Getting partnerships to work : a technography of the selection, making and distribution of improved planting material in the Kenyan Central Highlands

J.M. Ndubi

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU

Abstract

In Kenya, bananas and Irish potatoes are important staple crops. In the early 1990s, the crops were devastated by plant diseases resulting in immensely declined productivity and vulnerability of smallholder farmers. To address this problem, disease resistant varieties and tissue culture technology were introduced through partnerships. This thesis examines the working of these partnerships in the process of selecting, multiplying and disseminating improved planting materials under changeable and sometimes unanticipated social and material conditions, and whether this enabled technical change. The study describes how partnerships shape and manage technical change and how distributed task groups coordinate their actions. Partnerships organise and set in motion an evolving chain of sequential socio-technical practices, which incrementally generate technical change. Hence, partnerships are more than just an organisational tool for resource augmentation. Making partnerships work requires constant handling of the politics of selection procedures, the unanticipated consequences of material and technical problems, and the governance and control dimensions of team and group work. The study highlights the often hidden processes coordinating distributed skills and competences and the micro-politics of selection and performance as core elements for making partnerships work. The technographic approach made this visible in the performance of research teams, laboratories and collectively managed nurseries of multiplication sites. The study concludes that partnerships, as an organisational fix, are not a panacea for complicated problems, and a more thorough debate about the conditions under which partnerships may work – and for whom – is needed.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Richards, Paul, Promotor
  • Vellema, Sietze, Co-promotor
Award date30 Nov 2015
Place of PublicationWageningen
Publisher
Print ISBNs9789462571150
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • plant breeding
  • food security
  • bananas
  • potatoes
  • technology
  • innovations
  • agricultural development
  • partnerships
  • cooperation
  • kenya
  • east africa
  • africa

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