Our blog

Opinions and comments from Future Agricultures researchers on agricultural politics, science and society in Africa


Latest articles

“The path to prosperity starts with land reform”, says the Economist
November 27, 2017 / Our blog
It’s not often that the Economist magazine sings the praises of radical land reform. But on October 12th, the Banyan column on Asia proclaimed: “the path to prosperity starts with land reform”. The article caught my attention, and I read on.
Youth, smart phones and tractors in Africa – a new agrarian class?
November 15, 2017 / Our blog
Written by, Lidia Cabral and Jim Sumberg   Farming mechanisation is back on the policy and research agenda. Although some old debates – on roles of the state and on appropriate type and scale of technology – remain relevant, there are
Why governance constraints are holding back young people in rural Zimbabwe
November 13, 2017 / Our blog
In the last blog I looked at what young people aged 16-18, studying at three schools in land reform areas in Zimbabwe, imagined they would be doing in 20 years. This blog focuses on their perceptions of constraints to getting there. Many
What next for young people in Zimbabwe’s land reform areas?
November 7, 2017 / Our blog
As discussed in the blog series earlier this year, we have been investigating inter-generational questions in land reform areas. 17 years on, young people born after the land reform are leaving school, and thinking about what next? Will this be farming, or

Confronting authoritarian populism: challenges for agrarian studies
October 24, 2017 / Our blog
Last week I was in Russia at the fascinating fifth BRICS Initiative in Critical Agrarian Studies conference. Throughout the event we heard about the emergence of particular styles of authoritarian populist regimes, including in the BRICS countries, but elsewhere too. Based on

Tractor-powered modernisation for the few
October 16, 2017 / Our blog
Tractors are back in the spotlight as a prime symbol of a modernisation vision for African agriculture. Are they the answer to low productivity and food insecurity? Are they the mark of a rising class of modern farmers, ready to
Roads, belts and corridors: what is happening along Africa’s eastern seaboard?
October 12, 2017 / Our blog
The eastern seaboard of Africa from Kenya to Tanzania to Mozambique has become a major focus of attention. The ports – from Bagamoyo to Beira – are seen as the gateway to Africa, a place where great riches can be

Interdisciplinary puzzles: some lessons from Zimbabwe
October 4, 2017 / Our blog
Just out in Human Ecology is a new open access paper – People, patches and parasites: the case of trypanosomiasis in Zimbabwe. It presents the results of a project looking at the socio-ecology of disease in Africa – part of the Dynamic Drivers of
Decent work for all? We need to talk about rural informal employment!
September 28, 2017 / Our blog
The idea that there are universal rights in relation to work, and a universal standard that delineates acceptable from unacceptable work, has an impressive pedigree. Rooted in Article 23 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights; solidified in the

Land and agriculture in Zimbabwe following land reform
August 17, 2017 / Our blog
In May, I was invited to give a talk on Zimbabwe’s land reform and its aftermath by a great new student initiative at SOAS (School of African and Asia Studies) focused on agriculture and development in Africa. The event was