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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    Leveraging social networks for agricultural development in Africa
    Ross, Martha - \ 2017
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): E.H. Bulte, co-promotor(en): M. Voors. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463431910 - 174
    social networks - agricultural development - economic development - agricultural production - networks - technology transfer - innovations - innovation adoption - diffusion - interpersonal relations - communication - observation - social learning - social interaction - sociale netwerken - landbouwontwikkeling - economische ontwikkeling - landbouwproductie - netwerken - technologieoverdracht - innovaties - innovatie adoptie - diffusie - intermenselijke relaties - communicatie - observatie - sociaal leren - sociale interactie

    This thesis contributes to a growing literature that explores relationships between social networks and innovation diffusion within a developing country context. Given this context, the networks of interest within this thesis are the offline interpersonal relationships between community members. Diffusion channels for new innovation are therefore limited to word-of-mouth communication, observation, and personal experience.

    Chapter 2 of this thesis analyses two policy tools in targeting these information gaps. The first is through social learning as part of a farmer extension program. The second combines social learning with experiential learning, reducing the cost to personal experimentation with subsidized improved input packages. Our results indicate that farmers who are exposed to both social learning and learning-by-doing more significantly impacts farmer productivity relative to those receiving no intervention and those exposed only to social learning. I interpret this result as an indication of learning-by-doing combined with social learning being a more effective strategy for facilitating adoption of technologies that have more heterogeneous returns to adoption.

    Chapter 3 of this thesis tests the difference in diffusion patterns that result by varying the network contact- point. Specifically, network contact-points are selected as being either the most central or least central individuals within the network. I find evidence that centrality affects the speed of distribution but does not affect the width of diffusion nor which individuals are participating within the diffusion process. Furthermore, large attenuation is observed throughout the diffusion process, which suggests the importance of selecting a sufficiently large set of lead community members for the spread of new technology.

    Chapter 4 combines a community-wide polling of network entry-points combined with detailed community network and socio-economic data. First we explore what attributes are prioritized by community members in nominating a resident farmer as an extension contact-point. Second, we use simulations to compare the diffusion spread of top-nominated individuals as network entry-points compared to entry-points that achieve maximal spread within diffusion simulations. We find that community members prioritize network connectedness, pro-social preferences, and socioeconomic indicators of gender, age, formal leadership, and education levels within their nomination decisions. Furthermore, receiving the top three most amount of nominations is found to be significantly correlated with selection as an optimal entry-point within the diffusion simulation. These results suggest that community-wide polling offers a less data-intensive opportunity to realize gains in diffusion warranted through network-based seeding.

    Chapter 5 explore whether an individual’s observed social preferences is correlated with an individual’s centrality within the network structure. Our results indicate that individuals with high centrality are more trusting and more trustworthy than individuals with lower centrality. Moreover, individuals with low centrality are treated worse in these interactions—people trust them less initially, and return less money to them. Within a group context, little evidence is found of more central individuals displaying more cooperative behavior. Instead, for group cooperation, when a single monitor can observe contribution decisions, the presence of a direct link and more mutual network connections with a monitor correlates to more cooperative behavior by that individual. Our results suggest that network centrality and pro-social preferences are related but more localized network ties are more strongly correlated with pro-sociality than overall network connectedness.

    ‘Force of Nature’ : climate shocks, food crises and conflict in Colonial Africa and Asia, 1880-1960
    Papaioannou, Kostadis J. - \ 2017
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): E.H.P. Frankema; E.H. Bulte. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463431668 - 238
    climatic change - environmental degradation - environmental impact - agricultural development - agriculture - agriculture and environment - historical ecology - history - colonialism - colonization - africa - asia - nigeria - rainfed agriculture - rain - klimaatverandering - milieuafbraak - milieueffect - landbouwontwikkeling - landbouw - landbouw en milieu - historische ecologie - geschiedenis - kolonialisme - kolonisatie - afrika - azië - nigeria - regenafhankelijke landbouw - regen

    “Global climate change poses one of the most urgent challenges of our age. The increasing frequency and intensity of weather shocks, such as heat waves, droughts, floods, and hurricanes, are all anticipated to adversely affect conditions of agricultural production, and jeopardize efforts to achieve global food security. In recent years, there has been a rapidly growing body of literature across multiple disciplines aiming to quantify and assess the adverse consequences of climate on relatively poor rural societies. Building entirely on original primary sources, this dissertation provides evidence that weather shocks raised property crime, triggered civil conflict and shaped patterns of human settlement in British colonial Africa and Asia during the first half of the twentieth century (~1880-1960). By merging the theoretical and empirical insights of several strands of literature (e.g. economics, history, geography), this dissertation has both academic and social merit. Its academic merit lies in its promise to disentangle the net effect of climate on societies from the many other contextual factors that may affect them. And its social merit lies in its capacity to reveal key factors that can mitigate the adverse consequences of weather shocks, enabling tailor-made policy interventions. In sum, the present dissertation contributes to a better understanding of long-term agrarian development in tropical Africa and Asia, offering fresh input to academic debates on how to mitigate the effects of weather extremes”

    Behind the veil of agricultural modernization : gendered dynamics of rural change in the Saïss, Morocco
    Bossenbroek, L. - \ 2016
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Jandouwe van der Ploeg; Margreet Zwarteveen. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462578982 - 171
    agricultural development - modernization - gender relations - women - social change - rural areas - family farms - morocco - north africa - landbouwontwikkeling - modernisering - man-vrouwrelaties - vrouwen - sociale verandering - platteland - familiebedrijven, landbouw - marokko - noord-afrika

    The Moroccan countryside is marked by rapidly changing rural realities. The Moroccan government frames and promotes these changes as linear development towards modernity and progress for all thereby only focusing on the experiences of some audacious men – ‘entrepreneurs’ and ‘modernizing farmers’. The aim of the study is to unveil Morocco’s agricultural modernization plan by illustrating how agrarian processes in the agricultural plain of the Saïss are not a logical, self-evident or smooth transition to a higher stage of development or modernity. They are a form of globalizing capitalist development which is messy and contradictory, and which is marked by, and re-produces existing gender social hierarchies. By putting the experiences that often “fall away” from agrarian analysis at the heart of my study I am to explore how gender and social differences come to matter in process of agrarian change and are intimately linked.

    Economische betekenis van de grondgebonden landbouw in Zuid-Holland in 2016
    Vogelzang, T.A. ; Smit, A.B. ; Smit, J. ; Verhoog, A.D. ; Vader, J. ; Schans, J.W. van der - \ 2016
    Wageningen : LEI Wageningen UR (Rapport / LEI Wageningen UR 2016-066) - ISBN 9789462578449 - 27
    landbouw - landgebruik - tuinbouw - landbouw bedrijven - landbouwontwikkeling - landbouwregio's - nederland - zuid-holland - agriculture - land use - horticulture - farming - agricultural development - agricultural regions - netherlands - zuid-holland
    The socio-economic future of agriculture in the Dutch province of Zuid-Holland is partly linked to the perspectives of the agrocluster, the combination of agricultural and horticultural firms, fishery, food and luxury industry and the firms that supply these sectors. The importance of this cluster for Zuid- Holland is described, with a focus on the primary sectors, and especially on the agricultural firms. The current situation of these firms is presented, including the developments in the recent decade and the perspectives for the next decade. Attention is also paid to the (economic) perspectives of short supply chains and innovation for agriculture in Zuid-Holland.
    Improving the effectiveness of rural development policy in Chile
    Carter Leal, L.M. - \ 2016
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Alfons Oude Lansink; Helmut Saatkamp. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462578173 - 171
    business economics - rural development - development policy - agricultural development - regional development - livestock farming - farmers - chile - south america - bedrijfseconomie - plattelandsontwikkeling - ontwikkelingsbeleid - landbouwontwikkeling - regionale ontwikkeling - veehouderij - boeren - chili - zuid-amerika
    Trajectories of agricultural change in southern Mali
    Falconnier, G.N. - \ 2016
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Ken Giller, co-promotor(en): Katrien Descheemaeker; T.A. van Mourik. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462577596 - 209
    agriculture - agricultural development - farms - classification - self sufficiency - food - income - intensification - farming systems - intensive production - mali - landbouw - landbouwontwikkeling - landbouwbedrijven - classificatie - zelfvoorziening - voedsel - inkomen - intensivering - bedrijfssystemen - intensieve productie - mali

    Key words: longitudinal study, farm typology, food self-sufficiency, income, legumes, ex-ante analysis, participatory research, scenario.

    Smallholder agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa provides basis of rural livelihoods and food security, yet farmers have to cope with land constraints, variable rainfall and unstable institutional support. This study integrates a diversity of approaches (household typology and understanding of farm trajectories, on-farm trials, participatory ex-ante trade-off analysis) to design innovative farming systems to confront these challenges. We explored farm trajectories during two decades (1994 to 2010) in the Koutiala district in southern Mali, an area experiencing the land constraints that exert pressure in many other parts of sub-Saharan Africa. We classified farms into four types differing in land and labour productivity and food self-sufficiency status. During the past two decades, 17% of the farms stepped up to a farm type with greater productivity, while 70% of the farms remained in the same type, and only 13% of the farms experienced deteriorating farming conditions. Crop yields did not change significantly over time for any farm type and labour productivity decreased. Together with 132 farmers in the Koutiala district, we tested a range of options for sustainable intensification, including intensification of cereal (maize and sorghum) and legume (groundnut, soyabean and cowpea) sole crops and cereal-legume intercropping over three years and cropping seasons (2012-2014) through on-farm trials. Experiments were located across three soil types that farmers identified – namely black, sandy and gravelly soils. Enhanced agronomic performance was achieved when targeting legumes to a given soil type and/or place in the rotation: the biomass production of the cowpea fodder variety was doubled on black soils compared with gravelly soils and the additive maize/cowpea intercropping option after cotton or maize resulted in no maize grain penalty, and 1.38 t ha−1 more cowpea fodder production compared with sole maize. Farm systems were re-designed together with the farmers involved in the trials. A cyclical learning model combining the on-farm testing and participatory ex-ante analysis was used during four years (2012-2015). In the first cycle of 2012-2014, farmers were disappointed by the results of the ex-ante trade-off analysis, i.e marginal improvement in gross margin when replacing sorghum with soybean and food self-sufficiency trade-offs when intercropping maize with cowpea. In a second cycle in 2014-2015 the farm systems were re-designed using the niche-specific (soil type/previous crop combinations) information on yield and gross margin, which solved the concerns voiced by farmers during the first cycle. Farmers highlighted the saliency of the niches and the re-designed farm systems that increased farm gross margin by 9 to 29% (depending on farm type and options considered) without compromising food self-sufficiency. The involvement of farmers in the co-learning cycles allowed establishment of legitimate, credible and salient farm reconfiguration guidelines that could be scaled-out to other communities within the “old cotton basin”. Five medium-term contrasting socio-economic scenarios were built towards the year 2027, including hypothetical trends in policy interventions and change towards agricultural intensification. A simulation framework was built to account for household demographic dynamics and crop/livestock production variability. In the current situation, 45% of the 99 households of the study village were food self-sufficient and above the 1.25 US$ day-1 poverty line. Without change in farmer practices and additional policy intervention, only 16% of the farms would be both food self-sufficient and above the poverty line in 2027. In the case of diversification with legumes combined with intensification of livestock production and support to the milk sector, 27% of farms would be food self-sufficient and above the poverty line. Additional broader policy interventions to favour out-migration would be needed to lift 69% of the farms out of poverty. Other additional subsidies to favour yield gap narrowing of the main crops would lift 92% of the farm population out of poverty. Whilst sustainable intensification of farming clearly has a key role to play in ensuring food self-sufficiency, and is of great interest to local farmers, in the face of increasing population pressure other approaches are required to address rural poverty. These require strategic and multi-sectoral approaches that address employment within and beyond agriculture, in both rural and urban areas.

    Under the lens of embeddedness : socio-cultural perspective on home-grown school feeding in Ghana
    Sulemana, N. - \ 2016
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Han Wiskerke, co-promotor(en): Paul Hebinck; D. Millar. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462577800 - 201
    rural areas - schools - school food service - rural development - agricultural development - ghana - west africa - platteland - scholen - maaltijdverzorging op scholen - plattelandsontwikkeling - landbouwontwikkeling - ghana - west-afrika
    Putting food on the table : the European Union governance of the wicked problem of food security
    Candel, J.J.L. - \ 2016
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Katrien Termeer, co-promotor(en): Gerard Breeman; Robbert Biesbroek. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462576841 - 280
    food security - european union - governance - agricultural policy - agricultural development - food policy - policy - policy evaluation - voedselzekerheid - europese unie - governance - landbouwbeleid - landbouwontwikkeling - beleid inzake voedsel - beleid - beleidsevaluatie
    Investment opportunities in the Ethiopian Vegetables & Potatoes Seed sub-sector
    Broek, J.A. van den; Ayana, Amsalu ; Desalegn, Lemma ; Hassena, Mohammed ; Blomne Sopov, M. ; Becx, G.A. - \ 2015
    Wageningen : Centre for Development Innovation
    agricultural economics - agricultural sector - business economics - vegetables - potatoes - seeds - trade - investment - agricultural development - ethiopia - east africa - agrarische economie - landbouwsector - bedrijfseconomie - groenten - aardappelen - zaden - handel - investering - landbouwontwikkeling - ethiopië - oost-afrika
    The opportunities for vegetable seed sales in Ethiopia are derived from the size and type of the product market. The product market for vegetables in Ethiopia has been growing rapidly, both in terms of crop portfolio, as well as size.
    Meer doen met mest
    Didde, R. ; Vellinga, Th.V. ; Andeweg, K. ; Teenstra, E.D. - \ 2015
    WageningenWorld (2015)4. - ISSN 2210-7908 - p. 34 - 39.
    mestverwerking - ontwikkelingslanden - mestvergisting - biogas - bemesting - kringlopen - vietnam - landbouwontwikkeling - manure treatment - developing countries - manure fermentation - biogas - fertilizer application - cycling - vietnam - agricultural development
    Wageningen UR probeert boeren in ontwikkelingslanden ervan te overtuigen meer te doen met de mest van hun vee. Dat kan bijdragen aan de energievoorziening, de conditie van de bodem en vermindering van de uitstoot van broeikasgassen. In Vietnam worden de eerste resultaten geboekt.
    De kunst van het doorzetten : Leerervaringen uit Het Nieuwe Veehouden
    Bremmer, B. ; Oosterhoff, Wiggele ; Kortstee, H.J.M. ; Boezem, Ernest van den - \ 2015
    CAH Vilentum, Kenniscentrum Agrofood en Ondernemen - 21
    veehouderijbedrijven - veehouderij - innovaties - agrarische bedrijfsvoering - duurzame veehouderij - bedrijfsontwikkeling in de landbouw - landbouwontwikkeling - economie van de veehouderij - livestock enterprises - livestock farming - innovations - farm management - sustainable animal husbandry - farm development - agricultural development - livestock economics
    Deze publicatie is een verslag van ondernemers, onderzoekers, medewerkers van maatschappelijke instellingen en belangenbehartigers en studenten van een reis naar Het Nieuwe Veehouden. Naar de toekomst van de veehouderij in Nederland, zonder precies te weten hoe die er uitziet. De reisbagage bestaat vooral uit innoverend vermogen en doorzettingsvermogen. In drie projecten (Het Nieuwe Veehouden 1, 2 en 3) is deze reis gemaakt, die bestond uit workshops, interviews, studies, bijeenkomsten, enz. De drie projecten “Het Nieuwe Veehouden” laten zien hoe moeilijk het echte innoveren soms is en hoeveel doorzettingsvermogen ervoor nodig is. Tegelijkertijd is duidelijk geworden dat er aan de basis van de veehouderij in Nederland voldoende innovatief vermogen is voor een toekomst van diezelfde veehouderij in Nederland.
    Getting partnerships to work : a technography of the selection, making and distribution of improved planting material in the Kenyan Central Highlands
    Ndubi, J.M. - \ 2015
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Paul Richards, co-promotor(en): Sietze Vellema. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462571150 - 153
    plantenveredeling - voedselzekerheid - bananen - aardappelen - technologie - innovaties - landbouwontwikkeling - vennootschappen - samenwerking - kenya - oost-afrika - afrika - plant breeding - food security - bananas - potatoes - technology - innovations - agricultural development - partnerships - cooperation - kenya - east africa - africa

    In Kenya, bananas and Irish potatoes are important staple crops. In the early 1990s, the crops were devastated by plant diseases resulting in immensely declined productivity and vulnerability of smallholder farmers. To address this problem, disease resistant varieties and tissue culture technology were introduced through partnerships. This thesis examines the working of these partnerships in the process of selecting, multiplying and disseminating improved planting materials under changeable and sometimes unanticipated social and material conditions, and whether this enabled technical change. The study describes how partnerships shape and manage technical change and how distributed task groups coordinate their actions. Partnerships organise and set in motion an evolving chain of sequential socio-technical practices, which incrementally generate technical change. Hence, partnerships are more than just an organisational tool for resource augmentation. Making partnerships work requires constant handling of the politics of selection procedures, the unanticipated consequences of material and technical problems, and the governance and control dimensions of team and group work. The study highlights the often hidden processes coordinating distributed skills and competences and the micro-politics of selection and performance as core elements for making partnerships work. The technographic approach made this visible in the performance of research teams, laboratories and collectively managed nurseries of multiplication sites. The study concludes that partnerships, as an organisational fix, are not a panacea for complicated problems, and a more thorough debate about the conditions under which partnerships may work – and for whom – is needed.

    ADAA end line report - MFS II country evaluations, Civil Society component
    Klaver, D.C. ; Jacobs, J. ; Terefa, W. ; Getaw, H. ; Getu, D. - \ 2015
    Wageningen : Centre for Development Innovation, Wageningen UR (Report / Wageningen UR, Centre for Development Innovation CDI-15-030) - 70
    agricultural development - development projects - civil society - society - empowerment - ethiopia - east africa - africa - landbouwontwikkeling - ontwikkelingsprojecten - maatschappelijk middenveld - samenleving - empowerment - ethiopië - oost-afrika - afrika
    This report describes the findings of the end line assessment of the African Development Aid Organisation (ADAA) that is a partner of Stichting Kinderpostzegels Nederland (SKN). It assesses ADAA’s contribution towards strengthening Civil Society in Ethiopia and it uses the CIVICUS analytical framework. It is a follow-up of a baseline study conducted in 2012. Key questions that are being answered comprise changes in the five CIVICUS dimensions to which ADAA contributed; the nature of its contribution; the relevance of the contribution made and an identification of factors that explain OSSA’s role in civil society strengthening. The evaluation was commissioned by NWO-WOTRO, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research in the Netherlands and is part of the programmatic evaluation of the Co-Financing System - MFS II financed by the Dutch Government, whose overall aim is to strengthen civil society in the South as a building block for structural poverty reduction. Apart from assessing impact on MDGs, the evaluation also assesses the contribution of the Dutch Co-Funding Agencies to strengthen the capacities of their Southern Partners, as well as the contribution of these partners towards building a vibrant civil society arena.
    Local institutions and rural development : evidence from Liberia
    Beekman, G. - \ 2015
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Erwin Bulte, co-promotor(en): Lonneke Nillesen. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462575080 - 200
    plattelandsontwikkeling - gezinnen - netwerken - lokale netwerken - sociale netwerken - instellingen - micro-economische analyse - micro-economie - economische ontwikkeling - landbouwontwikkeling - liberia - west-afrika - rural development - families - networks - local area networks - social networks - institutions - microeconomic analysis - microeconomics - economic development - agricultural development - liberia - west africa

    Local institutions and rural development: Evidence from Liberia

    This thesis focusses on the role of local (informal) institutions for development, based on data from Liberia. I show that dense family networks can be an obstacle for economic decision making, due to strict income sharing obligations that often belong to them. I also demonstrate the importance of local governance quality: corrupt village leaders negatively affect daily investment decisions by villagers. Finally, I evaluate the impact of a rural development project that aims to strengthen food security and social cohesion between villagers. The results indicate that the impact is marginal at most, and local institutions again do play a role.

    Institutions are difficult to change, as they are rooted in an historical context. However, policy makers could support the emergence of alternative institutions. Either way, a deeper understanding of the far-going impact of local institutions is important: this research contributes to that.

    Institutional change and economic development : evidence from natural and artefactual field experiments in Ethiopia
    Melesse, M.B. - \ 2015
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Erwin Bulte. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462574137 - 193
    ontwikkelingseconomie - plattelandsontwikkeling - landbouwontwikkeling - experimenteel veldonderzoek - landbouwproductie - man-vrouwrelaties - landgebruik - land - ethiopië - oost-afrika - afrika - instellingen - development economics - rural development - agricultural development - field experimentation - agricultural production - gender relations - land use - land - ethiopia - east africa - africa - institutions

    Thesis title: Institutional Change and Economic Development: Evidence from Natural and Artefactual Field Experiments in Ethiopia

    Mequanint Biset Melesse


    Institutions are the essential underpinning of economic development. A large volume of empirical literature has documented conclusive evidence supporting this hypothesis. Yet, our knowledge on how to bring about institutional change and improvement is still quite imperfect. Moreover, putting in place good institutions that have undergirded the growth of the developed world has not always produced desired results in developing countries. This thesis studies the complex relationship between institutional change and economic development. Its primary focus is on the endogenous formation of institutions and outcomes of institutional changes on the quality and sustainability of other institutions and the dynamics of economic development. It employs randomized field experiments, propensity score matching and instrumental variables approaches to tackle the problem of causal inference. The results indicate that an effective institutional development requires a good knowledge of the interaction between formal and informal institutions and the complex dynamics that such interaction entails. Customary institutions are malleable. Local institutions condition the success and effects of formal institutional changes in important ways. Institutional change is a nonlinear, complex and non-ergodic process, where multiple intended and unintended outcomes are possible. Overall, the results indicate that formal and informal institutions interact out of entrenched corners with both constructive and deleterious repercussions for economic development.

    The conservation and use of crop genetic resources for food security
    Khoury, C.K. - \ 2015
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Paul Struik, co-promotor(en): A. Jarvis. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462574427 - 302
    genetische bronnen van plantensoorten - genetische diversiteit - germplasm - landbouwontwikkeling - klimaatadaptatie - wilde verwanten - ex-situ conservering - voedselzekerheid - plant genetic resources - genetic diversity - germplasm - agricultural development - climate adaptation - wild relatives - ex situ conservation - food security - cum laude
    Cum laude graduation
    Among the factors hindering the conservation of crop genetic resources is a lack of essential information regarding this diversity. Questions include: (a) what is the status of diversity in our food systems, and where are the greatest vulnerabilities?, (b) where can genetic diversity be found that can be useful in increasing productivity and mitigating these vulnerabilities?, (c) is this genetic diversity available in the present and in the long term?, and (d) what steps are needed to improve the ability for researchers to access genetic resources critical for present and future crop improvement? This thesis aims to contribute to the knowledge required to answer these questions through an exploration of the need for, potential of, challenges and constraints regarding, and necessary steps to enhance the conservation and use of crop genetic diversity.
    Towards food autonomy: connectivity and self-help groups in Hisar, India
    Singh, S. - \ 2015
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Guido Ruivenkamp; Han Wiskerke, co-promotor(en): Joost Jongerden. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462574922 - 228
    landbouw bedrijven in het klein - voedsel - autonomie - voedselproductie - voedselconsumptie - zelfhulp - samenwerking - boerenstand - plattelandsgemeenschappen - netwerken - ondernemerschap - mungbonen - landbouwontwikkeling - rurale sociologie - india - peasant farming - food - autonomy - food production - food consumption - self help - cooperation - peasantry - rural communities - networks - entrepreneurship - mung beans - agricultural development - rural sociology - india

    Keywords: self-help groups, connectivity, food autonomy, peasants, micro-enterprise

    Towards Food Autonomy: Connectivity and Self-help Groups in Hisar, India

    PhD Thesis

    Shweta Singh

    Rural Sociology Group, Wageningen University, Netherlands

    Abstract Food autonomy requires consideration of the various connectivity and self-help action organizing by the peasants’ communities. The socio-spatial organization of mung-bean production, household processing and consumption practices in Hisar district of Haryana-India are studied. The socio-spatial organization of food connects agriculture to its local environment, the regionally tied agriculture produce to local consumption patterns, and food production and consumption to livelihood and health, which are enabled by the abilities and practices of peasants and stimulate food autonomy. The connections are related to mung-bean food qualities at various levels of production, processing and consumption. Local mung-bean preferences of producers, processors, consumers and the market conditions are studied. It showed that local mung-bean food qualities related to suitability in the local cropping system, processing requirement (short cooking-time, better consistency and appearance) and consumption choice (easy to cook, healthy food). Mung-bean market conditions indicated that the market works against peasants (traders and urban processors are winners). However, the producers’ viewpoint on mung-bean processing at the community level is linked to the creation of new social relations in the mung-bean food network to strengthen the territorial connectivity of mung-bean for reinforcing mung-bean food autonomy. The possibilities of Self-Help Group (SHG) and SHG-based (food) Micro-Enterprise (ME) developments were discussed. In reviewing the literature on SHGs and previous empirical studies, various factors were identified that contribute to a success or failure of a functioning of SHG. These include full participation from and homogeneity among members, and clear group goals and transparency in group operations and functioning. The SHG mung-bean food-based ME initiated in Mangali village of Hisar was studied, to investigate ways in which this group functions. Results revealed three identifiable roles of the self-help peasants’ group: i) it consolidates local mung-bean food production, local resources and motivations of the peasants; ii) it develops another perspective of development based upon a more localized choice for processing, distributing, marketing and accessing local mung-bean food; and iii) it empowers local people (especially peasants and the poor rural community) and strengthens the connectivity between local mung-bean production and consumption. The need remains for technological efforts to address the specific location of peasant resources while in the SHG there is clearly a need to restore or redefine collective responsibility.

    Visions on dairy capacity building for East Africa
    Vernooij, A.G. ; Wals, A.E.J. ; Lee, J. van der - \ 2015
    Wageningen : Wageningen UR Livestock Research (Livestock Research report 867) - 82
    dairy farming - agricultural development - support measures - east africa - melkveehouderij - landbouwontwikkeling - ondersteunende maatregelen - oost-afrika
    For a long time the Netherlands has provided support to dairy development in the East African countries Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Ethiopia. Most of this support has been provided through non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the successive development departments of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The support in most cases was aiming at a propoor approach, with a focus on supporting smallholder farmers.
    Africa Agribusiness Academy (AAA) Year Report 2014
    Nijhoff, G.H. ; Vugt, S.M. van - \ 2015
    Centre for Development Innovation, Wageningen UR - 48
    agribusiness - agricultural development - agriculture - policy - agricultural policy - farms - farming - east africa - africa - landbouwindustrie - landbouwontwikkeling - landbouw - beleid - landbouwbeleid - landbouwbedrijven - landbouw bedrijven - oost-afrika - afrika
    The Africa Agribusiness Academy (AAA) supports African SME agrifood companies in growing their business. An AAA member companies can enhance knowledge, skills and expertise, and get support in accessing finance and markets. By the end of 2014, AAA had 200 members in five countries: Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Rwanda. These members are in the business of sourcing from or supplying to farmers. AAA’s goal is that by stimulating business growth of the SMEs it indirectly supports business growth of the farmers that are linked to these companies.
    Family farming futures : agrarian pathways to multifunctionality: flows of resistance, redesign and resilience
    Oostindië, H.A. - \ 2015
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Jandouwe van der Ploeg. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462572294 - 204
    familiebedrijven, landbouw - multifunctionele landbouw - landbouw bedrijven - rurale sociologie - landbouwontwikkeling - natuurbeleid - nederland - europa - family farms - multifunctional agriculture - farming - rural sociology - agricultural development - nature conservation policy - netherlands - europe


    During my more than two decades of research experiences as a rural sociologist, the multifunctionality of agricultural activity was a subject of major interest, although under different denominators. In this thesis I theorize and present agriculture’s multifunctionality as characterized, shaped and propelled by flows of resistance, redesign, and resilience.

    This central thesis starts with an introduction to the key notions resistance, redesign and resilience. I associate the meaning and significance of resistance, especially, with a long standing tradition of farmers’ resistance to the negative externalities that accompany modernisation, commoditisation and globalisation processes and broader socio-cultural resistance against loss of rurality. Together these underpin how resistance continues to be a crucial component in agricultural and rural development through 1) its more or less overt and covert expressions; 2) its material as well as symbolic representations; and 3) its conservative as well as transformative power.

    This relevance of resistance appears more specifically in Chapters 2 to 6. The emergence, definition and interpretations of the multifunctionality concept in the Dutch agri-expert system shows how societal resistance against the negative externalities of the agricultural modernisation model went along with a renewed attention for agriculture’s multifunctionality, although more or less broadly defined and more or less widely accepted.

    The role of resistance shows up next as part of the wider driving forces that underlie the multifunctionality of farming practices. In addition to the persistence of farm-development trajectories based on pluriactivity and diversification, this will be particularly associated among Dutch professional farm-enterprises engaged in new rural development activities with the desire to ‘farm differently’ i.e., different from the logics of the agricultural modernisation model in the sense of enabling more direct contact with consumers, citizens, other rural dwellers, etc. The distinction and characterization of different farm-development trajectories in the overall analysis further confirms that multifunctional pathways remain closely interwoven with different expressions of resistance within family-based farming.

    In the analysis of European agri-environmental governance resistance will be specifically related to dissatisfaction and discontent that addresses hierarchical relations and its consequences in terms of prevailing institutional ‘voids’ in multi-level governance settings. The latter notion refers to the absence of transparency and agreement on institutional conditions and rules in multi-level governance settings. As such the analysis concentrates especially on resistance that emerges at the interfaces between different policy levels and between policy and practice.

    The relevance of resistance appears in the analysis of ‘nested’ rural markets in Europe as opposition against hegemonic food market relations. It addresses different types of the negative consequences of dominant food market relations such as the loss of distinctiveness at farm and territorial level, of trust in food, of influence within globalizing chains, of income opportunities for farmers, of food justice, etc.

    Chapter 6 stresses that resistance manifests itself spatially in specific ways by introducing the rural web as an instrument to analyse rural differentiation processes. As a multi-dimensional analytical tool it addresses resistance especially through the distinction of the domains endogeneity, social capital and sustainability. Overall, the rural framework enables us as such to focus on the spatial interlinkages and interaction patterns between different manifestations of farmer-led and broader social-cultural resistance against marginalisation tendencies and loss of rural distinctiveness.

    Next to resistance, redesign is thought to be a second key notion that characterizes and propels multifunctional agricultural pathways. Theoretically it makes it possible to underline that these are also closely interwoven with transition processes around a fundamental re-positioning of the role of agriculture in rural development processes and, as such, are part of new ways of social ordering. The further conceptualization of redesign as combined processes of dis-embedding and re-embedding stresses the multi-facetted nature and complexity of involved redesign processes.

    Again, the significance and meaning of redesign will appear in different ways in Chapters 2 to 6, in the first place as an issue that divides the Dutch agri-expert system. The analysis around the national emergence of the multifunctionality concept reveals how, particularly, the rural development model associates agriculture’s multifunctionality with a fundamental re-positioning of agriculture’s role in rural development and, thus, manifold redesign challenges. In other, narrower definitions of multifunctionality redesign is limited much more to debates about the pros and cons of interventions in market relations and land property rights. Overall, contrasting ideas within the Dutch agri-expert system about the necessity of and opportunity for redesign reflect a transition context where the societal benefits of multifunctional agricultural pathways remain strongly the subject of debate.

    In this Dutch setting redesign, in line with the rural development model, manifests itself as already more promising at the micro-level. Next to more historically rooted expressions of multifunctional pathways, Dutch professional farm enterprises increasingly succeed in building new relations with consumers, in creating new interlinkages with other rural sectors, in developing new professional identities and in constructing new rural business models. Analytically, these different expressions of farm-level redesign reflect a strong capacity to re-vitalise family farming and to re-define farm boundaries. The distinction between different farm-level pathways shows how these redesign capacities are more or less prominently present and may be expressed at different paces.

    In the analysis of European agri-environmental governance, redesign emerges as a subject of growing institutional attention and openness to new, more market-led approaches, new forms of self-organisation and self-regulation, new forms of public-private cooperation and new accountability arrangements. Thus, redesign centres on a re-distribution of responsibilities between public, private and civil actors and novel responses to the rigidity and limitations of hierarchical relations, as well as the manifold institutional voids, in increasingly complex and barely transparent multi-level governance settings.

    The analysis around emerging ‘nested’ rural markets in Europe goes more into detail as to how market relations are actively redesigned. It emphasizes the significance of new roles for and relation between food producers and food consumers, building upon new normative frameworks, new boundary organisations, new food reputations, new forms of common pool resource management and new forms of co-experimentation, in short, novel rural market governance mechanisms that intend to safeguard, reproduce and strengthen the specificities of place, products and networks.

    Rural web analysis underlines that redesign will manifest itself spatially in different ways within rural place-making processes. Particularly, the web domains ‘new institutional arrangements’, ‘rural market governance’ and ‘novelty production’ refer to different manifestations of redesign and stress that their place specific interaction patterns will comprise a second crucial component for an adequate understanding of on-going rural spatial differentiation tendencies.

    Resilience, as the third overarching key notion to characterize multifunctional agrarian pathways, attracts growing attention in different theoretical strands. Sociologically, I understand resilience as the need for alignment within contemporary increasingly complex ‘improvisation societies’ in pursuit of sustainable development. Inspired by agro-ecological approaches that make a distinction between its stabilising (‘bouncing back’) and adaptive and transformative (‘bouncing forward’) capacities, I further conceptualize the resilience of agricultural pathways to multifunctionality more specifically as the outcome of flows of resistance and redesign. Briefly, resilience as the capacity to persist, to adapt and to transform representations of certain promises to align social ordering processes.

    This specific understanding and relevance of resilience is further clarified throughout Chapters 2 to 6. The Dutch emergence of the multifunctionality notion shows how the negative externalities of agricultural modernization may go along with a gradual rediscovery and rehabilitation of agriculture’s multifunctionality. The emerging rural development model, particularly, recognizes and acknowledges the persistence and adaptability of multifunctional pathways. The national co-evolution of contrasting sustainability paradigms reveals, at the same time, that this translates into a still more limited transformative capacity in terms of the normative alignment of societal ideas about the core-functions of agriculture.

    Chapter 3 underlines that this transformative capacity may express itself already much more prominently at the micro-level: next to pluri-active and hobby farms, as well known expressions of the adaptability of multifunctional agrarian pathways, the Netherlands knows also robust novel multifunctional rural business models. These novel business models are strongly grounded in the following characteristics of family-based farming: 1) strong linkages between economic and socio-cultural values as integrative powers for productive and consumptive rural functions; 2) changing gender relations that result in new forms of labour division and a re-distribution of responsibilities within farm-families; 3) new professional identities with differentiating strategic meanings for farming; and 4) a certain flexibility in the use of resources. The farm-development trajectories illustrate how this resilience of Dutch family-farms presents itself to different degrees and at different paces.

    The analysis of European agri-environmental governance underscores that resilience is closely interwoven with self-organization and self-regulation capacity. In addition to the emergence of different types of market-led approaches, this covers in the Netherlands experiments with more hybrid remuneration systems, more performance based accountability arrangements and more collective and place-based provision systems. It particularly demonstrates that the resilience of multifunctional agricultural pathways will be also reflected in their ability to mobilize experimental space and to create synchronicity and coherence in highly complex multi-level institutional settings.

    The analysis around emerging ‘nested markets’ in Europe approaches resilience as distinctive market relations. The ability of agriculture’s multifunctionality to persist, adapt and transform, coalesces here into alternative practices and normative frameworks that, in sharp contrast with hegemonic food market relations, succeed in integrating social, ethical and ecological values with market relations. This may contribute to a reduction of transaction costs for producers and to consumers getting access to high quality food markets. It actively forges synergy-effects between traditional and novel rural markets at farm and regional level and succeeds in transforming consumer behavior.

    Finally, rural web analysis further depicts resilience as interacting flows of resistance and redesign. First, its distinction between the dimensions endogeneity, sustainability, social capital, novelty production, new institutional arrangements and governance of rural markets enables the characterization of these flows in more detail. Secondly, it underpins the highly place specific interaction, coalescence and precipitation of such flows. The resilience of multifunctional agrarian pathways is incorporated here into the strong rural web configurations characteristic of rural competitiveness, quality of rural life and strong functional ties between rural and urban spaces. The differences in rural web dynamics between Laag-Holland and the Rivierengebied demonstrate how this spatial coalescence of resilience capacities may express itself rather differently in rural areas facing similar changing societal demands. These empirical findings confirm that multifunctional agricultural pathways represent specific, non-linear interrelations between the past, present and future of farming.

    Chapter 7 starts with a reflection on their future in the Netherlands and reaches the conclusion that the financial crisis and economic downturn since 2008 went along with a (temporary?) deteriorating political climate as, amongst others, reflected in the growing popularity of the notion ‘sustainable intensification’ and the specific way that this is being interpreted. The longer term prospects of agrarian pathways to multifunctionality are further briefly depicted with the help of the various outcomes of national opportunity-constraint analyses. More specifically, I dwell upon the following selection of institutional redesign challenges that are thought to have a great impact on these longer terms prospects: 1) towards alternative multifunctional symbols for the agro-industrial mega-stable; 2) towards sustainable urban food planning; 3) towards more inclusive cost-benefit analysis; 4) towards substantial CAP reforms; and 5) towards longer term support commitment.

    The last part of Chapter 7 draws attention to the unpredictability of the national future of agrarian pathways to multifunctionality. It acknowledges the limitations of sociological theory but, at the same time, the growing scholarly recognition of the performativity of the social sciences. That the social sciences do influence the way societal reality unfolds is particularly underlined by scientists that oppose social theorizing that loses itself in skepticism and negativism. Alternatively, so-called ‘weak theorizing’ is propagated with ambitions primarily oriented towards providing openings, degrees of freedom and hope. In line with these rather modest scientific intentions and pretentions, I finish by expressing the hope that this thesis may contribute to prosperous and flourishing multifunctional family-farming futures, particularly in the Netherlands, but also elsewhere.

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