Wetenschap - 1 oktober 1998

English Summary

English Summary

English Summary
  • Chiel de Ranitz, the WAU manager of international cooperation for the past decade, has left the University. His last action for the university is a lobby to prevent the cutbacks planned for WAU education from the Ministry of Agriculture. His most famous campaign was the continuation of scientific cooperation with Vietnam in the early 1980s, despite the UN embargo on cooperation after the Vietnamese removed Pol Pot in Cambodia. De Ranitz was honoured by the Vietnamese government for his contribution a few years ago. He is glad to quit his job, being rid of all the meetings and organisational structures. I used to be busy with structures too, but what is really important in international cooperation is: you and your counterpart need stability, you need to like each other and you have to be motivated. That's all. De Ranitz is a member of the nobility, fond of food and drink, cigars and one-armed bandits
  • The refugee caravan was in Wageningen last week to draw attention to illegal refugees in Holland. Refugees become illegal when the Dutch Government doesn't recognise them as politically oppressed persons and when they refuse to leave the country. Some of them are technically unremovable: the embassy of the home country doesn't allow them to go back. The Dutch government allows these people to be in the Netherlands, but doesn't support them, states a foundation for illegal refugees in Wageningen, which provides temporary support in the form of money and advice. They receive money from private donors
  • The former DLO Institute of Soil Fertility, located in the province of Groningen and which merged with the agrobiological institute of DLO in 1994, is about to close. Twenty-seven of the 88 employees will keep their jobs but have to move to Wageningen; thirty of them will retire early and the remaining 31 are to be made redundant. The drop-outs are not really envious of their colleagues who are keeping their jobs: The next reorganisation is already in the pipeline. The institute became internationally known for its research on discovering food webs in soils. This research was possible because of a well-trained auxiliary staff, but now it is the technically skilled personnel who will lose their jobs. The institute will hire technical assistance from other companies
  • Liberalisation of agricultural markets will improve food production, is the widespread opinion among economists. But this statement hasn't become true in Africa, concluded several development economists recently at the European Association of Agricultural Economists congress in Wageningen. Agricultural markets in several African countries are less regulated by governments, but agricultural productivity in these countries cannot keep up with the population growth. Despite structural adjustment programmes, governments in developing countries need to invest more money in agricultural research and roads, given the fact that the transport costs for food are very high in Africa, stated professor Erik Thorbecke from Cornell University in the USA. Thorbecke's conclusion was supported by Bob Thompson from the World Bank, who wants the support of private investors to build roads

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