“Whose demand?” The co-construction of markets, demand and gender in development-oriented crop breeding

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Springer Nature
Advancing women’s empowerment and gender equality in agriculture is a recognised development goal, also within crop breeding. Increasingly, breeding teams are expected to use ‘market-based’ approaches to design more ‘demand-led’ and ‘gender-responsive’ crop varieties. Based on an institutional ethnography that includes high-profile development-oriented breeding initiatives, we unpack these terms using perspectives from political agronomy and feminist science and technology studies. By conceptualising the market as an ongoing, relational performance made up of discourses, practices and human and nonhuman actors, we trace how the market is understood as an effective socioeconomic institution for soliciting demand, but also becomes a normative agenda. Construed as a demand variable, the relational and structural dimensions of gender are rendered less visible, which might strengthen rather than transform power relations’ status quo. On the other hand, a feminist science and technology perspective broadens the field of vision not only to the gendered dimensions of crop breeding, but also to the nonhuman actors, such as the crops and traits falling outside the market sphere of interest. By putting political agronomy and feminist science and technology studies into conversation, the article contributes to the development of a feminist political agronomy.
© The Author(s) 2022. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Version of Scholarly Record of this Article is published in Agriculture and Human Values, 2022, available online at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10460-022-10337-y . Keywords: Africa; CGIAR; co-construction; crop breeding; demand; feminist political agronomy; gender; markets.
Tarjem, I.A., Westengen, O.T., Wisborg, P. et al. “Whose demand?” The co-construction of markets, demand and gender in development-oriented crop breeding. Agric Hum Values 40, 83–100 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10460-022-10337-y