Witness Kozanayi

Post-doctoral Fellow


In early 2019 I joined the Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences as a Post-doctoral Research Fellow after completing my PhD studies in the same department. Broadly, my research area comprises the governance of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) and the livelihoods of people who depend on natural resources. I am particularly interested in the role and dynamics of customary systems or local practices in managing NTFPs, especially when such resources are commercialised, and the state subsequently gets involved by introducing statutory practices which impact on existing local practices. To that end, I am also interested in the ecological and livelihood outcomes of the interplay between customary and statutory systems. I have conducted extensive research on these issues, including within the context of economies in distress.

Further, drawing on many years of work in the NGO sector, I am interested in looking at agroecological agricultural production in rural areas and the governance of seed systems led by smallholder farmers. As part of my Post-doctoral Fellowship, I will be working with the Seed and Knowledge Initiative (SKI) which is being implemented in the southern African region, notably, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi. Broadly, SKI aims to revive traditional seed and knowledge systems and deepen understanding about their functioning, within the context of supportive agricultural, ecological, and cultural practices. I would like to pursue some of these issues, with a particular focus on setting research agendas with rural farmers.

During my spare time I like to play social soccer, exercising through walking, and telling stories.