We are looking for two PhD candidates with knowledge and experience working in Chile to contribute to the project ‘Horticultural food systems based on ecologically intensive production and socio-economically sustainable value chains in the transition economies Chile and Uruguay’ (HortEco). These are 4-year research positions at Wageningen University, with scholarships.
1) PhD position in sociology of innovation and transitions ‘Change agents facilitating ecologically intensive production and value chains’
Transitioning towards ecologically and socio-economically sustainable production and marketing require combined ecological, technological, social and institutional change. Current innovation systems in Latin American countries, including Chile and Uruguay, are oriented towards high external input agriculture, and see innovation as science-driven technological change.
Co-innovation, while successful at a small scale, requires work beyond the farm level. Public and private actors throughout the food system need to fulfil key change agency roles in the transition to ecologically intensive production and value chains providing knowledge and mobilizing resources.
2) PhD position in management studies and supply chain economics ‘horizontal and vertical value chain collaboration models: arrangements to support ecological intensification’
Value chains play a key role in determining food availability and affordability. Vegetable marketing in Chile and Uruguay is currently characterised by limited farmer collaboration, fragmented retail, heterogeneous quality and few opportunities for value-adding. As an answer to this challenge, vertical collaboration through contract farming (CF) between farmers and agribusiness, and horizontal collaboration of ecological producer organizations (POs) are emerging in both countries to market sustainably produced vegetables for urbanising consumer markets.
Horizontal and vertical collaboration in value chains can promote sustainable socio-economic development and improve food availability and access. However, there is limited understanding how these value chain networks establish and maintain sustained market relationships. In this PhD research the focus is on how sustainably producing farmers and processors can be integrated in value chain networks that (successfully) address urban markets. The research will largely take place in Chile, with comparative work in Uruguay.
More info here: http://www.wageningenur.nl/en/article/Two-social-science-PhD-positions-in-HortEco-project-in-Chile.htm
Applications must be received by 14 August via firstname.lastname@example.org
Come join us in The Netherlands for this exciting course! Space is limited so apply soon! More information: http://www.wageningenur.nl/en/activity/Gender-Diversity-in-Sustainable-Development.htm
- By Adi.simionov – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
The report asks three key questions:
- What are the outcomes of industrial agriculture / diversified agroecological systems?
- What is keeping industrial agriculture in place?
- How can the balance be shifted?
Key messages include:
- What is required is a fundamentally different model of agriculture based on diversifying farms and farming landscapes, replacing chemical inputs, optimizing biodiversity and stimulating interactions between different species, as part of holistic strategies to build long-term fertility, healthy agro-ecosystems and secure livelihoods, i.e. ‘diversified agroecological systems’.
- Political incentives must be shifted in order for these alternatives to emerge beyond the margins. A series of modest steps can collectively shift the centre of gravity in food systems.
Statement of International Solidarity with Venezuela’s Seed Law
On December 23 2015, Venezuela’s national assembly passed a new seed law banning the import, production, and planting of GMO seeds and protecting the production and free exchange of seed varieties of Venezuela’s farming communities (Indigenous, peasant and Afro-descendant), among other provisions. The law is significant both for its content and for the process through which it was passed.
The banning of GMOs follows the precautionary principle in that the effects of transgenic technology are not yet fully understood and what has been documented thus far in terms of impacts on human health and the environment raises significant concerns. These are in addition to concerns over socio-economic and human rights impacts on the small-scale producers who make up the majority of the world’s hungry. Special protection for locally adapted seeds recognizes the importance of local conservation for maintaining maximum genetic diversity, increasingly important for building resiliency in the face of climate change. Additionally, the law is a product of bottom-up policy-making, resulting from a three-year process in which social movements opposed an industry-backed seed law. Instead they pushed for more transformative legislation, holding a series of participatory public consultations throughout the country to develop an alternative.
The passage of the law thus marks a historic win for agroecology and food sovereignty movements in Venezuela and beyond. It is perhaps one of the few national laws in the world which guarantees and protects the right of peasants to seeds. However, despite widespread domestic support and the international interest it has garnered, the law is under attack by industry representatives and their supporters as being “anti-scientific.” This places the seed law at risk of being overturned by the current national assembly, which has had an opposition majority since January of this year.
As scientists, practitioners and advocates involved in food and agriculture, we question the grounds for such attacks. The thrust of the law toward a prioritization of agroecological farming practices is in keeping with a mounting scientific consensus of the importance of a shift from conventional to ecologically-based agricultural systems that value the knowledge of local food producers and involve them in decision-making. This has been emphasized, for instance, in the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) developed by 400 of the world’s leading experts and endorsed by 59 countries.
We are therefore following the emerging struggle over the law and its implementation with great interest, not only for its implications for Venezuela, but for its broader implications in the face of increasing corporate consolidation of the genetic resources critical for present and future food security and food sovereignty. We stand with the food producers, scientists, and grassroots movements in Venezuela urging the National Assembly to maintain the integrity of this law and to support its full implementation. Continue reading “Statement of International Solidarity with Venezuela’s Seed Law”