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Projects - H (Harro) Maat

Research projects

  1. Commodities and anti-commodities
    Indigenous production as sustainable practice and resistance against agrarian commercial capitalism in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean

    The introduction of commercial agriculture in colonized regions is generally considered as serving the interests of the colonizers at the cost of local populations, their knowledge and cultural identity. This programme takes a different approach, arguing that changes triggered by colonial introductions of commercial agriculture (‘commodity’) included forms of resistance against and creative responses to those changes that led to specific ‘indigenous’ forms of production (anti-commodity). By investigating and bringing together unexplored expressions and various examples of anti-commodity practices, the programme intends to shed new light on the impact of commercial agriculture in the colonial era and how it has affected agricultural changes in developing nations today.

    The programme is funded by the Humanities council of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO-GW) and is a collobarative effort between the TAD group and the Ferguson Centre for African and Asian Studies, The Open University, UK

  2. The System of Rice Intensification as a socio-technical movement

    The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) is an approach to rice cultivation that is claimed to be more productive and more sustainable than conventional methods. Although these claims have been questioned or dismissed by many rice scientists, SRI has spread rapidly among farmers. Its spread could be seen as surprising, since efforts to promote scientifically validated technologies and recommended practices often have limited impacts on farmers’ behaviour. Yet, the adoption of new rice cultivation practices by small and marginal farmers may have important implications for food security, poverty and livelihoods. This proposed integrated programme seeks to understand the social processes, institutional mechanisms, economic factors and technical considerations that have led to SRI’s apparent success in social, institutional and technical terms. The programme thus aims to generate new insights into processes of grassroots innovation and technical change in developing-country agriculture, leading to lessons for agricultural policy, scientific research and extension practice.

    The programme is funded by the Global Development council of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO-WOTRO) and is a collaborative effort between the TAD group, the Development Economics Group (WU), the Communication and Innovation Studies Group (WU) and the Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar (India).