Team profile

Dr Abel Villa

“Organic research matters to me because I have documented organic agriculture and seen the significant changes in farmers’ livelihoods. These changes range from economic to personal reward, as well as the acknowledgement by farmers’ communities of the benefits they provide to the most precious resources: nature. ORC gives me the opportunity to focus on the social aspects of organic farming and share my research with a consolidated academic community.”

Job title:

Researcher - Agricultural Supply Chains
No longer works at ORC

Academic qualifications:

  • PhD: Villa, A. (2018) Global Value Chains (GVC) and Social Learning. Developing Producer Capabilities in Smallholder Farmers. The case of San Francisco Produce/Peninsula Organics (SFP/PO). The University of Edinburgh
  • Master of Social Science (2011) focused on Global Value Chains and Innovation Systems studies. El Colegio de Sonora. Mexico.



  • Master of Science: Chen Zhang. Minor thesis. Dissertation Project: Innovative network for promoting pulses as novel protein sources. The case of British fava bean products value chain. Master of Science in Organic Agriculture, Wageningen University
  • Master of Science: Karin Stierle Dissertation project: Organic honey production in Ireland: A study to examine Irish beekeepers’ attitudes to organic practice methods. Master of Science in Organic Farming. SRUC University of Glasgow (Co-supervised with Anja Vieweger)

Role and responsibilities:

I’m currently involved in the following projects:

  • DiverIMPACTS: Diversification through Rotation, Intercropping, Multiple cropping, Promoted with Actors and value-Chains Towards Sustainability.
  • CERERE: CEreal REnaissance in Rural Europe

Research interests:

I am an interdisciplinary researcher with a background in Agricultural Supply Chains and social sciences. My research interests are twofold:

  1. the development of producer capabilities in smallholder farms and
  2. social learning for co-operation and knowledge co-creation.

I combine Global Value Chains, Technological Capabilities and Communities of Practice approaches.

Interests outside of ORC:

I am a coffee lover and a trained coffee barista. There’s nothing a great cup of coffee can’t fix.


  • Bliss K, Bickler C, Villa A, Tippin L, Vieweger A, Meldrum J, Padel S, Pearce B, Lea M (2019) Getting out of the commodity trap: Enabling diversity through alternative food networks. In First European Conference on Crop Diversification. September 18-21, 2019 Budapest. Book of abstracts. 310-311.
  • Villa Rodríguez AO (2018). Global Value Chains (GVC) and Social Learning. Developing Producer Capabilities in Smallholder Farmers. The case of San Francisco Produce/Peninsula Organics (SFP/PO). PhD Thesis. The University of Edinburgh.
  • Villa Rodríguez AO Ed (2016). The role of regional innovation systems (RIS) in creating technological capabilities (TC) in the agricultural sector of Northwest Mexico: the cases of Sonora and Baja California Sur. In Niebla Zatarain JM, Villa Rodríguez AO, Fuentes Pineda R, Casasola Zamora S (Eds.), XIV Symposium of Mexican Students and Studies “Knowledge into Solutions” (pp. 14–16). Edinburgh, UK.
  • Villa Rodriguez AO, Bracamonte SA (2013). Learning processes and productive modernization of learning in agriculture from Northwestern Mexico: cases of commercial agriculture of the Coast of Hermosillo, Sonora and organic agriculture of the Southern zone of Baja California Sur. Estudios fronterizos, 14(27), 217–254.

Working papers


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