Further to the recent posting about the CAS-IP System Dynamics team participating at the 2009 System Dynamics conference the following is an update from the trip report written by Sebastian Derwisch and Sebastian Poehlmann:
“For this project we are creating a generic model of the seed value chain in West Africa, depicting every step from variety creation in the research and development sector down to the adoption by smallholder farmers.
In the plenary session Sebastian Derwisch presented a paper he co-authored with Birgit Kopainsky on farmers’ adoption in which they are trying to identify a) how farmers’ adoption differs by country and region, b) which policies are suited to enhance the adoption of improved seed as well as c) the role IP strategies play in this process.
The discussion after the presentation dealt mainly with following:
– Matching reference mode – did we validate the structure with empirical data
– Including bottom up approaches; IP policies are perceived to be top down approaches and we need to include justifications to what extend working top down is in fact necessary if we speak of framing conditions like intellectual property right or to what extent executing IPR is also bottom up
– Including the price as a variable – including financing issues of enhanced agricultural inputs more explicitly would increase confidence in the structure as this is the main inhibiting factor for adoption
– How can we simulate the impact of catastrophic events like droughts?
– What about combining policies?
– What are factors that would make farmers that once used commercial seed start using traditional farm saved seed again
– is availability an issue here? What else?
The other paper Sebastian Derwisch presented was his work on the issue of enhancing investment into the development of new seed varieties. In this parallel session he received comments on the problem of validating the structure with empirical data. It was also suggested the project could benefit from looking at other agricultural inputs for traditional and commercial seed systems as influencing factors.
From discussions at the presentations it became clear that embedding seed value chain in the larger context of energy prices, other food chains and the productivity and capacity of soils would be another interesting aspect.
We observed the current trends towards web-based simulation and modelling collaboration with great interest and plan to invest some time in developing web simulations in order to better illustrate and communicate the System Dynamics approach e.g. via the CAS-IP blog.”