From common good to corporate ownership: The new strategy to modify the Seed Law

De bien común a propiedad corporativa: La nueva estrategia para modificar la Ley de Semillas By Maxi Goldschmidt Abstract This article reflects on the debate around the reform of Argentina’s Seed Law, and exposes the critical points of the project introduced by the Ministry of Agriculture and entities of the field. The current seed law, which…

Open Source Seeds

Semillas con código abierto By Juan Manuel Repetto Abstract Currently, the seed industry has a high level of concentration and only three business groups control more than half of the global seed trade. Therefore, a team of lawyers, sociologists, economists and geneticists, seek to democratize the production of food and develop alternatives in Argentina that…

T-Lab in Buenos Aires: Bioleft, open source seeds

T-Lab in Buenos Aires: Bioleft, co-designing open source seeds

The Latin America Hub of Pathways to Sustainabilty project is working on a system to protect biological information and ensure its circulation for research and development.

Chinese engagement in African agriculture is not what it seems

In December 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping flew into South Africa for the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation with great fanfare. There were lots of announcements about prospective investments across Africa. Agriculture featured prominently. But what is the real story of China in Africa on the ground, beyond the hype? As Deborah Brautigam’s investigative research has…

Are China and Brazil transforming African agriculture?

A new Open Access Special Issue in World Development based on our work on the changing role of China and Brazil in Africa’s agriculture is now available (links to individual articles are below, and also via here).

Contested Agronomy: Four big questions to debate

We have just finished a fantastic conference co-hosted by the STEPS Centre on ‘Contested Agronomy’ with 80 participants and a vibrant discussion. I was asked to give some comments at the end. Here are some of these thoughts. Throughout the conference it was clear that ‘agronomy’ had to be understood both as a technology and…

Exporting China and Brazil’s agricultural know-how to Africa

Can China and Brazil use their home grown agricultural knowledge, which has driven phenomenal agricultural productivity at home, to transform agriculture in Africa? That was one of many questions discussed at the Contested Agronomy conference. When Lidia Cabral interviewed a Brazilian agronomist from Embrapa, Brazil’s agricultural research corporation in Mozambique, he talked to her about…

Contested Agronomy: more heat than light?

by Jim Sumberg, John Thompson, Ken Giller and Jens Andersson Agriculture, and the agronomic research that supports it, will be critical in making sustainable, equitable and secure development a reality. Surprisingly however, there seems to be increasing contestation around the priorities and methods used by agronomists, and the technologies that they develop and promote. Why…

Video: Dominic Glover on agricultural biotech and smallholder farmers

STEPS member Dominic Glover spoke yesterday at the FAO’s International Symposium on “The Role of Agricultural Biotechnologies in Sustainable Food Systems and Nutrition”. Dominic’s presentation focused on the need to ensure that agricultural biotechnology policies benefit smallholders. You can watch his presentation on the FAO website (skip to 2 hours and 7 minutes in).

From Dragon Heads to Farm Drops, Chinese agriculture has many faces

In Beijing last week, STEPS member Adrian Ely hosted a roundtable with social enterprises, NGOs and firms involved in food and agriculture to discuss the findings of the Low Carbon Innovation in China: Prospects, Politics and Practice project. Based on fieldwork by Sam Geall (SPRU), and support from Yiching Song (Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy,…