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Reflexive Biotechnology Development

  • Reflexive Biotechnology Development

Reflexive Biotechnology Development

Wietse Vroom

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Author: Wietse Vroom

About The Book

Agriculture plays a crucial role in the alleviation of extreme poverty and hunger. Development of new crop varieties that are more resistant to disease and pests, and that produce more in dry conditions or on poor soils, can contribute to agricultural development. However, while the technical potential to improve crop varieties is increasing rapidly, such technologies do not always successfully contribute to the economic development of resource poor farmers. New technologies may never reach farmers, may be prohibitively expensive, or may solve only a very limited part of the problem that farmers are facing in practice.

This book engages with the debate on how modern genetic technologies are used in plant breeding, and questions what it is that makes a new technology appropriate for pro-poor agricultural development. It does so by moving beyond a technical perspective on what constitutes 'appropriate technology' and by analyzing how different approaches to agro-technological development create different social roles for technology developers and farmers in innovation processes and production systems.

Case studies of projects and international research centres in India, Peru and Mexico provide an insight in the different approaches to agro-technological development in which farmers are treated as 'recipients of technology', or are involved as 'co-innovators', and in which technology developers present themselves as 'solution providers' or as 'service providers'. Insight in those different approaches contributes to a clearer debate on the potential role of biotechnology in agricultural development and the reduction of poverty.

Additional Information

Author Wietse Vroom
Availability In Print
Dimensions Unknown
Extent 216 pp
ISBN 9789086861064
Publication date 2009
Book Type Softcover



Acronyms and abbreviations

Chapter 1 - Introduction: genetic technologies for international agricultural development

  • The era of development
  • Agricultural modernisation for development
  • Genetic technologies for agriculture
  • From Green Revolution to Gene Revolution?
  • Making genetic technologies ?appropriate? for agricultural development
  • Concluding remarks
  • Structure of the thesis

Chapter 2 - Research design

  • Motivation and objectives of the study
  • Research questions
  • Approach ? explorative qualitative research
  • Case study selection
  • Data collection ? a technographic approach
  • Validity of the study
  • Concluding remarks

Chapter 3 - Biotechnologies and the transformation of agricultural production systems

  • Introduction ? Historical trends in agricultural modernisation and industrialisation
  • Agricultural modernisation ? From an imposed condition to an open-ended approach
  • Industrialisation of agriculture ? Issues of control in the Third Agro-Food order
  • Intellectual property ? The crucial importance of ownership
  • Recapitulation
  • The relationship between technical design and social structures
  • In conclusion: key elements of a conceptual framework

Chapter 4 - Transgenic insect resistance for the poor ? Towards a win-win-win situation in Indian vegetable farming

  • Introduction
  • The setup of a public private partnership for the development of Bt Brassica
  • The material reconstruction of transgenic technology
  • Tailoring the mode of commercialization
  • Representation of farmers, rather than participation
  • The role of intellectual property and liability
  • Discussion ? Farmers as recipients of technology

Chapter 5 - Reconsidering the role of potato farmers in breeding and multiplication ? Experiences of the International Potato CentreIntroduction

  • The International Potato Centre ? Producing global public goods for potato farmers
  • Challenging a trend towards genetic erosion in potato cultivation in the Andes
  • Enabling farmers? seed potato production
  • Working with cultural connotations ? Genetic fingerprints as Kipu diagram
  • Discussion ? Breeding technologies for a non-industrializing development strategy

Chapter 6 - Linking upstream genomics research with downstream development objectives ? The challenge of the Generation Challenge Programme

  • Introduction
  • The Generation Challenge Programme ? Upstream genomics research for propoor agricultural innovation
  • Targeting the poor ? Farming systems, crops and traits
  • Challenges for a science-led research programme
  • Complementary innovation systems
  • Complementarity in practice: different research partners and technology as a service
  • Discussion ? The potential for a service-like approach to agro-technological innovation

Chapter 7 - Discussing the diversity in approaches to agro-technological innovation

  • Introduction
  • Comparative analysis of the cases ? Multiple dimensions of appropriateness
  • Additional reflections on the openness of innovation
  • Flexibility in the relationship between technological design and social meaning
  • Implications for innovation policy and questions for future research
  • In conclusion ? Reflexive biotechnology development



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