Publications

  • The agricultural extension system in Ethiopia: operational setup, challenges and opportunities

    PDF | 07.08.2017

    Leta, G., Kelboro, G., Stellmacher, T., and A.-K. Hornidge 2017. The agricultural extension system in Ethiopia: operational setup, challenges and opportunities. ZEF Working Paper 158, Center for Development Research, Bonn.

     

  • From commodity-based value chains to biomass-based value webs: The case of sugarcane in Brazil’s bioeconomy

    23.06.2017

    Scheiterle, L., Ulmer, A., Birner, R., and Andreas Pykab 2017. From commodity-based value chains to biomass-based value webs: The case of sugarcane in Brazil’s bioeconomy. Journal of Cleaner Production. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.05.150

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959652617310934

    Abstract
    The shift from a fossil-based to a bio-based economy (bioeconomy) requires more efficient utilization of the biomass generated from agricultural production. This can be achieved through the cascading use of biomass, which also offers the potential of creating additional value from biomass by developing novel products. Taking sugarcane as a case study example, this paper aims to analyze how well Brazil, the world’s leader in sugarcane production, is positioned to reach these goals. The paper combines two conceptual tools: one is the ‘biomass-based value web’, which was developed as an extension of the value chain concept with the aim to capture the links within and between value chains that arise from the cascading and joined use of biomass. The other concept is that of the ‘national innovation system’ (NIS), which serves to identify the different types of actors involved in the biomass value web and the linkages between them. For empirical data collection, the study combined three methods: a mapping of the physical biomass flows in the value web, in-depth interviews with the actors involved, and the application of the ‘Net-Map’ tool to identify the actors in the NIS and their linkages. The findings show that the development of Brazil’s international competitiveness in sugar and ethanol was based on political incentives that resulted in a strong network of institutions that focused on these two products. However, to become a front-runner in the future bioeconomy, the existing innovation network needs to be expanded. In particular, it is important to integrate national and international private sector organizations. The findings also suggest that industries need stronger incentives to collaborate with knowledge institutions. Long-term consistent policies and funding opportunities for risky investments are also required to further strengthen Brazil’s innovation network to meet future opportunities and challenges of the bioeconomy.

    Keywords
    Bioeconomy; Biomass value web; Innovation system; Brazil; Sugarcane

  • How does inter-annual variability of attainable yield affect the magnitude of yield gaps for wheat and maize? An analysis at ten sites.

    23.06.2017

    M.P. Hoffmann, M. Haakana, S. Asseng, J.G. Höhn, T. Palosuo, M. Ruiz-Ramos, S. Fronzek, F. Ewert, T. Gaiser, B.T. Kassie, K. Paff, E.E. Rezaei, A. Rodríguez, M. Semenov, A.K. Srivastava, P. Stratonovitch, F. Taob,i, Y. Chen,j, R.P. Rötter 2017. How does inter-annual variability of attainable yield affect the magnitude of yield gaps for wheat and maize? An analysis at ten sites. Agricultural Systems. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2017.03.012

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308521X16305947

    Abstract
    Provision of food security in the face of increasing global food demand requires narrowing of the gap between actual farmer’s yield and maximum attainable yield. So far, assessments of yield gaps have focused on average yield over 5–10 years, but yield gaps can vary substantially between crop seasons. In this study we hypothesized that climate-induced inter-annual yield variability and associated risk is a major barrier for farmers to invest, i.e. increase inputs to narrow the yield gap.
    We evaluated the importance of inter-annual attainable yield variability for the magnitude of the yield gap by utilizing data for wheat and maize at ten sites representing some major food production systems and a large range of climate and soil conditions across the world. Yield gaps were derived from the difference of simulated attainable yields and regional recorded farmer yields for 1981 to 2010. The size of the yield gap did not correlate with the amplitude of attainable yield variability at a site, but was rather associated with the level of available resources such as labor, fertilizer and plant protection inputs. For the sites in Africa, recorded yield reached only 20% of the attainable yield, while for European, Asian and North American sites it was 56–84%. Most sites showed that the higher the attainable yield of a specific season the larger was the yield gap. This significant relationship indicated that farmers were not able to take advantage of favorable seasonal weather conditions. To reduce yield gaps in the different environments, reliable seasonal weather forecasts would be required to allow farmers to manage each seasonal potential, i.e. overcoming season-specific yield limitations.

    Keywords
    Inter-annual yield variability; Yield gap analysis; Wheat; Maize; Climate-induced risk

  • Climate change impact under alternate realizations of climate scenarios on maize yield and biomass in Ghana.

    23.06.2017

    Amit Kumar Srivastava, Cho Miltin Mboh, Gang Zhao, Thomas Gaiser, Frank Ewert 2017. Climate change impact under alternate realizations of climate scenarios on maize yield and biomass in Ghana. Agricultural Systems

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308521X16305194

    Abstract
    Climate change is unequivocal and these changes have increased over the past few years. The recent vulnerability and prospect of climate variability and change impact, thus, warrants measures now to reduce the adverse impacts. This study presents an estimate of the effects of climate variables on potential maize productivity and an assessment of the most limiting climatic drivers in the future climate scenarios for maize production in central Ghana, constituting major maize production areas. The time-slices 2000, 2030 and 2080 were chosen to represent the baseline, near future and end century climate, respectively. Furthermore, two Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) namely RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 from the GFDL-ESM2M, GISS-E2-H, and HadGEM2-ES, General Circulation Models (GCMs), were selected. Simulations based on the model LINTUL5 were used to estimate the crop responses.
    There is an average increase in the maize yield and aboveground biomass in the projected scenarios by 57% and 59% respectively under HadGEM2-ES (RCP 8.5) in the time horizon 2030. However, variability in the projected average maize yield and above ground biomass compared to the baseline values, is ranging from 183.6 kg ha− 1 under HadGEM2-ES (RCP 8.5) by time horizon 2080 to a maximum of 1326.8 kg ha− 1 under HadGEM2-ES (RCP 8.5) by 2030 and a minimum increase of 169.9 kg ha− 1 under GFDL-ESM2M (RCP 8.5) by time horizon 2080 to a maximum increase of 2386.1 kg ha− 1 under HadGEM2-ES (RCP 8.5) by time horizon 2030.
    The reasons for potential benefit in maize yields across the climate scenarios was attributed to the positive effect of CO2, reduced water stress reflected by lower atmospheric water demand during crop growth period. It also indicates that water is the limiting factor for maize production in the study region. However, temperature (through shortening of the maize growing cycle), and solar radiation may remain the limiting factors for maize production.

    Keywords
    Maize; Sub-Saharan Africa; Climate change; Autonomous adaptation

  • Screening of some cassava starches for their potential applications in custard and salad cream productions.

    23.06.2017

    Akinwale, T. E., Niniola, D. M., Abass, A., Shittu, T., Adebowale, A., Awoyale, W., Awonorin, S., Adewuyi, S. & Eromosele, C. O. (2017) Screening of some cassava starches for their potential applications in custard and salad cream productions. Journal of Food Measurement and Characterization, 11: 299-309.  doi:10.1007/s11694-016-9397-x

    Abstract
    Custard powder and salad cream are two food products commercially manufactured using different quantities of corn starch. This study aimed at determining the physicochemical properties of some starches extracted from some white and yellow root cassava varieties. The prospective applicability of the cassava starches in custard powder and salad cream production was also determined. The physical, chemical and functional properties of eight cassava starches were determined using standard analytical procedures. Sensory acceptability of the products was also determined using untrained consumer group. Products made from corn starch were used as the reference samples. The physical, chemical and functional properties of the cassava starches varied significantly (p < 0.05). The results of multivariate data analysis (principal component and cluster analyses) showed that it was difficult to completely discriminate starches from the yellow fleshed and white fleshed cassava roots. Texture was the most important sensory attribute determining the two products’ acceptability. Starch powder dispersibility was found to have significant influence (p < 0.05) on the sensory acceptability of the two products. However, starch from a yellow fleshed root (TMS 01/1368) was the most preferred for salad cream making while starch from a white fleshed root (TMS 30572) was the most preferred for making custard powder. The starches showed high potential to replace corn starch for the respective product manufacture.

    Keywords
    Salad cream Custard powder Cassava starch Sensory acceptability

    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11694-016-9397-x

  • Assessment of the potential industrial applications of commercial dried cassava products in Nigeria.

    23.06.2017

    Awoyale, W., Abass, A., Ndavi, M., Maziya-Dixon, B. & Sulyok, M. (2016) Assessment of the potential industrial applications of commercial dried cassava products in Nigeria. IN Journal of Food Measurement and Characterization, 1— 12. doi:10.1007/s11694-016-9428-7

    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11694-016-9428-7

    Abstract
    Variations in the functional and pasting properties of four groups of commercial dried cassava product in Nigeria were evaluated in this study, to explore their potential for use as industrial raw materials. In total, 692 products were analyzed using standard analytical methods. The functional and pasting properties of the samples were found to vary significantly (p < 0.05). Toasted cassava was found to have the highest water absorption capacity, at 467.42 %, and dried cassava the lowest, at 252.57 %. Conversely, dried cassava was found to have the highest peak and breakdown viscosities, and toasted cassava the lowest. A significant (p < 0.01) positive correlation was found to exist between dispersibility and the swelling power (r = −0.93) and solubility index (r = −0.84) of the cassava products. Meanwhile, the correlation between dispersibility and the peak (r = −0.75) and breakdown (r = −0.72) viscosities was positive and significant (p < 0.05). Therefore, the authors of this study conclude that user industries such as the food, paper, adhesives, textiles and plywood sectors might require information on the pre-processing of cassava-based feedstock, so as to predetermine the technical usability of such raw materials within their industrial processes.

    Keywords
    Cassava products Processing methods Functional properties Pasting properties Nigeria

  • Buying green and social from abroad: Are biomass-focused voluntary sustainability standards useful for European public procurement?

    PDF | 24.04.2017

    Beuchelt, T. 2017. Buying green and social from abroad: Are biomass-focused voluntary sustainability standards useful for European public procurement? ZEF Working Paper 156, Center for Development Research, Bonn.

     

  • The human Right to Food and sustainable soil management: linking voluntary agricultural sustainability standards with food security.

    03.04.2017

    Beuchelt, T., Mohr, A. and R. Schneider (2017). The human Right to Food and sustainable soil management: linking voluntary agricultural sustainability standards with food security. In: Ginzky, H., Heuser, I., Tianbao Qin, Ruppel, O. and P. Wegerdt (eds). International Yearbook on Soil Law and Policy. First volume. Spinger, pp. 237-262. http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-42508-5_17?no-access=true 

    Abstract

    Land degradation and deforestation worldwide threaten future food and non-food biomass provision. Induced mainly by unsustainable land use and management practices, land degradation may hinder the global shift towards green or bio-economies which requires increasing supplies of biomass. As a strong linkage exists between soil management, biomass production and food security, the need for sustainable land management practices and suitable governance mechanisms emerges. Rising concerns about sustainability have led to the development of voluntary certification standards to ensure that biomass is sustainably produced. So far, these voluntary standards have a strong ecological focus and include only selected social aspects. Food security and the linkage between the Human Right to adequate Food and soil management are hardly addressed though they are a key element of the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” and important for (export) production and processing in low- and middle-income countries. The Sustainable Development Goal 2—to end all forms of hunger by 2030—clearly includes sustainable soil management and agriculture. The unification of these two targets in one goal underlines the dependency of the realization of the Human Right to adequate Food on sustainable land management and land-use patterns.

    In this chapter we first discuss how the Human Right to adequate Food, which is applicable in over 100 countries, is linked to sustainable management of soils and the implications of this linkage. Then we show how the Human Right to adequate Food can be ensured in local biomass production and in certification systems in food-insecure regions. We present a conceptual framework to integrate the Human Right to adequate Food in certified biomass production, processing and trade. Then we suggest food security criteria that ensure that this right is not violated by certified biomass operators, and can be easily integrated in existing voluntary sustainability standards for biomass. We develop 45 criteria classified in 17 themes relevant for the fulfilment of the Human Right to adequate Food. The criteria are applicable to all biomass types and uses and serve as a best-practice set to complement sustainability standards.

    Keywords

    Agricultural investments; Bioenergy; Biomass Certification; Food security; Human Right to adequate Food; Land use; Private governance; Soil management

  • Potentials of Bamboo-Based Agroforestry for Sustainable Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Review

    20.01.2017

    Partey, S.T. , Sarfo, D.A., Frith, O., Kwaku, M., and Naresh V. Thevathasan (2017): Potentials of Bamboo-Based Agroforestry for Sustainable Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Review. Agricultural Research, doi:10.1007/s40003-017-0244-z

    Abstract
    There is widespread assertion among scientists, government and development experts that bamboo agroforestry could contribute to sustainable rural development in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). However, there are limited available data to verify the suitability of the system in the region. In addition, the current state of knowledge and adoption of agroforestry in SSA offers very little guidance as to which type of agroforestry systems bamboo could be integrated. Here, we reviewed the potential socioeconomic and environmental benefits of bamboo agroforestry and accentuate implications on sustainable rural development in SSA. In addition, we analysed potential research areas that could be intensified, so that future developments and scaling-up of bamboo agroforestry can be rooted in robust scientific findings rather than the intuitions of governments and development actors.

    Keywords
    Agroforestry, Deforestation, Land-use systems, Ecosystem services, Bamboo, Sustainability, Africa

    View full article here

  • Impact of climatic variables on the spatial and temporal variability of crop yield and biomass gap in Sub-Saharan Africa – a case study in Central Ghana.

    PDF | 11.01.2017

    Srivastava, A.K., Mboh, C.M., Gaiser, T., and F. Ewert (2017): Impact of climatic variables on the spatial and temporal variability of crop yield and biomass gap in Sub-Saharan Africa – a case study in Central Ghana. Field Crops Research, 203, 33-46.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378429016307183

  • Comparative life cycle analysis of producing charcoal from bamboo, teak, and acacia species in Ghana

    14.11.2016

    Partey, Samuel T. , Oliver B. Frith, Michael Y. Kwaku, and Daniel A. Sarfo (2016): Comparative life cycle analysis of producing charcoal from bamboo, teak, and acacia species in Ghana. International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment pp. 1-9.

    Abstract

    Background, aim, and scope The rise in wood fuel consumption, particularly of charcoal, has been associated with increased deforestation in Ghana. Plantation developments from teak (Tectona grandis), bamboo (Bambusa balcooa), and Acacia auriculiformis are now being promoted to produce sustainable biomass for charcoal production. While all species have comparable charcoal quality, there is limited available data to elucidate the environmental impacts associated with their plantation development and use as biomass sources for producing charcoal. Therefore, this study quantified and compared the cradle-to-gate environmental impacts of producing charcoal from T. grandis, A. auriculiformis, and B. balcooa.
    Methods The study was conducted in accordance with ISO 14040/14044, an international procedural framework for performing life cycle analysis (LCA). For this study, the functional unit of charcoal used was 1 MJ energy produced from three species: T. grandis, A. auriculiformis, and B. balcooa.
    Data on B. balcooa plantations was collected from a B. balcooa-based intercropping system set up by the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan in Sekyere Central District, Ghana. Input data for A. auriculiformis and T. grandis came from the Forestry Commission of Ghana plantations established within the forest agroecological zone of Ghana. All input data came from primary local sources.
    Pollutant emissions were also calculated in order to analyze the contribution of all the flow processes to the emissions. The analysis used Simapro version 8, as well as life cycle inventory (LCI) databases of Ecoinvent V3 and Idemat 2015 (a database developed by Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands). The emissions were expressed as eco-costs and used as indicators in an impact assessment.
    Results and discussion The results showed that relative to B. balcooa, the total eco-cost (comprising of human health, ecosystem, resource depletion, and global warming eco-costs) of a cradle-to-gate production of 1 MJ of charcoal will be 140% higher with T. grandis and 113% higher with A. auriculiformis. The increased environmental impacts associated with T. grandis and A. auriculiformis occurred at their biomass production stage. As these species use comparatively large quantities of pesticides, weedicides, and fertilizers with high acidification, ozone depletion, and global warming potentials, their biomass production stage accounted for
    approximately 85% of their total eco-cost.
    Conclusions The study results suggest that B. balcooa plantations are the most environmentally viable option. In cases where T. grandis or A. auriculiformis plantations are widespread, improvement options at the biomass production stage are required in order to reduce their environmental costs.

    Go to article: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11367-016-1220-8

  • Food security criteria for voluntary biomass sustainability standards and certifications

    31.08.2016

    Mohr, A., Beuchelt, T. Schneider, R., Virchow, D. 2016. Food security criteria for voluntary biomass sustainability standards and certifications. Biomass and Bioenergy 89, pp. 133–145.

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  • A critical review of the follow-the-innovation approach: Stakeholder collaboration and agricultural innovation development

    PDF | 22.08.2016

    Amankwah, K., Shtaltovna, A., Kelboro, G. and A.-K. Hornidge. 2016. A critical review of the follow-the-innovation approach: Stakeholder collaboration and agricultural innovation development. African Journal of Rural Development, 1: 35-49. (Open Access)

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  • Biomass-Based Value Webs: A Novel Perspective for Emerging Bioeconomies in Sub-Saharan Africa

    22.08.2016

    Virchow, D., Beuchelt, T.D., Kuhn, A., and M. Denich 2016. Biomass-Based Value Webs: A Novel Perspective for Emerging Bioeconomies in Sub-Saharan Africa. In:  Technological and Institutional Innovation for Marginalized Smallholders in Agricultural Development. F.W. Gatzweiler and J. von Braun (Eds.), Springer International Publishing, pp. 225-238.

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    Abstract

    Growing demand for increasingly diverse biomass-based products will transform African agriculture from a food-supplying to a biomass-supplying sector, including non-food agricultural produce, like feed, energy and industrial raw materials. As a result, agriculture will become the core part of a biomass-based economy, which has the potential not only to produce renewable biological resources but to convert this biomass into products for various uses. The emerging bioeconomy will intensify the interlinkages between biomass production, processing and trading. To depict these increasingly complex systems, adapted analytic approaches are needed. With the perspective of the “biomass-based value web” approach, a multi-dimensional methodology can be used to understand the interrelation between several value chains as a flexible, efficient and sustainable production, processing, trading and consumption system.

  • Effect of self-purging pyrolysis on yield of biochar from maize cobs, husks and leaves

    12.07.2016

    Intani, K., Latif, S., Kabir, A.K.M.R., Müller, J., 2016. Effect of
    self-purging pyrolysis on yield of biochar from maize cobs, husks and
    leaves. Bioresource Technology, 218, 541–551.
    doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biortech.2016.06.114

    URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960852416309385

    Download link (until August 27, 2016):
    http://authors.elsevier.com/a/1TLCn3QUFYzAY9

    Abstract: In this study, biochar was produced from maize residues (cobs, husks, leaves) in a lab-scale pyrolysis reactor without using a purging gas. The physicochemical properties of biomass and biochar were analysed. Box–Behnken design was used to optimise operational conditions for biochar yields. Multivariate correlations of biochar yields were established using reduced quadratic models with R2 = 0.9949, 0.9801 and 0.9876 for cobs, husks and leaves, respectively. Biochar yields were negatively correlated with the temperature, which was significantly influenced by the exothermic reactions during the pyrolysis of maize residues. The heating rate was found to have the least effect on biochar yields. Under optimal conditions, the maximum biochar yields from cobs, husks and leaves were 33.42, 30.69 and 37.91%, respectively. The highest biochar yield from maize leaves was obtained at a temperature of 300 °C, a heating rate of 15 °C/min and a holding time of 30 min.

  • Effect of sowing date distributions on simulation of maize yields at regional scale – A case study in Central Ghana, West Africa

    07.06.2016

    Srivastava, A. K., Mboh, C. M., Gaiser, T., Webber, H., & Ewert, F. (2016). Effect of sowing date distributions on simulation of maize yields at regional scale–A case study in Central Ghana, West Africa. Agricultural Systems, 147, 10-23.

    Download article : Srivastava_etal_2016

  • Gender, Social Equity and Innovations in Smallholder Farming Systems: Pitfalls and Pathways

    29.03.2016

    Beuchelt, T. 2016. Gender, Social Equity and Innovations in Smallholder Farming Systems: Pitfalls and Pathways. In:  “Technological and Institutional Innovation for Marginalized Smallholders in Agricultural Development. F.W. Gatzweiler and J. von Braun (Eds.), Springer International Publishing, pp. 181-198.

    Abstract

    Development processes, economic growth and agricultural modernization affect women and men in different ways and have not been gender neutral. Women are highly involved in agriculture, but their contribution tends to be undervalued and overseen. Sustainable agricultural innovations may include trade-offs and negative side-effects for women and men, or different social groups,
    depending on the intervention type and local context. Promising solutions are often technology-focused and not necessarily developed with consideration of gender and social disparity aspects. This paper presents cases of gender and social equity trade-offs related to the promotion and diffusion of improved technologies for agricultural development.The analysis is followed by a discussion of opportunities and pathways for mitigating potential trade-offs.
  • A rights-based food security principle for biomass sustainability standards and certification systems

    PDF | 04.03.2016

    Anna Mohr, Tina Beuchelt, Rafaël Schneider, Detlef Virchow (2015): A rights-based food security principle for biomass sustainability standards and certification systems. ZEF Working Paper 143.

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  • Trends and Drivers of Crop Biomass Demand: Sub-Saharan Africa vs the Rest of the World

    10.11.2015
    Arnim Kuhn and Kassahun Aberra Endeshaw (2015): Trends and Drivers of Crop Biomass Demand: Sub-Saharan Africa vs the Rest of the World. Agricultural and Resource Economics, Discussion Paper 2015:3.

    http://www.ilr.uni-bonn.de/agpo/publ/dispap/download/dispap15_03.pdf

  • Socio-economic Change in Rural Ethiopia. Understanding Local Dynamics in Environmental Planning and Natural Resource Management

    05.11.2015

    Stellmacher, Till (ed.) 2015: Socio-economic Change in Rural Ethiopia. Understanding Local Dynamics in Environmental Planning and Natural Resource Management. Peter Lang Publishers. Frankfurt

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  • A Critical Review of the Follow-the-Innovation Approach: Stakeholder collaboration and agricultural innovation development

    15.10.2015

    Amankwah, K., Shtaltovna, A., Kelboro, G., Hornidge, A.-K. 2015: A Critical Review of the Follow-the-Innovation Approach: Stakeholder collaboration and agricultural innovation development. ZEF Working Paper Series 138, Bonn

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  • Modelling heat stress effect on two maize varieties in Northern Region of Ghana

    15.10.2015

    Trawally, D.M.A, Webber, H., Agyare, W.A., Fosu, M., Naab, J., Gaiser, T. 2015: Modelling heat stress effect on two maize varieties in Northern Region of Ghana. Global Advanced Research Journal of Agricultural Science 4: 145-155

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  • Protected areas as contested spaces: Nech Sar National Park, Ethiopia, between ‘local people’, the state, and NGO engagement

    05.06.2015

    Kelboro, Girma and Till Stellmacher.
    2015: Protected areas as contested spaces: Nech Sar National Park, Ethiopia, between ‘local people’, the state, and NGO engagement. Environmental Development. Elsevier, doi:10.1016/j.envdev.2015.06.005

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  • Potential of cassava leaves in human nutrition: a review

    04.05.2015

    Latif, Sajid and Joachim Müller 2015. Potential of cassava leaves in human nutrition: a review, Trends in Food Science & Technology 44 (2015), pp. 147-158, doi: 10.1016/j.tifs.2015.04.006

     

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0924224415000990

  • A framework for assessing the energy efficiency of non – mechanised agricultural systems in developing countries

    01.04.2015

    Mwambo, Francis Molua and Christine Fürst (2014). A framework for assessing the energy efficiency of non – mechanised agricultural systems in developing countries. Proceedings of the 28th EnviroInfo 2014 Conference, Oldenburg, Germany. September 10-12, 2014.

    http://enviroinfo.eu/sites/default/files/pdfs/vol8514/0565.pdf