From seeds of friendship to technologies of resistance: Understanding China’s ambiguous role in rural Tajikistan

Part of the autumn 2023 Agrarian Change Seminar series
Dr Irna Hofman
Monday 4 Dec 2023, 16:15 - 18:00
Spoken Language
Aula and Zoom
International Institute of Social Studies
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Poster with leaders of China and Tajikistan shaking hands

In this hybrid Agrarian Change Seminar series, Dr Irna Hofman analyses the rising spread of Chinese seeds in foreign markets.

China’s nascent role in the global agrifood regime and the country’s growing role in global standardization intertwine with the rising spread of Chinese seeds in foreign markets. This talk analyses these developments.

Based on long-term research, it examines the characteristics of and dynamics revolving around a Chinese seed company in Tajikistan, a country in which China’s influence has grown substantially since the early 2010s.

Is China sowing the seeds of empire? Focussing on Tajikistan’s cotton sector, Irna Hofman argues that Chinese seed breeders strategically tapped into Chinese state funds to develop their commercial seed business. However, Tajik actors played an indispensable role in mediating the Chinese presence and the commodification of seed.

Hofman contends that, while the Chinese state plays a central role in the globalization of seed companies, the materialization of state capital is shaped by private actors, who operate according to capitalist rationality.

More information

This seminar is part of the Autumn 2023 Agrarian Change Seminar Series and is co-organized by Journal of Agrarian Change and International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague.

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