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Erik Mathijs

Erik Mathijs
KU Leuven | ku leuven · Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

PhD Agricultural Economics

About

246
Publications
141,514
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9,078
Citations
Citations since 2016
69 Research Items
5293 Citations
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Introduction

Publications

Publications (246)
Book
What exactly is resilience and how can it be enhanced? Farming systems in Europe are rapidly evolving while at the same time being under threat, as seen by the disappearance of dozens of farms every day. Farming systems must become more resilient in response to growing economic, environmental, institutional, and social challenges facing Europe's ag...
Chapter
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Accumulating shocks and long-term stresses, such as trade conflicts, climate change and deteriorating public trust in agricultural practices have raised concerns about the resilience of Europe’s diverse farming systems. The SURE-Farm approach aims to systematically assess the resilience capacities of farming systems, i.e. regional constellations of...
Chapter
Full-text available
What exactly is resilience and how can it be enhanced? Farming systems in Europe are rapidly evolving while at the same time being under threat, as seen by the disappearance of dozens of farms every day. Farming systems must become more resilient in response to growing economic, environmental, institutional, and social challenges facing Europe's ag...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter aims to synthesize key findings from the SURE-Farm project. We first discuss possible amendments to the framework to assess the resilience of farming systems. We then review why many of Europe’s farming systems face a formidable and structural resilience crisis. While emphasizing the diversity of resilience capacities, challenges and n...
Article
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Large amounts of phosphorus resources, such as mineral fertilizers and manure, are mobilized globally to produce the food consumed in cities. Accounting for the use of these resources can allow cities to plan for interventions that reduce related pressures in their hinterlands, conserve resources, and lead to more circular food systems. In this stu...
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Nutrient reuse and recycling is a key strategy towards more circular and sustainable food systems and depends on the specific conditions of the area under study, such as geography and the type of agricultural system. In this study we analysed nutrient flows and assessed the circularity of a livestock-dominated and export-oriented agro-food system a...
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Context Resilience is the ability to deal with shocks and stresses, including the unknown and previously unimaginable, such as the Covid-19 crisis. Objective This paper assesses (i) how different farming systems were exposed to the crisis, (ii) which resilience capacities were revealed and (iii) how resilience was enabled or constrained by the far...
Article
Context Resilience represents the ability of systems to anticipate, withstand, or adapt to challenges. Times of great stress and disturbance offer opportunity to identify and confirm key contributors to agri-food system resilience. The COVID-19 pandemic and its related consequences constituted major shock, challenging the resilience of many agri-fo...
Article
Different framings of food may shape food policies and their impact. Despite acknowledging food systems’ complexities, the European Commission’s Farm to Fork Strategy still addresses food as a commodity instead of a human right or common good.
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While the benefits of using futures to manage price risk are widely recognised, only certain groups of farmers have suitable futures at their disposal. This paper discusses an innovative instrument, developed in the Belgian-Dutch pear market, that provides an alternative to futures markets by creating a market for price swaps. Thus, the instrument...
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en One of the aims of the post‐2020 Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is to improve the resilience of Europe's farming systems. The CAP of the budget period 2014–2020, however, has insufficiently supported the resilience of farming systems. The ongoing CAP reform process offers an appropriate opportunity to integrate a broader perspective on resilie...
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India has the largest area of rainfed dryland agriculture globally, with a variety of distinct types of farming systems producing most of its coarse cereals, food legumes, minor millets, and large amounts of livestock. All these are vital for national and regional food and nutritional security. Yet, the rainfed drylands have been relatively neglect...
Article
Current sustainability challenges in agro-food networks highlight the need for sustainability transitions in agro-food practices. This paper aims to contribute by analysing how emergent agro-food practices form and develop over time. Alternative Food Networks (AFNs) provide a locus to study how emergent agro-food practices are shaped and to underst...
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Scenarios describe plausible and internally consistent views of the future. They can be used by scientists, policymakers and entrepreneurs to explore the challenges of global environmental change given an appropriate level of spatial and sectoral detail and systematic development. We followed a nine-step protocol to extend and enrich a set of globa...
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Foodscapes, the ways and places in which human beings interact with food, are dominated by the global agri-food system. In many ways, it has never been easier to access such varieties or quantities of food. Be it in restaurants, supermarkets or local markets, food is often only a quick purchase away from the plate. In spite of that, there are perso...
Article
en The resilience of European farms and farming systems has become prominent on the policy agenda, but the definition of resilience tends to be interpreted narrowly as the ability to withstand shocks and maintain the status quo. We argue that resilience encompasses the capacity of farms, farmers and farming systems to anticipate, cope and respond t...
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en Many farming systems in Europe are struggling to respond to accumulating economic, environmental, institutional and social challenges. From a resilience perspective, they need three distinct capacities to continue delivering products, income and public goods: robustness, adaptability and transformability. Based on a structured assessment of the...
Article
This introductory article frames the special issue on “The sustainability performance of food quality schemes” by reflecting on the normative, systemic and procedure aspects and challenges of sustainability assessment frameworks in agriculture and the food system.
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Urban food systems are linear and wasteful. Strategies towards more circular food systems need to be adopted; however, what these strategies may be and what effects they may have on other urban systems is not well documented. With this study, we offer a systemic representation of the Brussels Capital Region food system through mapping its phosphoru...
Technical Report
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The global demand for food will increase in the future. To meet this demand, it is not enough simply to increase productivity in a sustainable way. We also need to change from linear mass consumption to a more circular economy — which will mean changing our norms, habits and routines. The evidence shows that this kind of behaviour change needs to...
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The eight papers in this Special Feature result from the EU funded SUSPLACE collaborative programme that aimed to explore the transformative capacity of sustainable place-shaping practices, and if and how these practices can support a sustainable, place-based development. The programme encompassed 15 research projects investigating a wide range of...
Article
While the idea of using insect based feeds (IBFs) offers great potential, especially in developing countries, the environmental impact of implementation remains poorly researched. This study investigates the environmental performance of IBF production in the geographical context of West Africa. Drawing on published life cycle inventory (LCIs) data,...
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Disconnects between farming and urban systems are widely seen as impairing the resilience of biobased production systems (BBPSs). However, the institutional mechanisms that underlie these resilience problems are not well understood. In this explorative paper, which integrates elements from institutional and resilience theory, we develop a framework...
Technical Report
Full-text available
For improving sustainability and resilience of EU farming system, the current state needs to be assessed, before being able to move on to future scenarios. Assessing sustainability and resilience of farming systems is a multi-faceted research challenge in terms of the scientific domains and scales of integration (farm, household, farming system lev...
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Agricultural systems in Europe face accumulating economic, ecological and societal challenges, raising concerns about their resilience to shocks and stresses. These resilience issues need to be addressed with a focus on the regional context in which farming systems operate because farms, farmers' organizations, service suppliers and supply chain ac...
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Moving towards a more sustainable future requires concerted actions, particularly in the context of global climate change. Integrated assessments of agricultural systems (IAAS) are considered valuable tools to provide sound information for policy and decision-making. IAAS use storylines to define socio-economic and environmental framework assumptio...
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It has been acknowledged that power is a fundamental aspect that needs to be considered when performing a value chain analysis. The structure of the value chain is indicative of the power distribution along the chain. By employing systems thinking the structure of the value chain can be further investigated and inferences on market power issues can...
Article
Increasing integration in global markets can foster economic growth, but also impacts the use of water resources for the production of traded goods. This is particularly critical for low-and middle-income countries where increasing agricultural exports, especially of high-value horticultural products such as fresh fruits and vegetables is promoted...
Article
Purpose This paper aims to critically reflect the current specialist discourse on experiential approaches to higher education for sustainable development (HESD). Limitations to the current discourse are identified, and as a result, an alternative approach to the study of experiential education (EE) within HESD is suggested. Design/methodology/app...
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This introductory paper to the special section argues that there are now significant signs and opportunities of real transformations of food systems in which to create new synergies between sustainable consumption and production, and which can potentially shift agri-food into more secure and sustainable sets of conditions. With reference to empiric...
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Recently, consumers’ awareness regarding food production has increased, leading to a growing focus on shorter food supply chains and regional or local food systems. In the livestock sector, these developments are closely related to a regionalization of feed production. At the same time, a low self-sufficiency rate in protein feed is being reported...
Conference Paper
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There is growing recognition that agri-food commodity markets are moving increasingly towards market-focused arrangements. In some sectors (e.g. dairy) we have already seen the development of new contracts (e.g. between farmer groups and processors) and various risk management-type strategies. Agricultural markets have always been characterised by...
Conference Paper
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Even if characterised as dynamic and highly innovative, European apple and pear farmers have experienced serious structural challenges in the last decade with respect to the marketing of their produce. Stressors such as the consistent oversupply of apples and the globalisation of the apple and pear markets have affected these farmers, as did the Ru...
Article
While there is a growing body of research investigating the technical feasibility and nutritional properties 25 of insect based feeds (IBFs), thus far little attention has been devoted to gauge the economic implications 26 of implementation. This study has investigated the economic performance of ex-ante modelled IBF 27 production systems operating...
Article
The aim of this paper is to summarize the results of the EU Phare ACE research project P97-8158-R, “Micro-economic analysis of farm restructuring in Central and Eastern Europe”, that tries to fill the gap of theoretical as well as empirical research into the implications of continuing and evolving farm restructuring in CEECs on the efficiency of th...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Report available at: http://surefarmproject.eu/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/SURE-Farm_Deliverable-D1.1-Resilience-Framework.pdf Farming systems in Europe face a vast range of environmental, economic, social and institutional challenges. Examples include more volatile producer and input prices, higher probability of extreme weather events,...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Farming systems in Europe face a vast range of environmental, economic, social and institutional challenges. Examples include more volatile producer and input prices, higher probability of extreme weather events, increasing dependence on land owners and financial institutions, organizational change within value chains, competing policy objectives a...
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The biofuel crop Jatropha curcas has been promoted in developing countries as a means of improving the livelihoods of rural populations. In Mexico, despite the initially assumed economic, environmental, and social benefits of the crop, many farmers have abandoned jatropha cultivation. Here, we analyse the factors that influence farmers' decision to...
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Collective food buying groups, such as community supported agriculture or self-organised citizen groups for delivery of food baskets, have emerged throughout the world as an important niche innovation for promoting more sustainable agri-food systems. These initiatives seek to bring about societal change. They do so, however, not through protest or...
Article
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While the concept of insect based feeds (IBFs) promises great potential, especially in developing countries, the sustainability performance of IBF production remains widely underexplored. Drawing on experimental data from rearing trials in West Africa, three different insect production systems were modelled ex-ante. The generic models served as a b...
Article
This study evaluates the environmental impact of current apple cultivation practices in Flanders, Belgium. It evaluates integrated production, the most common practice, and it compares this production method with conventional and organic production. The assessment was based on Farm Accountancy Data Network data from 2010 to 2012 for 64 farms in the...
Article
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Over the last several decades, policymakers and stakeholders in the European Union (EU) have put considerable effort into increasing the adoption of organic farming, with the overall objective of its sustainable development. However, the growth of the organic sector has come with many challenges that jeopardize its sustainability. The question then...
Article
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Several papers highlight methodological challenges related to the lifecycle assessment (LCA) of fruit production systems. These concern both the limited number of impact categories assessed in current LCA literature and the narrow view on the full production phase of an orchard cycle. This article addresses these challenges and contributes to impro...
Chapter
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In the realm of sustainable development, the need for holistic approaches and systems innovation "drawing on concepts such as transitions and transition management" is acknowledged, also with regard to agriculture and food. A basic precondition for such approaches is 'systems thinking': understanding systems' architecture and functioning. In this c...
Technical Report
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This report discusses the why, what and how of further reform of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy, with a particular focus on land management and risk management.
Article
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Trade in agricultural and food products has increased sharply since the 1980s, but links and trade-offs between socio-economic benefits and environmental impacts of this trend have hardly been studied. The empirical analysis of this article focuses on the Ica province in Peru, where agricultural export production has led to huge economic growth and...
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Most of the literature on vertical coordination and its impact on farm performance and farmer wellbeing deal with high-value or modern food supply chains, including export chains and chains dominated by large international supermarkets or other forms of foreign direct investment. The impact of vertical coordination mechanisms in local food supply c...
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In a world of growing complexity and uncertainty, food systems must be resilient, i.e., able to deliver sustainable and equitable food and nutrition security in the face of multiple shocks and stresses. The resilience of the European food system that relies mostly on conventional agriculture is a matter of genuine concern and a new approach is call...
Conference Paper
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This paper conceptualizes how market imperfections and transaction costs influence farmers' strategies addressing changing external conditions. Such an integrated understanding is necessary for a new appraisal of the public policy role in order to develop robust solutions. We list the current changes affecting the agricultural sector and discuss ho...
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The sustainability of food value chains is an increasing concern for consumers, food companies and policy-makers. Global food chains are often perceived to be less sustainable than local food chains. Yet, thorough food chain analyses and comparisons of different food chains across sustainability dimensions are rare. In this article we analyze the l...
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This paper summarizes the main findings of the GLAMUR project which starts with an apparently simple question: is “local” more sustainable than “global”? Sustainability assessment is framed within a post-normal science perspective, advocating the integration of public deliberation and scientific research. The assessment spans 39 local, intermediate...
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Coming to terms with recent insights concerning the (post-) political is a key challenge for transition management. To start with, transition management understands the relation transition initiatives adopt towards existing regimes not in political, but in market terms. This impacts their internal processes, which are based on a deliberative notion...
Conference Paper
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Organic farming is usually understood as a holistic approach to agriculture and food production with objectives built around four principles formulated by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM): health, ecology, fairness and care (Darnhofer, 2014). Health means that organic farming is intended to provide high quality...
Book
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The 4th SCAR Foresight Exercise launched by the Standing Committee on Agricultural Research in spring 2014 explored the interactions between the primary sector and the bioeconomy. With an emphasis on the future, the exercise explored not only what will happen, but also what might happen by developing the paradigm of the bioeconomy, with the fundame...
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The largest portion of a product’s environmental impacts and costs of manufacturing and use results from decisions taken in the conceptual design phase long before its market entry. To foster sustainable production patterns, applying life cycle assessment in the early product development stage is gaining importance. Following recent scientific stud...