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Outlook On Agriculture cover Outlook on Agriculture logo Outlook On Agriculture cover

The international journal devoted to agricultural science, policy and strategy.

ISSN 0030-7270 (print); 2043-6866 (online)


Editor: Dr Jerry Knox

This journal is covered by Thomson Reuters in the Science Citation Index, the Science Citation Index Expanded, Current Contents/Agriculture, Biology & Environmental Sciences, and BIOSIS Previews. Impact Factor: 0.368. 5-Year Impact Factor: 0.544. (2013 Journal Citation Reports® Science Edition, Thomson Reuters, 2014).

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Editorial coverage

Outlook on Agriculture is published quarterly and welcomes original research papers, research notes, invited reviews and commentary for an international and interdisciplinary readership. Special attention is paid to agricultural policy, international trade in the agricultural sector, strategic developments in food production, the links between agricultural systems and food security, the role of agriculture in social and economic development, agriculture in developing countries and environmental issues, including natural resources for agriculture and climate impacts. Articles should be in the region of 4,000 words; relevant literature should be cited with a recommended limit of 30 references.

Submissions - Notes for authors

Outlook on Agriculture uses an online webtool called Editman for manuscript submission, review and feedback. Please follow the link below to submit your manuscript through Editman:

http://www.editman.co/

You will first need to register with Editman and then upload details regarding your manuscript. The process is quick and straightforward. Once complete, you will receive an acknowledgement and your paper will then be screened for journal relevance.

Length and presentation of contributions

Articles should be in the region of 4,000 words. Research notes and shorter pieces will also be considered for publication. In addition, papers derived from work done under the EU Research Framework Programme will be readily considered. Submissions should be double-spaced. Electronic versions must be in Word.

The text should be ordered under appropriate sub-headings (not numbered paragraphs or sections) and where possible these should not be more than 800 words apart. Three levels of sub-heading are possible.

The title page should show the names and addresses of the authors, their professional status and affiliation and the address (including e-mail) to which correspondence should be sent. As this page will not be sent to referees, the title of the article (without author names) should be repeated on the first text page.

An abstract should be provided, comprising 100-150 words.

Between 3 and 6 keywords should appear below the abstract, highlighting the main topics of the paper. References should follow the Harvard system. That is, they should be shown within the text as the author's surname (or authors' surnames) followed by a comma and the year of publication, all in round brackets: for example, (Smith, 1998). For textual citations, where there are two authors please use the word 'and', not the ampersand (thus: '(Smith and Jones, 2012)'. Where there are more than two authors, please use the first-named author only, followed by 'et al' in italics (thus: Smith et al, 2012). At the end of the article a bibliographical list should be supplied, organized alphabetically by author (surnames followed by initials - all authors should be named). Bibliographic information should be given in the order indicated by the following examples: 

Articles: Wheeler, T., and Kay, M. (2010), ‘Food crop production, water and climate change in the developing world’, Outlook on Agriculture, Vol 39, No 4, pp 239–243.

Books: Lovelock, J. (2009), The Vanishing Face of Gaia: a Final Warning, Allen Lane, London.

Notes should be numbered consecutively in the text and typed in plain text at the end of the paper (not as footnotes on text pages).

Tables should be reduced to the simplest form and present only essential data. They should be submitted on separate sheets at the end of the article. The use of vertical rules in tables should be avoided.

For illustrations, line drawings and photographs are acceptable. Authors are asked to supply originals of line drawings for reproduction. Photographs should be glossy prints with good contrast. Authors should bear in mind that colour illustrations will be reproduced in black and white in the print version of the journal.

Prior Publication

Articles are received on the understanding that they are original contributions, and have not been published officially, either in print or electronic form, or submitted for publication elsewhere. In this respect, ‘discussion’ or ‘working’ papers, conference presentations and proceedings are not considered to be official publications, unless they have been formally deemed so by conference organizers, or presented as edited works through recognized publishing channels. If in doubt, authors are asked to draw the attention of the Editor to any prior dissemination of the paper in their letter of submission. Please note that articles should not be posted on personal Websites or social networking sites before or after submission.

Refereeing

Other than research notes, reports, and personal opinion pieces, articles will be refereed. Papers by authors who are not academics (eg submissions from industry) will also be subject to review before acceptance, but their distinct nature and aims will be fully taken into account.

Copyright

Authors will be asked to assign copyright, where possible, to IP Publishing Ltd. Relevant authors’ rights are protected.

Author Checklist for Final versions

Editorial Board

  • Editor: Dr Jerry Knox, Cranfield Institute for Water Science, Dept of Environmental Science and Technology, Cranfield University, Bedford MK43 0AL, UK. E-mail: j.knox(a)cranfield.ac.uk
  • Consulting Editor: Dr David Lister, Somerset, UK

Editorial Advisory Board

  • Professor P.K. Aggarwal
    Indian Agricultural Research Institute, India
  • Dr Simon Anderson
    International Institute for Environment and Development, UK
  • Professor Deng Xi-Ping
    Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
  • Dr C. Devendra
    Consulting Tropical Animal Production Specialist, Malaysia
  • Dr R. C. Hardwick
    Brussels, Belgium
  • Dr Alfred Hartemink
    University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
  • Hsin Huang
    International Meat Secretariat, France
  • Dr Jill M. Lenné,
    Consulting Tropical Agriculture Specialist, Fyvie, UK
  • Dr Antoinette Mannion
    Department of Geography, University of Reading, UK
  • Professor Graham Matthews
    Imperial College London, UK
  • Dr Sushil Pandey
    International Rice Research Institute, The Philippines
  • Dr Thomas Fitz Randolph
    International Livestock Research Institute, Kenya
  • Dr Fabrice Renaud
    United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), Germany
  • Dr J. Sumberg
    Institute of Development Studies, UK
  • Professor Guido van Huylenbroeck
    Department of Agricultural Economics, Ghent University, Belgium
  • Professor J. Van Staden
    Research Centre for Plant Growth & Development, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

SEPTEMBER 2014 ISSUE (VOL 43, NO 3)

SPECIAL ISSUE: SYSTEM INNOVATION – TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE
Guest Editors: Janice Jiggins, Ray Ison and Niels Röling

145 Introduction

147 Why innovation is not always good: innovation discourses and political accountability

M. Crivits, Michiel P.M.M. de Krom, J. Dessein and T. Block

157 Between script and improvisation: institutional conditions and their local operation

Barbara van Mierlo and Edmond Totin

165 Programmes, projects and learning inquiries: institutional mediation of innovation in research for development

Ray Ison, Peter Carberry, Jocelyn Davies, Andy Hall, Larelle McMillan, Yiheyis Maru, Bruce Pengelly, Nicole Reichelt, Richard Stirzaker, Philip J. Wallis, Ian Watson and Sara Webb

173 Learning to change farming and water management practices in response to the challenges of climate change and sustainability

Chris Blackmore

179 Agricultural research – from recommendation domains to arenas for interaction: experiences from West Africa

N. Röling, J. Jiggins, D. Hounkonnou and A. van Huis

187 Unravelling group dynamics in institutional learning processes

Wiebke Wellbrock and Andrea Knierim

193 Agricultural innovation platforms in West Africa: how does strategic institutional entrepreneurship unfold in different value chain contexts?

Annemarie van Paassen, Laurens Klerkx, Richard Adu-Acheampong, Samuel Adjei- Nsiah and Elisabeth Zannoue

201 Analysis of the role of an innovation broker appointed by a cotton industry environmental innovation partnership in Queensland, Australia

Olive Hood, Jeff Coutts and Gus Hamilton

207 From fair milk to fair enterprise: the consequences of an unexpected bricolage

Marlène Feyereisen and François Mélard

213 Insights from the New Zealand experience of Farmer First Research

Janet Reid and Rob Brazendale

219 Lessons on transdisciplinary research in a co-innovation programme in the New Zealand agricultural sector

Neels Botha, Laurens Klerkx, Bruce Small and James A. Turner

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Title: Why innovation is not always good: innovation discourses and political accountability

Author(s): M. Crivits, Michiel P.M.M. de Krom, J. Dessein and T. Block

Abstract: Innovation is rarely considered a point of contention in agriculture. It invariably seems to denote some type of intrinsically desired newness associated with effective commercialization of a new technology, idea or organizational form. However, once innovation is considered as something happening within a network or ‘system’ of interdependent actors, it becomes clear that different interpretations and appropriations of innovation are co-evolving in a competitive framework. Although the authors acknowledge the importance of collective learning processes as a basis for overcoming barriers to innovation in networks, they caution that such a view of innovation insufficiently conceptualizes the role of power. To gain insight into how more inclusive innovation processes can be built, the authors evaluate how farmers’ interests can be articulated and how innovation networks can be held accountable to ensure fair representation of the diversity of farmers’ views. They propose a framework anchored in deliberative democratic theory that attributes significant transformative power to deliberation in decision making. The framework is based on the concept of ‘discursive accountability’, in which representation is related to a procedure guaranteeing a maximum of relevant discourses to be articulated within collective decision making in governance networks. The authors substantiate its utility through a case study of pig farming in Flanders, using discourse analysis to reveal how the discursive framings of farmers reflect an ongoing tension between the linear and the participatory innovation discourses. They complement this analysis with an assessment of the collective outcomes of a series of ‘dialogue days’ in the Flemish pig sector.

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Title: Between script and improvisation: institutional conditions and their local operation

Authors: Barbara van Mierlo and Edmond Totin

Abstract: In Benin, a combination of governmental programmes effectively stimulated rice intensification by providing relevant institutional arrangements such as subsidized seed, credit and a market outlet. In this paper, the authors investigate the institutional character of these programmes by unpacking the rules embedded in them and by showing how farmers mould, reject and change these rules or combine them with local rules – their practices of institutional bricolage. The authors show that the services provided by the programmes had great advantages for rice farmers, but they also had an exclusive character. Because of local bricolage practices, the programmes both affected rice production and helped the rice farmers to deal with conflicts over inequitable land allocation and discriminatory participation in canal cleaning. These findings contribute to discussion of the role of innovation platforms in the stimulation of institutional change and the provision of enabling conditions.

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Title: Programmes, projects and learning inquiries: institutional mediation of innovation in research for development

Author(s): Ray Ison, Peter Carberry, Jocelyn Davies, Andy Hall, Larelle McMillan, Yiheyis Maru, Bruce Pengelly, Nicole Reichelt, Richard Stirzaker, Philip J. Wallis, Ian Watson and Sara Webb

Abstract: This paper explores innovation processes and institutional change within research for development (R4D). It draws on learning by Australian participants associated with the implementation of a three-year Australian-funded food security R4D programme in Africa, and in particular a sub- component designed to support and elicit this learning. The authors critically examine this attempt at institutional innovation via the creation of a ‘learning project’ (LP) in a larger programme. For systemic innovation to be achieved, it is concluded that the system of concern must envisage institutional innovation and change within the donor and external research organizations as well as with project recipients and collaborative partners. Institutional constraints and opportunities are explored, including how the overall approach to learning in this programme could have been reframed as an organizational innovation platform (IP), designing, managing and evaluating IPs at different systemic levels of governance – including within the collaborative programme with African partners, in the constituent in-country projects, in the collaborating Australian organizations and at the level of personal practice.

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Title: Learning to change farming and water management practices in response to the challenges of climate change and sustainability

Author(s): Chris Blackmore

Abstract: Extremes of wet and dry weather experienced in the UK in recent years have raised many questions and issues about traditional water management and farming practices. Farm infrastructure and traditional machinery have been found to be limited when addressing these issues, which include increases in flooding, diffuse pollution and the inability to access land to carry out basic farming operations. This paper reviews reactions to these issues from those tasked with addressing them in the short and long term. Drawing on theories of learning systems, it considers the nature of some of the learning that has taken place and what kinds of social infrastructure can support such learning. Implications for future learning system design are discussed. Key examples are drawn from two research contexts, one concerned with a new generation of agricultural machines and the other with water management, governance and climate adaptation.

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Title: Agricultural research – from recommendation domains to arenas for interaction: experiences from West Africa

Author(s): N. Röling, J. Jiggins, D. Hounkonnou and A. van Huis

Abstract: 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.

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Title: Unravelling group dynamics in institutional learning processes

Author(s): Wiebke Wellbrock and Andrea Knierim

Abstract: To create sustainable rural areas, farming and non-farming stakeholders must learn to work together better. In this paper, the authors contribute to the discussion of innovation platforms as drivers of institutional change by taking a closer look at the group dynamics of emerging social bodies in innovation projects, focusing on the joint creation of institutions in the process of learning to work together. Three examples of institutional learning are discussed. The authors show that ‘institutional voids’ are important in facilitating institutional learning at multi-actor interfaces. They also show how different team roles, such as those of collaborative leaders and brokers, emerge and are assigned tasks, and how they can be identified. The paper concludes with reflections on the implications of the findings for innovation processes.

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Title: Agricultural innovation platforms in West Africa: how does strategic institutional entrepreneurship unfold in different value chain contexts?

Author(s): Annemarie van Paassen, Laurens Klerkx, Richard Adu-Acheampong, Samuel Adjei-Nsiah and Elisabeth Zannoue

Abstract: Inspired by innovation system theory, donors promote innovation platforms (IPs) to enhance collaboration for development. However, IP practice and impact are diverse: hence the question arises of whether and how IP approaches are able to create institutional change for the benefit of smallholders. The authors present the experience of an action research programme in West Africa and analyse the cases from a dialectic perspective on institutional entrepreneurship. The results show that a researcher-initiated open IP approach with clear principles and in-depth analysis of the value chain context is able to create reasonably effective IP coalitions for smallholder development. In a mature value chain, it may be possible to mobilize high-level actors, but IPs often start at a lower level and apply a two-pronged approach. They focus primarily on research and communication to improve smallholder technical and entrepreneurial practices, while diligently mobilizing high-level actors to attain critical regulatory and/or market support. Mobilization success is limited in contentious environments.

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Title: Analysis of the role of an innovation broker appointed by a cotton industry environmental innovation partnership in Queensland, Australia

Author(s): Olive Hood, Jeff Coutts and Gus Hamilton

Abstract: The outcomes of agricultural innovation systems can be viewed as the emergent product of multiple interacting, multilevel, concomitant initiatives of diverse duration. The new language of environmental innovation partnerships, organizational groups and innovation brokers (IBs) engages with this perspective. In the cotton farming systems case analysed here, the participants developed what could be considered to be an innovation partnership, stimulated by an agri-environmental incentive scheme that supported on-farm implementation of environmentally sensitized irrigation practices within a catchment. The participants pooled their resources and appointed a short-term IB to facilitate the ‘purchase of knowledge’ by local irrigators and their agronomic advisers, relevant to their self-identified irrigation knowledge needs. The IB also facilitated linkages among the partners’ various irrigation, water, cotton and catchment initiatives. The partners hypothesized that new or modified organizational groupings would emerge and that system-wide practice changes would result, and that if the new organizational arrangements could be sustained post-project, a legacy of ongoing capability for systemic change could be achieved. This research shows that the short-term objectives were met, but the expected post-project legacy did not emerge. The paper discusses the implications for innovation brokerage and evaluation of such partnerships.

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Title: From fair milk to fair enterprise: the consequences of an unexpected bricolage

Author(s): Marlène Feyereisen and François Mélard

Abstract: In recent years, the European Union and the Common Agricultural Policy have made considerable changes in policy related to the dairy sector. After two successive dairy crises in 2009 and 2012, the dairy sector in Belgium was weakened considerably. The Belgian fair-trade milk enterprise, Fairebel, was created by dairy farmers a few months after the 2009 European milk crisis, seeking to develop their alternative, supported, owned by and for traditional dairy farmers. This case study brings into question ‘fair trade’ as a concept and practice in terms of trade between enterprises in Europe, and the surprise effects of interaction when analysed at both European and regional scales. The study concludes that the best innovation processes are not necessarily radical, and that tinkering – or bricolage – is the path taken by many innovations.

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Title: Insights from the New Zealand experience of Farmer First Research

Author(s): Janet Reid and Rob Brazendale

Abstract: The Farmer First Research (FFR) programme was established at Massey University in 1991 and ended in 1996. It represented a fundamental shift in how agricultural research priorities were set and implemented. Farmers’ needs and circumstances were central to defining research priorities, and the active involvement of farmers was pivotal. In 2012, the New Zealand government invested significantly in the Primary Innovation (PI) project, the aims of which were similar to those of the FFR programme. This paper critically reflects on the FFR programme and highlights lessons to inform the PI project. The authors argue that poor actor engagement and limited broader legitimacy and support have constrained the programme’s influence on sustained change in the innovation system that prevailed at the time. Also highlighted is the critical importance of actors and interactions when a programme that seeks institutional and infrastructural change is being established and developed.

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Title: Lessons on transdisciplinary research in a co-innovation programme in the New Zealand agricultural sector

Author(s): Neels Botha, Laurens Klerkx, Bruce Small and James A. Turner

Abstract: A recently implemented research and development (R&D) programme in New Zealand is attempting to implement co-innovation principles throughout the country’s agricultural sector. It is based on an agricultural innovation systems (AIS) approach, using five innovation platforms (IPs) based in the leading industries, plus a national-level IP. This paper presents and analyses the emerging challenges of operationalizing transdisciplinary research connected to co-innovation in the context of the programme. The main challenges relate to managing the complexity of a multi-stakeholder network, aligning the formal procedures for research funding and IPs with a co-innovation approach that requires flexibility, and changing participants’ framing of innovation from linear to interactive models. Our conclusion is that ‘learning by doing’ is essential in operationalizing co-innovation. Its practical implications still need to be translated into institutional changes in the national R&D structures so that policies, instruments and incentives enable co-innovation. It is envisaged that the higher-level innovation platform will drive these changes.

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