Supporting innovative, cutting edge ideas, the Research Innovation Fund (RIF) provides seed grants for cross-college collaborative projects.
The goal for this project is to conduct interdisciplinary research to learn about the values that inform digital phenotyping technology development and the actors that are likely to benefit through examining a case study of plant breeders at the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Colombia. The Alliance is part of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and continues to play an important role in promoting Green Revolution technologies across the Global South. Digital phenotyping technologies are increasingly used to generate specific information on crops to aid plant breeders in finding and developing optimal varieties. Nevertheless, research suggests that the increased adoption of high-yielding, hybrid seeds during the Green Revolution concurred with the standardization of farms and the promotion of industrial monocultures.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a test of the fragility of the global food and agricultural systems. Particularly, the pandemic heavily weighed down the agri-food systems in developing countries. Nonetheless, the outcomes of the pandemic are creating robust opportunities geared towards the sustainability and resilience of the global agri-food systems. In the agri-food value chain this surge in demand has accelerated the growth of digital agriculture SMEs. The foundation of this research project is built on exploring how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted digital agriculture SMEs in agribusiness value chains of frontier markets through measuring things like disparities (e.g., gender differences) in subscriptions, the impact of COVID-19 on sales and turnover of SMEs, and the socio-economic and political environment.
This project focuses in emergent agritech initiatives in Myanmar, a nation that came online only after a democratizing government shattered the military telecoms monopoly in 2014. The research contributes to the growing fields of digital political ecology, digital agriculture, and critical data studies by ethnographically investigating how new farmer extension apps, drone-spraying services and digital cooperatives are reshaping relationships between people, food, and land. Building on interviews and participant observation, a case study will be developed into a manuscript to be submitted to the Global South to Agriculture and Human Values or Geoforum in Fall 2020.
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