1st Edition

Agronomy for Development The Politics of Knowledge in Agricultural Research

Edited By James Sumberg Copyright 2017
    216 Pages
    by Routledge

    216 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Over the last decade there has been renewed interest in food security and the state of the global food system. Population growth, climate change and food price spikes have combined to focus new attention on the technologies and institutions that underpin the production and consumption of food that is varied, nutritious and safe.

    Knowledge politics within development-oriented agronomy set the stage for some models of agricultural development to be favoured over others, with very real implications for the food security and wellbeing of many millions of people. Agronomy for Development demonstrates how the analysis of knowledge politics can shed valuable new light on current debates about agricultural development and food security. Using bio-physical and social sciences perspectives to address the political economy of the production and use of knowledge in development, this edited collection reflects on the changing politics of knowledge within the field of agronomy and the ways in which these politics feed and reflect the interests of a broad set of actors.

    This book is aimed at professionals working in agricultural research as well as students and practitioners of agricultural, rural and international development.


    List of abbreviations

    List of contributors


    1.Knowledge politics in development-oriented agronomy
    Jens A. Andersson and James Sumberg

    2. On the movement of agricultural technologies: Packaging, unpacking and situated reconfiguration
    Dominic Glover, Jean-Philippe Venot and Harro Maat

    3. South-South Cooperation and Agribusiness Contestations in Irrigated Rice: China and Brazil in Ghana
    Kojo Amanor

    4. GM Crops ‘for Africa’: Contestation and Knowledge Politics in the Kenyan Biosafety Debate
    Stephen Whitfield

    5. Systems research in the CGIAR as an arena of struggle: competing discourses on the embedding of research in development
    Cees Leeuwis, Marc Schut and Laurens Klerkx

    6. One Step Forward, Two Steps Back in Farmer Knowledge Exchange: ‘Scaling-Up’ as Fordist Replication in Drag
    William G. Moseley

    7. When the Solution Became a Problem: Strategies in the Reform of Agricultural Extension in Uganda
    Patience B. Rwamigisa, Paul Kibwika, Frank B. Matsiko, Margaret N. Mangheni and Regina Birner

    8. Sweet ‘Success’: Contesting biofortification strategies to address malnutrition in Tanzania
    Sheila Rao and Chris Huggins

    9. Crops in context: negotiating traditional and formal seed institutions
    Ola T. Westengen

    10. Laws of the field: the rights and justice of development-oriented agronomy
    James A. Fraser

    11. A golden age for agronomy?
    Ken Giller, Jens Andersson and James Sumberg and John Thompson




    James Sumberg is Research Fellow in the Rural Futures research cluster at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and a member of the STEPS Centre, University of Sussex, UK.

    "As an agronomist working in development, I found Agronomy for Development to be very refreshing. This book enlarges the discussion around development agronomy and offers tools for a more meaningful engagement of the subject. This is a very timely contribution." Professor Martin Entz, Department of Plant Science, University of Manitoba, Canada

    "Progress in transforming agriculture and achieving food security will very much depend on whether good agronomy can be brought to scale. This requires re-thinking by everyone involved, including agronomists themselves. This book is a refreshing contribution to this debate." Professor Achim Dobermann, Director, Rothamsted Research, UK

    "Agronomy for Development: The Politics of Knowledge in Agricultural Research should be read by both agronomists and development professionals.  Over the past 40 years, agricultural development has become increasingly competitive.  The result is proposals that are comprised of bundles of win themes that are based on success stories rather than science.  The high expectations of impact inevitably lead to disappointment.  Through recent and relevant examples, Agronomy for Development discusses how to address these challenges." — Dr Tom Remington, Senior Technical Adviser, International Potato Center (CIP)

    "Rethinking agronomy, for what purposes, by whom?  These are the compelling questions at the heart of this book, through the lens of knowledge politics. Presented by the foremost thinkers in the field, this is mandatory reading for agronomists, food systems actors and all of those engaged in development and contestation." Professor Sieg Snapp, Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, Center for Global Change Science, Michigan State University, USA