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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    Metabolic flexibility of a prospective bioremediator: Desulfitobacterium hafniense Y51 challenged in chemostats
    Marozava, Sviatlana ; Vargas-López, Raquel ; Tian, Ye ; Merl-Pham, Juliane ; Braster, Martin ; Meckenstock, Rainer U. ; Smidt, Hauke ; Röling, Wilfred F.M. ; Westerhoff, Hans V. - \ 2018
    Environmental Microbiology 20 (2018)7. - ISSN 1462-2912 - p. 2652 - 2669.
    Desulfitobacterium hafniense Y51 has been widely used in investigations of perchloroethylene (PCE) biodegradation, but limited information exists on its other physiological capabilities. We investigated how D. hafniense Y51 confronts the debilitating limitations of not having enough electron donor (lactate), or electron acceptor (fumarate) during cultivation in chemostats. The residual concentrations of the substrates supplied in excess were much lower than expected. Transcriptomics, proteomics, and fluxomics were integrated to investigate how this phenomenon was regulated. Through diverse regulation at both transcriptional and translational levels, strain Y51 turned to fermenting the excess lactate and disproportionating the excess fumarate under fumarate‐ and lactate‐limiting conditions, respectively. Genes and proteins related to the utilization of a variety of alternative electron donors and acceptors absent from the medium were induced, apparently involving the Wood‐Ljungdahl pathway. Through this metabolic flexibility, D. hafniense Y51 may be able to switch between different metabolic capabilities under limiting conditions. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Triggering regime change: A comparative analysis of the performance of innovation platforms that attempted to change the institutional context for nine agricultural domains in West Africa
    Hounkonnou, Dominique ; Brouwers, Jan ; Huis, Arnold Van; Jiggins, Janice ; Kossou, Dansou ; Röling, N.G. ; Sakyi-dawson, Owuraku ; Traoré, Mamoudou - \ 2018
    Agricultural Systems 165 (2018). - ISSN 0308-521X - p. 296 - 309.
    The article synthesises the experiences of innovation platforms (IPs) that engaged in open-ended experimental action to improve the institutional context for smallholder farm development in West Africa. The IPs sought change at the level of the institutional regime covering an entire agricultural domain (such as cocoa, cotton, oil palm or water management). Their purpose was therefore not to ‘roll out’ farm-level technologies across rural communities. The IPs's outcomes were documented and analysed throughout by means of theory-based process tracing in each of seven of the nine domains in which regime change was attempted. The evidence shows that by means of exploratory scoping and diagnosis, socio-technical and institutional experimentation, and guided facilitation IPs can remove, by-pass, or modify domain-specific institutional constraints and/or create new institutional conditions that allow smallholders to capture opportunity. The article describes the 5-year, €4.5 million research programme in Benin, Ghana and Mali, covering theory, design, methods and results. It is the sequel to Hounkonnou et al. in AGSY 108 (2012): 74–83.
    Hoe de implementatiekloof te dichten? Een analyse voor perspectieven in het overstromingsbeleid
    Coninx, I. - \ 2017
    KU Leuven. Promotor(en): Marleen, prof. dr. Brans. - Leuven : KU Leuven - 316
    Als overheidsbeleid de gestelde doelen niet haalt, dan is er sprake van een implementatiekloof (Laurian & Crawford, 2016). Ook het Vlaams overstromingsbeleid lijkt een implementatiekloof te kennen, want ondanks een palet aan preventieve, effectgerichte en curatieve overstromingsmaatregelen wordt de schade door overstromingen jaarlijks nog op zo een 50 miljoen euro geschat (Brouwers et al., 2015). Implementatie is in feite gedrag (O'Toole Jr, 2000; Robichau & Lynn Jr, 2009) en gedrag wordt ingegeven door houdingen (Ajzen, 1991; Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975). Daarom wil dit onderzoek nagaan of houdingen van betrokken beleidsactoren een rol spelen bij de implementatie van overstromingsmaatregelen (hoofdstuk 2). Beleidsactoren van 26 organisaties of groepen geven het Vlaams overstromingsbeleid een echt multiactor-, multisector- en multilevelkarakter (hoofdstuk 1). Het onderzoek beantwoordt enkele vragen over houdingen, zoals of ze een rol spelen bij de uitvoering, welke verschillende houdingen er zijn, hoe die houdingen bepaald worden en wat de dominante evaluatiecriteria zijn. Op basis van die inzichten worden mechanismen ontwikkeld om de implementatiekloof te dichten. Vervolgens worden perspectieven voor het Vlaams overstromingsbeleid beschreven. De analyse vond plaats voor 15 overstromingsmaatregelen bij 347 actoren en in 3 casegebieden in Vlaanderen. Dit gebeurde via verschillende dataverzameling- en data-analysemethoden om triangulatie op vele fronten te waarborgen (hoofdstuk 3).De analyse toont dat houdingen een rol spelen, want veel beleidsactoren staan nog negatief tegenover bepaalde overstromingsmaatregelen met een ruimtelijke impact (hoofdstuk 4). Diverse ‘evaluatiecriteria’ – criteria, gebruikt om houding te bepalen tijdens de evaluatieve afweging – bepalen die houdingen. Ten eerste worden houdingen gevormd door belangen en hebben mensen een positieve houding ten aanzien van maatregelen die hun baten opleveren (Gintis, 2000; Henrich et al., 2001; Jager, Janssen, De Vries, De Greef, & Vlek, 2000; Persky, 1995). Ten tweede worden houdingen bepaald door waarden, wat richtinggevende principes zijn van wat volgens de mens wenselijk en juist is (Kempton, Boster, & Hartley, 1995). Men heeft positieve houding ten aanzien van maatregelen die in lijn liggen met zijn waarden. Ten derde worden houdingen gevormd door denkkaders en percepties (Bartlett, 1932; Benford & Snow, 2000; Berger & Luckmann, 1966). Dat zijn cognitieve voorstellingen die gebruikt worden om betekenis te geven aan informatie (Buijs, 2009b; Minsky, 1975). Percepties spelen altijd een rol bij houdingbepaling, zo blijkt ook uit de analyse (hoofdstuk 5).De combinatie van evaluatiecriteria vormt een verhaallijn, die toe te kennen is aan elk van de actoren. Elke overstromingsmaatregel kent verschillende verhaallijnen. Hoe meer verhaallijnen, hoe meer divers de evaluatiecriteria die elke actor gebruikt. In dit onderzoek is vooral nagegaan waar spanning optreedt tussen de verhaallijnen en welke evaluatiecriteria aan de basis liggen van de negatieve houdingen (hoofdstuk 5). In het Vlaams overstromingsbeleid verklaren vooral percepties en waarden de implementatiekloof. Zelfs over het huidige beleidsparadigma ‘ruimte voor water’ bestaan er twee verschillende percepties: ‘ruimte maken’ en ‘ruimte vinden’ voor water. Die twee percepties weerspiegelen de bereidheid van mensen om het huidige ruimtegebruik aan te passen. Die percepties en andere fundamentele verschillen houden de uitvoering van het overstromingsbeleid in de tang. Het valt op dat binnen één actorgroep veel verschillende verhaallijnen te vinden zijn. Dat leidt tot vragen of het systeem van sectorale vertegenwoordiging in de CIW en de bekkenraden wel goed genoeg kan werken.Er is ook gekeken welk type evaluatiecriteria de actoren vooral gebruiken om houding te bepalen. De meeste actoren laten zich leiden door hun waarden. Alleen de sector ‘landbouw’ en actoren van het Vlaamse/nationale niveau gebruiken vooral belangengerichte evaluatiecriteria (hoofdstuk 6).Wetende dat houdingen een rol spelen bij de implementatiekloof, rest de vraag welke mechanismen kunnen helpen om de implementatiekloof te dichten? Allereerst is het raadzaam om de actoren die een rol spelen bij de uitvoering, al te betrekken bij het interactieve beleidsontwikkelingsproces. Door interactie en cocreatie worden nieuwe inzichten ontwikkeld, kennis uitgewisseld en belangen, waarden en percepties gedeeld (Ter Haar, Aarts, & Verhoeven, 2016). Als bestaande verhaallijnen beter op elkaar afgestemd geraken of mensen verschuiven naar één dominante verhaallijn, dan helpt dat om de implementatiekloof te voorkomen (Hajer, 2005). Bij de uitvoering van de maatregelen helpen interactieve beleidsinstrumenten om gezamenlijke actie tot stand te brengen. Dat is iets dat niet snel gebeurd wanneer beleidsinstrumenten zoals gezag of geld worden ingezet. (Tabel 1: mechanismen om implementatiekloof te dichten) Er wordt vastgesteld dat nog maar weinig van die mechanismen ingebouwd werden in het overstromingsbeleid, aangezien een betekenisvolle proportie actoren zich nog bevindt in de verhaallijn die overeenkomt met het ‘oude paradigma’ van ‘strijden tegen water’. Om de verschillen tussen de evaluatiecriteria te kennen, is het aan te raden om de verhaallijnen te verkennen via interviews en analyse van documenten (= mapping van verhaallijnen) (Kolkman, Veen, & Geurts, 2007).Wetenschap kan een rol spelen bij het dichten van de implementatiekloof, vooral als die verklaard wordt door percepties (Leeuwis & Aarts, 2016; Van Bommel, Röling, Aarts, & Turnhout, 2009), op voorwaarde dat de betrokken actoren de wetenschappelijke kennis beschouwen als gelegitimeerd, geloofwaardig en begrijpelijk (Cash et al., 2003). Anders zal de kennis in twijfel getrokken of zelfs misbruikt worden om specifieke verhaallijnen te ontkrachten. Bovendien zijn er ook andere typen van kennis dan louter wetenschappelijke. ‘Boundary organisations’ kunnen wetenschappelijke kennis inbrengen en zo de implementatiekloof dichten (Guston, 2001). Men moet er wel bewust van zijn dat machtsrelaties het succes van de genoemde mechanismen kunnen beïnvloeden (Van Bommel et al., 2009).Op basis van deze mechanismen zijn vervolgens perspectieven voor de verdere ontwikkeling van het overstromingsbeleid geformuleerd. Het eerste perspectief richt zich op het versterken van bestaande overstromingsmaatregelen via beperkte interventies zoals participatieve monitoring en bespreken en communiceren van (wetenschappelijk) bevindingen. Het tweede perspectief omvat meer ingrijpende interventies, zoals de formele introductie van meerlaagse veiligheid in het beleid, de versterking van de dialoog tussen verhaallijnen in de bekkenorganen en maatregelen om te komen tot een passende verantwoordelijkheidsverdeling tussen overheid en burger, zoals een meerjarig pilotprogramma. De resultaten van dat pilotprogramma kunnen dan geformaliseerd worden in beleidsdocumenten.De algemene conclusie is dat houdingen van betrokken actoren één van de verklaringen kunnen zijn voor een implementatiekloof. Het onderzoek laat zien dat die houdingen kunnen verschillen, maar ook dat houdingen veranderlijk zijn. Daarom is actieve sturing op die houdingverandering een absolute must voor het beleid om zo de implementatiekloof te dichten en zelfs te voorkomen.
    The governance of farming and natural resource management
    Jiggins, J.L.S. ; Blackmore, Chris ; Ison, Ray ; Röling, N.G. - \ 2016
    Outlook on Agriculture 45 (2016)4. - ISSN 0030-7270 - p. 217 - 219.
    Co-learning - Farming futures - Institutional transformations

    Business as usual is impeding implementation of systemic change in the governance of the natural resources on which all forms of farming depend and the transformation of agricultural techniques, practices, and enterprises toward multifunctional sustainability. The contributions to the governance of farming and natural resource management explore how business as usual challenged and transformed by means of institutional change; cogeneration of knowledge and multi-actor learning; and new forms of governance. Studies of water resources management in agrarian landscapes in Denmark and other European countries, an on-line platform for co-learning among Australian agricultural researchers, and of Maöri dairy enterprises in New Zealand braid together these issues to demonstrate the barriers to and opportunities for transformative change. These papers are fronted by an opinion piece on institutions in agriculture and rounded off by an opinion piece on selected sociotechnical and institutional innovations that might offer pathways toward more sustainable agricultures and natural resource management.

    Innovation platforms and projects to support smallholder development - Experiences from Sub-Saharan Africa
    Jiggins, J.L.S. ; Hounkonnou, Dominique ; Sakyi-Dawson, Owuraku ; Kossou, Dansou ; Traoré, Mamoudou ; Röling, N.G. ; Huis, Arnold van - \ 2016
    Cahiers Agricultures 25 (2016)6. - ISSN 1777-5949
    Agro-enterprises - Innovation platforms - Institutional change

    Innovation as a policy goal, normative practice, and a conceptual framing of purposeful human activity, has received increasing attention. The question of what kinds of purposeful innovation might benefit smallholders in developing countries has been raised. This issue presents and analyses the work of Innovation Platforms (IPs) established by the COS-SIS (Convergence of Sciences-Strengthening Innovation Systems) programme in nine agro-enterprise domains in West Africa, drawing on Theory Guided Process Inquiry data recorded through 2011-end 2013. Six papers synthesise individual IP experiences, complemented by a cross-case analysis of external influences on the IPs and their responses, a reflection on how well the IPs in Mali dealt with local conflicts, and an analysis of how the work of the IPs in Ghana led to changes in university curricula and in the researching practices of three leading agricultural institutes. An analysis of thirteen case studies from Kenya, Benin, and South Africa supported by the JOLISAA (Joint learning in and about Innovation Systems in African Agriculture) programme, adds further insights. Five general lessons are drawn, expressed as propositions that can be further tested against others' experiences: (i) IPs can bring about significant socio-technical and institutional changes at a range of levels, and in a wide variety of agro-enterprise domains and contexts; (ii) the IPs are not isolated from nor independent of the networks of influence in which they are embedded; thus they cannot be treated as the sole causal agents of the changes accomplished; (iii) research that tracks the IPs' work and performance provides evidence that enables the members to learn from experience and adjust activities in the light of effects; (iv) there is no blueprint for what an IP is nor a recipe for the processes by which such changes are brought about; the form, activities, and changes co-evolve with whatever is happening in the wider context; (v) field-based diagnosis of opportunity, evidence-based information-sharing and experimental exploration of pathways of change establish the legitimacy and influence of IPs.

    Introduction. Why focus on innovation systems : implications for research and policy
    Francis, J.A. ; Huis, A. van - \ 2016
    In: Innovation systems / Francis, J., Mytelka, L., van Huis, A., Röling, N., Wageningen : The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) - ISBN 9789290815617 - p. 8 - 13.
    The uses of research: action researching in and across nine agro-enterprise domains : the experience of the convergence of sciences-strengthening innovation systems programme in Benin, Ghana and Mali
    Jiggins, J. ; Essegbey, G. ; Klerkx, L.W.A. ; Paassen, A. van; Pyburn, R. ; Tossou, R. - \ 2016
    In: Innovation systems / Francis, J., Mytelka, L., van Huis, A., Röling, N., Wageningen : The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) - ISBN 9789290815617 - p. 101 - 123.
    This chapter justifies the application of Theory-Guided Process Inquiry (TGPI) to elucidate, with real-time documentation of a standardized set of evidence across nine cases, the process of innovation in contrasting but comparable contexts. There is a significant challenge in coordinating divergent actors’ responses to rapidly changing market, climatic and development needs and opportunities in smallholder agriculture in West Africa, so that individual efforts add up to
    effective governance of their respective domains of interest and efficient value chains that deliver worthwhile returns to small-scale producers. In these situations, rigorous research that is responsive to local histories and contexts, and to evolving events, is needed to underpin innovation policy, practice and theory. At the same time, the research should not be too demanding of scarce research resources and capacities, nor be reliant on unrealistic demands for large sets of quality-controlled statistical data. Research encompassed two mutually informative but distinct activities: (i) research carried out by PhD students and members of the innovation platforms (IPs) established in each domain, in order to inform their own actions; and (ii) research carried out in order to understand
    the contributions of the IPs and other actors in bringing about transformative change. The chapter concludes with a reflection on what has been achieved through the research practices described.
    Making sense of innovation processes in african smallholder agricullture
    Triomphe, B. ; Floquet, A. ; Kamau, G. ; Letty, B. ; Almekinders, C.J.M. ; Waters-Bayer, A. - \ 2016
    In: Innovation systems / Francis, J., Mytelka, L., van Huis, A., Röling, N., Wageningen : The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) - ISBN 9789290815617 - p. 170 - 182.
    The European-funded Framework Programme 7 project, Joint Learning in Innovation Systems in African Agriculture (JOLISAA), assessed agricultural innovation experiences focused on smallholders in Benin, Kenya, and South Africa. Fifty-six cases were characterized through review of grey literature and interviews with resource persons, according to a common analytical framework inspired by the innovation systems (IS) perspective. Thirteen of the cases were assessed in greater depth through semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions and multistakeholder workshops. The cases covered a wide diversity of experiences in terms of types, domains, scales, timelines, initiators of innovation and stakeholders involved. Findings revealed multiple triggers and drivers of innovation. For external stakeholders, key triggers included likelihood of offering a technological fix to an existing problem and availability of funding. For local people, access to input and output markets was a powerful trigger and driver. Market types and dynamics varied greatly. Developing functional value chains and accessing markets proved particularly challenging, especially for poorer and weakly organized farmers. Over long periods, determinants of innovation changed dynamically and often unpredictably, including motivations of key stakeholders, triggers, drivers and stakeholder arrangements. The direction of innovation evolved, often moving from a technology entry point to more organizational or institutional issues. A recurring challenge for fostering innovation is whether and how to build on local initiatives and knowledge, and how to sustain externally driven innovation processes beyond the project time frame. A major conclusion from JOLISAA is that innovation has to be seen as a continuously evolving process of ‘innovation bundles’ (a combination of different types of innovation) of various kinds, rather than as a pre-planned, and usually, narrowly-defined technical intervention. Consequently, open-ended, flexible approaches to innovation are needed with the potential to engage meaningfully over a long time with local stakeholders and bearers of local innovation dynamics, so that they take full charge of the innovation process and direction.
    Innovation systems : Towards effective strategies in support of smallholder farmers
    Francis, J. ; Mytelka, L. ; Huis, A. van; Röling, N.G. - \ 2016
    Wageningen : The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) - ISBN 9789290815617 - 255
    Research and experimentation in support of artisanal palm oil production in Ghana
    Osei-Amponsah, C. - \ 2016
    In: Innovation systems / Francis, J., Mytelka, L., van Huis, A., Röling, N., Wageningen : The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) - ISBN 9789290815617 - p. 124 - 133.
    Innovation systems, Douglas, Douglass and beyond : using cultural theory to understand approaches to smallholder development in Sub-Saharan Africa
    Röling, N.G. - \ 2016
    In: Innovation systems / Francis, J., Mytelka, L., van Huis, A., Röling, N., Wageningen : The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) - ISBN 9789290815617 - p. 202 - 238.
    Innovation systems (IS) are taken to be coherent and consistent narratives or discourses. This chapter uses the Group/Grid or Cultural Theory (CT) to distinguish four competing IS narratives, each with their own theory of change, criterion variables, strategies, pathways of innovation and designs for innovation platforms (IP):
    1. The business model of agronomy (BMA), based on the methodological individualism of the diffusion of innovations and ‘agricultural treadmill’ paradigms and focusing on technology development to raise yields.
    2. Package and value chain approaches that seek to enable individual entrepreneurship through access to services, inputs, credit and markets and other institutions that reduce transaction costs.
    3. Promotion of rules and regulations (hierarchical institutions) to constrain the pursuit of individual interests for some public goods (governance, control of corruption, sustainable use of natural resources).
    4. Egalitarian approaches that seek to empower, emancipate, strengthen civil society and enhance social capital.
    This framework proves useful for analysing the history of agricultural development in Industrial countries and sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) to point to ways forward for inclusive approaches to mobilize the vast productive resources under smallholder management in Africa.
    Institutions: Lessons from West Africa
    Röling, N.G. - \ 2016
    Outlook on Agriculture 45 (2016)4. - ISSN 0030-7270 - p. 220 - 224.
    This article uses examples and insights from research in West Africa to analyse the concept of institutions and the
    consequences of their ‘invisibility’ in normal agricultural development practice. Comparative action research across nine
    agricultural domains in West Africa supported experiments with multilevel institutional change as a new approach to farm
    development. The work was inspired by the disappointing results of the prevailing focus on adoption of technology by
    individual farmers. The programme surprised those involved by showing the extent to which diagnostic studies can
    uncover institutional impediments to farm innovation and the ability of multi-stakeholder processes organized by and
    through innovation platforms to create multilevel opportunities for inducing change in institutional regimes. The details of
    each experience have been published elsewhere. This article concludes that if climate change and other systemic crises
    threaten agriculture and natural resource management, then institutional literacy and ingenuity offer a way forward.
    Wilfred Röling (9 December 1966 - 25 September 2015)
    Smidt, Hauke - \ 2015
    ISME Journal 9 (2015)12. - ISSN 1751-7362 - p. 2750 - 2752.
    Biofumigation using a wild Brassica oleracea accession with high glucosinolate content affects beneficial soil
    Zuluaga, D.L. ; Ommen Kloeke van, A.E.E. ; Verkerk, R. ; Röling, W.F.M. ; Ellers, J. ; Roelofs, D. ; Aarts, M.G.M. - \ 2015
    Plant and Soil 394 (2015). - ISSN 0032-079X - p. 155 - 163.
    chemical diversity - gene-expression - indian mustard - natural toxin - life-history - isothiocyanates - collembola - release - defense - tissues
    Aims This study explores the biofumigation effects of glucosinolate (GSL) containing Brassica oleracea plant material on beneficial, non-target soil organisms, and aims to relate those effects to differences in GSL profiles. Methods Leaf material of purple sprouting broccoli ‘Santee’, Savoy cabbage ‘Wintessa’, and the wild B. oleracea accession Winspit was analysed for GSL production and used for biofumigation experiments on the beneficial soil invertebrates, Folsomia candida (springtail) and Eisenia andrei (earthworm) and the soil bacterial community. Results When mixed into soil, the Winspit plant material exerted the highest toxic effects on beneficial soil invertebrates by reducing survival and reproduction. Total GSL levels varied substantially between genotypes, in particular the aliphatic GSL (AGSL) sinigrin and gluconapin being highly abundant or exclusively present in Winspit. Differences between the genotypes regarding biofumigation effects on the soil microbial community were only observed on a temporal basis with the largest difference in bacterial community structure after 1 week. Conclusions The high total GSL content in biofumigated soil could explain the toxicity of Winspit for soil invertebrates. These effects are likely to be the results of high AGSL levels in Winspit. The use of wild B. oleracea crops, such asWinspit, for biofumigation practices would need a proper assessment of the overall impact on soil biota before being applied on a wide scale
    Special issue: System innovation - towards sustainable agriculture Introduction
    Jiggins, J.L.S. ; Ison, R. ; Röling, N.G. - \ 2014
    Outlook on Agriculture 43 (2014)3. - ISSN 0030-7270 - p. 145 - 146.
    Agricultural research – from recommendation domains to arenas for interaction: Experiences from West Africa
    Röling, N. ; Jiggins, J. ; Hounkonnou, D. ; Huis, A. van - \ 2014
    Outlook on Agriculture 43 (2014)3. - ISSN 0030-7270 - p. 179 - 185.
    innovation systems-approach - institutional change - west-africa
    Agricultural research designs tend to be bounded by agroecological conditions, farming systems and other dimensions assumed to be homogeneous for the population of interest (that is, a recommendation domain or population for whom a technology or practice is expected to be relevant). Scaling is then a question of 'rolling out' results across the domain. But what if technology adoption and institutional context explain the variance in the output of smallholders, and agricultural development is also a question of institutional innovation? What if a domain is seen as a system of interest among actors who have a stake in the system and as an arena for concerted action and institutional innovation? This paper reports on six years of action research that attempts to answer these questions. It compares experimental interventions and subsequent systemic changes within each of nine agroenterprise domains. The experience suggests that the research approach used can explain variance in smallholder output that, in present-day West Africa, is not explained by technology adoption.
    Institutional change towards sustainable agriculture in West Africa
    Struik, P.C. ; Klerkx, L.W.A. ; Huis, A. van; Röling, N.G. - \ 2014
    International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability 12 (2014)3. - ISSN 1473-5903 - p. 203 - 213.
    innovation systems - farmers - benin - ghana - netherlands - management - sector
    This paper describes why inter- and trans-disciplinary research, accompanied by innovation platforms, is essential in the context of agricultural development in West Africa. The institutional context in West Africa can become a trap for smallholder farmers and for society at large. Therefore, we argue that an enabling institutional context is necessary to achieve an increase in agricultural production. This will have consequences for setting priorities of agricultural research and the way research should be organized in order to have impact. Within the framework of two consecutive programmes, attempts were made to create such an enabling context. The first programme, focusing on participatory technology development, showed that smallholders can capture only limited benefits from technologies because of their constrained opportunities. The point of departure for the second programme was that institutions explain a large portion of variance in agricultural output and that multistakeholder innovation platforms at local, district, and national levels are needed to create change. The paper concludes with an overview of this special issue, which provides nine case studies of institutional factors that influence smallholder innovation. Each of these case studies identifies and analyses institutional mechanisms at aggregation levels higher than the household, farm, or village.
    The Influence of Long-Term Copper Contaminated Agricultural Soil at Different pH Levels on Microbial Communities and Springtail Transcriptional Regulation
    Boer, T.E. de; Tas, N. ; Braster, M. ; Temminghoff, E.J.M. ; Roling, W.F.M. ; Roelofs, D. - \ 2012
    Environmental Science and Technology 46 (2012)1. - ISSN 0013-936X - p. 60 - 68.
    heavy-metal contamination - bacterial community - organic status - fungal communities - arable soil - sandy soil - diversity - toxicity - microorganisms - microarray
    Copper has long been applied for agricultural practises. Like other metals, copper is highly persistent in the environment and biologically active long after its use has ceased. Here we present a unique study on the long-term effects (27 years) of copper and pH on soil microbial communities and on the springtail Folsomia candida an important representative of the soil macrofauna, in an experiment with a full factorial, random block. design. Bacterial communities were mostly affected by pH. These effects were prominent in Acidobacteria, while Actinobacteria and Gammaroteobacteria communities were affected by original and bioavailable copper. Reproduction and survival of the collembolan F. candida was not affected by the studied copper concentrations. However, the transcriptomic responses to copper reflected a mechanism of copper transport and detoxification, while pH exerted effects on nucleotide and protein metabolism and (acute) inflammatory response. We conclude that microbial community structure reflected the history of copper contamination, while gene expression analysis of F. candida is associated with the current level of bioavailable copper. The study is a first step in the development of a molecular strategy aiming at a more comprehensive assessment of various aspects of soil quality and ecotoxicology.
    Diagnosing the scope for innovation: Linking smallholder practices and institutional context : Introduction to the special issue
    Roling, N. ; Hounkonnou, D. ; Kossou, D. ; Kuyper, T.W. ; Nederlof, S. ; Sakyi-Dawson, O. ; Traoré, M. ; Huis, A. van - \ 2012
    NJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences 60-63 (2012). - ISSN 1573-5214 - p. 1 - 6.
    The article introduces the diagnostic studies reported in this special issue and prepares the reader for understanding their full portent, not only as stand-alone articles but also as an expression of a research programme with a common purpose and scientific objective. As such, the article introduces the focus of the CoS–SIS programme on the nexus between farmer practices and institutional context, and primes the reader on the special challenges posed by diagnosis of this nexus. The diagnostic studies scoped the landscape and the regime but mainly as these might impact the niche. What is reported is ‘the view from the niche’. The article explains the structure of the research programme and the role of the PhD researchers in it. It further describes a number of methodological issues common to all.
    Nuove strategie di disseminazione e figure emergenti: gli innovation brokers + Beyond dissemination of research findings: innovation brokers as emerging figures in stimulating agricultural innovation
    Klerkx, L.W.A. - \ 2012
    AgriRegioniEuropa 8 (2012)28. - ISSN 1828-5880 - p. 22 - 26.
    More and more it is recognised that innovation cannot be explained by a linear approach to innovation in which public sector agricultural research and extension delivers new technology in a pipeline configuration through a dissemination approach, but calls for systems approach in which innovation is the result of a process of networking, interactive learning and negotiation among a heterogeneous set of actors (Leeuwis, 2004; Röling, 2009). The systems approach recognises that agricultural innovation is not just about adopting new technologies; it also requires a balance amongst new technical practices and alternative ways of organising, for example, markets, labour, land tenure and distribution of benefits (Dormon et al., 2007). Recently, a blending of insights from the agricultural innovation literature and industrial innovation literature has resulted in the concept of agricultural innovation systems(Pant and Hambly-Odame, 2009; Röling, 2009). A national agricultural innovation system (AIS) is defined by World Bank (2006, pp.vi-vii) as ‘a network of organisations, enterprises, and individuals focused on bringing new products, new processes, and new forms of organisation into economic use, together with the institutions and policies that affect the way different agents interact, share, access, exchange and use knowledge’. Beyond researchers, extension agents and farmers, an AIS consists of all types of public, private and civil society actors, such as inputs and processing industry actors, agricultural traders, retailers, policymakers, consumers and NGOs. Besides stressing the fact that innovation requires involvement of many actors and effective interactions amongst these, the AIS approach recognises the influential role of institutions (i.e. laws, regulations, attitudes, habits, practices, incentives) in shaping how actors interact (World Bank, 2006). For AIS to function and enhance innovation capacity in developing countries’ agricultural sectors, the literature emphasises the need to come to shared visions, have well-established linkages and information flows amongst different public and private actors, conducive institutional incentives that enhance cooperation, adequate market, legislative and policy environments, and well-developed human capital (Spielman et al., 2008)However, creating and fostering effective linkages amongst heterogeneous sets of actors (i.e. the formation of adequate innovation configurations, coalitions, PPPs) is often hindered by different technological, social, economic and cultural divides (Pant and Hambly-Odame, 2006). From an innovation systems perspective, the importance of having intermediary organisations that sit between and connect different actors involved in innovation trajectories countries is becoming apparent. This type of intermediary should not just mediate a one-to-one relationship, but rather be a systemic intermediary, an in-between in a many-to-many relationship (Howells, 2006). These systemic intermediaries act as innovation brokers, whose main purpose is to build appropriate linkages in AIS and facilitate multi-stakeholder interaction in innovation. So far, the agricultural sector has relied mainly on public sector intermediaries such as agricultural extension services, often with questionable effectiveness and a limited mandate to play such a systemic intermediary role (Leeuwis, 2004; Rivera and Sulaiman, 2009). Innovation brokering implies moving beyond dissemination of information, as many ‘traditional’ extensionists do, but actively forge multi actor partnerships for innovation
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