My core research area focuses on debates over the potential for agricultural biotechnology to improve yields and livelihoods in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Over the past twenty years Africa has emerged as one of the most contentious sites for debates over the potential for biotechnologies—including Tissue Culture, Genetically Modified (GM) crops and gene edited crops—to transform agricultural production for smallholder, subsistence farmers.
Ongoing projects within this research stream include:
Improved Varieties of Matooke Banana in Uganda
Over the past ten years I have been undertaking research investigating farmer attitudes and intentions to adopt improved varieties of matooke banana, the primary carbohydrate staple in Uganda. I have also undertaken a series of studies investigating the promotion and regulation of biotechnology in Uganda.
Gendered Impacts of New Breeding Technologies
I lead an interdisciplinary partnership investigating the gender differentiated impacts of new breeding technologies in Uganda, South Africa, Kenya and Ghana. We co-developed a two-day workshop with farmers that utilizes focus group discussions, value chain mapping, and ranking exercises with mixed and segregated groups of men and women farmers in each group to better understand how the introduction of new breeding technologies impacts intra-household dynamics, with a focus on the impacts on women farmers.
Gene Editing in Europe and Africa
The emergence of gene editing tools like CRISPR have prompted renewed interest in conversations around the regulatory needs of improved crop varieties. In response to this growing debate, I lead an international network of researchers with expertise in the social sciences to explore the domestic and international ramifications of the EU’s policy and regulatory approach to genome editing in agriculture. The network will explore key development events in gene editing and the implications on agriculture through three hubs: policy, practice, and public perceptions. Learn more