Learning and Experimentation Strategy: Outline of a Method to Develop Sustainable Livestock Production Systems

Elzen, B.; Spoelstra, S.F.


Over the past decade, the Dutch government has increasingly emphasised the need for integral solutions for sustainability problems in the livestock production sector. This led to the adoption of research approaches in line with transition management and system innovation that had been developed in other domains. In 2008, the government set further policy targets of 5 and 100% sustainable livestock production at the farm level for 2011 and 2023, respectively. Policy measures included stimulation of sector initiatives for sustainable agriculture (sectoral innovation agendas) and demand for projects with a focus on system innovation. Two broad approaches may contribute to the realisation of these targets, notably top-down and bottom-up. Currently, the links between the bottom-up and the top-down processes are relatively weak. As both may contribute to a system innovation, a major challenge is to make a fruitful combination between the two approaches. To this end, we have developed what we call a ‘learning and experimentation strategy’ (LES) that we will elaborate in this chapter.