Browsing Food Business and Development - Doctoral Theses by Title
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- ItemAnalysis of institutional arrangements and common pool resources governance: the case of Lake Tana sub-basin, Ethiopia(University College Cork, 2013) Ketema, Dessalegn Molla; Chisholm, Nicholas G.; Enright, Patrick; Ministry of Agriculture, Ethiopia; Irish AidAlthough Common Pool Resources (CPRs) make up a significant share of total income for rural households in Ethiopia and elsewhere in developing world, limited access to these resources and environmental degradation threaten local livelihoods. As a result, the issues of management, governance of CPRs and how to prevent their over-exploitation are of great importance for development policy. This study examines the current state and dynamics of CPRs and overall resource governance system of the Lake Tana sub-basin. This research employed the modified form of Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework. The framework integrates the concept of Socio-Ecological Systems (SES) and Interactive Governance (IG) perspectives where social actors, institutions, the politico-economic context, discourses and ecological features across governance and government levels were considered. It has been observed that overexploitation, degradation and encroachment of CPRs have increased dramatically and this threatens the sustainability of Lake Tana ecosystem. The stakeholder analysis result reveals that there are multiple stakeholders with diverse interest in and power over CPRs. The analysis of institutional arrangements reveals that the existing formal rules and regulations governing access to and control over CPRs could not be implemented and were not effective to legally bind and govern CPR user’s behavior at the operational level. The study also shows that a top-down and non-participatory policy formulation, law and decision making process overlooks the local contexts (local knowledge and informal institutions). The outcomes of examining the participation of local resource users, as an alternative to a centralized, command-and-control, and hierarchical approach to resource management and governance, have called for a fundamental shift in CPR use, management and governance to facilitate the participation of stakeholders in decision making. Therefore, establishing a multi-level stakeholder governance system as an institutional structure and process is necessary to sustain stakeholder participation in decision-making regarding CPR use, management and governance.
- ItemAn assessment of the impact of land structure on the economic performance of dairy farming in Ireland(University College Cork, 2021-11-11) Bradfield, Tracy; Hennessy, Thia; Butler, Robert; Dillon, Emma; TeagascThe European Union (EU) milk quota was abolished in 2015 leading to an increased demand for land for dairy farming in Ireland. Between 2014 and 2019, raw milk production increased by 42 percent in Ireland (Bradfield et al., 2021a). However, the land market in the Republic of Ireland is restricted by low mobility. The Republic of Ireland’s agricultural land market experiences very low levels of sales with less than 1 percent of agricultural land sold each year (CSO, 2020a). This is attributed to a strong desire of people in Ireland to keep land in the family name. Ireland also has a low level of land rental. To increase land rental on secure leases, the Irish government increased incentives in 2015 for landowners to rent out their land on long term leases. Using econometric techniques applied to farm-level Teagasc National Farm Survey data, which is part of the Farm Accountancy Data Network, this research provides contributions to the study of agricultural land markets that focus on three main research questions. These include an assessment of the factors that influence the decision to rent in agricultural land and the determinants of profit among renting dairy farms in Ireland, the effect of land fragmentation on dairy farm technical inefficiency, and the impact of land lease duration on dairy farm investment. Research findings show that dairy farms are using the rental market to improve profitability. Farm characteristics such as a small size, a high stocking rate, the presence of a successor and high levels of hired labour increase the likelihood of entering a rental agreement. Renting in land and a less fragmented farm structure reduce dairy farm technical inefficiency. Dairy farms can reduce their technical inefficiency by either renting or purchasing land parcels that are adjoining their current land resources. The results also indicate that farms with a high portion of rented land, which is rented on long-term leases, invest more in their herd and capital. This suggests that long-term land rental is a feasible means to create certainty over investments when land purchases are not possible. In conclusion, these findings highlight the benefits of an active land market to individual farmers and the overall dairy sector, which lends support to policy measures to improve the rental market and thus land mobility. Although the number of agricultural land rental agreements has risen since the removal of the EU milk quota and the increase in tax incentives for long-term land leases, Ireland continues to have the lowest level of land rental in the EU, at 19 percent, compared to an average of 54 percent (European Commission, 2018). This research recommends a review of the structure of current tax incentives for long-term leases because the existing thresholds do not maximise incentives for farmers to rent out their land. Other contributions of this research include a greater understanding of markets with an inelastic supply curve, the role long-term leases can play in improving tenure security, the importance of an extensive use of land fragmentation indicators when studying farms’ structures, and the requirement for market intervention to improve land mobility. Topics for further research are also outlined.
- ItemDeconstructing cardboard man: antagonists, allies and advocates in the quest for women’s economic empowerment in Bangladesh(University College Cork, 2021-01-07) Ondekova, Marcela; McCarthy, Olive; Power, CarolThis study explores Muslim masculinities in Bangladesh and their positioning towards women’s economic empowerment (WEE), with a particular focus on employment in low-income communities. The research is framed by a specific context of increasing women’s labour participation – a shared objective of the current Government of Bangladesh and the local and international development community. The study introduces a masculinity continuum containing three masculinity markers – Antagonists, Allies and Advocates – to facilitate the exploration and understanding of differences in men’s views, attitudes and practices with respect to WEE. Mixed methods, including focus groups, peer-to-peer survey, life-history narrations, gender analysis, interviews, Delphi method and observation, were used to analyse the linkages between WEE and masculinities in the selected context. The study found that WEE was a multidimensional phenomenon in low-income communities. However, Antagonist and Ally men overlooked psychological and social benefits of economic inclusion for women. In addition, the indigenous perceptions of WEE, particularly by men, mainly focused on the fulfilment of practical needs and overlooked structural inequalities that perpetuate women’s inequalities. Low-income women largely desired progressive masculinities embodied by Advocate men that could facilitate WEE. While resisting changes undermining men’s patriarchal control over women, Antagonist and Ally men supported women’s access to decent employment under certain conditions. In addition, although Ally men, who appeared to represent the majority of men, were reluctant to give up their patriarchal privilege in the privacy of their household, they supported women’s increased roles in public domains. Advocate men demonstrated some residual patriarchal attitudes and practices, but these were marginal in their masculinities. Moreover, working on women’s equality with men was a source of optimism and joy for Advocates. Lack of women’s safety was amongst the main obstacles highlighted to restrict women’s mobility and access to employment outside their communities, although in the discourse by Antagonist and Ally men, women’s increased mobility and new opportunities were strongly correlated with their fear of a working independent woman. This fueled the attempts to retraditionalise women, who had accessed new roles in society. Antagonist and, to some extent, Ally men demonstrated a high prevalence of gender stereotypes about women’s and men’s roles based on biological essentialism and conservative cultural/Islamic norms. This included primary breadwinner as a persistent mainstream masculinity norm. On the other hand, Advocates, and to some extent Ally men, were engaged in more emotionally rewarding relationships with their wives and children, than men with Antagonist masculinities. Husbands and fathers with Advocate masculinities demonstrated a higher involvement in household and care work, rewarded by their spouses. The Islamic faith was not found to be a conclusive factor in driving or resisting patriarchal masculinities, although less religious men appeared more progressive with respect to WEE. Disability was linked with heightened emasculation caused by the erosion of the male primary breadwinner role, but this appeared to be the case only when other salient factors were at play. An emasculated disabled husband was a factor in a higher risk of violence against low-income women working outside their communities. Whereas Antagonists appeared to constitute a substantial part of society, the dominance of Ally masculinities creates a unique opportunity to engage with men on transformative WEE. The research contributes to the formulation of a men’s empowerment framework, which can assist development actors in increasing men’s support to women’s equal economic rights in Bangladesh and potentially elsewhere. The current Government policies, which are largely supportive of women’s economic inclusion, contribute to an enabling environment for such efforts. Two specific approaches can support mobilisation of Antagonist and Ally men: marital togetherness and the concept of peaceful household (hooks, 1984, 1998; Ahmed, 2008, 2014) and the egalitarian gender relations within Islam (Kabasacal Arat and Hasan, 2017; Musawah, 2018; Nazneen, 2018), supported by partnerships with those religious authorities that share common interests with development actors, such as fighting violence against women and girls. Ultimately, the study challenges the narrative of oppressive Muslim men, who resist normalisation of Bangladeshi women in the economy. It validates the existence of diversity of masculinities and their embodiments in studied practice, while including men in women’s struggle for equality and social progress. The study concludes that non-static and nuanced understanding of masculinities can encourage useful empowerment strategies in development practice that can result in the improvement of lives of many women and men.
- ItemThe defining characteristics of alternative food initiatives in Ireland: a social movement battling for an alternative food future?(University College Cork, 2015) Murtagh, Aisling; Ward, Michael; Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social SciencesAlternative food initiatives (AFIs) have been described as an attempt to change and improve aspects of how the food system operates. They are focused around more traditional, local and sustainable food production and circulation. AFIs such as farmers’ markets, allotments and community gardens, share a desire to reduce the number of steps food goes through from production to plate. The role of these initiatives in the food system, and their potential to impact real change, has however been questioned. Working to better understand this issue is a central concern of this research. To do this a two tier analysis has been deployed. The first tier involves identifying the characteristics and general dynamics of AFIs. Bourdieu’s theory of practice, and the theories of field and capital, are the concepts applied. The research then uses these findings in the second tier of analysis concerned with relating AFI characteristics and dynamics back to their key traits, positive and negative, as well as arguments made about AFI’s role identified from previous research. Another part of this second tier of analysis is exploring if AFIs, the producers, consumers, organisations and groups that make up this phenomenon, can be considered a social movement. AFIs can be referred to collectively as a social movement, but are not often explored theoretically from this perspective. AFIs in Ireland provide the empirical context for this research. A series of qualitative interviews in four areas of Ireland, as well as evidence from primary and secondary sources are analysed. The research finds that AFIs can be understood as the potential beginnings of a lifestyle social movement. Leaders are of central importance to its development. It is also found that an important role of AFIs is revitalising, supporting and contributing to food culture.
- ItemDeveloping indicators of the social sustainability of farming using the Teagasc National Farm Survey(University College Cork, 2022) Brennan, Mary; Hennessy, Thia; Dillon, Emma; TeagascThe emergence of agricultural and food sustainability as a major societal objective has resulted in a considerable shift in the focus and design of EU policy relating to agriculture, food, and rural development. As such, the dimensions of sustainability (economic, environmental and social) are reflected in the Farm to Fork Strategy and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) 2023-2027. The monitoring and evaluation of policy is a key element of the new CAP and consequently, there exists a need for harmonised multidimensional indicators to gauge progress towards specific sustainability targets. Moreover, the transition of the Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN) to the Farm Sustainability Data Network (FSDN) reflects the commitment of the European Commission to enhancing sustainable farming practices, and this necessitates an expansion of existing farm level indicators to improve policy monitoring and evaluation, particularly with regard to social and environmental metrics. In response to this policy need, this thesis aims to contribute to the ongoing development of sustainability metrics at the farm level, cognisant of evolving policy themes and drivers impacting Irish and European agriculture, and focuses on social indicators of sustainability. Indicators to assess the economic, and more recently, environmental sustainability of agricultural systems have dominated much of the sustainability discourse to date, with little on the assessment of social sustainability. The broad nature of social sustainability does not lend itself readily to measurement by conventional, quantitative means. An extensive review of the literature suggests that agricultural social sustainability can be considered as either ‘internal’ (relating to farmer wellbeing) and ‘external’ (at societal level)’, encompassing animal welfare and community wellbeing. Expanding on this ‘internal’ and ‘external’ classification, and following consultation with stakeholders, this thesis categorises social sustainability into dimensions reflecting farmer, animal and community wellbeing, and identifies relevant indicators for each dimension. Farmer wellbeing incorporates elements relating to quality of life (i.e. working hours, stress etc.), animal wellbeing consolidates herd level welfare data, while community wellbeing examines indicators measuring multifunctionality, service accessibility and heritage and culture (including generational renewal). Statistical analysis of data collected through a special survey, in addition to supporting socio-demographic data from the Teagasc National Farm Survey (NFS) relayed key information on the social sustainability of Irish farms. From a farmer wellbeing perspective, this research finds that dairy farmers are more likely to experience farm related stress relative to operators of cattle, sheep or tillage systems. In addition to a stress assessment, this thesis assessed farmer wellbeing levels through the development of a composite index, the Farmer Sustainability Index (FSI), comprising indicators which reflect farm continuity, community and social connections, and farmer comfort. The FSI indicates that farmers working in the cattle sector, of older age profile, and residing in more peripheral regions experience relatively lower levels of wellbeing. Indicators assessing community wellbeing reveal regional variation, with communities in the Border and West performing less well in terms of wellbeing compared to other regions. In terms of farm continuity, a higher proportion of dairy farmers have identified a successor. Moreover, in terms of animal wellbeing, representative data from the NFS finds that welfare on dairy farms has remained relatively stable during an expansionary phase following EU milk quota abolition in 2015. These findings indicate that farm level social sustainability varies considerably by farm system and subsequently region. Variations in the FSI scores and those of its components reveal the extent to which farm heterogeneity influences wellbeing levels. Additionally, the underlying farm economic and socio-demographic attributes are influential. This serves to highlight difficulties in applying a common policy approach in the pursuit of improved social sustainability across farm systems with differing wellbeing needs. As the FADN expands its remit to better encapsulate sustainability through the FSDN, it is imperative that additional social sustainability indicators are developed. This thesis finds that, with modifications, the FADN framework retains the ability to effectively assess and collect social sustainability metrics for European farms. Indeed the Teagasc National Farm Survey has been at the forefront in this regard, devising a bank of social sustainability indicators and providing a roadmap for data collection and analysis. This research contributes to the discourse on agricultural social sustainability measurement, through the development of a range of indicators reflective of farmer, animal and community wellbeing dimensions. Recommendations for future data collection and research are also provided.
- ItemDeveloping market-oriented and value-added products for Irish seafood SMEs(University College Cork, 2019) McKenzie, Elizabeth; Bogue, Joseph; Hamlin, Robert; Letterkenny Institute of TechnologyThe fisheries sector in Ireland is worth approximately €1.15 billion a year and is characterised by a high proportion of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). A strong market orientation and a consumer driven new product development (NPD) process are critical NPD success factors. Successful NPD requires knowledge exchange between the food related organisations, supply chain partners and the consumer. The Irish seafood industry lacks a market-oriented approach to its NPD activities. The Irish seafood industry is not in a position to capitalise on global trends as there are too many SMEs working in isolation. As a result, there is a lack of coordination and cooperation between supplier, producers and a lack of connection with the consumer and customer. This study aims to examine the use of consumer insights in the development by SMEs, of more sustainable and value-added, new seafood product concepts. Including products with unfamiliar ingredients, this process aims to increase consumer acceptance. The methodology employed was both qualitative and quantitative. Interviews with seafood SMEs and focus groups, conjoint questionnaire and sensory acceptability testing with consumers of seafood were utilised. The interviews conducted with Irish seafood related SMEs suggest that innovation and data collection is occurring, however, it is not being captured and utilised correctly in order to ensure successful product development and ultimately competitive advantage. If this innovation, data and other information gathered is managed correctly, in a formal process, then there is a significant opportunity for Irish seafood SMEs to capitalise on the value-added market. This research highlights appropriate methods of gathering and managing customer insights during the NPD process, specifically the initial stages and applying it to the development of a seafood concept that uses a species of fish, which is currently unavailable on the Irish market, and unfamiliar to consumers i.e. boarfish, via advanced concept optimisation research techniques. These insights through conjoint analysis allowed for the analysis of the products attributes and provided an insightful understanding of customer`s choice motives, which assists organisations in the process of market segmentation and new product design of new seafood products. The research revealed that consumer integration techniques which include the consumer at the early stages of the NPD process can increase consumer acceptance of new seafood products; including those that contain unfamiliar ingredients without a significant strain on the resources of SMEs.
- ItemDisrupting routines, facilitating control: exploring a change towards healthier food purchasing behaviour using a health app(University College Cork, 2019) Flaherty, Sarah Jane; Mccarthy, Mary; Collins, Alan; Health Research BoardBackground: Unhealthier food consumption patterns constitute a leading risk factor for ill health. As an important step in the food consumption process, changing food purchasing may improve the healthfulness of dietary patterns. Changing behaviour towards healthier food purchasing may be viewed as effortful by consumers due to inadequate nutrition knowledge and skills which may inhibit their ability to make healthy choices within the supermarket. A dominance of routines and habits further impedes the use of deliberative decision-making, which makes information provision and goal-setting less effective. Behaviour change may be supported by disrupting undesirable behavioural patterns, building of personal resources, and reframing behavioural outcomes. This should prompt a greater use of reflective cognitive processes during food purchasing and aid healthier behaviour. However, there is limited evidence in relation to food purchasing. Given recent technological advances, apps offer a potential tool to facilitate such change. The high use of apps across social groups suggests that they may be appropriate for supporting behaviour change in lower socioeconomic groups. It is unclear if existing apps are appropriately designed or acceptable for use for the necessary time period, particularly for individuals from a lower socioeconomic background. Such knowledge gaps must be addressed to inform intervention design. This thesis aims to contribute to the theoretical understanding of the interplay between mobile app technology and behaviour change with food purchasing as the behaviour of interest, and a particular focus on women from a lower socioeconomic background. Methods: This thesis was grounded in a pragmatic philosophical perspective and consisted of four phases. In phase one, structural equation modelling was undertaken to examine the individual-level determinants of a healthy eating habit and the extent to which personal goals and self-control are linked to a healthy eating habit. A content analysis of existing apps was undertaken in phase two to examine their capacity to support healthier food purchasing behaviour. A structured analytical matrix was employed where relevant literature and theory was drawn upon. A phenomological methodology was used for the remaining two research phases. In phase three, the researcher explored the experience of using a health app to support healthier food purchasing behaviour. Women from a lower socioeconomic background were recruited and asked to use two, of three possible, apps over a two-week period. Subsequent semi-structured interviews explored the experience of using an app including those personal and app-related factors of importance. Inductive thematic analysis was conducted to explore common patterns across participants’ experiences. In the fourth research phase, the lived experience of changing purchasing behaviour was explored in women from a lower socioeconomic background using a health app over an 8-11 week period. Participants were asked to use one, of two possible, apps. Multiple data collection methods were employed to capture the lived experience of behaviour change and app use. At baseline, an accompanied shop, incorporating the use of think-aloud protocol and researcher observations, was conducted, followed by an in-depth interview and questionnaire completion. At the midway point, participants were asked to complete a reflective account of their experience thus far. They were also asked to share their till receipts for the study duration. At follow-up, an accompanied shop, in-depth interview, and questionnaire completion was again employed. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was conducted to gain insight into the behaviour change experience. Theoretical thematic analysis was employed to examine app use through the lens of engagement theory. Findings: Self-control and deliberative cognitive processes were central to maintaining a healthy eating habit. This challenges the current conceptualisation and suggests the need to view complex food behaviours as highly routinised; this is an important consideration for behaviour change. Food purchasing behaviour was not a primary focus of existing apps with behavioural outcomes, such as weight-loss, as their main goal. While existing apps have the potential to support healthier purchasing behaviour, there is an opportunity to broaden their capacity. Health apps, through the process of self-monitoring, problem solving, and behavioural prompts, disrupted existing purchasing patterns. This prompted the use of reflective cognitive processes such that purchasing behaviour was directed by personal resources and healthy food goals. However, the extent to which reflective cognition continued to be employed during behaviour change was influenced by the broader goal system in which healthy food goals resided. The importance of user engagement was highlighted through this exploratory research. Engagement was expressed at an intrinsic level as a sense of personal autonomy, an increased perceived capacity to change, and viewing the app as a confidential and empathetic ally. App features that facilitated their expression were considered to result in optimal engagement. Findings suggest that an individual’s involvement, in relation to healthy food, may act as a trigger for different phases of engagement as variations in goal saliency lead to flux in involvement levels. The importance of individual characteristics on app engagement was evident which emphasises the need to integrate tailored features into health apps to ensure that it is congruent with personal goals. Conclusions The present findings add to the existing understanding of the interplay between app technology and behaviour change. If appropriately designed health apps may facilitate a more conscious approach to food purchasing and support healthier purchasing behaviour. An individual’s goal system architecture may influence the extent to which the reflective cognitive system is employed during behaviour change, which progresses existing knowledge of the influence of goal systems on behaviour change. The present research contributes to the extant literature in relation to user engagement. The intrinsic expressions of engagement are proposed to result from different configurations of engagement dimensions which suggests an interaction between these dimensions rather than an isolated existence. The potential role of involvement as a trigger of engagement phases further challenges the current conceptualisation of engagement. Such findings add to the call for the use of alternative non-quantitative, context-specific means of measurement to adequately capture the engagement process. In conclusion, findings suggest the potential to expand existing behaviour change theory, to integrate components of engagement, for improved relevance in the app technology space. Future health app design must consider the individual user and incorporate tailored features to ensure user self-congruence and support continued engagement to facilitate change. Health apps may be an effective tool to support healthier food behaviours in women from a lower socioeconomic background but they may be most effective when implemented as part of a range of individual, community, and broader structural measures.
- ItemEvaluation of the manufacture of cheese from micellar casein concentrate or using novel coagulants(University College Cork, 2022-09-23) Li, Bozhao; McSweeney, Paul L. H.; Kelly, Alan; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; Food Institutional Research MeasureNovel materials and coagulants for cheese manufacture are currently of interest since the development of membrane filtration technology and gene recombination technology may offer opportunities for innovation in cheese manufacture. A novel dairy material – micellar casein concentrate (MCC) – is the co-product of whey protein recovery. As the main protein source in cheese is casein, MCC has the potential to be a starting material for cheese manufacture. The objective of the work presented in the first part of this thesis was to evaluate the feasibility of the manufacture of Cheddar and Quarg cheeses from micellar casein concentrate. In addition, camel chymosin has been reported to cause less proteolysis as a coagulant for cheese manufacture compared to bovine chymosin. The suitability of manufacture of Cheddar cheese using a novel camel chymosin with structural changes was also investigated. The rennet and acid coagulation properties of micellar casein concentrate were evaluated. MCC had a higher casein in total protein content compared to low heat skim milk powder (LHSMP), and shorter rennet coagulation time and higher gel strength were found in MCC compared to that of LHSMP. A gelation pH value greater than 5 was found in MCC. MCC produced by cold microfiltration (MF) formed acid-induced gels with high strength at pH 4.6, while the gel strength of acid-induced gels formed by warm MF MCC reached the highest at a pH value of around 5 and decreased below this value due to rearrangements of the casein network. The suitability of the manufacture of Cheddar cheese from MCC was subsequently investigated; standard control milk, skim milk with cream, reconstituted MCC with cream and reconstituted LHSMP with cream were used for comparison. The use of MCC led to increased proteolysis compared to the other treatments, linked to higher plasmin and chymosin activities in the cheese. Increased springiness, cohesiveness and meltability were found in Cheddar cheese manufactured from MCC. For the manufacture of Quarg cheese, lower moisture and higher protein contents were found in cheese made from MCC compared to that made from LHSMP. Cheese made from hot MF MCC showed the highest hardness compared to that made from LHSMP or cold MF MCC. Higher glycomacropeptide (GMP) content was found in cheese whey made from MCC. The suitability of manufacture of Cheddar cheese using a modified fermentation-produced camel chymosin (mCC) was investigated; fermentation-produced bovine chymosin (BC) and camel chymosin (CC) were used for comparison. The use of mCC led to reduced proteolysis compared with BC or CC, and higher instrumental and sensory hardness and lower meltability were found in cheeses made using CC or mCC compared to BC. Descriptive sensory analysis indicated less sulphur and barny flavour in cheese made with CC and mCC, while cheese made using mCC showed the lowest brothy flavour and bitter taste. Finally, the proteolytic specificity of the three generations of chymosin on NaCN at pH 5.2 with 5% NaCl and 6.5 and in proteolysis of Cheddar cheese made using these coagulants were investigated. Many peptides were identified through liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) in both NaCN digests and Cheddar cheese made using each chymosin. Other than the majority of peptides produced by BC and CC reported in the literature, some new peptides were identified in this study as well. The proteolytic activity of mCC was relatively lower than that of BC and CC. Overall, the results presented in this thesis will support the innovation and application of new materials for the manufacture of cheese and other dairy products and add to the understanding of the properties of three generations of chymosin when used in cheese manufacture.
- ItemAn examination of the construction of meanings for obesity in Ireland(University College Cork, 2013) De Brún, Aoife; McCarthy, Mary; Health Research Board; Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, IrelandObesity has been defined as a consequence of energy imbalance, where energy intake exceeds energy expenditure and results in a build-up of adipose tissue. However, this scientific definition masks the complicated social meanings associated with the condition. This research investigated the construction of meaning around obesity at various levels of inquiry to inform how obesity is portrayed and understood in Ireland. A multi-paradigmatic approach was adopted, drawing on theory and methods from psychology and sociology and an analytical framework combining the Common Sense Model and framing theory was employed. In order to examine the exo-level meanings of obesity, content analysis was performed on two media data sets (n=479, n=346) and a thematic analysis was also performed on the multiple newspaper sample (n=346). At the micro-level, obesity discourses were investigated via the thematic analysis of comments sampled from an online message board. Finally, an online survey assessed individual-level beliefs and understandings of obesity. The media analysis revealed that individual blame for obesity was pervasive and the behavioural frame was dominant. A significant increase in attention to obesity over time was observed, manifestations of weight stigma were common, and there was an emotive discourse of blame directed towards the parents of obese children. The micro-level analysis provided insight into the weight-based stigma in society and a clear set of negative ‘default’ judgements accompanied the obese label. The survey analysis confirmed that the behavioural frame was the dominant means of understanding obesity. One of the strengths of this thesis is the link created between framing and the Common Sense Model in the development of an analytical framework for application in the examination of health/illness representations. This approach helped to ascertain the extent of the pervasive biomedical and individual blame discourse on obesity, which establishes the basis for the stigmatisation of obese persons.
- ItemAn exploration of the relationship between openness to relationality and context in Irish credit unions(University College Cork, 2018) Byrne, Noreen; Ward, MichaelThe purpose of this thesis is to explore how contextual conditions such as perceived openness and proximity trigger a relational openness between the member and the credit union. The researcher theorises, using the relationality literature, that this openness is essential for the emergence of co-operative potentiality and, in turn, the continual reproduction of the credit union as a co-operative business. The relationship between context and relational openness was explored through the gathering of empirical data and through theoretical abduction and retroduction. The empirical field work was carried out between 2011 and 2013, a period prior to the restructuring in Irish credit unions (in 2011 there were 403 credit unions, but following the onset of a statutory supported restructuring in 2013, this number had reduced to 268 by December, 2017). The research involved two member surveys (n = 1,400; n = 715) in addition to a structured interview and a mapping exercise with 78 credit union personnel (staff and volunteers). The field work explored openness to relationality (member value preferences, member openness to relational engagement, credit union openness to member knowledge) and contextual conditions (proximity and perceived credit union openness). The first contextual condition examined was proximity. It was found that proximity matters in terms of triggering openness in both the member and the credit union. For the member, proximity triggers their likelihood of holding a relational rather than a technical value preference for their credit union. Members who value the relational over the technical are more active patrons. For the credit union, proximity influences the personnel’s openness to member knowledge (a pre-cursor to treating members as ‘origins of action’ and to member-driven innovation). The second contextual condition examined was members’ perception of credit union openness. It was found that members who perceived the credit union as open were more likely to be themselves open to relational engagement (a pre-cursor to ‘mutual aid’ or co-creation) with the credit union. Hence, relational openness matters to the development of the credit union as an innovative and member-driven co-operative business. Context matters because of its role in shaping this relational openness. This thesis highlights that credit unions already have, in fact, control over the design of that context in the form of their proximity and openness to the member. These findings indicate that, in the pre-restructuring period, relational openness between the member and the credit union existed and this openness is triggered by contextual conditions such as proximity and perceived openness. These findings imply that, in the absence of or weakening of proximity, openness is less likely to emerge. This has serious implications for the credit union. Firstly, it weakens the relational competitive advantage of the credit union. As relational openness weakens, members are more likely to hold a technical value preference and are less likely to be open to active patronage and co-creation with their credit union. Secondly, it weakens the innovative potential of credit unions, where credit unions are less open to and have less access to member knowledge. These findings suggest that this will weaken the foundational structure of the credit union as a co-operative business. The research highlights the importance of proximity as a triggering contextual condition at a time when the value of proximity and the implications of its loss do not seem to be recognised either in the restructuring literature or in practice. However, the findings also suggest that even with such recognition, it is difficult to see what type of intervention would facilitate the emergence of such relational potentiality or counteract its loss within a centralised restructuring framework. This research suggests that there may be an alternative and makes a case from the membership perspective for a formal decentralised federated-based restructuring of credit unions rather than a centralised merger-based restructuring, as the former, unlike the latter, maintains proximity while building scale. The primary methodological and theoretical contribution of this thesis lies in its relational ontology as applied to a co-operative setting. This allows for a direct focus on context and on the underlying relational process (rather than on relational outcomes) which are often implicit or background variables in co-operative research. This facilitates a deeper and more integrated understanding of co-operatives and, as argued in the thesis, sets a better foundation for the development of co-operative theory. It has been noted by other researchers that a particular gap in the co-operative research is its inability to integrate dualisms in co-operatives, such as, member/organisation; structure/process; social/economic objectives. The relational ontology as developed in this thesis enables co-operative researchers to integrate these dualisms in a more meaningful and more effortless way. This allows co-operative theory to free itself from the constraints of mere justification, comparison and ‘fitting in’ and to develop itself as a generative force innately inspired by a ‘co-operative imagination’.
- ItemExploring alternatives for milk quality improvement and more efficient dairy production in a smallholder farming context – case study: Mantaro Valley (Peru)(University College Cork, 2014) Fuentes Navarro, Eduardo; Bogue, Joseph; Le Gal, Pierre-Yves; European CommissionConsumer demand is revolutionizing the way products are being produced, distributed and marketed. In relation to the dairy sector in developing countries, aspects of milk quality are receiving more attention from both society and the government. However, milk quality management needs to be better addressed in dairy production systems to guarantee the access of stakeholders, mainly small-holders, into dairy markets. The present study is focused on an analysis of the interaction of the upstream part of the dairy supply chain (farmers and dairies) in the Mantaro Valley (Peruvian central Andes), in order to understand possible constraints both stakeholders face implementing milk quality controls and practices; and evaluate “ex-ante” how different strategies suggested to improve milk quality could affect farmers and processors’ profits. The analysis is based on three complementary field studies conducted between 2012 and 2013. Our work has shown that the presence of a dual supply chain combining both formal and informal markets has a direct impact on dairy production at the technical and organizational levels, affecting small formal dairy processors’ possibilities to implement contracts, including agreements on milk quality standards. The analysis of milk quality management from farms to dairy plants highlighted the poor hygiene in the study area, even when average values of milk composition were usually high. Some husbandry practices evaluated at farm level demonstrated cost effectiveness and a big impact on hygienic quality; however, regular application of these practices was limited, since small-scale farmers do not receive a bonus for producing hygienic milk. On the basis of these two results, we co-designed with formal small-scale dairy processors a simulation tool to show prospective scenarios, in which they could select their best product portfolio but also design milk payment systems to reward farmers’ with high milk quality performances. This type of approach allowed dairy processors to realize the importance of including milk quality management in their collection and manufacturing processes, especially in a context of high competition for milk supply. We concluded that the improvement of milk quality in a smallholder farming context requires a more coordinated effort among stakeholders. Successful implementation of strategies will depend on the willingness of small-scale dairy processors to reward farmers producing high milk quality; but also on the support from the State to provide incentives to the stakeholders in the formal sector.
- ItemExploring Irish rural social enterprises as neoendogenous development actors(University College Cork, 2020) Olmedo, Lucas; O'Shaughnessy, Mary; Hennessey, Thia; Horizon 2020Since the 1990s social enterprises have gained growing attention from academics and policymakers as significant actors to address some of the complex challenges faced by our societies due to their aim of combining social, economic and/or environmental goals using entrepreneurial/innovative means. Rural areas have demonstrated to be a fertile ground for social enterprises. Diverse factors such as a tradition of mutual self-help, a great density of social networks, the often unattractiveness for private investors looking to maximise profits or the consequences of neoliberal policies that have left some rural areas without adequate (basic) services have contributed to the presence of social enterprises within rural areas. The main characteristics of social enterprises operating within European rural areas, i.e. strong local focus, development of networks with external actors, ability to mobilise a wide range of resources, intrinsic relation with the rural context and contribution to different dimensions of development, concur with the principles of neoendogenous rural development. This perspective of rural development advocates for an integrated development of rural localities/areas based on the utilisation of local assets, while recognising the importance of linking local with external actors for attracting those resources not available at the local level and the influence of exogenous-structural (global) factors in local/regional development. Despite this link between rural social enterprises and neoendogenous development, established through a (systematic) literature review of previous research, how rural social enterprises work to contribute to a neoendogenous rural development has not been explored to date, constituting the main aim of this thesis. To pursue this aim, the phenomenon researched has been conceptualised drawing on a ‘substantive’ view of the economy as proposed by Polanyi. According to this view, economic actors and relations are embedded within society and nature, and the economy is formed by three ‘forms of economic integration’, i.e. reciprocity, redistribution and market-exchange. This conceptual framework has been complemented with the concepts of ‘spatial scale’ and ‘place’ in order to add nuance to the analysis of rural social enterprises as neoendogenous development actors. The methodology of this study was underpinned by a critical realist perspective which lies in the combination of a realist ontology with a constructivist epistemology. According to critical realism the ultimate goal of social science research is to uncover the mechanisms that can (partially) explain an observed phenomenon. In order to so, two in-depth case studies of social enterprises operating within Irish rural localities were conducted. During 15 months of continuous engagement with the two rural social enterprises, 36 semi-structured interviews with diverse stakeholders, 321 pages of field notes from participant observations and other complementary materials were gathered. These data were thematically analysed through several rounds of coding performed through an iterative process (of five stages) between data collection, the analysis of empirical data and theoretical reflections. This process allowed for an increasingly focused data collection and for the verification and/or refinement of (preliminary) findings. The findings from this study explain three interrelated mechanisms used by these rural social enterprises when contributing to the neoendogenous development of their localities. The first mechanism explains how the engagement of rural social enterprises in plural and multi-scalar (socio-)economic relations and their collaborative and collective resourcefulness practices are related with their capacity to contribute to an integrated development of their localities. The second mechanism explains how rural social enterprises act as ‘supporting structures’ that enhance regular plural (socio-)economic relations among different local actors within their localities. Thus, it explains their contribution to the institutionalisation of substantive ‘forms of economic integration’ at the local level. The third mechanism explains how the work of rural social enterprises is influenced by the specific features of their rural context and, how these organisations engage with their context as a (integrated) ‘place’. Thus, it explains how rural social enterprises harness and (re)valorise locational, institutional, material and identity aspects when contributing to the development of their localities. In conclusion, this study argues that rural social enterprises (can) act as ‘placial embedded structures’ which (re)valorise (untapped) local assets and attract external resources based on their ability to enhance collective action and to develop synergies with different stakeholders. Therefore, these organisations present great potential to contribute to neoendogenous rural development. However, this study also poses some notes of caution to this potential. First, this potential lies in their complementarity to other key development stakeholders such as public authorities or for-profit local businesses. Second, to draw a realistic picture of this potential, spatially sensitive research and policies that address the heterogeneity of rural areas are needed. These notes are based on the empirical evidence presented in this study which demonstrate how substantive ‘forms of economic integration’ and ‘place’ matter for explaining the work rural social enterprises as neoendogenous rural development actors.
- ItemExploring the factors influencing consumers’ motivation to use food product labels in their purchase decisions(University College Cork, 2019) Tanner, Sean Anthony; Mccarthy, Mary; O'Reilly, SeamusAlthough online retailing has revolutionised consumption, traditional food retailers still play a dominant role in exposing consumers to product offerings, acting as one of the first points of interaction between manufacturers and consumers. Given increased interest in labelling as a means of facilitating healthy purchasing, in addition to informing consumer decisions and marketing product offerings, labelling has an important role in the food industry. The primary purpose of this research is to further our understanding of consumer motivation to use food labels in an unfamiliar product context by adopting a risk/benefit lens to consider motivation. Additionally, this study considers the role of digitalisation of food labelling in facilitating consumer decision-making and adding value to product offerings. A multi-stage, sequential qualitative approach was employed to understand the endogenous and exogenous determinants of label usage. Phase 1 drew on behaviourist and interpretivist methods combining eye-tracking methodology and introspective techniques to explore label usage determinants across 17 participants. Whereas previous research has predominantly considered attention through a behaviourist paradigm, this interpretivist study elaborated on eye-tracking data, offering a more holistic understanding of label usage. Phase 2 considered the role of risk and benefit orientations on consumer knowledge structures, through a segment-based approach, which considered product category ‘innovators/early adopters’ and ‘laggards’. Means-end chain analysis and semi-structured interviewing were employed across 38 participants to explore the role of risk and benefit orientations on the networks of meaning activated by labelling and to consider the role of digital labelling in consumer decision-making. Findings presented within this thesis relate to three key areas. Firstly, phase 1 addressed the mechanisms underlying participant interaction with label stimuli, considering attention, perception, and information processing. Findings support the role of both volitional, goal-directed and non-volitional, stimuli-driven attention in influencing consumer decision-making. Findings highlight the importance of motivational relevance in bridging the gap between attention and information processing. Additionally, goal specificity and extant knowledge structures influenced processing of information, and established information search behaviours, with associations in memory varying across participants and influencing subsequent label usage strategies. Secondly, phase 2 provides greater context for discrepancies in label usage patterns, and demonstrates the value of needs-based segmentation in the delivery and framing of label information. Findings suggest that consumers’ risk/benefit orientation influences the label attributes considered in purchasing, and the consequences and framing of implications arising from use of label information. In particular, analysis suggests that the valence of cognitive structures activated through interaction with labelling stimuli varies in line with the risk/benefit orientations of participants. Thirdly, in addressing the evolving nature of labelling through pull technologies such as QR codes, findings offer some evidence for the potential value of this more effortful information search, while signalling the role of expectancies as acting as a potential barrier to QR code usage in the low-involvement context. Despite the ubiquity of QR codes in the marketplace, participants were broadly unfamiliar with their functionality and purpose, signalling a broader failure of the marketing effort. Given the low involvement nature of food purchasing and ease of substitution, data suggest a need for digital labelling to move beyond product/brand centric information provision to add meaningful value for consumers. This requires deep knowledge about the core market in relation to both product and information needs. This research has implications for future labelling and consumer behaviour research as well as marketing practice. Much emphasis has been placed on promoting attention to labelling stimuli through both endogenous and exogenous means. However, this research suggests that there is a gap between attention and processing, resulting from a lack of perceived motivational relevance of label information. Consequently, there is a need to consider attentional mechanisms within the broader label usage and decision-making context to more clearly align label information to goal attainment. Furthermore, given the impact of risk/benefit orientations on label usage, there is need to consider both the saliency of label elements in communicating product attributes and the responses they elicit. Additionally, findings indicated that within the low-involvement context, the more effortful information search associated with pull-marketing conventions such as QR codes terminated at the product category, rather than brand level. Consequently, those seeking to add value to current food offerings through diversification of food labelling, should address information provision issues such as complementarity within the product category. There is a need to also consider the congruency of product offerings with subordinate and superordinate food related goals, rather than focusing inwardly on the specific brand offering. As smart labelling applications become increasingly feasible from a production perspective and desirable from a consumer perspective, there is a need to ensure relevant application of such applications to reflect consumers’ product and information needs. Future research may consider consumer technology acceptance not only in relation to the technology offering but the domain of its application.
- ItemFood supply chain management and contracting: improving conditions for small-scale paprika farmers in central Malawi(University College Cork, 2017) Repar, Lana A.; Afonso, Ana; Bogue, Joseph; Onakuse, Stephen; European CommissionGlobal population growth and increasing incomes across the world are resulting in consumers’ rising demand for quality and diverse foods. Trade liberalisation and modernisation of production, processing and distribution systems enable agro-food companies to quickly access raw materials from farmers. Thus, efficient supply chains have a key role to play in the global marketing of foods. They also significantly contribute to satisfying consumers’ needs and responding to emerging food trends. The organisation of the product flow among farmers, buyers, processors and customers through contracts represents an increasingly important marketing channel in modern food supply chains due to its potential to decrease costs and increase profits for the participants in the chain. However, vulnerable small-scale farmers in developing countries such as Malawi are often excluded from the benefits of the transformed food industry. Contract farming is recognised as one of the tools linking farmers with modern agro-food supply chains, which enables Malawian small-scale farmers to improve their livelihoods. This study explored, examined and addressed the key challenges in contract farming arrangements in the paprika supply chain in Central Malawi. A mixed methods approach was used to collect qualitative and quantitative data. A total of 428 household questionnaires were administered to contracted small-scale paprika farmers in two Malawian districts. These were supplemented with ten focus group interviews with small-scale farmers, 21 semistructured stakeholder interviews, ten expert semi-structured interviews, field observations and two focus group discussions with stakeholders. The study found that the quality of communication among the key participants in the paprika supply chain was low. Furthermore, the enabling environment provided limited access to input and services for small-scale farmers. The paprika contract secured quality seeds and extension services to contracted small-scale farmers. Nevertheless, the provision of fertilisers, pesticides, chemicals, storage and transportation services were not part of the Malawian contract. Poor contract design and side-selling practices posed a threat to the chain’s efficiency and sustainability. Small-scale farmers gained benefits from the contracted production but contracting itself was not a sufficient strategy to sustain their livelihoods throughout the year. More dedicated involvement of farmers’ organisations and NGOs in empowering small-scale farmers, and the Government’s presence through the national Contract Farming Strategy could contribute to better efficiency and sustainability of the chain. The study’s main contributions include: adding new evidence on contract farming performance in developing countries; highlighting the importance of contract design and the issue of side-selling for improved contracting conditions, and demonstrating how dissemination of the study’s findings can be incorporated into study design to increase the validity, rigour and impact of the research.
- ItemForces of agglomeration and dispersal in rural business networks: a social network analysis(University College Cork, 2016) Sloane, Alan; O'Reilly, Seamus; Irish Research CouncilTwo concepts in rural economic development policy have been the focus of much research and policy action: the identification and support of clusters or networks of firms and the availability and adoption by rural businesses of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). From a theoretical viewpoint these policies are based on two contrasting models, with clustering seen as a process of economic agglomeration, and ICT-mediated communication as a means of facilitating economic dispersion. The study’s conceptual framework is based on four interrelated elements: location, interaction, knowledge, and advantage, together with the concept of networks which is employed as an operationally and theoretically unifying concept. The research questions are developed in four successive categories: Policy, Theory, Networks, and Method. The questions are approached using a study of two contrasting groups of rural small businesses in West Cork, Ireland: (a) Speciality Foods, and (b) firms in Digital Products and Services. The study combines Social Network Analysis (SNA) with Qualitative Thematic Analysis, using data collected from semi-structured interviews with 58 owners or managers of these businesses. Data comprise relational network data on the firms’ connections to suppliers, customers, allies and competitors, together with linked qualitative data on how the firms established connections, and how tacit and codified knowledge was sourced and utilised. The research finds that the key characteristics identified in the cluster literature are evident in the sample of Speciality Food businesses, in relation to flows of tacit knowledge, social embedding, and the development of forms of social capital. In particular the research identified the presence of two distinct forms of collective social capital in this network, termed “community” and “reputation”. By contrast the sample of Digital Products and Services businesses does not have the form of a cluster, but matches more closely to dispersive models, or “chain” structures. Much of the economic and social structure of this set of firms is best explained in terms of “project organisation”, and by the operation of an individual rather than collective form of “reputation”. The rural setting in which these firms are located has resulted in their being service-centric, and consequently they rely on ICT-mediated communication in order to exchange tacit knowledge “at a distance”. It is this factor, rather than inputs of codified knowledge, that most strongly influences their operation and their need for availability and adoption of high quality communication technologies. Thus the findings have applicability in relation to theory in Economic Geography and to policy and practice in Rural Development. In addition the research contributes to methodological questions in SNA, and to methodological questions about the combination or mixing of quantitative and qualitative methods.
- ItemThe human impacts of flower farm development in the Ethiopian Rift Valley region(University College Cork, 2013) Gezmu, Anteneh Belachew; Chisholm, Nicholas G.; Onakuse, Stephen; Ministry of Agriculture, Ethiopia; University College Cork; Irish AidThe flower industry has a reputation for heavy usage of toxic chemicals and polluting the environment, enormous consumption of water, and poor working condition and low wage level in various parts of the world. It is unfortunate that this industry is adamant to change and repeating the same mistakes in Ethiopia. Because of this, - there is a growing concern among the general public and the international community about sustainability of the Ethiopian flower industry. Consequently, working conditions in the flower industry, impacts of wage income on the livelihoods of employees, coping strategies of low wage flower farm workers, impacts of flower farms on the livelihoods of local people and environmental pollution and conflict, were analysed. Both qualitative and quantitative research methods were employed. Four quantitative data sets: labour practice, employees’ income and expenditure, displaced household, and flower grower views survey were collected between 2010 and 2012. Robust regression to identify the determinants of wage levels, and Multinomial logit to identify the determinants of coping strategies of flower farm workers and displaced households were employed. The findings show the working conditions in flower farms are characterized by low wages, job insecurity and frequent violation of employees’ rights, and poor safety measures. To ensure survival of their family, land dispossessed households adopt a wide range of strategies including reduction in food consumption, sharing oxen, renting land, share cropping, and shifting staple food crops. Most experienced scarcity of water resources, lack of grazing areas, death of herds and reduced numbers of livestock due to water source pollution. Despite the Ethiopian government investment in attracting and creating conducive environment for investors, not much was accomplished when it comes to enforcing labour laws and environmental policies. Flower farm expansion in Ethiopia, as it is now, can be viewed as part of the global land and water grab and is not all inclusive and sustainable. Several recommendations are made to improve working conditions, maximize the benefits of flower industry to the society, and to the country at large.
- ItemThe impact of biofuels on food security. From global to local, using case studies from Mozambique and Tanzania(University College Cork, 2016) Thornhill, Stephen; Chisholm, Nicholas G.; Keane, Michael; International Food Policy Research InstituteThis thesis finds that biofuel operations can, under the right conditions, help improve food security in rural areas of low-income countries where poverty and hunger is most rife. It also finds little evidence that biofuels have significantly reduced global food availability or have been largely responsible for rising food prices over the past decade. This contrasts with much of the media coverage surrounding the long-running food versus fuel debate. The results of household surveys in Mozambique and Tanzania showed that those households with employees of biofuel operations were likely to be significantly more food-secure than other households in the same locality. A regression analysis that controlled for key influences on food security, such as household size and crop area, confirmed “biofuel involvement” as a significant factor behind a higher food security status. Most “involved” households attributed their improved food security to better and more stable income from salaried employment. A macro analysis of the global biofuel sector found that the rise in the biofuel feedstock area over the past decade represented little more than 1 per cent of the world’s arable and permanent crop acreage. It also found little evidence that US biofuel production had accounted for a large proportion of maize price changes over the past decade. Moreover, there appeared to be limited transmission between US maize prices, used as a global benchmark, and local maize prices in Mozambique and Tanzania. The development of a novel food security indicator during this study - the household nutrient deficit score – can improve our understanding of the linkages between agriculture, including biofuel feedstocks, and food security. The metric and its methodology can help measure the impact of agri-based interventions on local food and nutrition security, assisting policymakers and organisations involved in sustainable certification systems.
- ItemImpact of protected forests on rural household fuel tree planting and deforestation: Chiro District, Ethiopia(University College Cork, 2016) Tadese, Admasu Bogale; Chisholm, Nicholas G.; Enright, PatrickThis study aims at exploring the potential impact of forest protection intervention on rural households’ private fuel tree planting in Chiro district of eastern Ethiopia. The study results revealed a robust and significant positive impact of the intervention on farmers’ decisions to produce private household energy by growing fuel trees on their farm. As participation in private fuel tree planting is not random, the study confronts a methodological issue in investigating the causal effect of forest protection intervention on rural farm households’ private fuel tree planting through non-parametric propensity score matching (PSM) method. The protection intervention on average has increased fuel tree planting by 503 (580.6%) compared to open access areas and indirectly contributed to slowing down the loss of biodiversity in the area. Land cover/use is a dynamic phenomenon that changes with time and space due to anthropogenic pressure and development. Forest cover and land use changes in Chiro District, Ethiopia over a period of 40 years was studied using remotely sensed data. Multi temporal satellite data of Landsat was used to map and monitor forest cover and land use changes occurred during three point of time of 1972,1986 and 2012. A pixel base supervised image classification was used to map land use land cover classes for maps of both time set. The result of change detection analysis revealed that the area has shown a remarkable land cover/land use changes in general and forest cover change in particular. Specifically, the dense forest cover land declined from 235 ha in 1972 to 51 ha in 1986. However, government interventions in forest protection in 1989 have slowed down the drastic change of dense forest cover loss around the protected area through reclaiming 1,300 hectares of deforested land through reforestation program up to 2012.
- ItemThe impact of saving and credit cooperatives on food security in the West Amhara Region of Ethiopia(University College Cork, 2014) Ayele, Zemen Ayalew; McCarthy, Olive; Ward, MichaelIn rural Ethiopia, among other things, lack of adequate financial service is considered as the basic problem to alleviate rural poverty and to solve the problem of food insecurity. Commercial banks are restricted to urban centres. Providing rural financial service through RUSACCO to the poor has been proposed as a tool for economic development and for achieving food security. Evidence from research in this regard has been so far scanty, especially in rural Ethiopia. The aims of this study are to analyze the determinants of membership, to identify socioeconomic and demographic factors that influence members’ participation in RUSACCOs and to quantify the impact of RUSACCOs on member households’ food security. The study was conducted in two purposely selected woredas in the Amhara region one from food insecure (Lay Gayint woreda) and the other from food secure (Dejen woreda). Six RUSACCOs were selected randomly from these two woredas. Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected. Key informant interviews, focus group discussions and survey techniques were used to collect primary data. Collected data was then analyzed using mixed methods depending on the nature of data. For quantitative data analysis appropriate statistical models were used. The study result reveals that the number of members in each RUSACCO is very small. However, the majority of non-member respondents are willing to join RUSACCO. Lack of information about the benefits of RUSACCO membership is the main problem why many rural poor do not join RUSACCOs. Members participate in different aspects of the cooperatives, starting from attending general assembly up to board membership. They also participate actively in saving and borrowing activities of RUSACCO. The majority of the respondents believe the RUSACCO is a vital instrument in combating food insecurity. The empirical findings indicate that gender, marital status, occupation, educational level, participation in local leadership and participation in other income generation means determine the decision of rural poor to join a RUSACCO or not. The amount of saving is determined by household head occupation, farming experience and income level. While age of household head, primary occupation, farming experience, date of membership, annual total consumption expenditure, amount of saving and participation in other income generation activities influence members’ amount of borrowing by RUSACCO members. Finally, the study confirms that RUSACCO participation improves household food security. RUSACCO membership has made positive impact on household total consumption expenditure and food expenditure.
- ItemIntegrating small/medium-scale producers into the cassava food value chain in Nigeria(University College Cork, 2018) Donkor, Emmanuel; Onakuse, Stephen; Bogue, Joseph; de los Ríos Carmenado, Ignacio; Erasmus+The issues of food insecurity, poverty and high-income inequality in developing countries pose a threat to global economic development. In developing countries, smallholder producers account for the highest proportion of food supply. However, the producers are the most vulnerable actors in the agrifood value chain, especially in the cassava food value chain in Nigeria. The cassava food value chain provides different business opportunities for the different actors: producers, processors and traders of processed cassava products. Nonetheless, smallholder producers are not effectively integrated into the cassava food value chain. The problem of integration limits producers' ability to benefit from premium prices emerging from the high-value market in the agri-food industry in Nigeria. The main objective of the study was to analyse the determinants of effective integration of small- and medium-scale producers into the cassava food value chain to improve their incomes in Nigeria. A mixed methods research approach that comprised quantitative and qualitative methods was used to generate primary datasets to achieve the set research objectives. The datasets were collected using structured questionnaires, focus group interviews and semi-structured interviews. The study sampled 621 value chain actors, which consisted of 400 cassava producers, 120 gari processors, 100 traders and 1 extension officer. Econometric approaches such as the Gini Coefficient, a Multinomial Logit Model, a Multivariate Linear Regression, a Probit Model and a Tobit Model were used to analyse the quantitative datasets whereas the qualitative datasets were analysed with the thematic analysis. The finding showed that there was high-income inequality among the actors in the cassava food value chain, especially with traders. This high inequality tended to be minimised by increasing cassava producers’ incomes in the food value chain. The selection of better marketing channels and participation in value-adding activities were the key determinants of integrating the producers into the food value chain. Producers’ choices of marketing channels were mainly influenced by a varying set of factors such as human capital, location, institutional and transactional factors. In addition, human capital, institutional and transactional factors were the key determinants of producers' participation in value-adding activities. The study concludes that besides raising producers’ income and narrowing the income gap, the effective integration of cassava producers into the agri-food value chain could contribute to reducing poverty, enhancing food security and strengthening the rural economy.