Browsing by Subject "FARMERS"

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  • Rossow, Heidi; Forbes, Kristian M.; Tarkka, Eveliina; Kinnunen, Paula M.; Hemmila, Heidi; Huitu, Otso; Nikkari, Simo; Henttonen, Heikki; Kipar, Anja; Vapalahti, Olli (2014)
  • Fahmi, Mustafa Kamil Mahmoud; Dafa-Alla, Dafa-Alla Mohamed; Kanninen, Markku; Luukkanen, Olavi (2018)
    National food security has been a major policy goal in Sudan since the country gained its independence in 1956. One of the fundamental reasons is to ensure the social welfare for people living in rural areas. In this study we aimed to analyse how farmers secure their food and generate income in the semi-arid Sennar state in Sudan, using two selected sites, El Dali and El Mazmum, as examples. We interviewed 281 randomly sampled household heads, of which 145 at El Dali and 136 at El Mazmum, between July and November 2011. We identified four distinct land use systems, of which three consist of monocropping and one of cultivation in agroforestry parklands. Several statistical techniques and economic analysis were applied on the study data. Our results show that, in the two areas, the highest average yields over a 10-year period for the three crops studied, sorghum, pearl millet and sesame, were achieved in agroforestry system, except for the case of sesame at El Mazmum. Economic returns for the farmers, as indicated by net present value or benefit/cost ratio, followed the same pattern. The study concludes that farmers should rely more on agroforestry to improve their food security and cash income generation. Land use and land right policies, which currently discourage farmers from growing trees on their lands, should be revised, so as to give more incentive to them to adopt ecologically and economically more sustainable land use practices.
  • Reckling, Moritz; Bergkvist, Goran; Watson, Christine A.; Stoddard, Frederick L.; Bachinger, Johann (2020)
    Crop production in Europe is intensive, highly specialized and responsible for some negative environmental impacts, raising questions about the sustainability of agricultural systems. The (re)integration of grain legumes into European agricultural systems could contribute to the transition to more sustainable food production. While the general benefits from legume cultivation are widely known, there is little evidence on how to re-design specific cropping systems with legumes to make this option more attractive to farmers. The objectives of this study were to describe the constraints and opportunities of grain legume production perceived by farmers, explain the agronomic impacts of current grain legume cropping, explore technical options to improve grain legume agronomy, and to re-design current grain legume cropping systems in a participatory process with farmers. A co-design approach was implemented with farmers, advisors and scientists on 25 farms in northern Germany, that were part of two large demonstration networks of about 170 farms supporting grain legumes across Germany. We used the DEED research cycle (Describe, Explain, Explore and Design) as a conceptual framework combining on-farm research, crop rotation modelling, and on-station experiments. From it, we identified nine agronomic practices that either were novel or confirmed known strategies under new conditions, to re-design grain legume cropping systems at the field and farm level. The practices included (i) inter-row hoeing, (ii) direct seeding into a cover-crop, (iii) species-specific inoculation, (iv) cover crops to reduce leaching, (v) reduced tillage, (vi) soybean for increased gross margins, (vii) cultivars for food and feed use, (viii) flexible irrigation, (ix) grain legumes with cover crop to enhance subsequent crop yields. We also demonstrate how to complement knowledge of farmers' perceptions (Describe step) and formal knowledge from classical on-station experiments and modelling (Explain step) with on-farm research including the local views of farmers (Explore step) to identify tailored options for specific farm contexts rather than prescriptive solutions (Design step) to intensify legume production. This approach therefore contrasts with traditional methods that are often solely participatory and qualitative or model/experimental-based and quantitative. Hence, our results provide new insights in how to re-design cropping systems using a combination of participatory and quantitative approaches. While participatory approaches are common in developing countries, this study shows their potential in an industrialized context with large-scale farmers in Europe. These novel findings can be used as a starting point for further adaptations of cropping systems and contribute to making grain legume production economically and environmentally more sustainable.
  • Etongo, Daniel; Djenontin, Ida Nadia S.; Kanninen, Markku; Kalame, Fobissie (2015)
    Climate variability and change significantly affect smallholder farmers' food security and livelihoods in sub-Saharan Africa. Tree planting is one of the measures promoted by development programs to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Tree planting is also believed to positively contribute to livelihoods. This paper examines factors influencing smallholders' tree planting activities in four villages in the Ziro province, Southern Burkina Faso. Furthermore, it analyses the challenges encountered and willingness to continue tree planting under current tenure arrangements. The data was obtained through key informants, household interviews, focus group discussions, and field observations. Results indicate that the majority of farmers interviewed planted Mangifera indica (50%), Anacardium occidentale (32%) and Moringa oleifera (30%). In a number of trees planted, Eucalyptus camaldulensis, Mangifera indica and Anacardium occidentale dominated. Tree planters were mainly farmers who held large and old farm areas, were literate and relatively wealthy, had favorable attitudes toward tree planting, and with considerable years of participation in a farmers' group. The main reasons for planting trees included income generation from the sale of tree products, access to markets and local support for tree planting. Preference for agriculture, tenure insecurity and lack of sufficient land were the main reasons cited for not planting trees. Farm households that were relatively poor, had smaller workforces and smaller farm sizes were not willing to continue tree planting. To effectively engage farmers in tree planting and to make it more attractive, policies are needed that address tenure insecurity for migrants, enable better access to markets, and support fair pricing structures for wood and other tree resources.
  • Herzon, I.; Birge, T.; Allen, B.; Povellato, A.; Vanni, F.; Hart, K.; Radley, G.; Tucker, G.; Keenleyside, C.; Oppermann, R.; Underwood, E.; Poux, X.; Beaufoy, G.; Prazan, J. (2018)
    Increased use of annual payments to land managers for ecological outcomes indicates a growing interest in exploring the potential of this approach. In this viewpoint, we drew on the experiences of all schemes paying for biodiversity outcomes/results on agricultural land operating in the EU and EFTA countries with the aim of reviewing the decisive elements of the schemes' design and implementation as well as the challenges and opportunities of adopting a results-based approach. We analysed the characteristics of results-based schemes using evidence from peer-reviewed literature, technical reports, scheme practitioners and experts in agri-environment-climate policy. We developed a typology of the schemes and explored critical issues influencing the feasibility and performance of results-based schemes. The evidence to date shows that there are at least 11 advantages to the results-based approach not found in management-based schemes with similar objectives, dealing with environmental efficiency, farmers' participation and development of local biodiversity-based projects. Although results-based approaches have specific challenges at every stage of design and implementation, for many of these the existing schemes provide potential solutions. There is also some apprehension about trying a results-based approach in Mediterranean, central and eastern EU Member States. We conclude that there is clear potential to expand the approach in the European Union for the Rural Development programming period for 2021-2028. Nevertheless, evidence is needed about the approach's efficiency in delivering conservation outcomes in the long term, its additionality, impact on the knowledge and attitudes of land managers and society at large, development of ways of rewarding the achievement of actual results, as well as its potential for stimulating innovative grassroots solutions.
  • Paakala, Elina; Martin-Collado, Daniel; Mäki-Tanila, Asko; Juga, Jarmo (2018)
    Changing production circumstances, a wide range of traits and the international bull market enable dairy farmers to make increasingly specific choices concerning artificial insemination (AI) bulls. Finland is part of the joint Nordic dairy cattle breeding programme where in addition to yield, high emphasis is given to health, fertility, conformation and longevity. The aims of our study were (a) to investigate whether Finnish dairy farmers differ in their selection preferences for AI bull traits and can be clustered into herd groups, (b) to determine whether AI bull selection in different herd groups is in line with the Nordic Total Merit index (NTM) and (c) to analyse how the herd groups are related to herd characteristics. We used a statistical cluster analysis to analyse AI bull usage and to group herds according to each herd's bull selection profile determined by the traits' estimated breeding value (EBV) mean weighted by the number of inseminations for the various traits. We identified four herd groups in both Ayrshire (AY) and Holstein (HOL) breeds: Production, Fertility, All-rounders, and Conformation. The herds' bull selection profiles were mostly close to the NTM except in the Conformation herd groups where traits other than conformation were nearly neglected. This led to poorer expected genetic and economic outcomes than with the NTM selection. Conformation herds were a minority, but they were larger in herd size and investments had recently been made. The data suggest that either fine-tuning the weights in the NTM, forming alternative indices or developing a herd-specific total merit index (TMI) could fulfil the needs of very diverse herds.
  • Neuvonen, Anu M.; Putkonen, Mikko Tapani; Oversti, Sanni; Sundell, Tarja; Onkamo, Päivi; Sajantila, Antti; Palo, Jukka U. (2015)
    It has previously been demonstrated that the advance of the Neolithic Revolution from the Near East through Europe was decelerated in the northernmost confines of the continent, possibly as a result of space and resource competition with lingering Mesolithic populations. Finland was among the last domains to adopt a farming lifestyle, and is characterized by substructuring in the form of a distinct genetic border dividing the northeastern and southwestern regions of the country. To explore the origins of this divergence, the geographical patterns of mitochondrial and Y-chromosomal haplogroups of Neolithic and Mesolithic ancestry were assessed in Finnish populations. The distribution of these uniparental markers revealed a northeastern bias for hunter-gatherer haplogroups, while haplogroups associated with the farming lifestyle clustered in the southwest. In addition, a correlation could be observed between more ancient mitochondrial haplogroup age and eastern concentration. These results coupled with prior archeological evidence suggest the genetic northeast/southwest division observed in contemporary Finland represents an ancient vestigial border between Mesolithic and Neolithic populations undetectable in most other regions of Europe.
  • Väärikkälä, Sofia; Hänninen, Laura; Nevas, Mari (2020)
    The aim of the study was to evaluate the job satisfaction of official veterinarians working in the field of animal welfare control and identify both positive features and challenges of their work. An electronic questionnaire was designed to evaluate job satisfaction. The questionnaire was responded to by 73 of the 98 Finnish official veterinarians working in the field of animal welfare control. The Spearman's rank correlation coefficient was used to evaluate the relation between stress and different work-related factors. More than half of the respondents reported work-related stress or fatigue. Threatening situations, disturbed work–private life balance and a high amount of overtime work were found to be frequent underlying causes of stress. Fieldwork, especially when working alone, was perceived as the most challenging part of the work. Of the respondents, three out of four performed animal welfare inspections mainly alone. Although the respondents reported getting additional help to perform an inspection most of the times they needed it, a wish to work in a pair was highlighted. The results of the present study indicate that official veterinarians often experience work-related stress and fatigue. By testing interventions shown to be beneficial, such as providing adequate support within the work community, decreasing the workload and enabling inspections to be done in pairs, job satisfaction could be improved.