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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    Drivers of groundwater utilization in water-limited rice production systems in Nepal
    Urfels, Anton ; McDonald, Andrew J. ; Krupnik, Timothy J. ; Oel, Pieter R. van - \ 2020
    Water International 45 (2020)1. - ISSN 0250-8060 - p. 39 - 59.
    decision processes - Eastern Gangetic Plains - Groundwater irrigation - Nepal - resilience - smallholders

    Most rice farmers in Nepal’s Terai region do not fully utilize irrigation during breaks in monsoon rainfall. This leads to yield losses despite abundant groundwater resources and ongoing expansion of diesel pumps and tubewell infrastructure. We investigate this puzzle by characterizing delay factors governing tubewell irrigation across wealth and precipitation gradients. After the decision to irrigate, different factors delay irrigation by roughly one week. While more sustainable and inexpensive energy for pumping may eventually catalyze transformative change, we identify near-term interventions that may increase rice farmers’ resilience to water stress in smallholder-dominated farming communities based on prevailing types of irrigation infrastructure.

    Costs and benefits of certification of independent oil palm smallholders in Indonesia
    Hutabarat, S. ; Slingerland, Maja ; Rietberg, P.I. ; Dries, L.K.E. - \ 2018
    International Food and Agribusiness Management Review 21 (2018)6. - ISSN 1096-7508 - p. 681 - 700.
    RSPO - certification - smallholders - Indonesia - oil palm - costs and benefits
    Sustainable certification schemes have surged in years. The introduction of these schemes poses serious challenges to smallholders. One such certification scheme is the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), which uses certification to increase equitable and sustainable production of palm oil. This study calculates upfront and recurrent costs and monetary benefits of RSPO certification of the Amanah Independent Oil Palm Smallholders Association in Ukui District, Indonesia. Survey and interview data was collected between 2013 and 2015. Results show that upfront costs of certification were 86 euro per hectare. Furthermore, despite generating up to 21% higher revenues from sales, certification created up to an 8%loss of net income per hectare on average per smallholder in the first year after certification, compared to the situation prior to certification. To motivate smallholders for RSPO certification, the economic performance of certified oil palm smallholders should be improved. This can result from further yield increases, a guaranteed premium price or the sales of GreenPalm certificates to provide additional income.
    Taking profit from the growing use of mobile phone in Benin: A Contingent Valuation approach for market and quality information access
    Arinloye, D.D.A.A. ; Linnemann, A.R. ; Hagelaar, J.L.F. ; Coulibaly, O. ; Omta, S.W.F. - \ 2015
    Information Technology for Development 21 (2015)1. - ISSN 0268-1102 - p. 44 - 66.
    asymmetric information - econometric-analysis - developing-countries - technology adoption - farmers - determinants - africa - firms - communication - smallholders
    An information systems-adapted Contingent Valuation survey was used to assess smallholder farmers' perceptions and the premium they are willing to pay (WTP) to get mobile phone-based information on market prices and product quality to overcome the recurrent information asymmetry issues in the chain. The investigations, consisting of an exploratory case study in Ghana followed by a survey with 285 observations in Benin, demonstrated that market information asymmetry indeed leads to lower prices for farmers. In Ghana, market price alerts through mobile phone messaging allowed decreasing transaction costs for farmers from US $2 to US $150 per transaction. In Benin, most farmers who are using mobile phones are WTP a premium of up to US$2.5 per month to get market price and quality information. Econometric models showed that decisive factors for the premium to be paid include farm location, market channel, profit margin, contact with agricultural extension services and technical support from buyers. The study suggests a multi-stakeholders' platform for an efficient and sustainable mobile phone-based market information system in agri-food chains.
    Farmers and retailers knowledge and awareness of the risk from pesticide use: a case study in the Wei River catchment, China
    Yang, X. ; Wang, L. ; Meng, L. ; Zhang, W. ; Fan, L. ; Geissen, V. ; Ritsema, C.J. - \ 2014
    Science of the Total Environment 497-498 (2014). - ISSN 0048-9697 - p. 172 - 179.
    developing-countries - human health - safe use - attitudes - workers - management - suicide - smallholders - protection - behaviors
    Monitoring the educational level of farmers and retailers on pesticide use would be useful to assess the appropriateness of information for reducing or/and avoiding the risks from pesticides in rural regions. The levels of knowledge and awareness of the dangers to the environment and human health were investigated by questionnaires for farmers (209) and retailers (20) in two rural regions (Qianyang County (S1) and Chencang County (S2)) of the Wei River catchment in China where the modes of farming and the state of erosion are very different. The results showed that farmers learned the use and dangers of pesticides mainly by oral communication (p <0.01). Protective measures were inadequate; 65% (S1) and 55% (S2) of farmers never used any protective measures during spraying (p <0.05). Washing hands (> 70%) was the most common mode of personal hygiene, relative to wearing masks, showering, and changing clothes, but no significant differences were observed between the selected regions. Most pesticide wastes were dumped directly onto the land or into water, suggesting that educational measures should be taken to address the potential risks from the residues in the wastes. Over 85% of farmers (S1 and S2) claimed to use illegal pesticides, but the reasons for their use varied (p <0.01). Retailers were well-informed and highly conscious of their responsibility for the safe use of pesticides, especially in S2 (p <0.01). A canonical correspondence analysis indicated that educational level and age differed between the two regions and contributed greatly to the risks from pesticide use (p <0.01). Educational programmes targeted to age groups, proper disposal of pesticide waste, and sufficient supervision from authorities should consequently be considered for improving the levels of knowledge and awareness of the dangers of pesticides to human health and environmental pollution in the Wei River catchment, China.
    Effects of soil bunds on runoff, soil and nutrient losses, and crop yield in the Central Highlands of Ethiopia
    Adimassu Teferi, Z. ; Mekonnen, K. ; Yirga, C. ; Kessler, A. - \ 2014
    Land Degradation and Development 25 (2014)6. - ISSN 1085-3278 - p. 554 - 564.
    water conservation - northern ethiopia - land degradation - smallholders - management - rainfall - tigray - technologies - investments - variability
    The effects of soil bunds on runoff, losses of soil and nutrients, and crop yield are rarely documented in the Central Highlands of Ethiopia. A field experiment was set up consisting of three treatments: (i) barley-cultivated land protected with graded soil bunds (Sb); (ii) fallow land (F); and (iii) barley-cultivated land without soil bund (Bc). For 3¿years (2007–2009), the effect of soil bunds on runoff, losses of soil and nutrients, and crop productivity was studied. Daily runoff and soil and nutrient losses were measured for each treatment using standard procedures while barley yield was recorded from the cultivated plots. The results showed that Sb brought about significant reduction in runoff and soil losses. Plots with Sb reduced the average annual runoff by 28¿per cent and the average annual soil loss by 47¿per cent. Consequently, Sb reduced losses of soil nutrients and organic carbon. However, the absolute losses were still high. This implies the need for supplementing Sb with biological and agronomic land management measures to further control soil erosion. Despite these positive impacts on soil quality, Sb do not increase crop yield. Calculated on a per-hectare basis, Sb even reduce crop yield by about 7¿per cent as compared with control plots, which is entirely explained by the reduction of the cultivable area by 8·6¿per cent due to the soil bunds. Suitable measures are needed to compensate the yield losses caused by the construction of soil bunds, which would convince farmers to construct these land management measures that have long-term beneficial effects on erosion control.
    Farmers' Perceptions of Land Degradation and their Investments in Land Management: a Case Study in the Cental Rift Valley of Ethiopia
    Adimassu, Zenebe ; Kessler, A. ; Yirga, C. - \ 2013
    Environmental Management 51 (2013)5. - ISSN 0364-152X - p. 989 - 998.
    soil fertility management - conservation practices - nutrient balances - tenure security - south wello - highlands - adoption - smallholders - erosion - area
    To combat land degradation in the Central Rift Valley (CRV) of Ethiopia, farmers are of crucial importance. If farmers perceive land degradation as a problem, the chance that they invest in land management measures will be enhanced. This study presents farmers’ perceptions of land degradation and their investments in land management, and to what extent the latter are influenced by these perceptions. Water erosion and fertility depletion are taken as main indicators of land degradation, and the results show that farmers perceive an increase in both indicators over the last decade. They are aware of it and consider it as a problem. Nevertheless, farmers’ investments to control water erosion and soil fertility depletion are very limited in the CRV. Results also show that farmers’ awareness of both water erosion and soil fertility decline as a problem is not significantly associated with their investments in land management. Hence, even farmers who perceive land degradation on their fields and are concerned about its increase over the last decade do not significantly invest more in water erosion and soil fertility control measures than farmers who do not perceive these phenomena. Further research is needed to assess which other factors might influence farmers’ investments in land management, especially factors related to socioeconomic characteristics of farm households and plot characteristics which were not addressed by this study.
    The cluster panacea?: Questioning the role of cooperative shrimp aquaculture in Vietnam
    Tran Thi Thu Ha, Ha ; Bush, S.R. ; Dijk, H. van - \ 2013
    Aquaculture 388-391 (2013). - ISSN 0044-8486 - p. 89 - 98.
    global value chains - commodity chain - collective action - smallholders - poverty - certification - governance - impacts - kenya - trade
    This paper analyses the role of ‘clustering’ as a form of cooperative production to improve the environmental performance of shrimp farmers and facilitating them to upgrade their position in the global value chain. Comparing intensive and extensive shrimp farmer clusters in Ca Mau province, Vietnam, we explore how this form of cooperative production can enable small-holders to upgrade both functional and relational dimensions of production to meet new requirements for participation in the global shrimp value chain. The results show that by facilitating horizontal coordination between producers clusters can improve the management capacity of both intensive and extensive producers for meeting international production standards. However, the success of clusters also depends on the type and strength of vertical coordination with other actors along the value chain for both the provision of inputs and marketing of outputs. The paper concludes that for improved extensive shrimp farmer clusters to take further advantage of production-oriented quality standards the Vietnamese government needs to play a greater role in the development of production infrastructure and create a legal framework for private sector-led cluster formation.
    A participatory diagnostic study of the oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) seed system in Benin
    Akpo, E. ; Vissoh, P.V. ; Tossou, R.C. ; Crane, T. ; Kossou, D.K. ; Richards, P. ; Stomph, T.J. ; Struik, P.C. - \ 2012
    NJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences 60-63 (2012). - ISSN 1573-5214 - p. 15 - 27.
    developing-countries - smallholders - diversity - fruits
    A participatory diagnostic study of the oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) seed system (OPSS) was conducted along a gradient of rainfall and distance to the oil palm research centre across the oil palm growing belt of Benin. The objective was to identify, jointly with key actors, the constraints in the OPSS and to assess the performance of the OPSS from a farmers’ perspective. The methodology included introductory community meetings, group discussions, individual in-depth interviews, field visits and a validation workshop with the key actors. Farmers indicated that the current OPSS does not perform well. Major constraints include the poor geographic distribution of authorized nurseries, poor genetic quality of the material on plantations, high cost of hybrid planting material, and poor seedling care in nurseries, leading to poor physiological quality. The poor physiological quality was specifically mentioned in relation to authorized nurseries in the east of our study area, whereas farmers in the west and centre were more concerned about the uncertain genetic quality of the planting material. The constraints indicate the need for further research to understand the historical context of OPSS development, joint experimentation to improve seedling management practices in authorized nurseries and joint identification of the (genetic) quality of oil palm seedlings, using morphological and molecular characteristics and tools. The study also identified potential opportunities for institutional intervention: redefinition of the procedure of establishing authorized oil palm nurseries, formalization of currently non-authorized nurseries, ISO certification of authorized nurseries and social communication
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