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Overview – Ian Scoones and John Thompson
January 14, 2010 / Miscellaneous

When the Future Agricultures Consortium (FAC) began, there was a different context in debates about agriculture. Policy research was being done, but not much. FAC was providing a space that was underrepresented at that time – not any longer. There are many things going on now and the policy environment is changing with more and new actors (e.g. ISTD, AGRA, CAADP, Millennium Villages, etc.) and urgent issues – food crisis, fertiliser crisis, more publications). And there are now bigger players and bigger debates around policy-focussed research. We need to continue to argue for our space at this table.

In the FAC phase II proposal, we described a broad mission: aims “to encourage dialogue and the sharing of good practice by policy makers and opinion formers in Africa on the role of agriculture in broad based growth”.

There are others that also cover similar territory (e.g. CAADP, AGRA IFPRI, etc.) – where do we fit? What do we do that’s different? How to insert FAC into more mainstream processes where we can challenge, critique, confront? What is our niche?

  • We are situated in the international scene – imbedded in particular areas conducting ‘real research’ in ‘real places’) and this speaks to broader debates and contributes to interesting insights.
  • We are a diverse partnership – multiple institutions, UK and Africa – membership – university, NGO consultants, disciplinary diversity (e.g. agriculture economists) so we don’t have a singular focus.
  • We commit ourselves to process-orientation (Policy Processes) multiple scenarios – constructing future agricultures – no definitive view about what should be but open to creating debate.
  • We are independent, flexible, etc. – values noted in external report. One of our selling points – particularly as the mainstream (right hand column).
  • We provide research that is not automatically available – we are able to challenge conventional wisdom. 

SEMINAR AGENDA University of Sussex Brighton, England
January 14, 2010 / Miscellaneous

{jathumbnail off}University_of_Sussex_Professor Jeremy Swift specialises in the development of pastoral economiesin Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. His particular interests include;

  • poverty,
  • famine,
  • land tenure and
  • pastoral governance.

Pastoral policy-making has lagged far behind other policy domains mainly because pastoralism has been widely misunderstood and ignored by policy makers.

Pastoralists’ own economic and social strategies have often been considered irrational, and in need of radical change. This opening session of the seminar will look at key aspects of pastoral policy and open the debate – to be explored in detail during the rest of the seminar – about what policies might be appropriate, feasible and effective.

Policy Processes – Colin Poulton
January 14, 2010 / Miscellaneous

Progress and Challenges

  • Didn’t get started until December
  1. Long delay in contracts (DFID contract, PP time allocation)
  2. Getting team together (methodology and detailed planning for MOA district study)
  • Main policy engagement Tuesday Fertiliser workshop
  • MoA study

  1. Secondary data collection started
  2. Fieldwork starting next week
  3. Draft by end of Year 1
  • Draft review of SWAps in Agriculture – Lidia C


  • What would impact of CAADP target be on Mins of Ag and RD? à will they be overwhelmed by more money?
  • How can you focus on district offices only à how do you get to the ‘mixed ecology’? – in terms of delivery we’re talking about gov’t, CSO and priv sector/traders and how they work together; alternative access to services/extension – but focus is on Mins of ARD because they haven’t moved as far as the others / National-level discussions – need to think how to engage with Mins of Finance
  • Ethiopia? – Will come in Yr 2, after finishing most of the Kenya and Malawi work
  • Need to note study by IFPRI, EEAR and others on extent of national extension delivery – very relevant to FAC study à ask more political economy, institutional and governance issues on back of this
  • Lessons from Research Into Use? – DFID realised these governance issues – role of the state, political processes, etc – were missing link in regional and national work – now working to rectify this – inform FARA, ASARECA, etc. to link up with stakeholders they’re accountable to

The Future of Pastoralism in Ethiopia
January 14, 2010 / Miscellaneous

{jathumbnail off}Pastoralism_in_EthiopiaEthiopian representatives and leading international thinkers deliberate overthe state of pastoralism, making a new analysis of potential futures Understanding of Pastor Pastoralism alismEthiopia has Africa’ Africa’s largest livestock population. Over 60% of its land area iss semi-arid lowland, dominated by the livestock economy economy.

Today Ethiopia is looking day for a new and deeper understanding of its pastoralist regions and an accurate appreciation of their environmental and socio-economic trajectories. Ethiopians from the Federal and Regional governments and from traditional institutions met at the University of Sussex, Brighton, England in December 2006 to deliberate over the future for pastoralism in Ethiopia.

They discussed past and present pastoralist policies and policy processes and set out a policy objective that calls for ‘creating sustainable livelihoods and improved living conditions and reducing vulnerability vulnerability, risk and conflict in pastoral areas.’ They proposed to achieve, this through ‘enhanced socio-economic integration, recognition of pastoralists pastoralists’voice and maximising the potential of the pastoral economy economy.’

This report is drawn from evidence given by academic scholars in the fields ofeconomics, anthropology, environmental studies and political science, together with the deliberations of the Ethiopian team. It summarises the data and presents a fresh analysis of potential futures for pastoralists. It begins by setting out thefacts and figures in section one; putting forward evidence on influential longer-term factors that affect development in pastoralist regions.

The publication then looks toward the future, envisioning some of the choices pastoralists may make over the next 20 years. The analysis uses the research evidence to consider how the key influences on pastoralism may combine to shape the future. If market potential is high and environmental productivity is good, what is the most likely direction of development? Where are the benefitslikely to accrue and what risks do people face? Conversely, if markets are, inaccessible and population outstrips production from the natural environment,what would the likely outcomes then be? This combination of science and imagination produces a new new, more detailed and more realistic understanding, of the way pastoralism works and its future in Ethiopia.

Growth and Social Protection – Stephen Devereux
January 14, 2010 / Miscellaneous


  • Working Papers Series – 7 papers based on secondary sources based on FAO / FAC work – intersection between seasonality, SP and smallholder ag, country cases (3 FAC countries + Ghana + overviews + seasonality)
  • FAC briefing papers – summarising longer working papers
  • ODI NR perspective – Malawi input subsidy team
  • Seasons of Hunger – Hunger Watch + FAC
  • All above signal new theme on seasonality, SP and smallholders – brought in Robert Chambers
  • Another book – Social Protection in Africa – Frank Ellis + Philip White – not FAC product


A lot going on – impressive

  • Portfolio of activities – lesson on how to do things with such a strange budget profile
  • Seasonality – 20 years ago people were addressing; why did it get dropped off the agenda? How will this research put it back on the agenda and how will it be kept on? A: Reason for the conference will be to address that issue. Structural adjustment removed a whole set of buffers that smooth food pricing, etc. and ignored financial market failures (seasonal finance). Need to develop theory and get it back in undergraduate degree programmes. Bangladesh is a place where gov’t is addressing this.
  • Give list of possible research plans how will you select priorities? FAC team have own preferences – e.g., seasonality, SP and pastoral areas; 1-year cycle; etc. But some will be demand-driven. Will use time after Seasonality conference to discuss.
  • Scoping study on Climate Change Adaptation, Social Protection and Agriculture – IDS Climate Change team leading in SE Asia, soon E Africa
  • RiPPLE – Household studies in N Ethiopia – seasonal water availability and hh strategies

Pastoral Innovation Systems Perspectives from Ethiopia and Kenya
January 14, 2010 / Miscellaneous

{jathumbnail off}Pastoral_Innovation_SystemsThe Future Agricultures Consortium (FAC) aims to encourage critical debate and policy dialogue on the future of agriculture in Africa. The Consortium is a partnership between research-based organisations in Africa and the UK, with work currently focusing on Ethiopia, Kenya and Malawi.Through stakeholder-led policy dialogues on future scenarios for agriculture, informed by field research, the Consortium aims to elaborate the practical and policy challenges of establishing and sustaining pro-poor agricultural growth in Africa, with a focus onEthiopia, Kenya and Malawi.Current work focuses on four core themes:

Policy processes: what political, organisational or budgetary processes promote or hinderpathways to pro-poor, agriculture-led growth? What role should different actors, includingMinistries of Agriculture, have in this?
Growth and social protection: what are the trade-offs and complementarities betweengrowth and social protection objectives?
Agricultural commercialisation: what types of commercialisation of agriculture bothpromote growth and reduce poverty? What institutional and market arrangements arerequired?Science, technology and innovation: how can agricultural technology be made to workfor the poor? How are technology trajectories linked to processes of agrarian/livelihoodchange?

Policy Dialogues and Scenarios
January 14, 2010 / Miscellaneous

Kenya perspective

  1. CAADP agenda, MDG agenda, Vision 2030 all circulating around same set of issues – difficult to isolate CAADP process from other strategies/processes
  2. Philosophical differences about bottom-up processes – decision makers often disagree about how to introduce participatory processes into NR and agric policy issues
  3. Kenya federalism is a very sensitive issue – ‘majimboism’ – serious tensions between those advocating regionalism/federalism and those promoting centralism à there are constituency funds/processes to influence policy processes
  4. Sensitivities over regional processes – Northern Lands strategy still in development; minister may not wish to discuss with neighbouring countries

Malawi perspective

  1. Can’t see place for a comprehensive consultation – already many – but by focusing on topics like ‘future farmers’ or ‘farmers’ organisations’ – this would be important for bringing up voices of key constituencies
  2. Process of this nature would be important for stimulating the decentralisation process, which has almost stopped – particularly important at the moment – opportunities for organising local people around issues of service delivery à open avenues for people for engaging with local government structures
  3. Africa Regional Dept – Afrobarometer – opinion surveys could get some quick results à Blessings – results may be out end of Mar for Malawi – could be useful information
  4. CAADP – having their 4th Platform Partnership meeting in Pretoria end of March – get in touch with focal points in FAC countries – organise event on future farmers and farmers’ organisations.

DFID – Broader Trends and Initiatives in African Agriculture – Terri Sarch
January 14, 2010 / Miscellaneous

Top of Ag Advisers – Global Partnership for Agriculture and Food Security (GPAF).

Top of the agenda: Global Partnership of Agriculture and Food Security

During the food price crises – Dfid asked: “What could we do about without spending too much money” – took it to the G8, etc. so the idea was created. At the same time, the UN set up the high level task force – GPAS would be setup to deliver the Comprehensive Framework for Action.

  • The have CAADP and other African country buy in – struggled to get FAO and some Latin countries.
  1. During food price crisis senior DFID advisers were asking what do we do about it – GPAF? – developed with French, G8 Tokyo meeting endorsed
  2. High Level Task Force – Comprehensive Framework for Action
  3. HLTF agreed GPAF would be set up to initiative the CFA – launched at Madrid meeting in late Jan 09
  4. DFID Food Group now focusing on pushing ahead on GPAF
  • New DFID ‘Food Group’
  1. Temporary group set up to address food crisis in July 08 – to run to Mar 09 – inform DFID policy
  2. DFID Development Committee is due to consider how the Food Group can move forward the food security agenda
  • White Paper 4
  1. Focus of WP3 – Making Gov’t Work Better
  2. Focus of WP4 – Security – Food, Climate, Economic, Conflict
  3. Food Security – good for Food Group to set out agenda
  4. But… latest news, FS likely to be subsumed under Economic Security

CGIAR Reform and Relevance for FAC
January 14, 2010 / Miscellaneous


  • All these activities should be about process – but still debate about how narrow/broad the focus should be on particular content
  • Climate change/environmental sustainability – needs to be there, but shouldn’t drive the agenda – how do changes in climate affect the way we think about innovation systems? What are the factors – environmental and other – that affect them?
  • Off the shelf technologies – not just about getting them into farmers’ hands – must address governance and policy issues – examining the social and political trajectories that technologies travel will inform these debates
  • Particular projects and their focus:
  1. a broader approach to livestock would be useful, but focus on pastoral issues makes most sense
  2. would hope this would provide a platform for interacting with CG, reg’l research orgs, NARS, NGO networks, etc.
  • Need a more elaborate process to develop broader strategy for FAC work in STI à develop fuller proposal for Consortium to review
  • Innovation systems perspective has been there for some time – big challenge of programmes like Research Into Use and CG Challenge Programmes is operationalisation and developing and sustaining ‘stakeholder innovation platforms’ – many unanswered questions à CIMMYT struggling with this too
  • Role of gov’t – Ministries of S&T struggling with developing innovation output indicators to demonstrate impacts. MSTs weak in coordination and resource mobilisation
  • Regulation key issue – PPPs – incentive structure for interaction very weak, incoherence in the system à whole governance structure needs to be examined in this area

Country Reports Ethiopia
January 14, 2010 / Miscellaneous

Ethiopia team has expanded to new thematic areas for FAC:

  1. Investing in agriculture and pastoralism and ‘future pastoralisms’ – understanding patterns of investment – rural/urban, agric/pastoral areas
  2. Climate change, environment and sustainable development – building on capacity on CC, understanding impact on Ethiopian agriculture
  3. Future farmers and pastoralists – a passion for us, coming out of original consultations with youth and children, one reason agriculture has stagnated is loss of youth – how to attract back to agriculture


  • Phase I – FAC Ethiopia team made the best of limited policy space by continuous dialogue, non-threatening approach, and building social capital. This will continue in Phase II.
  • However, policy space is getting narrower due to a new law governing charities and societies. Will affect work across the board! Government has given all NGOs one year to wrap up programmes, must register all again in 2010 – may close many down.
  • Various working groups set up but difficult to get moving – 7 task groups to identify key issues/priorities, then bring to core group to develop common strategy – but question of incentives/expectations.
  • Untimely budget release to undertake fieldwork led to uncertainties.
  • With respect to Social Protection, the theme still has a very low profile in MoLSA – because of limited resources, urban focused, but we are trying to include this in consultations. Need to identify good institutions to maintain momentum.