Value chain Innovation Platforms for Food Security (VIP4FS)

Project

Value chain Innovation Platforms for Food Security (VIP4FS)

VIP4FS aims to investigate the interplay between community organization structures, farmers’ embeddedness in value networks and their entrepreneurial processes in the context of coffee and honey innovation platforms in the Mount Elgon Region in rural Uganda.

Why is it relevant?

Over the last years, different ‘coalitions of stakeholders’ have emerged across Africa to identify and address context-specific agricultural development problems. These stakeholders often form so- called innovation platforms (IPs), which aim to foster scaling of agricultural innovation practices for food security, environmental resilience and social inclusion. Those networks of organizations, enterprises, and individuals focused on bringing new products, processes, and forms of organization into economic use, together with the institutions and policies that affect their behaviour and performance. Nevertheless, while much existing research on IPs in Africa has focused on the institutional and policy factors that limit or foster their effect on agricultural innovation practices, little attention has been given on how farmer differences within their communities and families may hamper or foster their influence.

What is the aim of VIP4FS?

Which farmer communities, and which specific farmers within each community, learn and benefit the most from their participation to IPs? Why? Do less powerful community members, such as women and youth, benefit from their participation to IPs? How can IPs distribute their effects more equally among the participating communities and their farmers?

The research team led by Dr. Domenico Dentoni, in collaboration with University of Adelaide, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and Makerere University, aims to address these questions and fill the existing knowledge gap. The research team focuses on investigating the interplay between community organization structures, farmers’ embeddedness in value networks and their entrepreneurial processes in the context of coffee and honey IPs in the Mount Elgon Region in rural Uganda.

How is VIP4FS linked with other projects?

VIP4FS is embedded in the Theme Cluster “Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Emerging Economies”. As such, two PhD students are currently involved in this project (Mr. Robert Ochago and Mr. Carlos Barzola); the project findings are progressively presented and discussed in the MSc course MST55806 (in Period 1) and PhD course MST56302 (Periods 4-5); several MSc theses have contributed and are welcome to contribute to advance this project research (interested student please contact Dr. Thomas Lans or Dr. Domenico Dentoni).