New seed technologies are promoted as a vital part of meeting the challenge of feeding the world’s growing population, yet very little is known about equity of access to seed in community seed systems. The first aim of this project is to survey the various institutions involved in the introduction of new seed technologies for rice, a major subsistence crop. Although studies describe specific seed distribution systems in specific nations/regions, there is no systematic database of the diverse institutional arrangements for seed distribution globally. The second aim is to assess the impacts of these different institutional arrangements for seed distribution in terms of the following criteria: (1) breadth of new seed technology adoption, (2) degree of social conflict over those technologies, (3) impacts on gender, and (4) impacts on small farmers.
The research team sent one member to India in Fall 2014 to collect preliminary data and establish contacts, and compiled the policies and laws on seed breeding and certification. Field-level data collection helped in their work toward creating a database of institutional arrangements for rice seed technologies in Asia; this will become publicly available online. The team is also combining the survey of the literature with field level data on two cases for comparing institutional arrangements for distributing seed technologies in India, a nation with a long history of controversy and experimentation over delivering new seed technologies to farmers.