Yuca Waarts holds an MSc in Agricultural and Environmental Economics from Wageningen University (2003) after which she worked at an NGO to ensure rural economic development while conserving or enhancing biodiversity. Yuca has worked at Wageningen University & Research since 2008 as a Senior Researcher for sustainable value chain development, focusing on cocoa, coffee, tea, and palm oil sectors.
Yuca’s key topic of research is to find solutions to achieve a living income for farming families as well as worker families in lower and middle-income countries while protecting or enhancing nature. To do so, she evaluates the impact of policies, innovations and interventions on smallholder farmers as well as workers. To make evidence-based recommendations to close the living income gaps for different types of families while nature is protected. This includes evaluations including collecting baseline and endline data, but also includes evidence-based scenario analysis of the expected impact of interventions using existing data and the literature. Interventions studied are landscape programs, service delivery (including for diversification), standards and certification, and price measures amongst others, which she mainly conducts in commodity sectors such as cocoa, coffee and tea. She works together with private sector companies, NGOs, foundations and governments in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Next to conducting research, Yuca values working with partners and team members from all over the world. She delivers high-quality research results in accessible reports and brochures as well as through face-to-face discussions, (virtual) seminars and professional and public conferences. Yuca is a member of the Technical Advisory Committee of the Living Income Community of Practice.