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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Harnessing Wicked Problems in Multi-stakeholder Partnerships
Dentoni, Domenico ; Bitzer, Verena ; Schouten, Greetje - \ 2018
Journal of Business Ethics 150 (2018)2. - ISSN 0167-4544 - p. 333 - 356.
Cross-sector partnerships - Governance processes - Multi-stakeholder partnerships - Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) - Systemic change - Wicked problems
Despite the burgeoning literature on the governance and impact of cross-sector partnerships in the past two decades, the debate on how and when these collaborative arrangements address globally relevant problems and contribute to systemic change remains open. Building upon the notion of wicked problems and the literature on governing such wicked problems, this paper defines harnessing problems in multi-stakeholder partnerships (MSPs) as the approach of taking into account the nature of the problem and of organizing governance processes accordingly. The paper develops an innovative analytical framework that conceptualizes MSPs in terms of three governance processes (deliberation, decision-making and enforcement) harnessing three key dimensions of wicked problems (knowledge uncertainty, value conflict and dynamic complexity). The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil provides an illustrative case study on how this analytical framework describes and explains organizational change in partnerships from a problem-based perspective. The framework can be used to better understand and predict the complex relationships between MSP governance processes, systemic change and societal problems, but also as a guiding tool in (re-)organizing governance processes to continuously re-assess the problems over time and address them accordingly.
Quality management in supply chains of non-timber forest products: The case of gum arabic in Senegal
Mujawamariya, G. ; Burger, K. ; Haese, M. D' - \ 2016
In: Quality and Innovation in Food Chains / Bijman, J., Bitzer, V., Wageningen Academic Publishers - ISBN 9789086862801 - p. 237 - 254.
Field assessment - Laboratory assessment - Marketing - Ordered logit

Low prices associated with variable quality of non-timber forest products in terms of users and consumers' needs and requirements are one of the factors limiting access and participation in markets. Quality can be determined on field or by the user. The current study explores the possibility to understand the current practices of producers in terms of quality supply and to link at least some of the users' quality criteria to production and marketing practices of producers. The study finds that good quality as defined on field is not always good when measured in laboratory; yet improving quality on field increases the likelihood of obtaining chemically good gum. Furthermore, determinants of supply by collectors and traders are investigated for two quality attributes namely size and cleanliness of gum nodules. Quality maintenance and improvement is influenced by harvest and post-harvest practices, behaviour and experience of traders, and price expectations. Research implications include the necessity for scholars interested in product quality to bring together the production and consumption sides because their perceptions and requirements may not always converge; regular trainings for collectors of non-timber forest products focusing on quality aspects; jointly establish clear rules of forest and market management in order to counteract the influence of market forces (price) on forests exploitation and enabling traders to have a definition of quality that is coherent and responsive to the actions and needs of collectors and users respectively.

Bijman, J. ; Bitzer, V. - \ 2016
In: Quality and Innovation in Food Chains / Bijman, J., Bitzer, V., Wageningen Academic Publishers - ISBN 9789086862801 - 1 p.
Quality improvement in food value chains: searching for integrated solutions
Bijman, J. ; Bitzer, V. - \ 2016
In: Quality and innovation in food Chains Wageningen : Wageningen Academic Publishers - ISBN 9789086862801 - p. 15 - 31.
Quality improvement in food value chains offers both opportunities and challenges for farmers in Africa. This chapter introduces the key concepts that are used in the studies presented in this book. It also provides a short description of each of the chapters. Quality is an elusive concept. It has a different meaning for each of the different value chain actors involved in producing, processing, trading and consuming food products. Some of these quality preferences can easily be measured, others are much more difficult to detect. This has implications for monitoring and control, such as in quality assurance systems, but also for providing proper economic incentives for each of the value chain actors. Finally, it has implications for the alignment of quality preferences throughout the value chain. The latter is important because the opportunities for quality improvement can only be understood by analysing the chain as a whole and assessing the motives and capabilities of all chain actors. In this chapter we also explain the interdisciplinary perspective we take on studying quality improvement and innovation. As quality improvement is a type of innovation process, the literature on innovation processes and innovation systems can be used for better understanding the options and constraints for quality upgrading in food chains in developing countries. Based on the recognition that innovation processes involve multiple actors, at multiple levels and engaged in multiple activities, at the end of the chapter we present the co-innovation.
Linking smallholder farmers to high quality food chains: appraising institutional arrangements
Royer, A. ; Bijman, J. ; Bitzer, V. - \ 2016
In: Quality and innovation in food chains / Bijman, Jos, Bitzer, Verena, Wageningen : Wageningen Academic Publishers - ISBN 9789086862801 - p. 33 - 62.
Although markets for high quality products might represent an interesting outlet for smallholder farmers from developing countries, access to those markets is challenging, as appropriate institutions helping farmers to comply with quality requirements are often missing. To overcome the institutional constraints and to link smallholders to markets, three types of institutional arrangements are often proposed: contract farming, producer organisations and partnerships. While many publications have explored the merits of each of these arrangements, a systematic comparison and evaluation of all three has not been done, particularly from the perspective of the constraints that smallholders face when seeking to improve product quality. In this chapter, we seek to make such evaluatory comparison. To do so, we first identify the most limiting institutional constraints faced by smallholder farmers related to quality improvement. Second, we provide an overview of each arrangement’s ability to address these constraints. Third, we determine how combinations of the three arrangements can be used effectively in quality improvement in smallholder value chains.
Quality and innovation in food chains : lessons and insights from Africa
Bijman, J. ; Bitzer, V. - \ 2016
Wageningen : Wageningen Academic Publishers - ISBN 9789086862801 - 273 p.
Quality challenges and opportunities in the pineapple supply chain in Benin
Arinloye, D.D.A.A. ; Boekel, M.A.J.S. van - \ 2016
In: Quality and innovation in food chains / Bijman, Jos, Bitzer, Verena, Wageningen : Wageningen Academic Publishers - ISBN 9789086862801 - p. 63 - 74.
Quality has become a key aspect for establishing international market access and improving competitiveness of (smallholder) producers in developing countries. This is especially the case for perishable tropical food products. This chapter explores the key quality issues of the Beninese pineapple sector. An analysis is made of the constraints and opportunities for improving pineapple quality at production, processing, trading and post-harvest levels. The chapter concludes with recommendations on how various actors in the institutional environment of Benin, such as governmental agencies and NGOs, can contribute to quality improvements of the pineapple sector.
Willingness to pay for market information received by mobile Phone among smallholder pineapple farmers in Benin
Arinloye, D.D.A.A. ; Linnemann, A.R. ; Hagelaar, J.L.F. ; Omta, S.W.F. ; Coulibaly, O. ; Boekel, M.A.J.S. van - \ 2016
In: Quality and innovation in food chains / Bijman, Jos, Bitzer, Verena, Wageningen : Wageningen Academic Publishers - ISBN 9789086862801 - p. 75 - 100.
Access to up-to-date information on market prices and quality requirements remains a key issue for smallholder farmers’ access to high income markets. The aim of this chapter is to explore the problem of information asymmetry between farmers and buyers in the pineapple supply chain in Benin, and to assess strategies using mobile phones to overcome this problem. Data was collected from an exploratory case study in Ghana and a survey with 285 farmers in Benin. Results show that farmers face market information asymmetry leading to lower prices and income. In Ghana, market price alerts through mobile phones messaging allowed decreasing transaction costs for farmers. In Benin, farmers expressed a willingness to pay a premium of up to US$ 2.5 per month to get market price and quality information. Econometric analysis showed that decisive factors for the size of the premium include farm location, market channel, profit margin, contact with agricultural extension services, and technical support from buyers.
Diverging quality preferences along the supply chain: implications for variety choice by potato growers in Ethiopia
Abebe, G.K. ; Bijman, J. ; Pascucci, S. ; Omta, S.W.F. ; Tsegaye, A. - \ 2016
In: Quality and innovation in food chains / Bijman, Jos, Bitzer, Verena, Wageningen : Wageningen Academic Publishers - ISBN 9789086862801 - p. 119 - 140.
Improving the introduction of new potato varieties requires aligning the preferences of all supply chain actors. In Ethiopia, the majority of ware potato growers source their seed from the informal supply system. Using a case study on specialised seed growers and a survey among ware potato growers and downstream chain actors, we explore the quality attributes that could influence the variety choices of farmers and downstream actors. Especially, we analysed the link between the seed and ware potato supply chains, farmers’ evaluation of local and improved potato varieties, and quality differences between the local and improved varieties. We found that farmers’ variety choices are well-aligned with traders’ preferences but varieties supplied by the specialised seed potato growers are not well accepted by ware potato growers. As a result, ware potato farmers continue to grow local varieties, which are inferior in terms of production-related quality attributes, but superior regarding market-related quality attributes. The results imply that enhancing production-related quality attributes is not enough to induce farmers to accept new potato varieties. We recommend breeding institutes and seed potato growers to put more emphasis on market-related quality attributes to enhance choice alignment in the full potato chain.
Keeping up with rising quality demands? New institutional arrangements, upgrading and market access in the South African citrus industry
Bitzer, V.C. ; Obi, A. ; Ndou, P. - \ 2016
In: Quality and innovation in food chains / Bijman, Jos, Bitzer, Verena, Wageningen : Wageningen Academic Publishers - ISBN 9789086862801 - p. 141 - 159.
The shift towards the use of private quality standards in global agrifood chains has raised concerns worldwide that small-scale farmers become excluded from lucrative export markets. In South Africa, given the historical exclusion of small-scale farmers from export-oriented agriculture, the government has therefore introduced different new institutional arrangements (IAs) between small-scale farmers and established agribusinesses to promote access to such markets. This chapter aims to analyse these IAs to understand whether and how these IAs contribute to enhanced market access for small-scale farmers. Based on a conceptual framework on quality specifications and upgrading grounded in Global Value Chain analysis, the chapter first discusses the quality demands and standards in the South African citrus sector which manifest in a ‘Ladder of Market Access’. The following analysis reveals that IAs are able to promote the required product and process upgrading to include small-scale farmers into global export markets. Further upgrading opportunities, however, remain elusive as agribusinesses manage to position themselves as ‘gatekeepers’ which places barriers to farmers’ involvement beyond the farm gate. These insights provide the basis for a set of practice-oriented recommendations specifically addressing policy-makers and other actors in the South African citrus industry to improve the design of smallholder support programmes.
Co-innovation for quality in African food chains: discovering integrated quality solutions
Groot Kormelinck, A. ; Bijman, J. - \ 2016
In: Quality and innovation in food chains / Bijman, Jos, Bitzer, Verena, Wageningen : Wageningen Academic Publishers - ISBN 9789086862801 - p. 255 - 274.
Quality has become more important in African food chains. Integrated quality solutions are needed to ensure that chain actors comply with increasingly stringent food safety and quality standards. This concluding chapter synthesises the main results of the previous book chapters. Food quality cannot be improved by a focus on technical solutions only. Different organisational arrangements, such as partnerships, contract farming and producer organisations, can coordinate quality requirements among chain actors. In addition, an enabling institutional environment is required. The technical, organisational and institutional elements should be combined in a co-innovation approach, which demands collaboration from multiple actors at different parts of the value chain. Co-innovation processes for quality improvements can only be built gradually and demands on-the-ground experimentation. Finally, explicit efforts are needed to guarantee sustained inclusion of smallholder farmers in higher-quality markets.
Towards stable access to EU markets for the Beninese shrimp chain : quality, legal and marketing issues
Adékambi, S.A. ; Dabade, D.S. ; Kindji, K. ; Besten, H.M.W. den; Faure, M. ; Nout, M.J.R. ; Sogbossi, B. ; Ingenbleek, P.T.M. - \ 2016
In: Quality and Innovation in Food Chains / Bijman, J., Bitzer, V., Wageningen : Wageningen Academic Publishers - ISBN 9789086862801 - p. 213 - 236.
Traditionally, the economy of Benin has strongly depended on a single crop, namely cotton. Since 2006, the Beninese government has aimed to diversify exports, in particular focussing on high-value export products such as shrimp. Stable market access for shrimps is, however, hindered by their microbiological and chemical characteristics which influence product quality and safety. In the international market, these quality aspects have legal implications, potentially leading to import bans if safety standards are not met. This chapter examines the quality and legal issues of the Beninese shrimp chain and discusses the responsiveness of the chain to these issues. Using an interdisciplinary analysis, the chapter draws preliminary conclusions on how a stable access of Beninese shrimps to the international market can be achieved.
Towards achieving sustainable market access by South African smallholder deciduous fruit producers : the road ahead
Grwambi, B. ; Ingenbleek, P.T.M. ; Obi, A. ; Schipper, R.A. ; Trijp, J.C.M. van - \ 2016
In: Quality and Innovation in Food Chains / Bijman, J., Bitzer, V., Wageningen : Wageningen Academic Publishers - ISBN 9789086862801 - p. 161 - 185.
Markets with high purchasing power, like export markets, offer opportunities for African smallholder farmers to move out of poverty. Logically, production for such higher value markets requires a different set of farm resources than the basic factors of production like land and labour. Yet it is not clear which other resources smallholder producers require to participate in different markets including high value markets. Using case studies from the Western Cape Province of South Africa, the authors identify resources that smallholder producers in developing countries require to increase competitiveness and sustain participation in high value markets. An analysis of the cases suggests that smallholder producers who are either in strategic partnerships or mentorship programmes with private sector firms are able to sustain their participation in high value markets. For smallholder producers who have not been integrated with high value markets yet, development of factor markets could be the first step towards achieving sustainable market access.
Cross-Sector Partnerships and the Co-creation of Dynamic Capabilities for Stakeholder Orientation
Dentoni, D. ; Bitzer, V.C. ; Pascucci, S. - \ 2016
Journal of Business Ethics 135 (2016)1. - ISSN 0167-4544 - p. 35 - 53.
This paper explores the relationship between business experience in cross-sector partnerships (CSPs) and the co-creation of what we refer to as ‘dynamic capabilities for stakeholder orientation,’ consisting of the four dimensions of (1) sensing, (2) interacting with, (3) learning from and (4) changing based on stakeholders. We argue that the co-creation of dynamic capabilities for stakeholder orientation is crucial for CSPs to create societal impact, as stakeholder-oriented organizations are more suited to deal with “wicked problems,” i.e., problems that are large, messy, and complex (Rittel and Webber, Policy Sciences 4:155–169, 1973; Waddock, Paper presented at the 3rd international symposium on cross sector social interactions, 2012). By means of a grounded theory approach of inductive research, we collected and interpreted data on four global agri-food companies which have heterogeneous experience in participating in CSPs. The results of this paper highlight that only companies’ capability of interacting with stakeholders continually increases, while their capabilities of sensing, learning from, and changing based on stakeholders first increase and then decrease as companies gain more experience in CSP participation. To a large extent, this can be attributed to the development of corporate strategies on sustainability after a few years of CSP participation, which entails a shift from a reactive to a proactive attitude towards sustainability issues and which may decrease the need or motivation for stakeholder orientation. These findings open up important issues for discussion and for future research on the impact of CSPs in a context of wicked problems.
The role(s) of universities in dealing with global wicked problems through multi-stakeholder initiatives
Dentoni, D. ; Bitzer, V.C. - \ 2015
Journal of Cleaner Production 106 (2015). - ISSN 0959-6526 - p. 68 - 78.
Universities - Multi-stakeholder initiatives - Cross-sector collaboration - Sustainable development - Wicked problems
Multi-stakeholder initiatives have emerged as collaborative partnerships to deal with wicked problems, particularly in the global food system. This article analyzes the role that academics play in these initiatives at a global level, and the nature of their participation. Based on a qualitative analysis supported by a database of 41 multi-stakeholder initiatives in the global agriculture and food sector and 51 interviews with their participants, this research identifies five key roles that academics play in multi-stakeholder initiatives and in communities of practice around them. In multi-stakeholder initiatives, academics act as knowledge experts, agenda-setting advisors and facilitators. In communities of practice, academics develop new knowledge on multi-stakeholder initiatives by theorizing from their observation and reflection and they build international bridges between students and multi-stakeholder initiatives. The results imply that academics engaging in multi-stakeholder initiatives that deal with global wicked problems can choose multiple paths to align their societal mission of co-creating sustainability with the broader organizational goals of their universities.
The emergence of Southern standards in agricultural value chains: a new trend in sustainability governance?
Schouten, A.M. ; Bitzer, V.C. - \ 2015
Ecological Economics 120 (2015). - ISSN 0921-8009 - p. 175 - 184.
The objective of this paper is to understand and trace the emergence of Southern standards in global agricultural value chains. While the trend towards private standards established by developed country or ‘Northern’ actors has received significant attention in the literature, recently an emergent counter-trend can be observed which manifests in the development of standards by Southern producer country actors. This may be attributed to the perceived lack of legitimacy of global standards, especially from a Southern perspective. The paper therefore applies a legitimacy perspective to analyse the emergence of new Southern standards in Indonesian and Malaysian palm oil, Brazilian soy and South African fruit production. The analysis reveals that Southern standards both target different audiences to obtain legitimacy and rely on different sources of legitimacy as compared to established Northern standards. This is done explicitly in order to create cognitive and moral distance to Northern standards and ultimately to reclaim the issue areas occupied by Northern standards. The paper discusses and reflects on the implications of the emergence of Southern standards for sustainability governance and concludes with the identification of future research opportunities on Southern standards. Keywords: Private governance, Sustainability standards, Legitimacy, Global value chains
From innovation to co-innovation? An exploration of African agrifood chains
Bitzer, V.C. ; Bijman, J. - \ 2015
British Food Journal 117 (2015)8. - ISSN 0007-070X - p. 2182 - 2199.
global value chains - south-africa - developing-countries - systems-approach - ethiopia - partnerships - insights - creation - farmers - quality
Purpose – Building on recent advances in innovation research on developing country agriculture, this paper explores the concept of co-innovation, i.e. innovations that combine technological, organisational and institutional changes and that encompass different actors in and around the value chain. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to a further conceptualisation of co-innovation and show its usefulness for analysing innovation initiatives in agrifood chains. Design/methodology/approach – The paper combines two streams of literature (innovation systems and value chains) and is based on a review of the experiences with innovation in three different value chains in three African countries: potato in Ethiopia, pineapple in Benin and citrus in South Africa. Findings – Co-innovation is the combination of collaborative, complementary and coordinated innovation. “Collaborative” refers to the multi-actor character of the innovation process, where each actor brings in specific knowledge and resources. “Complementary” indicates the smart combination of technological, organisational and institutional innovation. “Coordinated” draws attention to the importance of chain-wide adjustments and changes to make innovation in one stage of the chain a success. Practical implications – The identified dimensions of co-innovation (the triple “co-”) provide a practical guide for the design of effective interventions aimed at promoting innovation in African agrifood chains. Originality/value – The paper is the first to provide a comprehensive conceptualisation of co-innovation. On the basis of both theoretical arguments and evidence from three illustrative case studies it is argued that successful innovation in agrifood chains requires the innovation process to be collaborative, coordinated and complementary.
Old Oranges in New Boxes? Strategic Partnerships between Emerging Farmers and Agribusiness in South Africa
Bitzer, V.C. ; Bijman, J. - \ 2014
Journal of Southern African Studies 40 (2014)1. - ISSN 0305-7070 - p. 167 - 183.
black economic empowerment - global value chains - innovation systems - agricultural-research - procurement practices - agrarian-reform - wine industry - arrangements - technology - governance
Partnerships have recently gained increasing popularity in the development community and are thought to play a key role in facilitating market access for smallholder farmers. This is particularly evident in South Africa, where strategic partnerships between emerging farmers and agribusinesses have become important instruments by which the government may promote the transition of ‘emerging farmers’ into independent commercial farmers able to participate in global markets. This article studies six partnerships in the South African citrus sector to analyse to what extent they enhance the ‘commercialisation’ of emerging farmers. An ‘innovation system’ perspective is applied to understand how far partnerships actually challenge and change the status of emerging farmers. Our results indicate that partnerships succeed in increasing market access. A closer look at the partnership processes, however, reveals the conditions under which success is achieved and that partnerships may be less instrumental in helping emerging farmers become independent entrepreneurs. Thus, a partnership model characterised by export orientation and knowledge transfer from agribusinesses to emerging farmers is limited in its transformative potential, calling for policy-makers to move beyond a pragmatic approach to partnerships.
Exploring the potential of intersectoral partnerships to improve the position of farmers in global agrifood chains: findings from the coffee sector in Peru
Bitzer, V.C. ; Glasbergen, P. ; Arts, B.J.M. - \ 2013
Agriculture and Human Values 30 (2013)1. - ISSN 0889-048X - p. 5 - 20.
public-private partnerships - fair-trade - northern nicaragua - rural livelihoods - southern africa - impact - sustainability - certification - initiatives - standards
Despite their recent proliferation in global agricultural commodity chains, little is known about the potential of intersectoral partnerships to improve theposition of smallholder farmers and their organizations.This article explores the potential of partnerships bydeveloping a conceptual approach based on the sustainablelivelihoods and linking farmers to market perspectivewhich is applied in an exploratory study to six partnerships in the coffee sector in Peru. It is concluded that partnerships stimulate the application of standards to receivemarket access and therefore emphasize human capitaldevelopment of farmers to facilitate certification. Bytransferring knowledge to farmers, partnerships present a new source of technological change, which, in combination with certification,holds potential for improved environmentalmanagement and price premiums for producers. However, the emphasis on certification results in a comparativelynarrow target group of farmers and is associatedwith high financial burdens for producer organizations. Atthe same time, other assets of producer organizations areoften not strengthened sufficiently for them to operatsuccessfully without further external support. This suggeststhat preparing producers for certification is prioritized over empowering organizations toward self-dependence
Silvis, H.J. - \ 2012
In: European Union, Governance and Sustainability / Bitzer, V., Corvers, R., Niestroy, I., Open Universiteit Nederland - ISBN 9789491465758 - 427 p.
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