Understanding the relations between farmers’ seed demand and research methods: The challenge to do better

Almekinders, C J M and Beumer, K and Hauser, M and Misiko, M and Gatto, M and Nkurumwa, A O and Erenstein, O (2019) Understanding the relations between farmers’ seed demand and research methods: The challenge to do better. Outlook on Agriculture (TSI), 48 (1). pp. 16-21. ISSN 0030-7270

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Although the development of improved seeds has witnessed significant advances over the last decades, the adoption of improved seeds and varieties by smallholder farmers is variable. This suggests that research methods for studying farmers’ seed demand are not yielding information that reflects the real-life decisions and behaviours of farmers in the choice and acquisition of their seeds. We suggest that research methods for analysing farmers’ seed demand shape seed availability. This is supported by the theory of social life of methods. We argue that access to and attractiveness of seed are highly context-specific for a farmer, for example, influenced by his/her social position, the role of the crop or variety in the farming system, the linkage to the market, agro-ecological conditions, and that context is highly variable. We also argue that many of our research methods are weak on capturing real-life context and provide fragmented snapshot-nature understanding and biases of farmers preferences and needs for seeds. We call for more integrated understanding of seed systems as a whole and a more holistic methodological research approach that better captures the variable real-life context of farmers while providing the metrics that are needed by seed actors and policymakers to enable informed decisions.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : Innovation Systems for the Drylands (ISD)
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals (GLDC)
CGIAR Research Program on Maize
CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas
Uncontrolled Keywords: Agricultural technology, social life of methods, context, attractiveness
Subjects: Others > Agriculture
Others > Seed Systems
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2019 10:35
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2019 05:56
URI: http://oar.icrisat.org/id/eprint/11091
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0030727019827028
Acknowledgement: The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This study was possible with the support from the Netherlands – CGIAR research programme ‘Seed Systems Development - Enabling and Scaling Genetic Improvement and Propagation Materials’ and the CGIAR Research Programs (CRP) on Maize agri-food systems (CRP MAIZE), Roots, Tubers and Bananas (CRP-RTB) and Grain legumes and dryland cereals (CRP-GLDC).
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