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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    Making smallholder value chain partnerships inclusive : Exploring digital farm monitoring through farmer friendly smartphone platforms
    Agyekumhene, Christopher ; Vries, Jasper De; Paassen, Annemarie van; Schut, Marc ; MacNaghten, Phil - \ 2020
    Sustainability 12 (2020)11. - ISSN 2071-1050
    Collaboration - Digital agriculture - Inclusiveness - Partnerships - Smallholders - Value chains

    Value chain partnerships face difficulties achieving inclusive relations, often leading to unsustainable collaboration. Improving information flow between actors has been argued to contribute positively to a sense of inclusion in such partnership arrangements. Smallholders however usually lack the capability to use advanced communication technologies such as smartphones which offer a means for elaborate forms of information exchange. This study explores to what extent co-designing smartphone platforms with smallholders for farm monitoring contributes to smallholder ability to communicate, and how this influences smallholder sense of inclusion. The study uses an Action Design Research approach in engaging smallholders in Ghana, through multi-stakeholder and focus group discussions, in a reflexive co-design process. The research finds that co-designing a platform interface was significant in improving farmer ability to comprehend and use smartphone based platforms for communicating farm conditions and their needs with value chain partners. Farmers were however skeptical of making demands based on the platform due to their lack of power and mistrust of other actors. This highlights a need for adjusting the social and political dimensions of partnership interactions, in tandem with the advancement of digital tools, in order to effectively facilitate a sense of inclusiveness in partnerships.

    Fertilisers differentially affect facultative and obligate parasitic weeds of rice and only occasionally improve yields in infested fields
    Tippe, Dennis E. ; Bastiaans, Lammert ; Ast, Aad van; Dieng, Ibnou ; Cissoko, Mamadou ; Kayeke, Juma ; Makokha, Derek W. ; Rodenburg, Jonne - \ 2020
    Field Crops Research 254 (2020). - ISSN 0378-4290
    Rainfed rice - Rhamphicarpa - Smallholders - soil fertility - Striga

    Different fertilisers were field tested to investigate whether they (1) suppress the obligate parasitic weed Striga asiatica and the facultative parasitic weed Rhamphicarpa fistulosa, and (2) favour rainfed rice yields under parasitic weed infestation. Four years of experiments were conducted in southwest Tanzania, in a S. asiatica-infested rainfed upland and a R. fistulosa-infested rainfed lowland field. Treatments included sole mineral (NPK or Di-Ammonium Phosphate —DAP— plus urea), organic (cattle manure or rice husk), combinations of mineral and organic fertilisers and a no-fertiliser control. Fertilisers moderately suppressed the obligate parasite S. asiatica, but no correlations between infestation level and soil fertility status were observed. In the lowland field, fertilisers promoted the facultative R. fistulosa, in particular the ones that included organic components. Plant-available phosphorus, exchangeable potassium and soil organic matter content correlated with R. fistulosa infestation levels. Positive fertiliser effects on yields were found in both parasitic weed infested fields, except in years with high S. asiatica infestation levels. Rice husks alone and rice husks or manure combined with DAP and urea increased yields and soil fertility most. We conclude that fertilisation differentially affects the obligate and facultative parasitic weeds of rice systems; obligate parasites may be slightly suppressed, but facultative parasites may even be stimulated. Meanwhile, consistent rice yield increases under parasitic weed infested conditions cannot be obtained with fertiliser application when parasitic weed infestation levels are too high.

    Towards actionable farm typologies : Scaling adoption of agricultural inputs in Rwanda
    Hammond, Jim ; Rosenblum, Nathaniel ; Breseman, Dana ; Gorman, Léo ; Manners, Rhys ; Wijk, Mark T. van; Sibomana, Milindi ; Remans, Roseline ; Vanlauwe, Bernard ; Schut, Marc - \ 2020
    Agricultural Systems 183 (2020). - ISSN 0308-521X
    Adoption of agricultural innovations - Intensification - Rural development - Scaling - Smallholders - Typologies

    Rollout of development interventions using a one-size-fits-all model can achieve economies of scale but neglects to account for variability in farm and farmer characteristics. A data-driven approach to incorporate farmer diversity in scaling strategies may help to achieve greater development impact. However, interpreting the multiplicity of smallholder characteristics is complex, time-consuming, and the ways in which the insights gained can be implemented is poorly understood. Navigating these tensions, we present a farm typology study carried out in collaboration with a large development organisation (the “scaling partner”) promoting agricultural inputs in Rwanda. This study was conducted late in the scaling pathway, in order to finesse the scaling strategy, rather than to target intervention selection. Drawing on nearly 3000 interviews from 17 districts of the Western, Southern, and Eastern Provinces of Rwanda, the typology differentiates households along two axes: 1. prosperity (a cornerstone of conventional typologies), and 2. adoption of inputs (fertilisers and improved crop varieties). We used an efficient household survey tool, a minimum-variable approach, and concepts from the study of adoption of agricultural innovations. Through an action-research collaboration with the scaling organisation we adapted the methods and the findings to be “actionable. Approximately two-thirds of the study population were using fertilisers and improved seed to some extent. Along each prosperity stratum, however, there were multiple degrees of adoption, demonstrating the value of including adoption information in typology constructions. Ten farm types were identified, where the key differences along the prosperity axis were land area cultivated and livestock owned, and the key differences along the adoption axis were perceptions of input efficacy, access to training, and education level. We also present a simple decision tree model to assign new households to a farm type. The findings were used in three ways by the scaling organisation: (i) characterisation of the population into discrete groups; (ii) prioritisation, of farm types for engagement, and geographical locations for further investment; and (iii) design of decision support tools or re-design of packages to support technology adoption for specific farm types. The need for field-level validation of the typologies was also stressed by the scaling organisation.

    Reconciling oil palm economic development and environmental conservation in Indonesia : A value chain dynamic approach
    Purnomo, Herry ; Okarda, Beni ; Dermawan, Ahmad ; Ilham, Qori Pebrial ; Pacheco, Pablo ; Nurfatriani, Fitri ; Suhendang, Endang - \ 2020
    Forest Policy and Economics 111 (2020). - ISSN 1389-9341
    Biodiesel - European Union - Palm oil - Smallholders - Sustainable development - Value chains

    Palm oil makes a significant contribution to the economies of Indonesia and Malaysia through private corporations, state-owned companies and smallholders, with the two countries supplying 85% of the global palm oil. Indonesia has 14 million hectares (ha) of oil palm; its palm oil exports were valued at USD 23 billion in 2017 and USD 21 billion in 2018. Both domestic and international communities, particularly the European Union (EU), have raised concerns about its sustainability and impact on forest conservation. For example, the European Parliament in 2017 issued a resolution to restrict the ability of EU countries to count palm oil-based biodiesel imports toward their renewable 2030 energy targets. This paper describes palm oil value chains in Indonesia at the national level, using value chain analysis and system dynamics modeling. The model is used to understand how the moratorium, peatland conservation, agrarian reform, and the EU biodiesel ban affect plantation expansion and production, employment, CO2 emissions, smallholder incomes, the private sector, and government. The model provides scenarios to make Indonesian palm oil more sustainable through intensification, no-deforestation, and no-peat strategies, as well as through land swapping. There are trade-offs between economic development and environmental conservation, but win-win solutions are available. Scenarios that build synergies between Indonesian palm oil development and forest conservation can help guide the new frontiers of oil palm development in Asia, South America, and Africa.

    Quality Improvement in African Food Supply Chains: Determinants of Farmer Performance
    Tefera, Delelegne Abera ; Bijman, Jos ; Slingerland, Maja ; Velde, Gerben van der; Omta, Onno - \ 2020
    European Journal of Development Research 32 (2020)1. - ISSN 0957-8811 - p. 152 - 175.
    Economics of quality - Ethiopia - Institutional arrangement - Malt barley - Quality-upgrading - Smallholders

    The integration of smallholders in modern value chains in sub-Saharan Africa is an important pathway for improving income and farmer livelihoods. Connected to demographic shifts, rapid urbanization, and the emergence of a middle class, there is a demand for higher product quality. In order to access these modern markets, smallholders need to enhance the quality of their products. However, factors that determine smallholders’ decision to invest in quality upgrading are not well understood. Using cross-sectional data from the Ethiopian barley sector, we analyse the factors that explain smallholders’ decision to improve quality. We find that socioeconomic, institutional and market factors affect the decision to improve quality. Our study contributes to the understanding of the determinants of quality upgrading at the micro-level of the economics of quality production, and thus of rural development.

    Do wealthy farmers implement better agricultural practices? An assessment of implementation of Good Agricultural Practices among different types of independent oil palm smallholders in Riau, Indonesia
    Jelsma, Idsert ; Woittiez, Lotte S. ; Ollivier, Jean ; Dharmawan, Arya Hadi - \ 2019
    Agricultural Systems 170 (2019). - ISSN 0308-521X - p. 63 - 76.
    Farmer typology - Indonesia - Intensification - Land use - Oil palm - Smallholders

    Palm oil has become a leading vegetable oil over the past 30 years and smallholder farmers in Indonesia, with more than 12 million hectare the world's largest producer of palm oil, have massively engaged in oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) cultivation. In Sumatra, where more than 60% of Indonesian palm oil is cultivated, smallholders currently cover roughly 50% of the oil palm area. The rapid expansion of palm oil however did not happen without controversy. In current efforts by the Indonesian government, NGO's and private sector to improve sector performance, smallholders are often characterized as the Achilles heel of the oil palm sector due to poor practices and low yields compared to companies. However, ‘oil palm smallholders’ is a container concept and there has been only limited research into smallholder diversity beyond the organised versus independent farmer dichotomy. This research delves into the implementation of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) among seven types of independent smallholders in Rokan Hulu regency, Riau province. The research area consisted of a relative established agricultural area on mineral soils and a relative frontier, mostly on peat. Smallholder types ranged from small local farmers to large farmers who usually reside in urban areas far from their plantation and regard oil palm cultivation as an investment opportunity. The underlying hypothesis is that larger farmers have more capital and therefore implement better agricultural practices than small farmers, who are usually more cash constrained. A wide range of methods was applied, including farmer and farm surveys, remote sensing, tissue analysis and photo interpretation by experts. These methods provided data on fertilizer use, nutrient conditions in oil palms, planting material, planting patterns, and other management practices in the plantations. Results show that yields are poor, implementation of GAP are limited and there is much room for improvement among all farmer types. Poor planting materials, square planting patterns, and limited nutrient applications were particularly prevalent. This implies that farmers across different typologies opt for a low-input low-output system for a myriad of reasons and that under current conditions, initiatives such as improving access to finance or availability of good planting material alone are unlikely to significantly improve the productivity and sustainability of the smallholder oil palm sector.

    Local understanding of disaster risk and livelihood resilience : The case of rice smallholders and floods in Ecuador
    Galarza-Villamar, Julissa Alexandra ; Leeuwis, Cees ; Pila-Quinga, Geovanna Maribel ; Cecchi, Francesco ; Párraga-Lema, Cinthia Mariela - \ 2018
    International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 31 (2018). - ISSN 2212-4209 - p. 1107 - 1120.
    Flood - Livelihood resilience - Participatory assessment - Rice - Risk disaster - Smallholders

    On the premise that a system's resilience is partially a function of its capability to manage risk, this paper systematically presents a step-by-step process to develop and apply a participatory risk assessment as an approximate way to better understand livelihood resilience from a local perspective, specifically within the context of rice smallholders located in flood-prone areas in Ecuador. This process is characterized mainly by (i) approaching smallholders to ascertain the livelihood assets that are relevant to them, how they could be understood as being at risk, and how their at-risk situation should be measured and interpreted; and (ii) using drawings and stories as a combined research tool for refreshing memory in the process of data collection. The differentiated research process showed that (i) including local knowledge and interpretation of risk from the beginning of the assessment tool construction results in an easier application in the field; (ii) drawing and storytelling as a combined tool on the one hand helped participants to provide detailed information about facts, feelings, and social dynamics, and on the other hand allowed us to indirectly assess their willingness to collaborate and the strategies to do so; and (iii) popular or innovative strategies, involving tangible and intangible resources, identified through every step, proved to be a link between local resilience and risk management capabilities.

    Constructing a multinationals' inclusive sourcing indicator for impacting farmer business models : Application in cocoa cases
    Sjauw-Koen-Fa, August R. ; Omta, S.W.F. ; Blok, Vincent - \ 2018
    International Journal on Food System Dynamics 9 (2018)3. - ISSN 1869-6945 - p. 207 - 225.
    Certification - Cocoa - CSR - Food multinationals - Smallholders - Supply chain management - Sustainable sourcing

    Cocoa multinationals have committed themselves to source and use close to 100 percent sustainable certified cocoa beans, aiming to improve farmers' livelihoods. As their current sourcing strategy is aimed mainly at environmental sustainability, they need a different one. This study seeks to amend this by providing an inclusive sourcing indicator, representing the integral costs of certified cocoa beans, to leverage values to impact farmers business model in high value-adding supply chains. Because this indicator is explorative indicator the applicability has been explored in four cases in Ghana and the Ivory Coast from the literature. This study's findings call for a review of conventional sourcing models and certification schemes to anticipate the mainstreaming of sustainable sourcing and the improvement of farmers' livelihoods.

    Is Oil Palm Expansion a Challenge to Agroecology? Smallholders Practising Industrial Farming in Mexico
    Castellanos-Navarrete, Antonio ; Jansen, Kees - \ 2018
    Journal of Agrarian Change 18 (2018)1. - ISSN 1471-0358 - p. 132 - 155.
    Agrarian change - Agroecology - Mexico - Political ecology - Smallholders

    Agroecology has become a powerful alternative paradigm for rural development. In contrast to conventional approaches, this paradigm shifts the emphasis from technology and markets to local knowledge, social justice and food sovereignty, to overcome rural poverty and environmental degradation. However, the spread of this approach faces several obstacles. This paper deals with one of these obstacles: the 'preference' of smallholders for industrial farming. We specifically analyse the widespread uptake up of oil palm by smallholders in Chiapas. Contrary to agro-ecological assumptions, oil palm proved favourable to smallholders in Chiapas because of historical and contemporary state-peasant relations and the advantageous economic circumstances within the oil palm sector. Based on this research, we identify four challenges for agroecology: (i) the existence of contradictory interests within the peasantry as a result of social differentiation; (ii) the role of the state in making conventional development models relatively favourable to smallholders; (iii) the prevalence of modernization ideologies in many rural areas; and (iv) the need for this paradigm to acknowledge smallholders' agency also when engaged in industrial farming. These challenges need to be tackled for agroecology to offer viable alternatives in a context of agro-industrialization.

    Collective action in a smallholder oil palm production system in Indonesia: The key to sustainable and inclusive smallholder palm oil?
    Jelsma, Idsert ; Slingerland, Maja ; Giller, Ken E. ; Bijman, Jos - \ 2017
    Journal of Rural Studies 54 (2017). - ISSN 0743-0167 - p. 198 - 210.
    Collective action - Indonesia - Intensive agriculture - Oil palm - Smallholders - West-Sumatra
    Indonesian smallholder oil palm generally yield much less than corporate plantations. We analysed a smallholder oil palm production system in West Sumatra which outperformed its nucleus estate plantation, consistently producing yields far above the national average for over 25 years. Its institutional setup allowed farmers to combine the advantages of smallholder and plantation agriculture by capitalizing on collective action. Collective action design principles (Ostrom, 1990; Cox, 2010) are used to assess the institutional setup of a smallholder production system. This case study demonstrates that with a strong institutional arrangement, smallholder oil palm farmers can participate in supply chains on advantageous conditions and substantially increase productivity, thereby contributing to both rural development and land sparing.
    Impact assessment of commodity standards : Towards inclusive value chains
    Ruben, Ruerd - \ 2017
    Enterprise Development and Microfinance 28 (2017)1-2. - ISSN 1755-1978 - p. 82 - 97.
    Certification - Commodity standards - Impact - Smallholders - Tropical agro-food crops

    Voluntary commodity standards are widely used to enhance the performance of tropical agro-food chains and to support the welfare and sustainability of smallholder farmers. Different methods and approaches are used to assess the effectiveness and impact of these certification schemes at farm-household, village, cooperative, and regional level. We provide an overview of the results from robust impact studies on coffee, tea, banana, cocoa, and cotton certification programmes. Overall outcomes show rather modest net revenue effects for farmers, small direct income effect for wage workers, and contested sustainability effects. Most impact studies focus on primary sourcing, but devote less attention to changes in trust and governance throughout the value chain. Moreover, implications for gender issues and supply chain trust are not always fully addressed. In order to better understand these somewhat disappointing effects, we discuss different fallacies and drawbacks that affect impact studies concerning commodity certification programmes. Main attention is given to perverse incentives for intensification and specialization that arise from certification. Moreover, spillovers to other (non-certified) farmers and spatial externalities at landscape level may reduce net effects. Important secondary effects related to behavioural change (risk, trust) and local innovation dynamics are usually overlooked. Current practices in value chain development programmes should focus increasingly on dynamic effects of upgrading and improved market integration. New interactive impact assessment approaches (gaming, multi-agency simulation) that address integrated value chain relationships offer promising perspectives for real-time and systematic analysis of alternatives for smallholder value chain inclusion beyond certification.

    The Transformation of African Smallholders into Customer Value Creating Businesses : A Conceptual Framework
    Teklehaimanot, Mebrahtu L. ; Ingenbleek, Paul T.M. ; Trijp, Hans C.M. van - \ 2017
    Journal of African Business 18 (2017)3. - ISSN 1522-8916 - p. 299 - 319.
    Africa - agriculture - business - customer value creation - Smallholders - training

    An increasing number of the 600 million African smallholders are becoming integrated into the supply chains of supermarkets, fast food chains, and exporters. This process gradually transforms the smallholders into profit-oriented businesses that can make important contributions to rural development and food security. This article brings this issue to the attention of the readership of the Journal of African Business. It connects distinct lines of literature on smallholders, business training, and customer value creation. More specifically, it argues that to equip smallholders with the understanding of how markets function and what customers value, trainings that address fundamental marketing concepts are required. The arguments are captured in a conceptual framework explaining the livelihood performance of rural African smallholders. Based on these arguments, the article formulates implications for development workers and suggests directions for African business research.

    Stated preferences of llama keeping functions in Bolivia
    Markemann, A. ; Stemmer, A. ; Siegmund-Schultze, M. ; Piepho, H.P. ; Valle Zárate, A. - \ 2009
    Livestock Science 124 (2009)1-3. - ISSN 1871-1413 - p. 119 - 125.
    Animal functions - Bolivian highlands - Llamas - Multiple pair-wise comparisons - Smallholders - Stated preferences

    Bolivia accounts for approximately 63% of the South American llama population. Llamas keep playing an important role in the subsistence of smallholdings in the Andean regions fulfilling various functions in the productive, social and cultural life of the people. The present study evaluates functions of llama keeping as a prerequisite to the formulation of a community-driven breeding programme. A ranking approach was applied with 75 farmers in 6 villages. Sampling considered the factors gender and central versus remote communities. The different functions were presented visually. Each farmer was asked to arrange the illustrations according to his preference order. In total, 10 functions were suggested, covering the categories transport, sale or use of products, integration of animals in cultural events and herd size as capital asset. Ranking frequencies of stated preferences were calculated. A rank-based t-test was applied for multiple pair-wise comparisons within ranking groups gender and community provenance, respectively. Between-group comparison was performed by non-parametric Wilcoxon rank-sum test. The capital function was most important (14.6% of total ranking frequency) followed by the transport function to cultivated areas (13.7%) and the transport function for other purposes in third place (10.8%). All pair-wise comparison analysis indicated a significant difference for the two highest ranked functions. Functions ranked from 3rd to 9th position showed poor separation due to similar means with high variance. Bottom ranked function with significant separation for all ranking groups was the 'Integration of animals in cultural events or rituals'. Women appreciated the dung of the animals more than men (p = 0.0376), whereas men put higher value on the sale of live animals for cash generation in case of emergency (p = 0.0006) and for cash availability (p = 0.0371). It is concluded that traditionally important functions of llamas like wealth accumulation and the close integration of the animals in mixed farming systems prevail. Breeding policies and breeding decisions will be more suitable when taking into account farmers' preferences and gender-specific perceptions.

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