A new green revolution or agribusiness as usual? Uncovering alignment issues and potential transition complications in agri-food system transitions

Niko Wojtynia*, Jerry van Dijk, Marjolein Derks, Peter W.G. Groot Koerkamp, Marko P. Hekkert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Agri-food system transitions are a considerable challenge requiring stakeholder alignment on what changes need to be made and how. When stakeholders do not agree on the goals or methods of a transition, this can be a serious obstacle to success. This paper analyzes 42 vision documents for the future of Dutch agriculture from a broad range of stakeholders to determine stakeholder alignment using an inductive coding approach. We identified 23 issues as the main challenges for the transition in these documents. We are the first to categorize them according to a recently proposed problem-solution space for wicked problems. Stakeholders were fully aligned in recognizing the problem for the majority of issues, but showed agreement on solutions for less than a quarter. For the issues of international orientation, sector size, and farm business models, we found a lack of consensus on the problem, indicating fundamental disagreement about the type of agricultural sector desired by stakeholders. The apparent consensus on environmental and social issues provides clear societal expectations for agronomic development and innovation, while the divergence on economic issues highlights the rift between growth-oriented paradigms and more holistic paradigms like agroecology. The crucial empirical novelty of this paper is that progress on environmental and social matters is restricted by divergent views on the economic characteristics of a future agri-food system, adding further complexity to mission-oriented transition and innovation policies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number77
JournalAgronomy for Sustainable Development
Volume41
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Agri-food system
  • Mission-oriented innovation
  • Normative contestation
  • Stakeholder alignment
  • Sustainability transition
  • Vision

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