his impact on World Food Security, regional upgrading and local movements and sustainable development globally. The description and analysis in this article demonstrate his efforts and activities which have made the world a better place for all.

    Beyond conservation agriculture
    Giller, K.E. ; Andersson, J.A. ; Corbeels, Marc ; Kirkegaard, John ; Mortensen, David ; Erenstein, Olaf ; Vanlauwe, Bernard - \ 2015
    Frontiers in Plant Science 6 (2015)OCTOBER. - ISSN 1664-462X - 14 p.
    Climate smart agriculture - Legumes - Mulch - Soil erosion - Sustainable intensification - Systems agronomy

    Global support for Conservation Agriculture (CA) as a pathway to Sustainable Intensification is strong. CA revolves around three principles: no-till (or minimal soil disturbance), soil cover, and crop rotation. The benefits arising from the ease of crop management, energy/cost/time savings, and soil and water conservation led to widespread adoption of CA, particularly on large farms in the Americas and Australia, where farmers harness the tools of modern science: highly-sophisticated machines, potent agrochemicals, and biotechnology. Over the past 10 years CA has been promoted among smallholder farmers in the (sub-) tropics, often with disappointing results. Growing evidence challenges the claims that CA increases crop yields and builds-up soil carbon although increased stability of crop yields in dry climates is evident. Our analyses suggest pragmatic adoption on larger mechanized farms, and limited uptake of CA by smallholder farmers in developing countries. We propose a rigorous, context-sensitive approach based on Systems Agronomy to analyze and explore sustainable intensification options, including the potential of CA. There is an urgent need to move beyond dogma and prescriptive approaches to provide soil and crop management options for farmers to enable the Sustainable Intensification of agriculture.

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