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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    Understanding entrepreneurship at the base of the pyramid in developing countries : insights from small-scale vegetable farmers in Benin
    Yessoufou, Ahoudou Waliou - \ 2017
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): S.W.F. Omta, co-promotor(en): V. Blok. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463438216 - 196
    entrepreneurship - farmers - vegetables - small businesses - farm management - management science - benin - west africa - ondernemerschap - boeren - groenten - kleine bedrijven - agrarische bedrijfsvoering - bedrijfswetenschap - benin - west-afrika

    Local small-scale entrepreneurship has recently become an important field of study and a tool for policymakers. However, there are some practical and theoretical issues regarding the promotion of local entrepreneurship. First, the dynamics of entrepreneurship are considered to be universal, whereas the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) context from Developing and Emerging (D&E) countries is different in terms of resource availability and institutional environment supporting production and transaction activities. Next, the prevailing conceptualization focuses on an individualistic and goal-oriented process which is determined by competencies related to alertness, recognition, and resource mobilization for the exploitation of opportunities, followed by business growth, whereas a multi-layered conceptualisation which transcends individual agent and structural-level analyses of entrepreneurship is required. This thesis brought the model of the entrepreneurial action of small businesses to light and revealed that three subprocesses are driving the development of entrepreneurship in BoP. It inductively examined the behavioural patterns of agropreneurs. The thesis also provided new insights to the entrepreneurial orientation (EO) of small firms operating within the BoP, by showing that three traditional dimensions – innovativeness, proactiveness, and risk taking - are necessary but not sufficient to capture the manifestation of EO. Two new context-specific dimensions - resource-acquisition capability and collaborative orientation - emerged as part of the entrepreneurial orientation strategy. The thesis developped clear measurement of the EO, and a proper measurement model of the construct. Finally, the thesis demonstrated an inverted U-shaped relationship between EO and business performance. The findings suggested that increasing levels of EO appear beneficial up to a point, after which positive returns cease, and business performance begins to decline. Furthermore, increasing EO in tandem with networking promotes the success of BoP entrepreneurial process. These results have important theroretical and practical implications for the growth of small businesses in Benin and other developing countries with similar contextual characteristics.

    Modelling the dynamic interactions between food production and ecosystem services : a case study in Benin
    Duku, C. - \ 2017
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): L.G. Hein, co-promotor(en): S.J. Zwart. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463431613 - 141
    ecosystem services - modeling - food production - case studies - hydrology - irrigation - forests - woodlands - climatic change - nature conservation - food security - benin - ecosysteemdiensten - modelleren - voedselproductie - gevalsanalyse - hydrologie - irrigatie - bossen - bosgebieden - klimaatverandering - natuurbescherming - voedselzekerheid - benin

    Given the high levels of food insecurity and the loss of vital ecosystem services associated with deforestation, countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) face a major dilemma. How can they produce enough food in a changing climate to feed an increasing population while protecting natural forests and woodlands that provide a wide array of ecosystem services beneficial to livelihoods? Thus, the objectives of this thesis are twofold. First, to further enhance the understanding of the dynamic interactions between food production, and natural and semi-natural ecosystems with a case study in Benin. Second, to further enhance the understanding of how hydrological ecosystem services can be captured in an accounting framework. Understanding hydrological ecosystem services is key to understanding the multi-directional relationship between food production and ecosystem services supply from natural and semi-natural ecosystems. First, I examine how a spatially explicit ecohydrological model can be used to analyse multiple hydrological ecosystem services in line with the ecosystem accounting framework. The hydrological ecosystem services include crop water supply for rainfed agriculture, household water supply (both groundwater supply and surface water supply), water purification, and soil erosion control. Second, I develop a general modelling approach for analysing the effects of deforestation on the availability of water for irrigation at the watershed level, and I apply the approach to the Upper Oueme watershed in Benin. Third, I analyse the impact of climate change on agricultural intensification options. Finally, I quantify trade-offs between per capita food availability and protecting forests and woodlands at different levels of yield increases taking into account climate change, population growth. This thesis shows that the integration of hydrological ecosystem services into an accounting framework can provide relevant information at appropriate scales suitable for decision-making. It is empirically feasible to distinguish between service capacity and service flow of hydrological ecosystem services. This requires appropriate decisions regarding physical and mathematical representation of ecohydrological processes, spatial heterogeneity of ecosystems, temporal resolution, and required model accuracy. This thesis also shows that opportunities for irrigation expansion depend on conservation of forests and woodlands in the headwaters of the rivers feeding the irrigation scheme. Opportunities for agricultural intensification in SSA are likely to diminish with climate change, hence increasing pressure to expand cultivated areas in order to meet increasing food demand. Climate change will lead to substantial reductions in; exploitable yield gaps for major food crops, rainfed cropland areas that can support the cultivation of two or more crops per year, and water availability for irrigation expansion. Furthermore, in the far future crop yields will have to increase at a faster rate than has been recorded over the past two and half decades in order to maintain current levels of per capita food availability. Failure to achieve the required levels of yield increases is likely to lead to the conversion of substantial areas of forests and woodlands for crop cultivation. Based on the results of this thesis, four main recommendations to help address the dual challenge of food security and ecosystem protection in Benin and the larger SSA region are made: (i) promote a precautionary approach to forest and woodland conservation, (ii) promote cross-sectoral policy coherence and consultations, (iii) promote the development of satellite ecosystem accounts consistent with national accounts, and (iv) identify, evaluate and implement adaptation and resilience measures to reduce agricultural vulnerability to climate change.

    Understanding relations between pastoralism and its changing natural environment
    Tamou, Charles - \ 2017
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): I.J.M. Boer, co-promotor(en): S.J. Oosting; R. Ripoll Bosch; I. Youssao Aboudou Karim. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463431552 - 154
    pastoralism - livestock - grazing - crop production - nature conservation - cattle breeds - environment - nature reserves - benin - pastoralisme - vee - begrazing - gewasproductie - natuurbescherming - rundveerassen - milieu - natuurreservaten - benin

    The competition for land has become an issue of major concern and cause of conflict, especially between pastoralists and crop farmers, but also between pastoralists and nature conservation institutions. The Biosphere Reserve of W in Benin Republic (WBR) and its surrounding lands are located in the agro-pastoral contact zone in West Africa, enabling competition for land, and affecting the relations between pastoralism and its environment. The general aim of this thesis, therefore, was to understand the relations between pastoralism and its changing natural environment. In terms of land use change, cropland area around WBR expanded, whereas grazing area reduced. Population growth and rising demand for food crops and cash crops were the indirect causes of this loss of grazing lands. Competing claims over land existed between crop farmers and pastoralists, among crop farmers, and among crop farmers, pastoralists, and the WBR authority due to past expropriation, unfair and incomplete implementation of the WBR regulations and the increasing shift of pastoral lifestyle to crop farming. In terms of effects of grazing on plant communities, highly grazed sites had more species diversity than lowly grazed sites. This suggests that the current level of grazing was not damaging plant communities’ diversity. Annual species dominated the surveyed vegetation, suggesting that restoration of grazing lands with perennials requires human intervention. Herding involves taking decisions and moving of livestock in search for feed. Herding decisions are based on traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) of soil, forage and livestock. Pastoralists identified five different soils, which they selected for herding at different times of the year. Perennial grasses were perceived of high nutritional quality, whereas annuals were of low nutritional quality. Afzelia africana had high perceived quality for milk production, whereas Khaya senegalensis had the highest perceived quality for meat production, health and strength. In decision making for herding, pastoralists used a holistic approach, combining TEK about soil, vegetation and livestock, in a structured and prioritised reasoning. Changes in the pastoral system can lead to changes in desired livestock traits, which may lead to loss of indigenous breeds. Keteeji was valued for its endurance and tolerance to trypanosomiasis, Bodeeji was highly valued for endurance and Gudali was perceived of high value for meat and milk production, but of low value for endurance. To deal with the changing and unfavourable conditions of their environment, pastoralists preferred cattle breeds performing well on adaptive traits i.e. withstanding hunger, intelligence, and withstanding disease. Our results suggest that pastoralism is under pressure and that its survival depends on policies. In the pessimistic scenario, i.e. without any change, pastoralists will use, likely, the stepping-out strategy in the future. In the optimistic scenario, two possible institutional interventions could help maintaining pastoralism in the region: payments for ecosystem services provided by pastoralism, and association of pastoralism with nature conservation. In practice, however, the implementation of these two interventions is very challenging, which implies an increasing vulnerability of pastoralists and pastoral lifestyle.

    Understanding complexity in managing agro-pastoral dams ecosystem services in Northern Benin
    Kpera, G.N. - \ 2015
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Noelle Aarts, co-promotor(en): Akke van der Zijpp; G.A. Mensah; C.R. Tossou. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462575059 - 201
    benin - ecosysteemdiensten - waterbeheer - landbouw en milieu - hulpbronnenbeheer - multi-stakeholder processen - benin - ecosystem services - water management - agriculture and environment - resource management - multi-stakeholder processes

    Key words: conflict, water quality, crocodile, fish diversity, vegetable, watershed management, institutional changes, innovation system.

    Understanding complexity in managing agro-pastoral dams ecosystem services in Northern Benin

    Gnanki Nathalie KPERA

    Agro-pastoral dams (APDs) – water reservoirs constructed to provide water for livestock and for agricultural development – have been constructed all over Benin. These APDs face several conflicts (farmers versus herders, council versus vegetable producers, fishermen versus council, and fishermen and APD users versus crocodiles) rooted in the multi-functionality of APDs and the involvement of diverse stakeholders. Using the integral ecology framework as the conceptual inspiration, the research gained insights on: (i) the complexity of APDs that impedes agreement on common rules for their management, (ii) the way stakeholders frame the presence of crocodiles, (iii) the health status of the APD ecosystem by using water quality, fish diversity, and fish biomass as indicators, (iv) the constraints that hinder vegetable production around the APDs. The study suggests that an innovation platform should be established in which all the stakeholders can discuss changes, resulting in optimal use of APD ecosystem services and their management.

    Shrimp quality and safety management along the supply chain in Benin
    Dabade, D.S. - \ 2015
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Marcel Zwietering; D.J. Hounhouigan, co-promotor(en): Heidy den Besten. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462574205 - 158
    garnalen - penaeus - penaeus monodon - voedselkwaliteit - voedselveiligheid - bacteriëntelling - kwaliteitscontroles - kwaliteitszorg - benin - microbiologie - risicobeheersing - risicoanalyse - kwantitatieve methoden - shrimps - penaeus - penaeus monodon - food quality - food safety - bacterial counting - quality controls - quality management - benin - microbiology - risk management - risk analysis - quantitative methods


    This thesis focuses on quality and safety management of tropical shrimp (Penaeus spp.) using Benin (West Africa) as an example of a shrimp exporting country. The entire supply chain, from fishing areas (brackish waters) to shrimp processing plants, was investigated. The steps of the chain prior to shrimp processing at the freezer plants were critical for shrimp quality and safety because of prevailing temperature abuse and inappropriate hygienic conditions. Combining culture-dependent (plate counts) and culture independent (DGGE, clone libraries analysis) approaches, it was found that bacterial concentration in shrimps was higher than that of their surrounding water and sediment. Conversely, bacterial diversity was higher in water or sediment than in shrimps. At species level, distinct bacterial communities were associated with sediment, water or shrimp samples. Spoilage evaluation of shrimps showed that during storage at 0ºC, Pseudomonas spp. were dominant, whereas at 7ºC and 28ºC, H2S-producing bacteria were the dominant group of microorganisms. An empirical model predicting shrimp shelf-life as a function of constant storage temperature was developed. Isolates producing strong off-odor were identified by 16S rRNA sequencing as mainly lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and Enterobacteriaceae at 28ºC or 7ºC and Pseudomonas spp. and LAB (Carnobacterium maltaromaticum) at 0ºC. The fastest growing isolates namely, Pseudomonas psychrophila and C. maltaromaticum were selected for their spoilage activity and for modeling studies. P. psychrophila had a higher growth rate and a higher spoilage activity at 0 to 15ºC, while at 28ºC, C. maltaromaticum had a higher growth rate. Models predicting the growth of pseudomonads in shrimps as a function of temperature were constructed. These models were validated under dynamic storage temperatures simulating actual temperature fluctuation in the supply chain. Using different risk classification approaches, the main foodborne pathogen risks identified were Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Salmonella. The management of the risks posed by the main pathogens was addressed using different scenarios to meet the set food safety objectives. Based on quantitative and ecological studies, this thesis developed tools that can be used in decision-making regarding tropical shrimp quality and safety management.

    Participatory appraisal of institutional and political constraints and opportunities for innovation to address parasitic weeds in rice
    Schut, M. ; Rodenburg, J. ; Klerkx, L.W.A. ; Hinnou, L.C. ; Kayeke, J. ; Bastiaans, L. - \ 2015
    Crop Protection 74 (2015). - ISSN 0261-2194 - p. 158 - 170.
    fed lowland rice - striga-hermonthica control - raais rapid appraisal - sub-saharan africa - socioeconomic constraints - integrated analysis - pest-management - systems - benin - tanzania
    Parasitic weeds in smallholder rice production systems, of which Striga asiatica, Striga hermonthica and hamphicarpa fistulosa are the main representatives, form an increasing problem for food and income security in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The objective of this paper is to identify institutional and political constraints and opportunities for innovation to address parasitic weed problems in rice. Constraints and opportunities for innovation were studied across three nested systems: the parasitic weed control system, the crop protection system, and the agricultural system. Multi-stakeholder workshops, interviews and surveys were held to gather data on key constraints faced by different stakeholder groups across three parasitic weed infested study sites in both Tanzania and Benin. The results demonstrate that in both countries, the majority of institutional and political constraints relate to the functioning of the broader crop protection and agricultural systems and not specifically to parasitic weeds. Although differences were observed between the two countries and the different stakeholder groups, the majority of constraints perceived by the stakeholders were caused by a lack of capabilities and resources and a limited access to credit. Awareness raising of parasitic weed problems among farmers, extension and crop protection officers at the local level, combined with improved input and service supply and enhanced agricultural education and training curricula at the national level, were identified as important elements for improvement. More structural collaboration between key stakeholder groups is expected to contribute to a better recognition of agricultural problems, like that of parasitic weeds in rice, and a more timely identification of feasible solutions.
    Selective pruning in pineapple plants as means to reduce heterogeneity in fruit quality
    Fassinou Hotegni, V.N. ; Lommen, W.J.M. ; Struik, P.C. ; Agbossou, E.K. - \ 2015
    SpringerPlus 4 (2015). - ISSN 2193-1801 - 12 p.
    Heterogeneity in fruit quality (size and taste) is a major problem in pineapple production chains. The possibilities were investigated of reducing the heterogeneity in pineapple in the field by pruning slips on selected plants, in order to promote the fruit growth on these plants. Slips are side shoots that develop just below the pineapple fruit during fruit development. Two on-farm experiments were carried out in commercial fields in Benin with a cultivar locally known as Sugarloaf, to determine (a) the effect of slip pruning on fruit quality; (b) whether the effect of slip pruning depends on the pruning time; and (c) whether slip pruning from the plants with the smallest infructescences results in more uniformity in fruit quality. A split-plot design was used with pruning time (2 or 3 months after inflorescence emergence) as main factor and fraction of pruned plants (no plants pruned (control); pruning on the one-third plants with the smallest infructescences; pruning on the two-thirds plants with the smallest infructescences; pruning on all plants) as sub-factor. Fruit quality characteristics measured at harvest were the fruit (infructescence + crown) weight and length, the infructescence weight and length, the crown weight and length, the ratio crown length: infructescence length, the total soluble solids, the juice pH and the flesh translucency. Results indicated that pruning of slips of any fraction of the plants at 2 or 3 months after inflorescence emergence did not lead to a consistent improvement in quality or uniformity. Consequently it is not recommended to farmers in Benin to prune the slips.
    Quality of traditionally processed shea (Vitellaria paradoxa) kernels and shea butter
    Honfo, G.F. - \ 2015
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Tiny van Boekel; M.M. Soumanou, co-promotor(en): Anita Linnemann. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462572737 - 237
    sheaboter - voedselbereiding - plantaardige vetten - warmtebehandeling - extractie - inheemse kennis - kwaliteit - achteruitgang (deterioration) - benin - vitellaria paradoxa - shea butter - food preparation - plant fats - heat treatment - extraction - indigenous knowledge - quality - deterioration - benin - vitellaria paradoxa


    The shea tree is an endogenous and multipurpose tree from the Savanah zone of Africa, mostly used for its fruits and the fat extracted from its kernels, commonly known as shea butter. The butter is used for cooking and medicinal purposes by local populations, and in cosmetic products as well as a cocoa butter substitute in chocolate in others areas of Africa and at the international level. The butter is generally extracted by traditional methods, which vary throughout the production zones but involve some common processing operations viz. boiling of the fresh nuts, sun drying, shelling, crushing, roasting, milling, churning, and heating. This thesis investigated the influence of traditional processing of shea on quality attributes of shea kernels and butter.

    The results showed that 2 mains techniques (differing in the heat treatment applied to the fresh nuts) are used to process shea fruits after their collection: the boiling followed by sun drying technique and the smoking technique. Boiled and sundried kernels contained a higher fat content (48 % dw) and yielded more butter (30 % of kernel mass) than smoked kernels that had a fat content of 39 % dw. The butter extracted from the boiled kernels had a better quality than the butter from smoked kernels with respect to the unsaponifiable fraction (7 %), tocopherol compounds (125 mg/g), peroxide value (8 meq O2/kg), and FFA (2 %). Some processing operations, namely the storage of fresh nuts as related to their boiling time and the roasting of kernels, were optimized using the response surface method to design the experiments. The conditions to obtain an optimal quality of kernels are to store the nuts for 3 days and boil them for 28 ± 3 min. Subsequently, optimal roasting conditions for kernels were found to be 15 min at 171 ºC, which resulted in kernels with a fat content of 49 % dw, a butter yield of 32 %, and butter with a FFA of 1.2 %. The results also revealed that shea butter extracted from roasted kernels contained more volatile compounds (58) than that from unroasted kernels (27). Additionally, storage temperature and storage duration significantly affected some quality characteristics of shea butter, whereas the influence of local packaging materials was less pronounced

    Shea processors are advised to process shea fruits by integrating the optimal conditions of storage of fresh nuts, boiling and roasting found in this research, then pack the butter in clean and opaque plastic and store it in a relatively cool area to maintain the quality of the product during prolonged storage periods. Areas for future research were identified for further improvements of local shea processing.

    Influence of weight and type of planting material on fruit quality and its heterogeneity in pineapple [Ananas comosus (L.) Merrill]
    Fassinou Hotegni, V.N. ; Lommen, W.J.M. ; Agbossou, E.K. ; Struik, P.C. - \ 2015
    Frontiers in Plant Science 5 (2015). - ISSN 1664-462X - 16 p.
    benin - size
    Cultural practices can affect the quality of pineapple fruits and its variation. The objectives of this study were to investigate (a) effects of weight class and type of planting material on fruit quality, heterogeneity in quality and proportion and yield of fruits meeting European export standards, and (b) the improvement in quality, proportion and yield of fruits meeting export standards when flowering was induced at optimum time. Experiments were conducted in Benin with cvs Sugarloaf (a Perola type) and Smooth Cayenne. In cv. Sugarloaf, experimental factors were weight class of planting material (light, mixed, heavy) and time of flowering induction (farmers', optimum) (Experiment 1). In cv. Smooth Cayenne an additional experimental factor was the type of planting material (hapas, ground suckers, a mixture of the two) (Experiment 2). Fruits from heavy planting material had higher infructescence and fruit weights, longer infructescences, shorter crowns, and smaller crown: infructescence length than fruits from light planting material. The type of planting material in Experiment 2 did not significantly affect fruit quality except crown length: fruits from hapas had shorter crowns than those from ground suckers. Crops from heavy planting material had a higher proportion and yield of fruits meeting export standards than those from other weight classes in Experiment 1 only; also the type of planting material in Experiment 2 did not affect these variates. Heterogeneity in fruit quality was usually not reduced by selecting only light or heavy planting material instead of mixing weights; incidentally the coefficient of variation was significantly reduced in fruits from heavy slips only. Heterogeneity was also not reduced by not mixing hapas and ground suckers. Flowering induction at optimum time increased the proportion and yield of fruits meeting export standards in fruits from light and mixed slip weights and in those from the mixture of heavy hapas plus ground suckers.
    The roles of exploration and exploitation in the export market integration of Beninese producers at the base of the pyramid
    Adékambi, S.A. - \ 2015
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Hans van Trijp, co-promotor(en): Paul Ingenbleek. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462572461 - 205
    marketing - landbouwproducten - export - instellingen - armoede - sheaboter - ontwikkelingseconomie - economische groei - afrika - benin - west-afrika - marketing - agricultural products - exports - institutions - poverty - shea butter - development economics - economic growth - africa - benin - west africa

    Keywords: Base of the pyramid, Bottom of the pyramid, Supply chains, Export market integration, Market learning, Developing and Emerging countries, Exploitation and Exploration, Institutional arrangements, Transaction cost economics, Livelihood performance, BoP producers


    Organizing supply chains that are based in producer groups that live in conditions of widespread poverty and weak institutional support (sometimes referred to as the Base of the Pyramid [BoP] producers) is challenging. These challenges have predominantly been studied in the development literature, while the marketing perspective has received less attention. Drawing on both transaction cost and market learning theories, the thesis integrates producers’ opportunity exploitation and exploration processes with the institutional framework adopted in the development literature to understand producers’ integration with export markets. Overall, the findings show that exploitation mediates between drivers investigated by development economists (quality of infrastructure, microcredit, and community culture) and integration with export markets. The results show that BoP producers’ export market integration also depends on the institutional arrangements that exporting companies offer. The results indicate that contrary to more-developed settings like those in Western Europe and Northern America, there is no need to develop both opportunity exploration and exploitation in environments characterized by scarce opportunities with relatively high purchasing powers. The findings imply that developing competencies that enable to produce the demanded quality are crucial in seizing export market integration opportunities.

    The need for reflexive evaluation approaches in development cooperation
    Arkesteijn, M.C.M. ; Mierlo, B. van; Leeuwis, C. - \ 2015
    Evaluation : The International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice 21 (2015)1. - ISSN 1356-3890 - p. 99 - 115.
    innovation - system - complexity - framework - poverty - design - benin - story
    Within development cooperation, development issues are increasingly recognized as complex problems requiring new paths towards solving them. In addition to the commonly used two dimensions of complex problems (uncertainty and disagreement), we introduce a third dimension: systemic stability; that is, stability provided by rules, relations and complementary technology. This article reflects on how development evaluation methodologies and especially those introducing a complexity perspective address these three dimensions. Inferring that this third dimension deserves more attention, we explore the characteristics of reflexive evaluation approaches that challenge systemic stability and support processes of learning and institutional change. We conclude that reflexive evaluation approaches may well complement current system approaches in development evaluation practice.
    Prioritizing West African medicinal plants for conservation and sustainable extraction studies based on market surveys and species distribution models.
    Andel, T.R. van; Croft, S. ; Loon, E.E. van; Quiroz Villarreal, D.K. ; Towns, A.M. ; Raes, N. - \ 2015
    Biological Conservation 181 (2015). - ISSN 0006-3207 - p. 173 - 181.
    timber forest products - ecological explanation - benin - prediction - bark - commercialization - performance - disturbance - vegetation - impact
    Sub-Saharan African human populations rely heavily on wild-harvested medicinal plants for their health. The trade in herbal medicine provides an income for many West African people, but little is known about the effects of commercial extraction on wild plant populations. Detailed distribution maps are lacking for even the most commonly traded species. Here we combine quantitative market surveys in Ghana and Benin with species distribution models (SDMs) to assess potential species’ vulnerability to overharvesting and to prioritize areas for sustainable extraction studies. We provide the first detailed distribution maps for 12 commercially extracted medicinal plants in West Africa. We suggest an IUCN threat status for four forest species that were not previously assessed (Sphenocentrum jollyanum, Okoubaka aubrevillei, Entada gigas and Piper guineense), which have narrow distributions in West Africa and are extensively commercialized. As SDMs estimate the extent of suitable abiotic habitat conditions rather than population size per se, their output is of limited use to assess vulnerability for overharvesting of widely distributed species. Examples of such species are Khaya senegalensis and Securidaca longipedunculata, two trees that were reported by market vendors as becoming increasingly scarce in the wild. Field surveys should start in predicted suitable habitats closest to urban areas and main roads, as commercial extraction likely occurs at the shortest cost distance to the markets. Our study provides an example of applying SDMs to conservation assessments aiming to safeguard provisioning ecosystems.
    Field evaluation of the efficacy of neem oil (Azadirachta indica A. Juss) and Beauveria bassiana (Bals.) Vuill. in cotton production
    Togbe, C.E. ; Haagsma, R. ; Zannou, E. ; Gbehounou, G. ; Déguénon, J.M. ; Vodouhe, S. ; Kossou, D. ; Huis, A. van - \ 2015
    Journal of Applied Entomology 139 (2015)3. - ISSN 0931-2048 - p. 217 - 228.
    threshold-based interventions - helicoverpa-armigera hubner - west-africa - metarhizium-anisopliae - entomopathogenic fungi - pest-management - spider-mite - insecticides - resistance - benin
    Neem oil (Azadirachta indica A. Juss) alone and combined with the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana (Balsamo) Vuillemin (isolate Bb11) was applied to control cotton pests. The efficacy of these treatments was compared with that of synthetic insecticides applied either in a calendar-based application or in the ‘Lutte Etagée Ciblée’ (LEC) strategy, consisting of using first calendar-based (half-dose) applications followed by threshold-based treatments. The experiment was carried out in collaborative research with farmers in three cotton agro-ecological zones differing in rainfall, pest prevalence, and farming practices. The neem oil and neem oil-Bb11 treatments required 2 to 6 applications, while conventional and LEC received 6 to 8 applications. The percentage of damaged reproductive organs in plots treated with neem oil and neem oil plus Bb11 was higher than that recorded under the conventional and LEC strategy, with exception of the zone with the highest rainfall; this resulted in yields being 25% and 39% lower, respectively. Yields in the biopesticide plots were 26–42% higher and in the conventional and LEC plots 44–59% higher than those in the control plots that received only water. Overall, the LEC regime scored best, both in yield and profitability. The incidence of natural enemies was highest in the control and in the plots treated with biopesticides. Although the use of entomopathogen Bb11 and neem oil avoids many problems associated with the application of synthetic insecticides, their efficacy needs to be enhanced by improved formulation or by combining them with other pesticides.
    RAAIS: Rapid Appraisal of Agricultural Innovation Systems (Part I). A diagnostic tool for integrated analysis of complex problems and innovation capacity
    Schut, M. ; Klerkx, L.W.A. ; Rodenburg, J. ; Kayeke, J. ; Hinnou, L.C. ; Raboanarielina, C.M. ; Adegbola, P.Y. ; Ast, A. van; Bastiaans, L. - \ 2015
    Agricultural Systems 132 (2015). - ISSN 0308-521X - p. 1 - 11.
    sub-saharan africa - fed lowland rice - framework - policy - perspective - benin - participation - information - reflection - management
    This paper introduces Rapid Appraisal of Agricultural Innovation Systems (RAAIS). RAAIS is a diagnostic tool that can guide the analysis of complex agricultural problems and innovation capacity of the agricultural system in which the complex agricultural problem is embedded. RAAIS focuses on the integrated analysis of different dimensions of problems (e.g. biophysical, technological, socio-cultural, economic, institutional and political), interactions across different levels (e.g. national, regional, local), and the constraints and interests of different stakeholder groups (farmers, government, researchers, etc.). Innovation capacity in the agricultural system is studied by analysing (1) constraints within the institutional, sectoral and technological subsystems of the agricultural system, and (2) the existence and performance of the agricultural innovation support system. RAAIS combines multiple qualitative and quantitative methods, and insider (stakeholders) and outsider (researchers) analyses which allow for critical triangulation and validation of the gathered data. Such an analysis can provide specific entry points for innovations to address the complex agricultural problem under study, and generic entry points for innovation related to strengthening the innovation capacity of agricultural system and the functioning of the agricultural innovation support system. The application of RAAIS to analyse parasitic weed problems in the rice sector, conducted in Tanzania and Benin, demonstrates the potential of the diagnostic tool and provides recommendations for its further development and use.
    Heterogeneity in pineapple fruit quality results from plant heterogeneity at flower induction
    Fassinou Hotegni, V.N. ; Lommen, W.J.M. ; Agbossou, E.K. ; Struik, P.C. - \ 2014
    Frontiers in Plant Science 5 (2014). - ISSN 1664-462X - 13 p.
    translucency - performance - management - ethephon - benin - crown - age
    Heterogeneity in fruit quality constitutes a major constraint in agri-food chains. In this paper the sources of the heterogeneity in pineapple in the field were studied in four experiments in commercial pineapple fields. The aims were to determine (a) whether differences in pineapple fruit quality among individual fruits are associated with differences in vigor of the individual plants within the crop at the time of artificial flower induction; and (b) whether the side shoots produced by the plant during the generative phase account for the fruit quality heterogeneity. Two pineapple cultivars were considered: cv. Sugarloaf and cv. Smooth Cayenne. Plant vigor at the time of artificial flower induction was measured by three variates: the number of functional leaves, the D-leaf length and their cross product. Fruit quality attributes measured at harvest time included external attributes (weight and height of fruit, infructescence and crown) and internal quality attributes [total soluble solids (TSS), pH, translucent flesh]. Results showed that the heterogeneity in fruit weight was a consequence of the heterogeneity in vigor of the plants at the moment of flower induction; that effect was mainly on the infructescence weight and less or not on the crown weight. The associations between plant vigor variates at flower induction and the internal quality attributes of the fruit were poor and/or not consistent across experiments. The weight of the slips (side shoots) explained part of the heterogeneity in fruit weight, infructescence weight and fruit height in cv. Sugarloaf. Possibilities for reducing the variation in fruit quality by precise cultural practices are discussed.
    Local plant names reveal that enslaved Africans recognized substantial parts of the New World flora
    Andel, T.R. van; Klooster, E.A. van 't; Quiroz Villarreal, D.K. ; Towns, A.M. ; Ruysschaert, S. ; Berg, M. van den - \ 2014
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 111 (2014)50. - ISSN 0027-8424 - p. E5346 - E5353.
    surinamese creoles - west-africa - medicine - market - benin
    How did the forced migration of nearly 11 million enslaved Africans to the Americas influence their knowledge of plants? Vernacular plant names give insight into the process of species recognition, acquisition of new knowledge, and replacement of African species with American ones. This study traces the origin of 2,350 Afro-Surinamese (Sranantongo and Maroon) plant names to those plant names used by local Amerindians, Europeans, and related groups in West and Central Africa. We compared vernacular names from herbarium collections, literature, and recent ethnobotanical fieldwork in Suriname, Ghana, Benin, and Gabon. A strong correspondence in sound, structure, and meaning among Afro-Surinamese vernaculars and their equivalents in other languages for botanically related taxa was considered as evidence for a shared origin. Although 65% of the Afro-Surinamese plant names contained European lexical items, enslaved Africans have recognized a substantial part of the neotropical flora. Twenty percent of the Sranantongo and 43% of the Maroon plant names strongly resemble names currently used in diverse African languages for related taxa, represent translations of African ones, or directly refer to an Old World origin. The acquisition of new ethnobotanical knowledge is captured in vernaculars derived from Amerindian languages and the invention of new names for neotropical plants from African lexical terms. Plant names that combine African, Amerindian, and European words reflect a creolization process that merged ethnobotanical skills from diverse geographical and cultural sources into new Afro-American knowledge systems. Our study confirms the role of Africans as significant agents of environmental knowledge in the New World.
    Socio-economic impacts and determinants of parasitic weed infestation in rainfed rice systems of sub-Saharan Africa
    N'cho, A.S. - \ 2014
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Alfons Oude Lansink, co-promotor(en): Monique Mourits; J. Rodenburg. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462571266 - 160
    rijst - agrarische productiesystemen - gewasproductie - onkruiden - parasitaire onkruiden - striga hermonthica - striga asiatica - controle - onkruidbestrijding - regenafhankelijke landbouw - economische impact - sociale factoren - besluitvorming - boeren - afrika ten zuiden van de sahara - benin - ivoorkust - tanzania - rice - agricultural production systems - crop production - weeds - parasitic weeds - striga hermonthica - striga asiatica - control - weed control - rainfed agriculture - economic impact - social factors - decision making - farmers - africa south of sahara - benin - cote d'ivoire - tanzania

    Keywords: rice; weed; weed management practices, adoption, impact, parasitic weeds; Rhamphicarpa fistulosa; Striga asiatica; Striga hermonthica, double hurdle model; multivariate probit, productivity, stochastic frontier analysis, data envelopment analysis, directional distance function, sub-Saharan Africa, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Tanzania.

    Socio-economic impacts and determinants of parasitic weed infestation in

    rainfed rice systems of sub-Saharan Africa

    Simon A. N’cho


    Rice is an important strategic crop for food security in sub-Saharan Africa. However, its production is constrained by many biotic and abiotic stress. In rainfed rice systems, weeds and particularly parasitic weeds are among the most damaging constraints. The objective of this thesis was to identify factors affecting infestation of rice farms by parasitic weeds and to assess the economic and social impact of parasitic weeds on primary producers of rainfed rice systems in order to provide guidance for decision-making for rice farmers and policymakers aiming at developing strategies for coping with parasitic weeds. To achieve this objective, we first explored biophysical characters of the rice growing environment, farmers’ management practices, and socio-economic characteristics that affect the infestation of rice fields by parasitic weeds (PWs) and farmers’ ability to cope with the problem. A double hurdle model was used to analyses simultaneously the likelihood of occurrence and the severity of infestation of the PW. The findings suggest that farmers can cope with the PW as long as they are aware of the problem provided they have a good access and management capacity of production resources. Next, we examined weed management practices (WMPs) currently available to farmers and how PW infestation affect their choices for specific combinations of WMPs using a multivariate probit model. Findings indicate that farmers are more likely to adopt improved weed management practices or combined more WMPs when their fields are infested by PWs. Species-specific and country-specific approaches and technologies are require to address the PW problem. Then, we assessed the impact of parasitic weeds infestation on farmers’ productivity and examined how this problem and managerial factors prevent farmers from achieving optimal technical efficiency levels using a stochastic frontier analysis (SFA). PWs induce productivity losses ranging from 21% to 50%. Farmers seem to cope with PW through learning from experiencing PW problem. Finally, we estimated weeding labour inefficiencies using a Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) with directional input distance function and a single truncated bootstrap regression to identify sources of inefficiencies. Results suggest that, farmers can save substantial (58% – 69%) weeding labour without reducing rice production. No evidence was found that the currently used manual weeding modalities were able to manage parasitic weeds efficiently. The main finding of this thesis is that in sub-Saharan Africa, PWs infestation has a negative impact on rainfed rice systems’ productivity and the use of production resources. However, these impacts can be reduced if farmers have a good access to production resources and manage them efficiently.

    Between script and improvisation: institutional conditions and their local operation
    Mierlo, B. van; Totin, E. - \ 2014
    Outlook on Agriculture 43 (2014)3. - ISSN 0030-7270 - p. 157 - 163.
    innovation platforms - rice production - west-africa - benin - management
    In Benin, a combination of governmental programmes effectively stimulated rice intensification by providing relevant institutional arrangements such as subsidized seed, credit and a market outlet. In this paper, the authors investigate the institutional character of these programmes by unpacking the rules embedded in them and by showing how farmers mould, reject and change these rules or combine them with local rules – their practices of institutional bricolage. The authors show that the services provided by the programmes had great advantages for rice farmers, but they also had an exclusive character. Because of local bricolage practices, the programmes both affected rice production and helped the rice farmers to deal with conflicts over inequitable land allocation and discriminatory participation in canal cleaning. These findings contribute to discussion of the role of innovation platforms in the stimulation of institutional change and the provision of enabling conditions.
    Networking, social capital and gender roles in the cotton system in Benin
    Maboudou Alidou, G. - \ 2014
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Anke Niehof, co-promotor(en): Jarl Kampen. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462570634 - 187
    katoen - productie - boeren - landbouwhuishoudens - boerenorganisaties - sociaal kapitaal - netwerken - geslacht (gender) - strategieën voor levensonderhoud - benin - cotton - production - farmers - agricultural households - farmers' associations - social capital - networks - gender - livelihood strategies - benin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Quality of pasteurised pineapple juice in the context of the Beninese marketing system
    Hounhouigan, M.H. - \ 2014
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Tiny van Boekel; Hans van Trijp, co-promotor(en): Anita Linnemann; Paul Ingenbleek. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462570498 - 198
    ananassen - ananassap - pasteurisatie - voedselkwaliteit - marketing van voedingsmiddelen - benin - pineapples - pineapple juice - pasteurization - food quality - food marketing - benin

    This study is a result of the interdisciplinary project Co-Innovation for Quality in African Food Chains (CoQA). The objective of the research was to improve the quality of pasteurised pineapple juice taking the characteristics of the Beninese pineapple marketing system into account. The specific objectives were to: (i) evaluate the adaptation of Beninese pineapple marketing system to the introduction of the pasteurised pineapple juice business; (ii) assess the extent to which pineapples with physical damage (i.e., of potential less quality) can be used for pineapple juice production; (iii) review the present state-of-the-art on the effect of processing on pineapple juice quality and (iv) evaluate the effect of pasteurisation on the microbiological, physicochemical and nutritional quality of pineapple juice.

    Chapter 2 of this thesis revealed that wholesalers are the main suppliers to both consumer-merchants and juice manufacturers. However, juice manufacturers’ preferences are different from those of consumer-merchants. More specifically, juice manufacturers prefer large pineapples from 'Kona Sugarloaf' variety and believe that pineapples with physical damage can be used to produce pasteurised pineapple juice. This offers wholesalers the opportunity to sell pineapples that are not demanded by consumer-merchants, but it was found that wholesalers are not engaged in any specific sorting and grading activities to fulfill the wants of the pineapple juice manufacturers.

    We learned that the reason for the lack of adaptation of the system is caused by the lack of responsiveness of wholesalers due to such factors. The results imply that, in the development context, the adaptation of the marketing system to a development intervention needs to be managed and the effects of interventions need to be considered beyond the primary target group. In other words, complementary marketing interventions should focus on the other actors of the marketing system.

    As juice manufacturers considered pineapples with physical damage as a possible raw material for pineapple juice production, the possibility of using pineapples with physical damage for pineapple juice production was investigated in chapter 3. Experiments were designed to simulate different types of physical damage and the damaged pineapples were stored for up to 9 days. Physically damaged pineapples stored for up to 9 days at 20 °C showed no adverse effects on the physicochemical characteristics and vitamin C content of fresh pineapple juice (Chapter 3). This suggests that pineapples with those characteristics are suitable for the production of pasteurised juice.

    Pasteurisation is widely used in juice production. Yet, few studies have investigated the effect of pasteurisation on the quality of pineapple juice (Chapter 4).

    Due to insufficient proof that pasteurisation has a negative effect on the pineapple juice quality as demonstrated in other juices (Chapter 4), the effect of pasteurisation on the microbiological (mainly yeasts), physicochemical (pH, degree Brix, organic acids, sugars content) and nutritional (vitamin C) quality was investigated in the range of 55 °C to 95 °C. It was found that yeast inactivation in pineapple juice could be described by the Weibull model. The desired 6 log reduction was achieved at 65 °C for 2 min. This result proved that pineapple juice does not need to be pasteurised at a high temperature (85 °C - 20 min) as it is generally applied in Benin and other countries to ensure juice safety. While not expected, vitamin C, the most important nutritional compound in pineapple juice, proved to be stable under the heat treatments investigated in this research. Actually, the degradation rate of vitamin C was below 20 %. Because of this stability, it was not possible to do a kinetic analysis. The physicochemical attributes of pineapple juice, such as pH, degree Brix, organic acid content, were not affected by the pasteurisation treatment. However, at 95 °C, a decrease of sucrose and a simultaneous increase of fructose and glucose contents was noticed, which will probably increase the sweetness of the juice but at the same time favour the Maillard reaction. The fact that HMF was detected in pineapple juice after 30 min at 95 °C, illustrates that the Maillard reaction can affect pineapple juice quality at higher temperatures and longer heat treatments (Chapter 5). Ultimately, pineapple juice should be pasteurised for 2 min at 65 °C to preserve its nutritional (vitamin C) and sensorial quality (colour, taste).

    Finally, all findings were integrated in chapter 6 and were discussed from an integrative perspective. The thesis has implications for further developing the industry. Currently, the pineapple juice industry is segmented because juice manufacturers differ in many ways. They are living in different locations, have different financial capabilities, different knowledge about juice processing techniques and as a result, they produce pasteurised pineapple juice that is variable in quality. In order to improve their pineapple juice quality and to increase their market access, juice manufacturers can be trained on better pineapple sourcing and pasteurisation techniques. Working more closely together, they can produce products at comparable quality levels using their own equipment. Juice manufacturers who are not willing to collaborate that way can continue to produce and improve their pineapple juice quality by taking the recommendations from this thesis into account.

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