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Socioeconomic Obstacles to Establishing a Participatory Plant Breeding Program for Organic Growers in the United States

Author

Listed:
  • Ruth Mendum

    () (Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, Penn State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA)

  • Leland L. Glenna

    () (Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, Penn State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA)

Abstract

Proponents of participatory plant breeding (PPB) contend that it is more conducive to promoting agricultural biodiversity than conventional plant breeding. The argument is that conventional plant breeding tends to produce crops for homogenous environments, while PPB tends to be directed at meeting the diverse environmental conditions of the farmers participating in a breeding program. Social scientific research is needed to highlight the complex socioeconomic factors that inhibit efforts to initiate PPB programs. To contribute, we offer a case study of a participatory organic seed production project that involved a university breeding program, commercial organic seed dealers, and organic farmers in the Northeastern United States. We demonstrate that, although PPB may indeed promote agricultural biodiversity, several socioeconomic obstacles must be overcome to establish such a program.

Suggested Citation

  • Ruth Mendum & Leland L. Glenna, 2009. "Socioeconomic Obstacles to Establishing a Participatory Plant Breeding Program for Organic Growers in the United States," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(1), pages 1-19, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:2:y:2009:i:1:p:73-91:d:6663
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    agricultural biodiversity; socioeconomic context; plant breeding;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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