Latest articles

The pros and cons of commercial farming models in Africa
June 9, 2017 / News
Colonialism brought large-scale farming to Africa, promising modernisation and jobs – but often dispossessing people and exploiting workers. Now, after several decades of independence, and with investor interest growing, African governments are once again promoting large plantations and estates. But

Tobacco and contract farming in Zimbabwe
May 29, 2017 / Our blog
How does commercial agriculture – and particularly contract farming – affect agrarian dynamics? We have been looking at this question in work in Mvurwi area in Mazowe district over the last few years. New work under the Agricultural Policy Research

What prospects for the next generation of rural Zimbabweans?
May 2, 2017 / Our blog
After the brief interlude last week, this blog concludes the series of five pieces on youth in the new resettlement areas. Our studies across Zimbabwe have shown how school leavers imagine their futures, but also how in practice these visions

Combating neglected tropical diseases: more than just drugs and vaccines
April 29, 2017 / Our blog
Neglected tropical diseases have been in the news this week. A big meeting at the World Health Organisation in Geneva has resulted in big pledges from the UK aid progamme and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to banish the

Diverse life courses: difficult choices for young people in rural Zimbabwe
April 29, 2017 / Our blog
To get a sense of how livelihoods are composed, we must look over time, and get a picture of emerging life courses. Across the 25 detailed interviews we undertook there is huge variety, just among the 20-31 year olds who

How are the children of Zimbabwe’s land reform beneficiaries making a living?
April 29, 2017 / Our blog
How have young people who grew up on farms allocated to their parents as part of the ‘fast-track’ land reform fared in the period after leaving school? In our studies, we have explored the life courses of those who are

APRA in the news: Ghana Stakeholders brainstorm over new project
April 2, 2017 / APRA
APRA is a five-year research programme that will focus on different pathways to agriculture commercialisation in sub-Saharan Africa. Based at IDS the project also has regional hubs in Ghana, Kenya and South Africa. Recent discussions amongst the Ghana hub and

Imagined futures: what will rural school leavers being doing in 20 years?
March 29, 2017 / Our blog
What do young people imagine they will be doing in the future and what obstacles lie in their way? These were questions we posed to a total of 84 Form IV students in 3 schools in or very near to

Young people and agriculture: implications for post-land reform Zimbabwe
March 29, 2017 / Our blog
‘Youth’ have recently become the centre of development debates, particularly around African agriculture. A poorly defined category of young people – maybe adults, sometimes children – youth are presented in relation to a dizzying array of policy narratives. To get

The future of medium-scale commercial farms in Africa: lessons from Zimbabwe
March 1, 2017 / Our blog
Important changes are afoot in the size structure of farms in Africa. The rise of ‘medium-scale’ farms is often pointed to. From studies in Kenya, Ghana, Zambia and elsewhere, carried out by Michigan State University, a pattern of consolidation of