On Tuesday September 29, Chrysa Morfis thesis "Organisation and Governance of Agri-food Systems - Implications of Intellectual Property Rights in Plant Biotechnology" was presented and defended at a public defence at SLU.
This thesis examines the question of organization, governance and choice of seeds in Swedish agriculture. It consists of four papers: Paper I examines the evolution of plant breeding industry in Sweden. The results suggest that the establishment of intellectual property rights (IPRs) schemes creates power in the seed value chain in Sweden and has therefore been a major driver of mergers and acquisitions, together with changes in domestic agricultural policy as well the country´s entrance to EU. Based on nationwide survey farmers, papers II and III examine the impact of IPRs and specifically the implications of the enforcement of Plant Breeders Rights on farmers´ choice between certified versus farm saved seed (FSS). Paper II uses transaction cost theory and logistics regression to examine empirically the governance structure of farmers choosing certified or FSS. Farmers´ assessment of the quality seed in terms of the genetic purity of each channel has no impact on their choice while personal relations with their upstream partners, investments in the farm as well as delivery contracts affect their procurement strategy. In paper III, spatial autoregressive models are used in order to examine the transfer of “know-how” between farmers, and the spillover effects of social learning in farmers´ choice of seed channel. Farmers are distinguished between neighbors, based on their relative distance; and peers, based on membership in farmers’ cooperatives. The results indicate the existence of spatial dependence on Swedish farmers’ choice of seed channel. Paper IV evaluates the impact of farmers’ social networks on their decision to be involved in the governance of the agricultural cooperative. The findings suggest a relationship between network characteristics and farmers’ involvement in the governance that persists over a long period.
Keywords: seed systems, intellectual property rights, transaction cost theory, Bayesian econometrics, social networks, cooperative governance, cooperatives