Hans Ruthenberg - The Person and Scientist

Presentation of Werner Doppler during the World Food Day Colloquium


Hans Ruthenberg


              - Born March 19, 1928 in Danzig
              - Post-war period with very bad experiences     
              - 1947 A level examination
              - 1947-1949 practical work at farms
              - 1949-1952 Studies in Agriculture at Göttingen University
                                                       -1952-1954  PhD Göttingen University


1954-1956  Assistent to the Director of the agricultural devision in the Thomasphosphatfabrik Düsseldorf

1956-1957  Studies at Iowa State University, USA, with studies in Japan, Birma and India

1957-1959  Research Assistent at DLG (Deutsche Landwirtschaftsgesellschaft) Frankfurt

1959-1964  Research Assistent TU Berlin, Prof. Wilbrandt and research project Agricultural Development in Tanganyika“in East Africa with IfO  


1964            Habilitation in „Agricultural Economics in Developing Countries“

1964-1965  In Kenya, further IfO research project on „Small Farmer Development Policy in Kenya

1965-1966  Göttingen University, Prof. Woermann, Habilitation in „Agricultural Economics“


Hans Ruthenberg Hohenheim University (1966-1980)



- Establishing comprehensive academic training (1966-1970)

    „Development Policy“, „Project Evaluation“, Farming Systems in the Tropics

 - Publishing principle books (1966-1973)  

    „African Agricultural Production Development Policy in Kenya”, Smallholder Farming and  

    Smallholder Development in Tanzania” and “Farming Systems in the Tropics”

- In 1974 visiting professor at EDI, World Bank.
- More than 150 international  presentations and publications  about smallholder development, systems approches in
   agricultural development and institutional  needs for improving development policies

 - From 1977 to 1979 member of a Harvard University team as advisor to  the Minister of Agriculture in Nairobi, Kenya

- In 1980 selected as member of the Board of CGAIR from 1981 onward


Hans Ruthenberg – Achievements


1 Bringing international knowledge to German Universities and Institutions.

   Introducing quantitative economic methods in project evaluation through publishing and comprehensive  

   training programs for experts of GTZ , KfW and others

2 International fighting for  first priotities for smallholder  in development research and policy

  To move from large scale, colonial based farm production to  local people‘s smallholder family farming

3 Developping a systems philosophy in research through farming systems concepts

   He suggested a descriptive type of research based on comparative and  historical system analyes to better understand development processes.

   With this he combined natural science, economic and social views in a spacial context incorparating sustainability

3 The role of policy decision making in research and strategies for  development




Hans Ruthenberg – The character


       - Clever, smart and dynamic with a secret smile in his eyes

       -  Religous person who liked  philosophical dispute. He waslooking for the sence behind things

       - Most direct and outspoken

         in its most direct way and did not count much on ways and means of diplomatic strategies.

         Much welcomed in scientific discussions, but created trouble in meetings like those of the  Faculty Board

      - Liberal and disciplined. When he offered opportunities to a person he expected full engagement and responsiblity from them

      - Success today is not enough for the future.

        He considered his book Farming Systems in the Tropics as very much needed for a basic understanding, but made clear the future need for      

        incorporating quantitative modelling for meassuring the future impact of strategies on rural families in developing countries.


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