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Lausanne, Switzerland

Home R.,Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL | Rump N.,AGRIDEA
Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension | Year: 2015

Purpose: Scholars agree that evaluation of participatory action research is inherently valuable; however there have been few attempts at evaluating across methods and across interventions because the perceived success of a method is affected by context, researcher skills and the aims of the participants. This paper describes the systematic evaluation of participatory action research with 17 European networks (LINSA) as part of a research project titled SOLINSA: Support of Learning and Innovation Networks for Sustainable Agriculture. Methodology: Participatory action research was carried out over three years in collaboration with the 17 LINSA using a learning-oriented evaluation that was adapted to SOLINSA. The collaboration was evaluated using a structured evaluation instrument that was developed in the project. Findings: The primary achievements of the interactions were based around enabling LINSA to reflect on their state and their practices. Joint reflection; facilitated by a member of the research team and in collaboration with the LINSA, stimulated internal engagement, enabled rethinking of the network's positioning, contributed to strategy development, and enabled creation of concrete outputs. Participation in the reflection process served to encourage commitment to the LINSA by individuals while improving relationships within the LINSA. Researchers and participants expressed that collaborative action research can be considered successful when both parties give and gain benefits, such as new knowledge or improved practical solutions. Practical implications: Comparison of self-evaluation of different networks using a single tool enabled the identification of common factors that contribute to successful collaboration. Included in these common factors was the need to identify and build a working relationship with key partners based on mutual trust and commitment, and to gain a balance between guidance and listening, interactions and freedom, and positive and critical reflection: a fragile equilibrium that is difficult and time consuming to establish. Originality: The adaptation of learning-oriented evaluation, by including a structure to allow comparison between the wide range of contexts, provides a useful instrument for evaluating participatory action research processes. © 2014, © 2014 Wageningen University.

The objective of this study was to calculate the national costs associated with udder health in Switzerland and to estimate the cost effectiveness of an udder health intervention program. In 49 farms, yearly mastitis associated costs before and during an intervention were collected at herd level. Costs were calculated for each lactating cow being present in the herd. At the beginning of the intervention, 24 farms received a report with recommendations to improve the udder health. In the following year, those herds were followed-up by their veterinarian at a monthly basis. The other 25 farms were used as a negative control group and neither received any recommendations nor any follow-up. In the fi rst year of analysis (2010), the median udder health associated costs were 209.– Swiss Francs for each lactating cow, regardless of the intervention group. During the intervention period (2012), mastitis associated costs were 191.– Swiss Francs for control farms and 396.– Swiss Francs for farms with veterinary intervention on a monthly basis. The median additional costs for herds with intervention were 159.– Swiss Francs per lactating cow. At the national level, mastitis associated costs were estimated at 129.4 millions of Swiss Francs per year. The cost effectiveness of future mastitis control programs can be evaluated with the help of the deterministic model developed during this study. © 2014 Verlag Hans Huber, Hogrefe AG, Bern.

Sijtsema S.J.,Wageningen University | Zimmermann K.,Wageningen University | Cvetkovic M.,University of Banja Luka | Stojanovic Z.,University of Belgrade | And 6 more authors.
LWT - Food Science and Technology | Year: 2012

The aim of the study was to gain a better understanding of the consumption and perception of processed fruits in Western Balkan countries in order to support consumer-oriented product development.In-depth interviews (n = 183) were used to explore the consumption of processed fruits, the motives to consume such fruits and the barriers to doing so in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia. The Western Balkan region has a rich tradition of home-made fruit products, which might influence consumers' perception of processed fruits.Generally, more fruit juice is consumed in these countries than jams and dried fruits. Motives to consume fruit products are taste and health, and being a substitute when fresh fruit is unavailable. The most important barriers to the consumption of processed fruits are price and a preference for fresh fruits; also mentioned were availability, product safety and the absence of habitual consumption of such products. Consumers express that they prefer home-processed to industrial products, as they trust neither the producers nor the ingredients.Recommendations are presented for consumer-oriented product development and innovations in fruit processing, in which target groups, consumption moment, and perception of fruit and processed fruit should be taken into consideration. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Taramarcaz J.,AGRIDEA | Clerc M.,Forschungsinstitut For Biologischen Landbau Fibl
Agrarforschung Schweiz | Year: 2013

The pilot farm Mapraz was set up to give an answer to various questions related to the conversion of farms without livestock to organic farming. After twelve years of evaluation whereof during the last six years two crop rotation systems were compared (one with one year temporarily -TL and one with two years of TL) the result shows that the average wheat yields are 8% lower than the comparability index for wheat or matchable to the organic comparability index for field bean and oat. The contribution margins are between CHF 250.-/ha and CHF 670.-/ha lower than the comparability index in organic agriculture with livestock. The crop rotation system with 2 years of TL presents a better contribution margin (CHF 200.-/ha) and is less labor intensive (-2 hours/ha) than the crop rotation system with 1 year of TL.

Bravin E.,Agroscope | Carint D.,AGRIDEA | Hanhart J.,AGRIDEA
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2015

In Switzerland about 2,134 fruit-growers cultivate 4,187 ha apples and 789 ha pears. 60% of the apple and pear orchards are cultivated by fruit-growers with more than 5 ha (FAOG, 2011). The federal Research Station Agroscope in Wädenswil Switzerland works in collaboration with the organization for rural and agriculture development in Switzerland AGRIDEA to evaluate the economic situation of Swiss fruit-growers - with the project Support Obst Arbo (SOA). Growers participating to the project collect data with the field record system software "Asa-jAgrar". Results from the SOA network are not representative for all the Swiss fruit-growers. The SOA network includes particularly growers of the eastern part of Switzerland with more than 5 ha. Important results from the SOA project for Swiss fruit-growers are: production costs and revenues, labor distribution, identification of factors that most influence the profit. A relevant result for fruit-growers participating to the project is the benchmark within the network.

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