The influence of multi-stakeholder platforms on farmer innovation and rural development in emerging economies: Examples from Uganda

Carlos L. Barzola Iza

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU

Abstract

An extensive discussion in academic literature and policy currently celebrates Multi-Stakeholder Platforms (MSPs) as novel organizational forms that promote knowledge co-creation and innovation uptake among farmers and other stakeholders to address great challenges surrounding agri-food systems. While MSPs represent relatively novel organizations to address critical challenges such as rural poverty, food insecurity, and the negative effects of climate change, little is known on how they influence farmer innovation. This thesis investigates how agricultural MSPs influence farmer innovation and rural development in emerging economies. By empirically investigating one MSP in the Manafwa district located in the Eastern region of Uganda, this thesis combines qualitative and quantitative research methods. First, it provides an overview on what MSPs are and how they influence farmer innovation in emerging economies. Second, it assesses how farmers’ heterogeneity, in terms of entrepreneurial orientation and value network embeddedness, influences agricultural innovation in the context of one MSP. In the first part of this thesis, a systematic literature review (SRL) provides an overview on what MSPs are and how they influence farmers’ innovation in emerging economies. The second part of the study, based on secondary data from 44 papers published from 2005 through 2018 and primary data of 152 survey questionnaires filled in by and 27 in-depth interviews with Ugandan coffee farmers, shows a model fit of a Confirmatory Factor Analysis, a Partial Least Square multi-variate statistics, and a Value Network Analysis, to understand why farmers participating in the same MSPs may innovate to different extents, thus potentially generating dynamics of socio-economic exclusion. Results of this study identify that MSPs tend to achieve different intermediary outcomes (impact pathways) and levels of innovation depending on their organizational goals and activities. These findings also reveal four key limitations of the extant MSP literature – namely, disciplinary silos-thinking, linear-thinking, limited focus on the role of informal institutions, and little emphasis on power dynamics – which, if addressed, as in the current study, would more comprehensively inform managers and policy-makers on how MSPs may influence farmer innovation. The empirical findings of this thesis reveal how two of the three key dimensions of farmers’ entrepreneurial orientation - namely, proactiveness and innovativeness - drives product, process, and market innovation in the context of one coffee MSP in Uganda. Furthermore, this study suggests that farmers within MSPs show remarkable differences in their socio-economic status, value network embeddedness, and levels of product, process, and market innovation. This may suggest that power unbalances may underlie how MSPs influence agricultural innovation. In particular, farmers’ value network embeddedness both drives and is driven by agricultural innovation.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Omta, Onno, Promotor
  • Dentoni, Domenico, Co-promotor
Award date25 Oct 2019
Place of PublicationWageningen
Publisher
Print ISBNs9789463951470
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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