Josey Kamanda conducting fieldwork researchJosey Kamanda (2007 Commonwealth Shared Scholar from India, MSc Technology Management, University of Surrey) is now studying for his PhD,  looking at agricultural research policy implications. He is a recipient of the ‘Excellence Scholarship’ for PhD students participating in the Food Security Centre’s PhD Programme ‘Global Food Security’ at the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany. Previously, he worked at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid tropics, Hyderabad, as Associate Professional Officer (Institutional Innovation Specialist) for three years.

Josey’s PhD work is being supervised by Professor Dr Regina Birner, formerly of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and now Chair of the Division of Social and Institutional Change in Agricultural Development. This Division is part of the  Institute of Agricultural Economics and Social Sciences in the Tropics and Subtropics in Hohenheim.

Josey’s research deals with what role the international agricultural research centres of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) can play in addressing governance challenges in agricultural innovation systems. Between October 2012 and March 2013 Josey conducted fieldwork on improved groundnut and chickpea varieties of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in three countries (India, Malawi and Ethiopia). These countries differ in relation to the capacity of their agricultural research systems, and the state of their seed systems.

A participatory mapping technique called Netmap, key informant interviews, and a meta-analysis of adoption studies were conducted to analyse the role of the different institutions and individuals involved in promoting improved legumes. The results show that international agricultural research plays an important role in breeding improved varieties, for which the centres have a comparative advantage.

However, due to factors such as donor pressure to show impact, the international centres also engage in downstream activities of seed promotion, which are problematic from a governance perspective. This is because they either compete with national systems, or they reduce the incentives for national governments to overcome the governance challenges in their national systems.