Inducing multi-level institutional change through participatory plant breeding in southwest China

Jingsong Li

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


The expansion of modern hybrid varieties in maize (Zea mays L.) in China has caused the rapid loss of local varieties, including farmer maintained varieties and landraces. With growing international recognition of the importance of agro-biodiversity conservation and on-farm crop improvement, participatory plant breeding has been accepted as a complementary strategy in modern agricultural research. Participatory plant breeding has been conducted in Guangxi province in the Southwest China since 2000. It has introduced technical options to the formal breeding programme as well as institutional options at a range of levels, including new, formalised benefit sharing arrangement among stakeholders. This study seeks to understand these challenges and, through action research to induce supportive multi-level institutional change through and for participatory plant breeding within the local socio-technical context. The core research questions of this study are: • What were the changes in the distribution of maize landraces and hybrids from 1998 to 2008 in the three southwest provinces, Guangxi, Yunnan and Guizhou? • What are the potentials of participatory plant breeding for maize hybrid improvement in this context? • How do the institutional changes in the organization of the seed supply system in China influence small holder-oriented seed supply? • What is the contribution of action researching to institutional innovation in the case of developing access and benefit sharing mechanisms in the context of the participatory plant breeding programme in southwest China? • How has public value been created, strengthened and rewarded through participatory plant breeding and related market mechanisms in selected cases?
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Leeuwis, Cees, Promotor
  • Lammerts van Bueren, Edith, Promotor
  • Jiggins, J.L.S., Co-promotor
  • Song, Y., Co-promotor, External person
Award date29 May 2012
Place of PublicationS.l.
Print ISBNs9789461732705
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • plant breeding
  • plant breeding methods
  • farmers
  • small farms
  • participation
  • plant genetic resources
  • action research
  • institutions
  • innovations
  • china


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