The GMO 2.0 partnership

Renseignements sur le financement
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
  • Type de subvention: Subventions de développement de partenariat
  • Années: 2017/18 à 2019/20
  • Financement total: $99,983
Mots clés
Chercheur(e) principal(e)

Sommaire du projet

Over half a billion dollars has been invested in creating Genetically Modified (GM) staple crops as a means of alleviating poverty and hunger in Sub-Saharan Africa. These second-generation GM crops---which we term GMO 2.0---are nearly ready for wide-scale distribution. Social scientists agree that the potential for new technologies to alleviate poverty depend on whether women gain decision-making power over cropping methods, variety selection, labour allocation, and the use of household income. The potential for GM crops to mitigate poverty will similarly hinge on their ability to enhance women's well-being, yet there is no research that seeks to evaluate how these soon-to-be-released technologies will impact gender relations. This partnership addresses this gap. The overarching goal of this project is to initiate a new international, interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral research network that will evaluate the gendered impacts of GM staple crops in four African countries where commercialization is imminent. The partnership brings together three distinct sectors: Canadian researchers who bring theoretical and methodological expertise from four social scientific disciplines, African researchers who possess more than sixty years of collective experience investigating how gender dynamics shape agricultural production, and farmer-based Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) who are experienced facilitators and work to empower smallholder farmers on a daily basis. The GMO 2.0 Partnership will initiate a new partnership approach that revolves around Community-level Consultative Committees (C3s). These will serve as knowledge hubs ensuring that farmers are involved in shaping every project phase. The collaborative model embedded within the C3s will provide the blend of scholarly, practitioner and farmer knowledge needed to achieve our three objectives: 1) Design and execute methodological protocols that examine the impact of GM staple crops on gender relations, 2) Assess whether newly released GM varieties can contribute to women's empowerment in Sub-Saharan Africa, and 3) Facilitate the multi-directional flow of knowledge in order to enhance farmer access to information. A partnership approach is essential to achieving these objectives. It will facilitate the longer-term aim of scaling-up these protocols and processes into the first continental-level network capable of evaluating the potential for this new paradigm of agricultural development to improve yields and livelihoods for African farmers. Linking universities, African research institutes and CSOs with farmers will produce outputs---in the form of peer-reviewed publications for scholars, farmer-to-farmer exchanges and video diaries for community members, and a fact sheet and policy brief for policy makers---that are both intellectually robust and practically relevant. Project activities will produce important outcomes for three distinct audiences. Scholars will benefit from the first comprehensive assessment of the gendered impacts of second-generation GM crops in Africa. Policy-makers will gain insights into how to create agricultural policies and experimental programs that reflect the priorities and perspectives of women farmers. Farmers will gain new knowledge about these novel GM crops and be empowered to make informed decisions around whether these technologies make sense given the realities they face on the ground. The GMO 2.0 Partnership will add value for participants and partner organizations alike, creating a long-term network that combines scholarly, practitioner and farmer knowledge in order to assess the impact of new agricultural biotechnologies on some of the world's most vulnerable farmers.