News Archive



Training course in Economics of Climate Change

21 December 2012Click for more pictures

From December 10 to 15, 2012, Professor Michiel Keyzer was invited by Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy of Chinese Academy of Sciences to give a one week training course on Economics of Climate Change. His courses included the fundamental issues in Economics of Climate Change and the theoretical models used. More than 40 staff members and PhD students from CCAP, the Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing Normal University and other institutes of Chinese Academy of Sciences participated in this course. Click here for schedule of the training course.

On December 13, Professor Keyzer was also invited by the Foreign Correspondents Club of China in Beijing to present the lecture ‘Fertilizer use in China: what is green agriculture?’



SOW-VU in the media: interview on Radio 1

13 December 2012

BeneficiaryOn 26th November, Bart van den Boom was interviewed on Dutch Radio 1 on the topic of capturing poverty in numbers. Poverty is commonly expressed by counting those who are considered to be poor according to a certain criterion, but how does that work? Can poverty be studied from a purely numerical perspective and what do the numbers mean? Click here to listen to the interview (in Dutch).






Annual Report 2011

19 October 2012Front Annual Report 2011

The Annual Report 2011 updates last year's annual report's food security assessment. Global food production has increased but so did the demand for food. Still the per capita agricultural production has increased. Yet the global financial crisis, the Euro crisis and the political and social developments in the Middle East have their impact on food prices and, together with an increased volatility in commodity prices and the growing pressures on world commodity markets, threaten the food security of the poorest. As always, in the second part, the report gives an update on the research activities at SOW-VU.



Policy Response of Poverty Patterns in Mozambique

10 July 2012

INEFrom May 28 to June 1, 2012, Bart van den Boom and Boualem Rabta gave a training workshop at the ‘Instituto Nacional de Estatística’ (INE) in Maputo. The workshop was the first in a series of four in a project that aims at the strengthening of analytical capabilities of INE and of the ‘Ministerio da Planificação e Desenvolvimento’ (MPD) to study poverty patterns. During the 5-days workshop, the 16 participants were trained in the use of the GRCP-software of the Centre, a geo-referenced platform for poverty analysis. Read more about the project here …



Africa in Maps

19 June 2012Africa in Maps

As from 15 June 2012, a new data repository of the food economy of Sub-Saharan Africa is available.  For all countries in Sub-Saharan Africa data sets have been constructed for variables related to food and undernutrition, among which the production, consumption and trade of food, the nutritional status of adults and children, food aid deliveries and transport costs of food. These data are available at grid level (at a resolution if 5 arcminutes or roughly 10x10 km), as ready-to-use maps and as aggregates at district level. Read more ....

Click here to see what the hard copy looks like.



Final meeting of the Ukraine project

5 June 2012Ukraine

Professor Michiel Keyzer chaired the final meeting of the Ukraine project (May 31, Kiev), which aimed to identify and analyze the most dominant challenges for agricultural and rural development in Ukraine. The meeting was attended by several representatives of the EU, and researchers of our counterpart in the Ukraine, the Institute of Economics and Forecasting (IEF) of the National Academy of Science. Read more about the project here.



SOW-VU in the media: interview in de Volkskrant

28 March 2012Bill Gates

On March 27, the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant published an article with three interviews with experts giving their opinion on the proposed budget cuts by the Dutch government. One of the interviewees was Michiel Keyzer on the budget cuts on Development Cooperation. Read the interview here (in Dutch).



Towards a new Knowledge Policy in The Netherlands

17 November 2011The Broker logo

On November 14, the Minister for European Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Ben Knapen, has sent "The Knowledge Letter" to the Dutch Parliament on how to reform the knowledge policy of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Michiel Keyzer was invited by The Broker (an independent magazine on globalization and development) to contribute to the online discussion on how the new Knowledge Platform Food Security can best be organized. For more information go here.


National Platform Rio+20, October 26, in Amsterdam

3 November 2011Rio+20 logo

On October 26, Dutch scientists were invited by the National Platform Rio+20 for a debate on the contribution of science to sustainability. Michiel Keyzer was invited to speak and to participate in the discussion. His presentation can be read here (in Dutch). Click here to read more about the Rio+20 initiative.


Crop and RAngeland Monitoring (CRAM) Workshop

1 November 2011

The 3rd CRAM Workshop was held on 26-30 September 2011 in Nairobi Kenia. Jointly organized by JRC, FEWSNET, RCMRD, SERVIR FAO and GEO, it provides a platform of technical exchange for experts involved in agriculture monitoring for food security. Ben Sonneveld, invited speaker, presented in the session 'Rangeland and Livestock' two monitoring activities that are practiced in the project ‘Improving drought resilience of pastoralist systems in the Afar Region, Ethiopia’. The program of the workshop can be found here, for the powerpoint presentation of Ben Sonneveld you have to click here.

The conclusions of the workshop will be presented shortly.


IFPRI’s Strategic Advisory CouncilIFPRI's Strategic Advisory Council

25 October 2011

On October 13, Michiel Keyzer joined IFPRI’s newly established Strategic Advisory Council, meeting for the first time in Des Moines, Iowa. The next day he was invited to attend the World Food Prize Symposium. Click here to read more.



Annual Report 2010

19 October 2011Front Annual Report 2010

The Annual Report 2010 further elaborates on the consequences of the global financial crisis, its impact on food prices and the subsequent rise in undernutrition. As always, the report gives an update on the research activities at SOW-VU.



Farewell Seminar for Dr. Maarten NubéFarewell Seminar for Maarten Nubé

13 May 2011

The Centre for World Food Studies organized a seminar on various aspects of nutritional science on May 27th, 2011. Dr. Maarten Nubé, nutritionist at the Centre for over 20 years, who retired in June, then gave his farewell lecture. For the complete program, click here.



Final Policy Forum of the CATSEI project

25 November 2010CATSEI Policy Forum 2010

On November 19th, 2010, the Final Policy Forum of the CATSEI project was held in Beijing, addressing the opportunities and challenges of China’s agricultural economy until 2030. This Forum marked the end of the CATSEI project that started in 2007.



Annual Report 2009

3 November 2010Front Annual Report 2009

The Annual Report 2009 deals with the consequences of the global financial crisis, its impact on food prices and the subsequent rise in undernutrition. As always, the report gives an update on the research activities at SOW-VU.




SOW-VU Job Openings

1 November 2010

SOW-VU has research positions for quantitative economists. Please refer to "Job Openings" in the menu for details or click here for a pdf of the Job Opening.


SOW-VU participates in AGRODEP consortium

29 October 2010AGRODEP

SOW-VU is one of the partners in the AGRODEP project, which is a platform for sharing economic methodology to tackle policy issues in areas such as agricultural growth and poverty, trade, nutrition, and natural resources management in Africa.

AGRODEP also seeks to bring together statistical, economic, and geospatial data in Africa in one central clearinghouse, and to facilitate access to these databases for individual researchers.

The AGRODEP project has been initiated by IFPRI and has received funding for a five year period. Together with RESAKKS (, it constitutes the two pillars in support of CAADP ( implementation. Further information on AGRODEP can be found here (


SOW-VU in the media: Article in Mondiaal

21 September 2010

The September issue of the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV) publication Mondiaal includes an article by SOW-VU staff member Roelf Voortman. He writes about the reasons why the Green Revolution in Sub-Sahara Africa failed thus far and the possibilities for the future. The pdf version of this article can be found here (in Dutch).


Dissertation Roelf Voortman

2 July 2010

Dr. Roelf Voortman

On 28 June, Roelf Voortman successfully defended his Ph.D. dissertation entitled: ‘Explorations into African land resource ecology; on the chemistry between soils, plants and fertilizers’. The Ph.D. thesis advisors were Prof. M.A. Keyzer ((Director SOW-VU) and Prof. R. Rabbinge (Professor Sustainable Development & Food Security, Wageningen University and Research Centre). Here follows a brief summary.

The use of inorganic fertilizer in Sub-Sahara Africa is only modest, in spite of malnutrition and rising food demands. Why would African farmers not adopt the production technologies that have been successful in Asia during the Green Revolution? In order to identify the underlying reasons and mechanisms, this thesis investigates the ecological diversity of land resources and its spatial patterns in Africa, in relation to the soil chemical properties that limit crop growth at the local level. Analyses of empirical data on continental, regional and local scale provide novel insights into the relationships between crop yields, land use patterns and natural vegetation (unifying principles). The thesis also presents a strategy to develop low dose, site specific fertilizer technologies, using local ecological knowledge and bio-indication.

The full text - including a Dutch summary - can be found here.


CATSEI-TAPSIM workshop in Brussels

9 June 2010

CATSEITAPSIMAt the initiative of the Directorate-General of Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Commission, the EU-funded projects CATSEI and TAPSIM organized a joint workshop on Thursday, May 27th, 2010 in Brussels. The CATSEI project focuses on the transition processes in China’s agriculture, the TAPSIM project on similar processes in India’s agriculture. In the workshop recent structural changes in the agricultural economy of both countries were addressed, as well as future prospects for supply, demand and trade. With around 60 participants from the policy, research and business community the workshop was very well attended.

The workshop was presided over by Gerrit Meester, chair of the Committee for Agriculture of OECD. CATSEI partner Xiaobo Zhang (IFPRI) gave an introductory presentation in which he compared the changes in the agricultural economies of China and India. The full program of the workshop can be found here.

In the CATSEI time slot, Jikun Huang (Director Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy) gave an overview of China’s agricultural development and agricultural policies in the past three decades whereas Michiel Keyzer (in his capacity as CATSEI project coordinator) presented a summary of findings in the CATSEI project, obtained partly from specific surveys and partly from simulations with the updated Chinagro model.

The presentations by Xiaobo Zhang, Jikun Huang and Michiel Keyzer can be viewed by clicking on the names of the presenters. The TAPSIM presentations can be found on


Obituaries for Wouter Tims

18 May 2010

Wouter Tims, former director of SOW-VU, passed away on 9 May 2010. We remember him with gratitute.

De Volkskrant published an obituary for Wouter Tims on 18 May 2010. The pdf version can be found here (in Dutch).


The Director General of IFPRI visits SOW-VU

12 April 2010Dr. Shenggen Fan

Dr. Shenggen Fan, the Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), visited SOW-VU to discuss present and future cooperation between IFPRI and SOW-VU. A seminar was also organized by SOW-VU for this occasion. Dr. Shenggen Fan presented the lecture ‘China’s Engagement in Africa; are there Win-Win Opportunities?’.



SOW-VU in the media: Article in Mondiaal

12 February 2010

The February issue of the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV) publication Mondiaal includes two articles by SOW-VU staff members. Wim van Veen writes about China's biofuel policy and Bart van den Boom about China's attempts to reduce water use in agriculture. The pdf version of Wim van Veen's article can be found here and Bart van den Boom's article can be found here (both in Dutch).


SOW-VU in the media: Article in Le Monde: ‘Une modernisation indispensable, mais pas sur le dos des pays pauvres’ (Modernising is inevitable, but not at the cost of the poor)

29 January 2010

Le MondeThe French newspaper Le Monde invited Michiel Keyzer and four other authors to comment on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Community. In his article, Michiel Keyzer writes about the CAP and the question of modernizing and redefining, and its outcome. Keyzer states that after the recent food and financial crises, and amidst the climate debate, the CAP surely needs an open discussion about its future. ‘For several decades the CAP was a jewel in the European Community’s crown, as it offered a reliable vehicle to sustain rural incomes at a time that international terms of trade for agriculture were declining fast. It is now in the EU’s best interest to favour open markets, and to stay clear of shrewd strategizing. In sum, let a reformed CAP assume its commitment to keep the EU countryside lively through internal measures of all sorts, but it is not for the poor of this world to foot the bill.’  Read the full article here in English or here in French.


SOW-VU in the media: Article in Mondiaal

12 January 2010Cattle in Ethiopia

The Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV) has invited SOW-VU to give an impression of SOW-VU’s research in the coming issues of the monthly newsletter of LNV called Mondiaal. The first article - written by Ben Sonneveld - is included in the January issue and is called ‘Hoe loopt het vee in Ethiopië (How does cattle move in Ethiopia)’. The pdf version can be found here (in Dutch).


SOW-VU in the media: Interviews related to the World Food Summit in Rome

20 November 2009

After the World Food Summit, Michiel Keyzer was interviewed by the Dutch 'Radio Nederland Wereldomroep' (Radio Netherlands Worldwide, RNW) and by the Dutch newspaper 'de Volkskrant' on the disappointing results of the summit. FAO, the host of the summit, is no longer focussed on its core task of collecting statistical data on food production. Instead it has become more and more a political forum. Read the full article on the website of RNW here (in Dutch), and listen to a part of the radio broadcast here. The full article in 'de Volkskrant' of 20 November 2009 can be found here (in Dutch).


SOW-VU in the media: Phosphate shortage threatens food production II

18 November 2009

Lia van Wesenbeeck was interviewed for the weekly 'Nieuwe Oogst' published by the local farmer organisation in the Dutch province Limburg. She will also speak at the annual symposium of this organisation on 19 November. See full text of the article here.


SOW-VU in the media: Stimulating the use of biofuels could create a new food crisis

16 November 2009

Two more interviews with Michiel Keyzer for 'NRC Handelsblad'. The first, published on 14 November, focusses on the Food Summit in Rome on 16-18 November. The other interview was published on the NRC International internet site on 16 November and deals with milk prices in the EU and - more broadly - with food prices in general. In both interviews Keyzer states that governments created chaos by stimulating the use of biofuels and limiting trade by putting export barriers in place. See full text of article of 14 November here and of 16 November here.


SOW-VU in the media: Phosphate shortage threatens food production

19 October 2009

Michiel Keyzer was interviewed for the Dutch Newspaper 'NRC Handelsblad' about the worldwide expected phosphate shortage. The article was published in 'NRC Handelsblad' on 16 October (see full article in Dutch here).


"How to feed the world in 2050" High Level Expert Forum in Rome

15 October 2009

On 12-13 October, the FAO organized a high-level expert forum on “How to feed the world in 2050”, preparing for the World Food Summit in November (see link to FAO here). The director of the Centre, Professor Michiel Keyzer, participated as panelist in the opening panel session “Global Agriculture towards 2050: The Outlook for Food and Agriculture in a Dynamically Changing Economic and Demographic Environment”. Excerpts from his statement can be found at the news service IRIN. Also Professor Jikun Huang, one of the counterparts of the Centre in the CATSEI project, commented on the role of China in Africa’s development.


Retirement of Professor Gerrit Meester

10 September 2009front retirement Professor Gerrit Meester

On 10 September a symposium was held in honour of Professor Gerrit Meester who retired from his job as Advisor Agricultural and International Policy Affairs of the International Affairs Division of the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. Professor Meester is a member of the Board of SOW-VU which he will remain after his retirement. The symposium was opened by Professor Rudy Rabbinge, chairman of the Board of SOW-VU. Professor Michiel Keyzer, the director of SOW-VU, was also one of the speakers. The text of his presentation "Wereldvoedselvoorziening: kwantiteit versus kwaliteit, goederen versus waarden (World Food Supply: quantity versus quality, commodities versus values)" has been published in the Liber Amicorum book 'Rond de scheidslijn tussen landbouweconomie en landbouwpolitiek (On the dividing-line between agricultural economics and agricultural politics)' by Henk Massink and Huib Silvis (eds), Wageningen Academic Publishers, ISBN 978-90-8686-123-1.


Annual Report 2008

7 September 2009front annual report 2008

The Annual Report 2008 pays special attention to the global financial crisis and its impact on food prices, increased food production due to good harvests and the growing awareness of upcoming resource scarcity. Furthermore the report gives an update on the research activities at SOW-VU.



IAAE Conference in Beijing

28 August 2009

Bird's NestIn the shadow of the Olympic Bird’s Nest in Beijing, the triennial conference of the International Association of Agricultural Economists (IAAE) was held from 16-22 August. In this conference, professors Michiel Keyzer and Jikun Huang organized on behalf of the CATSEI project a mini-symposium about the big events facing China’s agriculture in the 21st century. Read more>>>


EAERE Conference in Amsterdam

7 July 2009

EAERE Conference Amsterdam 2009At the 17th Annual Conference of the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (June 24-27), SOW-VU organized a special session on Food, Feed, Fuel and Fibres, emphasizing the competition worldwide between different forms of utilization of agricultural products. The session was chaired by Prof. Michiel Keyzer and had four presentations, two from invited speakers and two prepared by SOW-VU and its counterparts. Read more>>>


New Chaiman of the Board of SOW-VU

1 January 2009 Prof. Rudy Rabbinge

As of 1 January 2009, Professor Rudy Rabbinge has been appointed Chairman of the Board of SOW-VU by the Vrije Universiteit upon nomination by the Minister for Development Cooperation and the Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. Professor Rabbinge is the successor of Mr. Eisso Woltjer, who was Chairman from 1999.


CATSEI Mid-term Policy Conference

18 December 2008

CATSEI Mid-term Conference BrusselsOn Monday December 15th, 2008, the CATSEI project organized its mid-term policy conference in Brussels. The theme of the conference was the rapidly increasing food-feed-fuel competition on the international agricultural markets, looking in particular at the perspectives from China and the European Union. Read more>>>


Update World Food Day 2008: Food at whatever cost?

31 October 2008

World Food Day 2008 focused on the rise of food prices in the past year. The Dutch minister of agriculture and fisheries, Gerda Verburg, explained government policy. Lia van Wesenbeeck of SOW-VU was one of the other speakers. She discussed the causes and consequences of the rising food prices. Read the excerpt of her presentation

More information:


CATSEI visit to China

27 October 2008 conference

Michiel Keyzer, Wim van Veen and Bo Liu participated from October 12th to 13th in the International Conference on Rural Reforms and Development in Nanjing. The conference marked 30 years of rural reforms in China. Michiel Keyzer gave a plenary speech on the recent food-feed-fuel tensions in the international agricultural markets. At the CATSEI-session, Wim van Veen gave a presentation on the updated Chinagro model projections for the Chinese agriculture until 2030. Michiel Keyzer and Bo Liu presented preliminary results on the price transmission from markets to farmers. Read more>>>


TV-Special on Food Crisis by LLINK with SOW-VU director Michiel Keyzer

17 October 2008 LLINK

LLINK broadcasted a tv-special on the Food Crisis at October the 18th, 2008. Specialists, politicians and scientists discussed the recent events. Professor Michiel Keyzer was one of the guests. More information:


October the 13th: "Hunger Amidst Plenty"

The first session of the "Real World Economics" debates at CREA will address the contradiction of a world facing "Hunger amidst plenty". Speakers: Max Merbis (Centre for World Food Studies, SOW-VU), Gudrun Muller (Foodfirst Information and Action Network, FIAN) and Roel Jongeneel (Agricultural Economics and Rural Policy Group, University of Wageningen). Introduction: Vasco Molini (Centre for World Food Studies, SOW-VU).
More information:


Conference on land degradation

24 September

At the 5th International Conference on Land Degradation Ben Sonneveld of SOW-VU delivered a key-note titled: How Good is GLASOD” the paper, jointly edited with David Dent of the ISRIC, gives a critical review of the global soil degradation assessment. In the ‘African’ session of the conference Ben Sonneveld presented the paper “Land degradation and livestock production opportunities under climate change: the case of Afar State, Ethiopia” a paper co-authored by Saket Pande and Michiel Keyzer of SOW-VU, Kidane Georgis and Abuhay Takele (Ethiopian Institute for Agricultural Research) and Ahmed Seid Ali of the Afar Pastoral & AgroPastoral Research Institute. The paper highlights the findings of livestock production constraints and opportunities under future climate change, rural-urban migration and various land accessibility scenarios.


SOW-VU in the media

Professor Michiel Keyzer, director of SOW-VU, was interviewed by Radio Kassa, a Dutch radio show on Radio One. He discusses what consumers in the Netherlands can do to end poverty and hunger. Radio 1 Journaal asked professor Keyzer to comment on the fluctuating food prices.

listen to the Radio Kassa (in Dutch) 9 September 2008

listen to Radio 1 Journaal (in Dutch) 11 September 2008


The Biofuel Controversy
Working Paper 08-01

25 August 2008;

The biofuel controversy arose when the rise in biofuel production contributed to the current food crisis, and when the net savings on fossil fuels turned out to be disappointing. This paper explains the background of the controversy and focuses on the major policy tasks to dissolve it. The first is replacing the current excise taxes on energy carriers by a uniform carbon tax, so as to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions in an efficient manner. A second task is to prevent price fluctuations on the oil markets from destabilizing food markets. A third, much wider, task is then to make the transition to a biomass-based energy production possible and sustainable. Read more>>>


Annual Report 2007

4 August 2008 front annual report 2007

The Annual Report 2007 pays special attention on the rise of food prices, its causes and consequences. Furthermore the report gives an update on the research activities at SOW-VU.






Brief: Food, Feed and Fuel: when competition starts to bite

16 July 2008

How can it be that prices suddenly fly so high on an increasingly open globalized food market, in a year with good harvests? After describing the price rise and its consequences for the poor, the brief discusses explanations that seem to signal a lasting transition to a raw material constrained economy.


'China's agricultural prospects and challenges'

8 april 2008

The report describes prospects and challenges for Chinese agriculture until 2030, using the Chinagro welfare model. Simulations with the Chinagro model analyze the price-based interaction between the supply behavior of farmers, the demand behavior of consumers and the determination of trade flows by merchants.

The report is the outcome of the project 'Options for Agricultural Development in China' funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management and Food Quality. It is written at the onset of the CATSEI-project that will analyze policy packages with more specificity and detail. The report has been written in collaboration with IIASA, CCAP and SOAS.


Michiel Keyzer discusses high food prices in 'Desmet Live'

25 March 2008

Michiel Keyzer, director of SOW-VU, appeared live in the radio programme 'Desmet Live' on wednesday 19 March. He discussed the implications of the current high food prices.


Van Natuurlandschap tot Risicomaatschappij

picture book cover17 March 2008

Michiel Keyzer, director of SOW-VU, wrote the chapter 'Wereldvoedselvoorziening' (world food prospects) in the recently published book Van Natuurlandschap tot Risicomaatschappij (isbn 978 90 53567982). In the chapter he focuses on the development of food production, consumption patterns and demographic changes in the last century. Asia and Africa are compared and an assessment is made on how critical the current situation is. The chapter is available here (in Dutch).


Following the Afar

29 February 2008

In October 2007 SOW-VU started a research project in the Afar Region in collaboration with the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research and the Afar Pastoral &Agro-Pastoral Research Institute. Pastoralists in the Afar are increasingly confronted with mounting population pressure and appropriation of land for large irrigation schemes. It threatens pastoralists’ livelihoods, with overgrazing and violent conflicts as most visible symptoms. The project aims, therefore, to improve the drought resilience of the pastoralists. The focus is on two specific interventions: the optimal management of an integrated network of pumping stations and the formulation of contracts for the delivery of livestock, including price-weather insurance. Ben Sonneveld, who coordinates the research activities for SOW-VU, recently visited the Afar region to organize a pilot that tracks the migration routes of the herds, crucial information needed for the project. Herders are contracted to carry Platform Transmitter Terminals that give real-time signals of their location to a distant network.


Africa conference 2008

15 February 2008

Lia van Wesenbeeck presented 'Rural development: the importance of urban centres' at the Africa conference 2008, organised by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The conference was held on the occasion of the publication of an evalution report of Dutch policy on Africa in the period 1998-2006. The evaluation was done on request of the Dutch parliament by IOB, the Policy and Operations Evaluation Department. An excerpt of the presentation is available in Dutch.


Reflection on the possibilities for the future development of the CAP

15 February 2008

On November 20, 2007 the European Commission issued the so-called Health Check, a set of proposals to adapt the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to the evolving circumstances until the next budget review in 2013. A consortium of researchers from six EU member states prepared a report, commissioned by the European Parliament (EP), to assess the current status of the CAP and to comment on the impact and the depth of the reform package. Michiel Keyzer and Max Merbis contributed to this report, in particular focusing on general principles for a redefined CAP beyond 2013, and the scope for risk management strategies therein. The full report can be found at the website of the EP and also here.


GEO4 – Environment for Development

10 December 2007

In November 2007, UNEP (United National Environment Programme) issued its fourth Global Environment Outlook, GEO4 – Environment for Development. This volume of 500 pages takes stock of the world’s natural resources. It analyses the challenges and opportunities which the environment provides for development and human well-being. Michiel Keyzer, Ben Sonneveld and Wim van Veen are contributing authors of Chapter 1 – Environment for Development, and Ben Sonneveld also contributes to Chapter 3 – Land. Their background note on the Valuation of Natural Resources can be found here.


Policy workshop on agricultural trade between China and EU

23 November 2007

In order to discuss the challenges and prospects for future agricultural trade between China and EU, SOW-VU and the Agricultural Economics Research Institute (LEI) organized a policy workshop in Brussels on November 14th, 2007, as part of the CATSEI-project.

Agricultural trade between China and the European Union (EU) has grown significantly in the last decade. However, flows from China increased faster than flows from the EU, resulting in a steady bilateral agricultural trade surplus for China. Indeed, compared to other trading regions such as North-America and Oceania, EU is still a minor agricultural exporter to China. Read more...


What will it cost to achieve MDGI?

17 October 2007

At the IFPRI-seminar 'Taking Action for the World's Poor and Hungry People' in Beijing, China, Professor Keyzer presented 'What will it cost to achieve MDGI?'. A brief of the presentation can be found here.


Linking survey and spatial data

12 October 2007

Professor Keyzer presented 'Linking survey and spatial data: experience from food security and poverty studies' at the technical seminar 'Integrating Socio-economic and Remote Sensing Information for Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis' of the JRC/European Commission at Varese, Italy.


Growth, food security and governance in Africa

13 September 2007

At the occasion of the farewell symposium of Professor Arie Kuyvenhoven, SOW-VU director Michiel Keyzer presented the lecture “Growth, food security and governance in Africa: some reflections on donor involvement”. The presentation draws from a paper coauthored with Lia van Wesenbeeck, called “Food Aid and Governance”, which also appears in the Liber Amicorum offered to Professor Kuyvenhoven. Arie Kuyvenhoven was professor of development economics at Wageningen University and served in the board of the Centre from 1991 to 2006.


Annual Report 2006

8 August 2007 front annual report 2006 The annual report 2006 has a special focus on the correlation between climate change, agriculture and poverty and gives a short description of SOW-VU's projects that are related to this topic.







Expert meeting at Ministry for Development Cooperation

12 July 2007

Lia van Wesenbeeck and Max Merbis participated in a consultative expert meeting organized by the Ministry for Development Cooperation providing inputs into a discussion note on rural development, as part of the new policy framework on “Growth and Distribution”. Lia was the key note speaker in that meeting, presenting “Millennium Development Goal One and Rural Development”.


Agnes van Ardenne visits SOW-VU

25 June 2007

Mrs. Agnes van Ardenne, the newly appointed permanent representative in Rome and former Minister for Development Cooperation visited the Centre at the 25th of June 2007. She was informed about the Centre’s research agenda with respect to food security issues in a development context. In particular Mrs Van Ardenne learnt about the Centre’s experience with the Rome based UN institutes (FAO, WFP and IFAD).


Food Safety around the globe

25 May 2007

Listen to the interview with Professor Keyzer, director of SOW-VU, in the program 'People in the know' on China Radio International.



The impact of climate change on agriculture and health in the Oueme River Basin in Benin

21 May 2007

The Middle Belt zone in West Africa is a very fertile area to which farmers from bordering regions continue to migrate. Global climate change could cause a shortage of water in the zone. The SOW-VU studied the possible impact on the Middle Belt part of the Oueme River Basin, located in Central Benin, and shows that agricultural yields are currently so far below their biophysical potential that climate change does not reduce them further, provided cropping patterns adjust sufficiently. The study further shows that the prevalence of diarrhea in the Basin is more related to socio-economic characteristics of households than to good water availability. Diarrhea prevalence in Benin is, however, not only a disease of the poor. Therefore, improved access to good water is an important investment and can be achieved at little cost.



India's eleventh five year plan

May 2007

The Centre started a research cooperation program with the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Reseach (IGIDR), Mumbai, India. The Centre will strengthen the institute’s capacity for policy analysis, in particular in the field of constructing applied general equilibrium models. An existing model for the Indian economy of that type needs to be updated and developed further to address the current policy concerns of the Indian Planning Commission. To that aim a member of the Planning Commission, Dr. Sachdeva, accompanied by two staff members of IGIDR, Dr. Anand and Professor Panda, visited the Centre from 23 to 28 April '07 to initiate the cooperation and discuss the work program.The Planning Commission has written a letter to the Centre to confirm its support to this cooperation for the next five years. 


Brief: Global Action for Food Security

5 March 2007

On the occasion of World Food Day 2006, IFPRI director Joachim von Braun and SOW-VU director Michiel Keyzer discussed how the Millenium Development Goal of halving the proportion of people who suffer from hunger, can be achieved. Brief 


CATSEI Kick-off meeting

January 19 and 20, 2007, Amsterdam

The CATSEI-project will study the changes in agricultural trade and the social and environmental impacts that can be expected in the coming decades from China’s ongoing process of agricultural transition. In the project SOW-VU will cooperate with five partner institutes.The project is funded by the European Union and will last for three years. Read more... 


Poverty and Hunger: Asian lessons for Africa (and Europe)?

28 November 2006

Presentation of Professor Keyzer at the international symposium 'What future framework for agricultural policies in Europe and developing countries?', organized by Notre Europe, FARM and Pluriagri on 27-28 November 2006 in Paris. Powerpoint presentation 


Visit to Ghana

July 8-15, 2006

The director of SOW-VU, Professor Michiel Keyzer, and two staff members, Bart van den Boom and Vasco Molini, visited the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) to participate in the poverty analysis workshop ‘Can Price-Weather Insurance Reduce Poverty in Rural Ghana?’. Several possibilities to secure farmers’ income against inadequate rainfall and low prices were presented and discussed. The workshop, organized by the GSS and funded by the World Bank and SOW-VU, was attended by a broad audience of stakeholders. There was considerable attention of journalists and the workshop was on the news of three Ghanaian TV-stations. The interview of Professor Keyzer on Ghanaian Television can be viewed here. Another goal of the visit was to discuss capacity building at the GSS and at the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC). According to their mandate, the two institutes are assigned a key role in providing information to the Government and to the public on social and economic developments and the impact of development policies. Both the GSS and the NDPC face difficulties to fulfill their mandate and to play their role effectively due to a shortage of qualified staff. They welcome foreign assistance and institutional support from SOW-VU to develop a capacity building strategy to attract staff and reduce the dependency on (foreign) consultants. Read more... 


Discussion on the usefulness of the PSE

In a recent issue of Food Policy Professors Oskam and Professor Meester challenged the usefulness of the Producer Support Estimate (PSE), a widely used measure for support to the agricultural sector published by OECD. In the same issue of Food Policy Professor Tangermann (Director Food, Agriculture and Fisheries at the OECD) writes a rejoinder. SOW-VU's comments on the issue can be found here.


China's Rapidly Growing Meat Demand

Brief of December 2005

A fast growing Chinese economy leads to a rapidly increasing consumption of meat. Currently, demand for meat and feed grains is almost fully met by local production. As incomes continue to grow, how dependent will China be on meat and feed imports in 2030? Read more... 

More information on the Chinagro project and model can be found here.


'The Future of the Profession'

Presentation of Professor Keyzer at the 2005 European Association of Agricultural Economists Conference in Copenhagen

Agricultural economics research will have to compete on an opener market as agricultural policies become more streamlined to overall government policies, with liberalization, reduction in subsidies and decoupled support. Investments in skills are therefore necessary, Professor Keyzer argues. Full text of the presentation.


China's Agriculture towards 2030

16 January, 2005

On January 14, 2005, Professor Michiel Keyzer and Wim van Veen participated in the Policy Forum on China's Agriculture towards 2030 and the Workshop on Policy Decision Support Tools for Sustainable Agriculture. The Policy Forum was the concluding meeting of the EU-financed CHINAGRO project on which the results of various scenario runs of the CHINAGRO model were presented.The Policy Forum was held in the morning and in the afternoon there was a Workshop on Policy Decision Support Tools for Sustainable Agriculture, during which the design of the CHINAGRO model was presented  and the main findings of the model simulations were discussed. 

Policy Forum on China's Agriculture towards 2030:

Programme and presentations 

Workshop on Policy Decision Support Tools for Sustainable Agriculture: The CHINAGRO Model programme and presentations:

Programme and presentations