In 2014, he began collaborating with the PAEPARD soybean consortium. In this interview, Paul Ingenbleek is sharing his experience for the benefit of EU non-research and research actors and provide lessons learned for EFARD and PAEPARD.
Academic expertise: Building on links with younger researchers
In 2013, Paul Ingenbleek was contacted by his former PhD student from Benin to contribute his expertise in marketing to the soybean consortium of Benin. The research project aims to promote the production and the use of good quality seeds and soybean varieties adapted to different end-products such as cheese, afitin and milk. This emerging market was in line with his work which focuses on how marketing can be used to foster the development in Africa.
Paul Ingenbleek was also very pleased to see that the proposal was already very advanced and integrated an inter-disciplinary approach that is very characteristic of Wageningen UR. “When we see someone we have trained bringing back such mature work, it makes us also very proud” said Paul Ingenbleek.
Supporting the needs of non-researcher actors
Paul Ingenbleek is also very much interested in the bottom up approach in this multi-stakeholder partnership. SOJAGNON, plays a central role in defining the research question that needs to be answered. “We contribute to what they really want to know and they are steering the whole project” Paul Ingenbleek explained. He was impressed to see how Patrice Sewade, chair of SOJAGNON, is able to bridge the gap between research and practice and manages to use the research results to the advantage of his organisation and enhance entrepreneurial activities. “Because SOJAGNON had a leading position in this consortium, this project is very resilient for unexpected events” concluded Paul Ingenbleek.
Paul Ingenbleek said “This project has very concrete social impacts and shows how our research at Wageningen UR actually makes important changes in the world”. Currently, the project impacts on about 1,500 woman processors through the training of twelve women cooperatives that serve as a relay to reach other processors. Ultimately, the main success of this project is for farmers in Benin adopting the Soy seed system approach that is more specialized and more resilient explained Paul Ingenbleek.
Communication is key
This project is very valuable for Wageningen UR explained Paul Ingenbleek, “We extend our network with SOJAGNON and we bring the collaboration with our former PhD student to a higher level”. Looking back on his past collaborations with researchers and non-researchers in Benin, Paul Ingenbleek realizes that communication becomes easier with the new generation. “Many of them were trained in Europe and know our way of working” explained Paul Ingenbleek. For him, communication barriers they were encountering in the past, do not seem to be present in this project. He noted “We benefit here from past investments”.
Longer projects can build a third generation of researchers
The ARF project is funded over a period of 3 years and does not allow support for training PhD students, which requires at least 4 years. Paul Ingenbleek explained “With one more year of funding we could have employed a PhD student together with our former PhD student, who could gain some experience from us on how to include PhD supervision in a project so that in the future they can train their own students”.
Paul Ingenbleek has already renewed his collaboration with SOJAGNON on a new research project « Enhancing Kersting's groundnut production-marketability in Benin » which has just been selected by the Applied Research Fund (ARF) to receive funding for a period of 3 years (2017-2020).
Dr Paul Ingenbleek is associate professor of marketing. He completed a Masters’ degree in history and in 2002 he obtained a PhD in marketing at Tilburg University. Paul Ingenbleek worked for several years in policy- and practice-oriented researcher at the Agricultural Economics Research Institute (nowadays Wageningen Economic Research), next to his work at the Marketing and Consumer Behaviour Group of Wageningen University. Since 2011 is associated fulltime with this group. His current research focuses on the role of strategic marketing in sustainable development, especially in developing and emerging markets in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
The Soybean Consortium of Benin was created in 2011 by SOJAGNON, a local NGO, with the technical and financial support from the Platform for African-European Partnership on Agricultural Research for Development (PAEPARD). In 2014, the consortium participated in a PAEPARD workshop, and developed the project proposal “Matching grain quality attributes to the requirements of soybean processors in Benin ProSSES“. The proposal received funding through the Applied Research Fund (ARF), financed by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and NWO-WOTRO Science for Global Development for a period of 3 years.
Dr Paul Ingenbleek, European researcher, involved in this project has accepted to share his experience in this multi-stakeholders African –EU research and innovation partnership with EFARD in the following interview.
Dr. Paul Ingenbleek shares his experience in the PAEPARD Soybean consortium
Consortium- ARF project
Project leader: Association for the Development of the Soybean (SOJAGNON)
Sustainable Agriculture Development Network (REDAD)
University of Abomey-Calave, Faculty of Agronomic Science, Laboratory of Food Sciences (FSA/UAC)
Marketing and Consumer Behaviour Group Wageningen UR (WUR)
International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).