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Economics essays on rice seed security and sovereignty in Guinea Bissau

Coruche, Maria Piedade de Avillez Luz (2018) Economics essays on rice seed security and sovereignty in Guinea Bissau. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Abstract

This thesis aims to examine the status of seed security and seed sovereignty among female lowland rice farmers in Guinea Bissau. It draws from different, while complementary strands of the literature, investigating seed systems. One focusing on functional aspects of farmers’ seed systems, such as availability, access and varietal suitability, while the other stems from seed sovereignty movement which looks at seed systems from a rights perspective. This research objective is to contribute to this literature by providing new insights on seed security measures, quantitative evidence of the effects of seed security on food production and on how farmers, in context of limited statehood can protect their rights under a multi-level governance system “pushing” their rights’ in different directions. Chapter 1 provides an introduction on the issues surrounding seed systems, seed security and seed sovereignty in developing countries, the motivation and the research objectives. Chapter 2 develops a comprehensive measure of seed security with the objective to capture in a single measure all the different dimensions behind seed security. Chapter 3 builds on findings of the previous chapter, by employing the seed security index and other seed security measures, to estimate the determinants of seed security and the effect of seed security on food production. Chapter 4 puts the former research in a broader context. Using qualitative evidence in the sector, this last chapter looks at seed sovereignty from the perspective of a fragile state in the context of international and national governance regimes. Overall this thesis has found that availability and social access are currently the key dimensions driving seed security status among lowland rice farmers. This is a result of high levels of poverty and a residual formal seed market, where farmers resort predominantly on their own seed and seed in their social networks, to produce rice, their major staple crop. Area owned and household labour are found to be the key determinants of seed security while results also suggest that seed security has a positive effect on rice production. This research has also found that external forces accruing from global and regional seed governance regimes are not currently undermining nor reinforcing seed sovereignty rights that lowland farmers’ seem to be enjoying. However, the uneven influence between regimes might change the status quo towards the erosion of farmers’ rights, with consequences for their livelihoods and agro-biodiversity.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2018 Maria Piedade de Avillez Luz Coruche
Library of Congress subject classification: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
S Agriculture > SB Plant culture
Sets: Departments > Geography and Environment
Supervisor: Groom, Ben
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/4203

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