The Future Agricultures Consortium produces research in a variety of formats.Several key research series are available for download, circulation and citation.

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Latest articles

Agro-Dealers and the Political Economy of Agricultural Biotechnology Policy in Kenya
April 25, 2012 / Working Papers

Working Paper 33

Political Economy of Cereal Seed Systems in Africa project

by Hannington Odame and Elijah Muange
December 2011

Public and private actors and their networks are committing substantial resources to support agro-dealers to deliver novel technologies and information in line with the New Green Revolution for Africa. The main point of entry has been the cereal seed system, with a focus on maize seed in particular, which is seen as both a key staple and a politically important crop. In Kenya, the seed system landscape has been changing dramatically in recent years, with the entry of highly influential seed companies, biotechnology research and legislation of the biosafety regulations. Thus, the prospect of genetically modified (GM) crops being pushed through agribusiness networks is an emerging issue, raising the question of whether small-scale, independent stockists or ‘agro-dealers’ have the capacity to deliver these technologies and provide local regulatory control over the new seeds.

This study sought to investigate the policy and institutional environment within which agricultural biotechnology agro-dealers have evolved, as well as the agendas that are being pushed by particular interests in the new pro-GM policy and institutional environment in Kenya and their expected outcomes.


FAC Working Paper 033v2 Pdf 497.27 KB 4 downloads


From Negligence to Populism: An Analysis of Mozambique’s Agricultural Political Economy
April 25, 2012 / Working Papers

By Domingos M. do Rosário
April 2012

FAC Working Paper 34

Produced as part of the FAC Political Economy of Agricultural Policy in Africa (PEAPA) work stream

The paper analyses the changing configuration of the political system since the Rome Peace Agreement of 1992. It discusses how the “political settlement” underlying the Peace Agreement and the outcomes of multiparty elections thereafter have shaped governance, including policy-making concerning the agriculture sector and the rural economy.

The paper argues that private interests and electoral objectives have been important drivers of policy decisions taken by the governing elites concerning the agriculture sector and local governance, with precedence over donor influence. By contrasting the political choices and governance approaches adopted by the two different presidential administrations in office since the first multiparty elections were held in 1994, it is argued that one (led by Joaquim Chissano) is marked by features of “neopatrimonialism”, whereas the other (led by Armando Guebuza) is showing signs of electoral “populism”. The former is characterised by significant rent distribution by the governing elite to a narrow “selectorate”. The latter is manifested by a paternalistic and politically mobilising discourse emanating directly from the President and appealing to the broader electorate, particularly the rural population of the central and Northern region of the country, who has been traditionally opposed to the ruling party.


FAC Working Paper 134 Pdf 428.06 KB 34 downloads


Gender and Intra-Household Use of Fertilizers in the Malawi Farm Input Subsidy Programme
April 20, 2012 / Working Papers

Working Paper 28

by Ephraim W. Chirwa, Peter M. Mvula, Andrew Dorward and Mirriam Matita
December 2011

The Farm Input Subsidy Programme targets households for subsidized farm inputs, and usually it is the head of the household who receives the coupons. Since households tend to have multiple plots which are controlled by different members of the household, there may be intra-household issues that arise in the use of farm inputs available to the household.

We find that while male-headed households are more likely to receive coupons than female-headed households, there seems to be less bias in intra-household use of subsidized fertilizers (or fertilizers in households receiving subsidy) between plots controlled by female and male members. This is despite the fact that, more generally, household incomes from various sources tend to be controlled and allocated by men. It also contrasts with evidence that plots controlled by female members were less likely to be applied with fertilizers when we consider all fertilizers in subsidized and unsubsidized households.


FAC Working Paper 028 Pdf 317.46 KB 9 downloads


Gender Analysis: Engaging with Rural Development and Agricultural Policy Processes
April 18, 2012 / Working Papers

Christine Okali
January 2012

One of the great ironies of the last 40 years is that sub-Saharan Africa, a continent of ‘female farming par excellence’ (Boserup 1970), became populated, at least within much development discourse, by rural women represented as either ‘cardboard victims or heroines’ (Cornwall et al. 2004:1). How did this disjuncture come about? What have been its implications for agricultural development policy and practice? How can more nuanced understandings of gender and social relations be fruitfully brought into agricultural research and policy processes?


FAC Working Paper 026 Pdf 327.74 KB 8 downloads


Factors Influencing Access to Agricultural Input Subsidy Coupons in Malawi
April 18, 2012 / Working Papers

Ephraim W. Chirwa, Mirriam Matita and Andrew Dorward
December 2011

Since the 2005/06 agricultural season, the government of Malawi has been implementing a targeted agricultural input subsidy programme through the provision of fertilizers and maize seeds to smallholder farmers at subsidized prices. This paper analyses the factors that influence access to agricultural input subsidies in Malawi.

The results show that vulnerable households such as the poor and elderly-headed are less likely to receive fertilizer coupons and receive less of the subsidized fertilizers. Households with larger parcels of land and those who sell part of their produce (commercialized) are more likely to receive coupons and also tend to acquire more fertilizers. Use of open meetings in the allocation of coupons tends to favour the poor and the poor receive more fertilizer compared with other alternative ways of allocating coupons. We also find a positive relation between participation in other social safety nets and access to subsidized fertilizer coupons, suggesting that households with multiple access to different types of social protection programmes are not excluded from the input subsidy programme by virtue of benefiting from other social protection programmes.


FAC Working Paper 027 Pdf 327.21 KB 16 downloads


Small farm commercialisation in Africa: A guide to issues and policies
April 18, 2012 / Policy Briefs

Policy Brief 50
by Steve Wiggins

Small farmers in Africa have long been engaged with markets — for produce, inputs such as fertiliser, credit, labour, land and information. Opportunities to do so are increasing with urbanisation and better roads linking villages to cities, making questions that arise about smallholder commercialisation all the more important. Expectations about process and outcomes differ considerably.

What does the evidence show? How do small farms commercialise? What are the outcomes? Are the fears of undesirable outcomes justified? And what should policy-makers be doing to encourage better outcomes? This briefing reports the highlights of an extensive review of the literature on commercialisation of small farms in Africa.


Policy Brief 050 Pdf 439.64 KB 12 downloads


From technology transfer to innovation systems: sustaining a Green Revolution in Africa
April 13, 2012 / Policy Briefs

CAADP Policy Brief 07

by Kate Wellard-Dyer

Smallholder agriculture is the core contributor to agricultural production in most African countries and the main driver for food security, poverty reduction and growth. But productivity remains desperately low with limited use of improved inputs (except where boosted by subsidies) – compounded by volatility in climate and markets.

Science and technology is widely seen as essential in turning African agriculture round. The Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Pillar IV is leading moves to revitalise, expand and reform Africa’s agricultural research and development effort.  Investments are being made by national governments, donors and private funders in (mainly international) research institutions to develop improved seeds and soil fertility technologies for a Green Revolution in Africa. Public and, increasingly, private sector delivery systems are gearing up to deliver these technologies to farmers. Within integrated agricultural research for development (IAR4D), focus is moving beyond the farm-gate to credit, markets and value-addition. Farmers are being involved earlier in the development process – the effectiveness of agricultural technology generation and dissemination institutions seen as depending crucially on relevance and responsiveness to farmer needs.

Yet ‘market-led technology’ approaches – aimed mainly at high potential agricultural areas – face serious challenges in delivering a broaderbased inclusive agricultural revolution.

This policy brief draws on research findings by Future Agricultures and asks:

  • Are there options outside conventional institutional routes that bring alternative expertise – particularly farmers’ own innovation experience – into revitalised innovation systems that cut across public, private and farmer-led processes?
  • How can agricultural innovation systems be made to work for poor people in expanding market access and enabling rural innovation?
  • Are there alternative pathways for more sustainable and socially-just development, and what obstacles – political-economic as well as technocratic – need to be overcome to pursue these?

Pastoralism in the Horn of Africa: Diverse livelihood pathways
April 13, 2012 / Policy Briefs

CAADP Policy Brief 06

by Kate Wellard-Dyer

Pastoralists in the Horn of Africa have struggled for centuries with drought, conflict and famine. They are resourceful, innovative and entrepreneurial peoples, by necessity. While there are profound difficulties in creating secure livelihoods for all, there are also significant successes.

The African Union’s Policy Framework for Pastoralism in Africa recognises pastoralists’ contributions to national and regional economies – supplying huge numbers of livestock and livestock products. Pastoralists’ production systems are highly adaptive and constantly respond to market and climatic change. At the same time human development and food security indicators are amongst the lowest on the continent. The Framework is designed to secure and protect the lives, livelihoods and rights of pastoral peoples, and is a platform for mobilising and coordinating political commitment to pastoral development in Africa.

This policy brief, based on latest research by Future Agricultures Consortium, reviews understandings and misunderstandings about pastoral livelihoods – innovation and entrepreneurship, not just coping and adapting; and cooperation and networking across borders, not just conflict and violence. It highlights the multiple pathways for future development of pastoral areas and offers an alternative view of pastoralism and practical ways forward.

The Politics of Seed Relief in Zimbabwe
April 11, 2012 / Policy Briefs

Policy Brief 49
By Charity Mutonodzo-Davies and Douglas Magunda

Over much of the past decade, the Zimbabwean government and donor organisations have implemented agricultural input support programmes, comprised of private suppliers (seed houses and fertiliser manufacturers), wholesalers and rural agro-dealers, bypassing the previously vibrant market chain. This article argues that these ‘seed relief’ programmes contributed to the collapse of the input supply chain, and therefore hastening the decline of agricultural productivity in Zimbabwe today.


Policy Brief 049 V2 Pdf 288.96 KB 6 downloads


The Political Economy of Ethiopian Cereal Seed Systems
April 11, 2012 / Policy Briefs

Policy Brief 48
by Dawit Alemu

Full title: The Political Economy of Ethiopian Cereal Seed Systems: State Control, Market Liberalisation and Decentralisation

This FAC Policy Brief examines the political and economic processes governing Ethiopian cereal seed systems by analysing the overall policy context, including the main interests driving seed policy formulation and implementation, and the roles and interaction of the different public and private actors. It also investigates how these interests and interactions are related to the actual performance of the system on the ground.

By focusing on three key political economic drivers of change within the seed system – state control, market liberalisation and decentralisation – the article asks: How are seed-related policies and implementation guidelines created? How do ideas about what makes ‘good’ policy and implementation guidelines evolve and change over time? Whose voices and views are taken into account in the policy process? What are the key arguments for the choice of actions? What spaces exist for new ideas, actors and networks, and how can these be opened up? And finally, what urgent national/regional seed policy issues and processes need to be considered for creation of a vibrant seed system within the country?


Policy Brief 048 V2 Pdf 281.00 KB 12 downloads


From Farmer Participation to Pro-poor Seed Markets
April 11, 2012 / Policy Briefs

Policy Brief 47
by Kojo Amanor

Full title: From Farmer Participation to Pro-poor Seed Markets: The Political Economy of Commercial Cereal Seed Networks in Ghana

Since the 1980s public research systems in seed production in sub-Saharan Africa have increasingly come under pressure to privatise. In Ghana, however, privatisation has been complex and fragmented since farmers are largely dependent upon their own seeds and are reluctant to purchase improved seed. With few large investors willing to approach an industry that has not yet established itself, the development of seed investment is predicated on creating a social infrastructure for improved seeds; this will gradually build demand among farmers and integrate them into improved seed, input and food processing markets. This FAC Policy Brief employs a political economy analysis to examine dominant political interests in the seed industry.


Policy Brief 047 Pdf 197.96 KB 8 downloads


Seeds and Subsidies: The Political Economy of Input Support Programmes in Malawi
April 11, 2012 / Policy Briefs

Policy Brief 46
by Blessings Chinsinga

This FAC Policy Brief examines the political economy of input programmes and identifies maize and input subsidies as central to agricultural political debates. Subsidy programmes that are centred on the supply of seed and fertiliser to support maize production to boost national food security have created a strong actor network including key government players, major donor aid agencies and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs). In recent years, this has created a unique and highly contested political economy of seeds in Malawi. Notwithstanding the strong narratives about national food security or public food aid, the benefits of both national and donor-led subsidy interventions are unevenly distributed, most to the benefit of elites. Moreover, international commercial seed sector players, pushing their patented genetic material, have won out in agricultural policy over local producers and varieties, again to the profit of local elites.


Policy Brief 046 Pdf 202.19 KB 12 downloads


Can Agro-dealers deliver the Green Revolution in Kenya?
April 11, 2012 / Policy Briefs

Policy Brief 45
by Hannington Odame and Elijah Muange

In a bid to return the country to food self-sufficiency, the Government of Kenya has been spearheading strategies for a new ‘Green Revolution’ in the food producing sector, as spelt out in its Strategy for Revitalizing Agriculture (SRA), a ten-year action plan launched in 2004. The SRA is entrenched in Kenya’s Vision 2030, the country’s framework for long-term investment and development (Republic of Kenya 2007; 2004). Crucial to the SRA is the increased generation, promotion and use of modern farming inputs and technologies, particularly improved seed and fertiliser. Small-scale independent stockists or input distributors, commonly known as ‘agro-dealers’, are seen to have a crucial role to play in distributing these inputs in a liberalised economy. As key actors in the Green Revolution agenda, agro-dealers are thus at the centre of current policy debates about the future of Kenya’s seed system.

This FAC Policy Brief sheds light on the rise of agro-dealers in recent national policy debates as central figures in the delivery of agricultural innovation, improved food security and the potential spark in igniting a smallholder-led revolution. It asks: can agro-dealers really deliver the Green Revolution in Kenya? Drawing on key informant interviews and surveys of agrodealers in two districts, Machakos in Eastern Province and Uasin Gishu in Rift Valley Province, it assesses the different politics and interests at play and the implications these raise for future investments in both formal and informal seed systems and the promotion of agro-dealers as catalysts of change in the agricultural sector.


Policy Brief 045 Pdf 618.46 KB 6 downloads


The Political Economy of Cereal Seed Systems in Africa’s Green Revolution
April 10, 2012 / Policy Briefs

Policy Brief 44
by John Thompson and Ian Scoones

Drawing on lessons from case studies from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi and Zimbabwe conducted by the Future Agricultures Consortium during 2009-11, this Policy Brief assesses the political economy of cereal seed system research and development programmes and processes across Sub-Saharan Africa.

By examining the contrasting politics and different configurations of interests affecting the way cereal seeds are produced and delivered in these countries, it identifies opportunities for reshaping the terms of the debate and opening up alternative pathways towards more sustainable and socially just seed systems.


Policy Brief 044 Pdf 247.60 KB 6 downloads


Too many people, too few livestock
January 11, 2012 / Pastoralism in crisis?

Below is an unpublished extract written by Stephen Sandford from the book Development at the Margins: Pathways of Change in the Horn of Africa, ed. Andy Catley, Jeremy Lind and Ian Scoones (2012), Earthscan. It was written in November 2011.

Over the last half-century pastoralists’ wealth and welfare have been in sharp decline in the Horn of Africa and it is becoming increasingly urgent to find other livelihoods for many of them. This chapter is a plea for a rethink about the potential of irrigated agriculture to be a valuable alternative or additional livelihood to pastoralism. The Horn of Africa in this paper refers to the five core countries of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.

For many years the average levels (and the equity of inter-household distribution) of wealth and welfare, among pastoralists in the rangelands of the Horn have been getting worse (Waller, 1999; McPeak, 2006, p45; Desta and Coppock, 2002, p445, Devereux, 2006, pp88-90); and they will continue to worsen. This is a consequence of a growing imbalance between the extent, productivity and sustainability of the rangelands, the number of humans dependent on them for their livelihood, and the number of livestock needed to support these humans. That number is, in turn, determined by the productivity of the land and animals, the proportion of different types of output which are bought and sold, and their relative prices (Dietz et al, 2001; Sandford, 2006; ODI, 2010). Although there has been some switch from natural vegetation to feed based on cropping, livestock herded by pastoralists in the Horn of Africa still depend on the rangelands for most of their diet, typically 70-80 per cent in individual countries (LOG Associates, 2010, pxix). But the extent of the rangelands accessible by pastoralists is declining (Homewood, 2008, p251) and, in spite of the unreliability of demographic data (ODI, 2010), the human population is increasing (Randall, 2008), although becoming less nomadic.

The livestock population, which is already too large for the natural environment to support sustainably (ODI, 2010) is at the same time too small to provide an adequate living for the human population if that remains largely dependent on pastoralism. The burden of the resulting gap between the requirements for livestock (and their products) and their supply falls principally on the already poor. They have herds that are too small to sustain them. Consequently they have to supplement their income in other ways which leads them to neglect their herds. Their herds therefore shrink yet further (Lybbert et al, 2004). The non-viability of the existing pastoral systems, as highlighted by the acute food crisis of 2011, continues to worsen.

If both the growth of the human population and primary dependence on a pastoral livelihood are to continue, then the net value of total pastoral output (i.e. sales and auto-consumption of animals and their products) needs to increase, but without putting further grazing pressure on the rangelands by increasing animal numbers. The best available forecasts (OECD/FAO, 2011) of real world prices (adjusted for inflation) over the next decade do not suggest that this increase in net value will come about by rises in the prices of the animal products produced by pastoralists. Any increase in net value of pastoral output will have to come through changes in quantity.

Although there is some scope for improving secondary productivity (yield of animal products per unit of feed consumed by the herd), for example through improved animal health, this will have little real effect unless the total quantity of feed consumed is also increased (Otchere, 1986). Such an increase in feed consumed will either require the extra feed to be imported from non-pastoral areas or the primary productivity of the rangelands (feed per hectare) to be increased. Although high protein feed supplements can be economically imported and fed, the feed conversion ratios of cattle and small ruminants are such that, as simple back-of-the-envelope modelling of transport costs show, it is normally much more economic to export the pastoral livestock to where the bulky energy-providing feed is grown in the non-pastoral areas rather than the other way round. But in such systems, the value added then accrues to the non-pastoralist feed-growers.

While a modest increase in the quantity of pastoral output might be achieved by an increase in the efficiency with which existing ‘traditional’ technology is used the scope for this is limited. In spite of some claims to the contrary (Breman 1995; Toutain et al, 2009, p186), the ‘improved’ research-based technology available does not seem able substantially to increase the primary productivity of rainfed rangelands.

One issue is that most research focused on rangelands is not intended to maximise income but focuses on sustainability. That emphasis may be appropriate but the focus of this paper is income and how to stop the increasing impoverishment of pastoralists and to strengthen their ability to survive. A proper scientific approach to testing the hypothesis that research-based technology is no better than what pastoralists already do would require statistical testing of considerable sophistication. The data for this does not exist and will not for decades, if ever. In the meantime, one has to rely on unsophisticated comparisons and indirect approaches.

Four such approaches are:

  1. The crude quantitative comparisons that are available show that commercial ranches, which normally claim that their range management techniques are derived from research, have lower values of output per ha than traditional pastoralists in comparable circumstances (Hesse, 2009).
  2. Appropriate range-management techniques and strategies are very ‘site- specific’, depending on local ecological, social and economic factors (Perrier, 1990; Briske et al, 2008). Africa is very heterogeneous and the quantity of research carried out (other than in South Africa) is too small to have produced reliable results even for a few sites.
  3. Although extension services have been advising African pastoralists for the last sixty years to adopt ‘improved range management’ in practice take-up of these recommendations has been minimal (Ndlovu and Mugabe, 2002, p259). This suggests that pastoralists do not find that the recommendations are profitable.
  4. Although range scientists 40-50 years ago were very confident in the power of improved range management, claiming that it could double yields (Sandford, 1980), their recent claims have been much more modest. For example, a senior range scientist in South Africa, where there has been considerable range research done, says ‘In the field of rangeland science we can offer to marginally increase production by improving the use of rangeland’ (Palmer 1999)  [emphasis added]

The need to diversify and its scale

The evidence presented here on the improbability of net pastoral output increasing as a result of either higher prices or of the adoption of new technology indicates that the recent and continuing decline in the welfare of pastoralists will not be halted or reversed by focusing only, or even principally, on livestock-based livelihoods. Diversification of livelihoods is essential.

Successful and sustainable land use in dry areas of the Horn requires a mobile system of land use and often household herds of mixed species, able to exploit different types of vegetation in widely separated locations at different seasons. An efficient mobile land-use system requires an adequate labour force for herding and one able to respond to rainfall and other events rapidly. Households with too small a herd get a living from and who consequently have to divide their attention across several different livelihoods, or with too small a labour force who are unable to devote sufficient attention to the needs of different categories and species of stock, are not economically viable as pastoralists (Barrett and McPeak 2006) and are unable to operate a mobile system of land use. At the same time their herds compete for scarce livestock feed with the herds of those who are potentially viable, and their immobile system of land use puts greater pressure on the environment.

Diversification of livelihoods by the pastoral population as a whole but specialisation by individual households is the key to successful and sustainable land use. The aim should be to reduce the number of people dependent on pastoralism by facilitating the emigration out of a pastoral livelihood of those households who have to diversify if they are to survive at all.

The scale of the effort needed to achieve a satisfactory rate of emigration depends on the present degree of overpopulation, as reflected in various indicators of stress, and in the future rate of growth of the population significantly dependent on pastoralism. Obviously these will differ quite widely between different locations. But we can take as an example the pastoral areas of north Kenya and southern Ethiopia. Two indicators of stress are:

  • In the pastoral areas of southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya, 49 per cent of households wholly or partially dependent on pastoralism were, for four consecutive dry seasons of study (McPeak, 2004), below an income poverty line which was set at a value equivalent to half the level of the UN’s extreme poverty line (US$1 of 1993 purchasing power parity) per person per day.
  • About 80 per cent of family herds in these pastoral areas are now less than the threshold size (about 10-12 head of cattle per household or their equivalent in terms of other categories of livestock) above which household herds are, after a ‘shock’ such as extreme drought, probably able to recover their pre-shock size but below which they gradually dwindle in numbers and are no longer viable pastoralists (Lybbert et al, 2004).

These two indicators show that the proportion of the pastoral population already in acute poverty, no longer able to practise viable pastoralism, and urgently needing an alternative livelihood is large. For this reason I have advocated elsewhere the need to reconsider the option of irrigation-based livelihoods (Sandford 2011).

Stephen Sandford
November 2011


Barrett, C. and McPeak, J. (2006) ‘Poverty traps and safety nets’, Economic Studies in Inequality, Social Exclusion and Well-Being, vol 1, pp131-154

Briske, D.D., Derner, J.D., Brown, J.R., Fuhlendorf, S.D., Teague, W.R., Havstad, K,M., Gillen, R.L., Ash, A.J. and Willms, W.D. (2008) ‘Rotational grazing on rangelands: reconciliation of perception and experimental evidence’, Rangeland Ecology and Management vol 61, pp3-17

Desta, S. and Coppock, D. L. (2002) ‘Cattle population dynamics in the southern Ethiopian rangelands, 1980–97’, Journal of Range Management, vol 55, no 5, pp439-451

Devereux, S. (2006) Vulnerable Livelihoods in Somali Region, Ethiopia, IDS Research Report 57, Institute of Development Studies, Brighton

Dietz, T., Nunow, A. A., Roba A. W. and Zaal, F. (2001) ‘Pastoral Commercialization: On Caloric Terms of Trade and Related Issues’, in M. Salih, T. Dietz and A.G. Mohamed, African Pastoralism, Conflict, Institutions and Government, Pluto Press, London, pp194-234

Hesse, C. (2009) ‘Generating wealth from environmental variability: The economics of pastoralism in East Africa’s drylands’, Indigenous Affairs 3-4

Homewood, K. (ed) (2008) Ecology of African Pastoralist Societies, James Currey Ltd, Oxford

Lybbert, T. J., Barrett, C. B., Desta, S. and Coppock, D. L. (2004) ‘Stochastic wealth dynamics and risk management among a poor population’, The Economic Journal, no 114. pp750–777

LOG Associates (2010) Regional Study on the Sustainable Livestock Development in the Greater Horn of Africa, African Development Bank Group, Abidjan

McPeak, J. (2004) Vulnerability among pastoralists: Evidence from Kenya and Ethiopia. Presentation made at the World Bank,, accessed 4 December 2011

McPeak, J. G. (2006) ‘Livestock marketing in Marsabit District, Kenya, over the past fifty years’, in J. G. McPeak and P. D. Little, Pastoral Livestock Marketing In East Africa: Research And Policy Challenges, Intermediate Technology Publications, Rugby

Ndlovu, L.R., and Mugabe, P.H. (2002) Nutrient-Cycling in Integrated Plant-Animal Systems in Barret, Place and Aboud. C.B. Barrett, F. Place, A.A. Aboud (eds) Natural Resources Management in African Agriculture: Understanding and Improving Current Practices, CABI Publishing, Oxon

ODI (2010) ‘Pastoralism demographics, settlement and service provision in the Horn and East Africa: Transformation and opportunities’, Humanitarian Policy Group, Overseas Development Institute, London

OECD-FAO (2011) Agricultural Outlook 2011-2020, FAO

Otchere, E.O. (1986) ‘Small ruminant production in tropical Africa’ in V.M. Timon and J.P. Hanrahan (eds) Small Ruminant Production in the Developing Countries, Proceedings of an Expert Consultation held in Sofia, Bulgaria, 8–12 July 1985, FAO, Rome

Palmer, A.R. (1999) ‘Towards a national rangelands policy’, African Journal of Range and Forage Science, vol 16, no 1, pp44–46

Perrier, G.P. (1990) The Contextual Nature Of Range Management, Overseas Development Institute Pastoral Network Paper, 30c, ODI, London

Randall, S. (2008) ‘African pastoralist demography’, in K. Homewood (ed) Ecology of African Pastoralist Societies, James Currey Ltd, Oxford, pp199-226

Sandford, S. (1980) Keeping an eye on TGLP, National Institute for Development and Cultural Reseach Working Paper 31, Gaborone

Sandford, S. (2006) Too Many People, Too Few Livestock: The Crisis Affecting Pastoralists in the Greater Horn of Africa, accessed on 1 December 2011

Sandford, S. (2011) Pastoralists and Irrigation in the Horn of Africa: Time for a Rethink? Paper presented at the International Conference on the Future of Pastoralism 21-23 March 2011, IDS, Brighton

Toutain, B., Ickoiwicz, A., Dutilly-Diane, C., Reid, R.S., Amadou Tamsir Diop, Vijay Kumar Taneja, Gibon, A., Dither Genin, Muhammad Ibrahim, Behnke, R. and Ash, A. (2009) ‘Impacts of Extensive Livestock Systems on Terrestrial Ecosystems’, in H. Steinfeld, H.A. Mooney, F. Schneider and L.E. Neville (eds) Livestock in a Changing Landscape: Volume One: Drivers, Consequences and Responses, Island Press, Washington DC

Waller, R. D. (1999) ‘Pastoral poverty in historical perspective’, in D. M. Anderson and V. Broch-Due (eds) The Poor are not Us: Poverty and Pastoralism in Eastern Africa, James Currey, Oxford

Le programme de subventions aux intrants agricoles au Malawi: enseignements tirés des études 2005-8
December 7, 2011 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

Le maïs est la principale culture vivrière de base et reste l’activité dominante parmi les petits agriculteurs du Malawi. Les petits paysans consacrent presque 70 pour cent de leurs terres à la culture du maïs, dont la disponibilité dans le pays définit la situation de sécurité alimentaire nationale. Au Malawi, la petite agriculture est traditionnellement caractérisée par une faible productivité, un faible recours aux technologies et une utilisation intensive de main-d’oeuvre, le maïs étant principalement destiné à une consommation de subsistance. La faible productivité dans l’agriculture paysanne a été attribuée à la perte de fertilité des sols, à la faible application des engrais minéraux et au recours aux techniques rudimentaires des systèmes d’agriculture pluviale.

Limites de la gouvernance décentralisée : le cas de l’agriculture au Malawi
December 7, 2011 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

Les réformes de décentralisation et la nouvelle politique de vulgarisation au Malawi promettaient un renforcement du rôle des districts et des niveaux administratifs inférieurs en matière de gouvernance agricole, ainsi qu’une amélioration de la pluralité des fournisseurs de services agricoles. Pour l’heure, il ne s’agit encore que d’un potentiel à réaliser. Le processus de décentralisation et la performance des gouvernements locaux se trouvent dans une impasse et l’interaction avec les autres prestataires de services est confrontée à des défis institutionnels et opérationnels considérables. Ces difficultés sont aggravées par la politisation croissante de la question agricole au Malawi. En l’absence de progrès dans la décentralisation ou dans le développement d’une off re diversifiée et compétitive de services agricoles, ce sont (dans certains cas) les chefs traditionnels qui émergent alors comme des acteurs progressistes, capables de mobiliser les gens pour les activités agricoles selon des modalités propices au développement.

Les sept habitudes des organisations paysannes qui réalisent tout ce qu’elles entreprennent
December 7, 2011 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

Cette note de synthèse FAC présente ce que nous avons intitulée « Les sept habitudes des organisations paysannes qui réalisent tout ce qu’elles entreprennent ». Ce texte vise à proposer un certain éclairage sur ce que l’on pourrait décrire comme les « ingrédients essentiels du succès dans les organisations paysannes performantes en Afrique ». Les sept « habitudes » identifiées sont les suivantes : (1) Clarté de la mission ; (2) bonne gouvernance, (3) leadership fort, réactif et responsable ; (4) inclusion sociale et représentation ; (5) prestation de services axée sur la demande et ciblée ; (6) fortes capacités techniques et managériales ; et (7) engagement effectif auprès des acteurs externes. Ces principes constituent une check-list des principes et pratiques de travail utile pour évaluer la performance d’une organisation paysanne en Afrique et ailleurs.

Agriculture et protection sociale au Ghana: un « saut » vers l’inconnu?
December 7, 2011 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

Malgré des progrès impressionnants dans la réduction des niveaux de pauvreté au plan national, la pauvreté chronique et la vulnérabilité des moyens de subsistance persistent au Ghana, en particulier parmi la petite paysannerie des régions du nord. Cette note de synthèse passe en revue les mécanismes de protection sociale visant à atténuer la vulnérabilité des familles paysannes ghanéennes, du « PAMSCAD » des années 1980 à la Nouvelle stratégie nationale de protection sociale (SNPS) et au Programme de transferts monétaires LEAP (Livelihoods Empowerment Against Poverty / Programme du revenu de subsistance contre la pauvreté).

Agriculture et protection sociale en Éthiopie: politique foncière et sortie de la pauvreté
December 7, 2011 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

L’agriculture et la protection sociale sont inextricablement liées en Éthiopie. Si la petite agriculture paysanne est l’activité de subsistance dominante pour la majorité des Éthiopiens, elle est également une source majeure de pauvreté et d’insécurité alimentaire. En termes de politique agricole, la conviction du gouvernement selon laquelle l’agriculture constitue l’épine dorsale et la principale source de croissance économique se refl ète dans son approche de la terre, envisagée comme le « filet de sécurité » pour les ménages ruraux, ceci justifiant l’interdiction faite à ces derniers de vendre leurs terrains. En termes de protection sociale, le fait que les agriculteurs soient les principaux bénéficiaires de l’aide alimentaire a alimenté la crainte du gouvernement quant à une « dépendance » ancrée dans les mentalités rurales : cela explique la prédominance des projets de travaux publics, envisagés comme le mécanisme d’intervention de prédilection, ainsi que les récents changements dans l’approche des filets de sécurité, qui privilégient désormais les transferts de fonds plutôt que l’aide alimentaire, avec des prévisions tablant sur une amélioration des conditions des bénéfi ciaires de transferts prévisibles dans les 3-5 ans.

Agriculture et protection sociale: La politique des engrais au Malawi
December 7, 2011 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

Les politiques de développement agricole et de protection sociale doivent être appréhendées dans le contexte plus général des agendas politiques, du développement des marchés et des tendances en matière de subsistance rurale. Cette note de synthèse passe en revue les interactions entre les politiques de développement agricole et de protection sociale au Malawi, ainsi que leurs impacts sur les moyens de subsistance et le bien-être des populations (les politiques de protection sociale pouvant être indépendantes de l’agriculture ou être mises en oeuvre pour, par ou via l’agriculture). Une attention particulière est accordée à l’évolution des politiques de subventions sur les intrants (la « politique des engrais »).

Agriculture et protection sociale en Afrique
December 7, 2011 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

Les propositions suivantes sont généralement acceptées:

  1. Les progrès réalisés dans la réduction de la faim et de l’insécurité alimentaire en Afrique sont d’une lenteur inacceptable.
  2. La faim et l’insécurité alimentaire sont les principaux obstacles à la réduction de la pauvreté en Afrique.
  3. La pauvreté, la faim et l’insécurité alimentaire sévissent encore de façon prédominante dans les zones rurales en Afrique.
  4. L’agriculture reste un secteur clé dans les stratégies déployées par les ménages ruraux pour sortir de la pauvreté et l’insécurité alimentaire.
  5. Un engagement renouvelé en faveur de la vulgarisation agricole et de la recherche est nécessaire de toute urgence.

Cette logique conduit à une approche « à deux voies » pour réduire la faim en Afrique (FAO 2003):

  1. Promouvoir la production agricole et le développement rural, en mettant l’accent sur les petites exploitations ;
  2. Faciliter l’accès direct aux denrées alimentaires, notamment grâce à des interventions de protection sociale.

Une combinaison de mesures est nécessaire pour atteindre ces deux objectifs. Cette note de synthèse évalue les synergies et conflits pouvant surgir entre les politiques de protection sociale et de développement agricole dans dix domaines, en commençant par les contextes politiques pour finir par les processus d’élaboration des politiques.

Subventions aux engrais : Enseignements de l’expérience du Malawi pour le Kenya
December 7, 2011 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

Depuis 2005/06, un programme de subventions des intrants agricoles à grande échelle est en place au Malawi et a (conjointement avec des pluies favorables) permis au pays de passer d’une situation d’insécurité alimentaire chronique à une production de maïs excédentaire. Cette expérience a suscité un grand intérêt pour les subventions aux engrais dans d’autres pays, notamment le Kenya (lui-même en situation de défi cit chronique sur le maïs). Nous proposons dans cette note une synthèse des principaux enseignements tirés de l’évaluation du programme de subventions des engrais mis en oeuvre au Malawi à ce jour. Certains de ces enseignements sont directement applicables au Kenya. Les contextes agro-écologiques, politiques et commerciaux du Malawi et du Kenya sont toutefois différents, et nous verrons donc également dans quelle mesure ces différences affectent la transférabilité du programme de subventions des engrais.

Les effets de la crise mondiale des engrais en Afrique
December 7, 2011 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

Si l’attention des cercles politiques et médiatiques s’est récemment focalisée, à juste titre, sur les augmentations des prix alimentaires et énergétiques et leurs impacts sur les consommateurs et les économies nationales (en particulier les consommateurs et les économies pauvres), les hausses encore plus marquées des prix des engrais ont en revanche reçu beaucoup moins d’attention dans les pays industrialisés. Les impacts de ces hausses de prix sur les engrais dans de nombreux pays d’Afrique sont pourtant potentiellement très dommageables quant à leurs effets sur la sécurité alimentaire, la pauvreté et les perspectives de croissance économique à long terme. Dans les nombreux pays africains fortement tributaires du secteur agricole, l’impact des prix élevés et de la rareté des engrais va s’étendre au-delà des agriculteurs et aff ecter les consommateurs, les recettes d’exportation générées par les cultures de rente, les taux de change, et les économies dans leur ensemble.

Le programme de subventions aux engrais au Malawi: politique et pragmatisme
December 7, 2011 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

Beaucoup espéraient que la fin du règne du parti unique au Malawi, en mai 1994, ouvrirait la voie à la reprise économique et au développement social. Au lieu de cela, le processus de démocratisation a en fait coïncidé avec une aggravation de la crise du secteur agricole du Malawi. Entre les années 1970 et 1990, le pays est passé d’une situation de surplus agricole à un défi cit alimentaire substantiel. Le volume de maïs produit par habitant a enregistré une chute importante au cours des années 1990.

L’insécurité alimentaire est devenue endémique. Environ 70-80 % de l’ensemble des ménages ruraux sont à court d’aliments de base autoproduits durant quatre à cinq mois par an. La gravité de la crise a été soulignée par deux épisodes de faim sévères au cours des saisons végétatives 2001/2002 et 2004/2005, faisant de la sécurité alimentaire une question très chargée politiquement.

Commercialisation du café de petite exploitation au Malawi
December 7, 2011 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

La culture du café au Malawi est dominée par un petit nombre de grandes plantations commerciales, principalement situées dans les régions du sud, du nord et du centre du pays. Malgré cela, le café reste principalement cultivé par un très grand nombre de petits agriculteurs sur les terres coutumières, concentrées dans les districts de Chitipa, Rumphi, Mzimba et Nkhata-Bay.

La participation des petits exploitants à la production de café remonte au début des années 1920. Elle commencé à se développer véritablement dans les années 1950, après que le gouvernement colonial ait distribué des plants de café aux agriculteurs basés dans les régions des collines de Misuku, du Chitipa et du Nord. On recense aujourd’hui environ quelque 3 200 petits producteurs de café, toujours concentrés sur les collines de Misuku. Le secteur des petites exploitations de café a connu de profondes réformes ces dernières années. Des données empiriques suggèrent que ces réformes ont donné aux petits agriculteurs les moyens de conduire leurs propres affaires et ont incité ces derniers à développer une approche plus commerciale. Cet article se propose d’analyser les données disponibles.

Mettre à profit la protection sociale pour réduire la vulnérabilité au Kenya
December 7, 2011 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

Au-delà de la réduction des risques et de la vulnérabilité, les mesures de protection sociale (PS) peuvent également favoriser l’activité productive et la croissance économique. Ce document explore comment les politiques PS peuvent être mises à profi t pour traiter les principaux aspects du risque et de la vulnérabilité, et pour promouvoir la croissance économique dans l’agriculture.

Politique & avenir des ministères de l’Agriculture: Réinventer les rôles, transformer les programmes
December 7, 2011 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

Quelle forme un ministère de l’Agriculture moderne doit-il prendre aujourd’hui ? Comment doit-il fonctionner ? Les réponses à ces questions dépendent de trois
grandes problématiques dans le contexte de l’agriculture. La première, et la principale, porte sur le rôle assigné à l’agriculture. S’agit-il en effet d’une activité économique comme les autres, ou est-elle tenue d’assumer des rôles particuliers, concernant par exemple la sécurité alimentaire, l’équité régionale ou l’instauration d’un certain tampon de sécurité contre la misère pour les populations rurales pauvres ?

Climate Change and Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa: New Concerns, Old Arguments?
December 5, 2011 / Occasional Papers

Paula Silva Villanueva and Rocio Hiraldo
September 2011

The purpose of this paper is to map current policy debates on climate change and agriculture in Africa. We analyse the key debates in view of key narratives and associated actor networks, and show how current discussions link to major debates within the agriculture sector over the past decades, helping to address the often missing attention to history in current debates on climate change and agriculture.

Reconquête de l’espace politique: Enseignements du programme de subventions aux engrais au Malawi
December 2, 2011 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

Cette étude de cas souligne l’importance du contexte politique dans les questions de développement agricole. Quels que soient les arguments techniques ou économiques pour ou contre telle ou telle autre approche dans l’élaboration des programmes, la configuration des intérêts politiques exerce, au final, une influence majeure sur les effets de la politique agricole sur le terrain. Le cas du débat actuel sur les subventions aux engrais au Malawi constitue à cet égard un exemple édifiant.

Promouvoir l’agriculture pour la protection sociale ou la protection sociale pour l’agriculture? (ii
December 2, 2011 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

Le risque et la vulnérabilité sont des facteurs importants dans l’enfermement des populations rurales pauvres dans leur situation de pauvreté. Les politiques de développement agricole et de protection sociale peuvent toutes deux contribuer à une croissance qui bénéficiera aux populations les plus défavorisées et les plus vulnérables. Dans ce second article consacré aux relations entre agriculture et protection sociale, nous passons en revue les principales interactions qui interviennent entre les politiques de protection sociale et de développement agricole. Nous décrivons également quatre approches stratégiques visant (avec des degrés de réussite divers) à prendre en compte ces interactions, en précisant les principaux instruments politiques qui leur sont associés, ainsi que les problématiques de conception et de mise en oeuvre posées par les instruments abordés.

Quel rôle pour les ministères de l’Agriculture au XXIe siècle?
December 2, 2011 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

Différents « narratifs » -ou récits- en matière de politique agricole sont mis en exergue par les différents acteurs du processus d’élaboration des politiques, chacun d’entre eux envisageant un type particulier de ministère de l’Agriculture. On peut à ce titre distinguer trois approches diff érentes. La première envisage un retour à l’âge d’or des grands ministères sectoriels, dotés d’une forte capacité d’action et d’influence politique, pour traiter les difficultés majeures auxquelles est confrontée l’agriculture. Ces difficultés nécessitent, pour les partisans de ce point de vue, un ministère de tutelle puissant et bien fi nancé, et le défi consiste aujourd’hui à reconstruire une telle organisation. Un deuxième point de vue  considère (à l’autre extrême du spectre) que ces ministères sectoriels doivent assumer un rôle minimal, restreint à une action de supervision et de régulation, et que le secteur privé doit au contraire assumer un rôle plus important dans un environnement de « libre marché ». Le troisième point de vue, peut-être moins polarisé que les deux autres, envisage un rôle important pour l’État (notamment pour le ministère de l’Agriculture, ainsi que pour d’autres organismes publics) dans la prise en charge des rôles de coordination et d’intermédiation visant à assurer le bon fonctionnement des marchés, à la condition toutefois que l’action publique reste focalisée sur les objectifs de réduction de la pauvreté.

Orientations Possibles pour l’Agriculture au Malawi : Défis et Dilemmes (i) Concepts
December 2, 2011 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

Le Malawi est l’un des pays les plus pauvres au monde, avec un produit intérieur brut de 190 USD par habitant et des taux de malnutrition et de mortalité infantiles élevés. Plus de la moitié de la population vit en dessous du seuil de pauvreté, près d’un quart d’entre elle étant même à la limite de la survie. L’agriculture joue un rôle important dans l’économie. Si ce secteur a produit de bons résultats au cours des deux premières décennies qui ont suivi l’indépendance en 1964, sa performance s’est largement dégradée depuis. L’un des problèmes dont souffre ce secteur est l’étroitesse des marchés, qu’il s’agisse des denrées alimentaires ou des intrants agricoles. La hausse des prix des denrées alimentaires, qui sévit depuis la libéralisation des marchés agricoles et la fin du contrôle des prix du maïs,
conjointement avec des niveaux de productions irréguliers sur cette céréale, a en outre  aggravé la situation d’insécurité alimentaire.

Les principales ressources du Malawi sont les terres agricoles et l’abondance de sa maind’oeuvre : ce sont là les principaux atouts dont disposent les ménages ruraux. Un moyen très efficace de promouvoir une croissance propauvre consistera par conséquent à accroître la productivité de ces ressources. De fait, depuis l’indépendance, les stratégies de développement ont mis l’accent, à des degrés divers, sur le renforcement de la productivité des terres et de la main-d’oeuvre dans le secteur agricole. Les principaux défis à relever sont les suivants : (I) Intensifi cation (c.-à-d. augmentation des rendements) des cultures vivrières (maïs, principalement). Cela contribue directement à la sécurité alimentaire des ménages et maintient les prix alimentaires à un niveau relativement bas ; et (ii) développement d’une petite agriculture de rente, destinée à assurer un revenu aux agriculteurs, aux ouvriers agricoles et aux personnes travaillant dans les secteurs du traitement et du transport des récoltes.

Agriculture, Croissance et Réduction de la Pauvreté en Éthiopie : Elaboration des Politiques Autour
December 2, 2011 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

Les arbitrages à réaliser entre croissance et réduction de la pauvreté et la définition du rôle de l’agriculture sont des enjeux majeurs dans les débats contemporains sur l’avenir des agricultures en Afrique. Ce débat a cours depuis longtemps en Éthiopie, mais il a récemment gagné en intensité suite aux discussions portant sur le deuxième DSRP (Document de stratégie de réduction de la pauvreté), à savoir le Plan de développement accéléré et durable pour mettre fi n à la pauvreté (PASDEP / Plan for Accelerated and Sustainable Development to End Poverty). La présente note de synthèse explore les processus politiques engagés autour du PASDEP, ainsi que leurs implications plus larges pour la politique agricole et le développement rural.

Intensification de la Petite Agriculture en Éthiopie
December 2, 2011 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

L’approche orthodoxe consiste aujourd’hui à envisager le problème de la petite agriculture en Éthiopie strictement sous l’angle des questions techniques et des ressources. Selon cette perspective, le problème central est le faible niveau de productivité agricole. En réponse, le gouvernement éthiopien a donc mis en place, depuis le milieu des années 1990, un grand programme national d’intensification fondé sur le recours aux technologies. Quel bilan peut-on aujourd’hui tirer de cette stratégie ? Et quelles en sont les limites?

Aide alimentaire et Petite Agriculture en Éthiopie
December 2, 2011 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

L’Éthiopie est en situation de déficit alimentaire structurel depuis au moins 1980. Elle est aujourd’hui le pays le plus dépendant au monde en matière d’aide  alimentaire. Entre 1990 et 1999, l’Éthiopie a reçu 795 000 tonnes d’aide alimentaire par an, soit environ 10 % de la production céréalière nationale totale. Cette note de synthèse explore les impacts de l’aide alimentaire en Éthiopie et ses implications pour les politiques futures, s’intéressant en particulier aux liens entre aide alimentaire et petite agriculture?

Local knowledge, agriculture and climate change
November 29, 2011 / Policy Briefs

A new policy brief explores what role local farmers’ knowledge can play in national climate change adaption policy, and how each can learn from the other?  As delegates meet at the 17th Conference of the Parties on climate change in Durban, the brief explores the opportunities and barriers to this process through examples from Kenya and Namibia.

In both countries, parts of the government are engaging well with local knowledge, but there is still resistance in other parts, where formal systems and official knowledge are more highly prized.

Looking at these issues in the context of longer-term changes in the climate, and the movement of large numbers of people into cities, raises more questions. Although recommending farming as a livelihood works in the short- to medium-term, in the long term it may be better to consider diversification into “climate insensitive” livelihoods. And although mass movements of people into cities may seem a promising response to rural decline, these people often face poverty and vulnerability to climate change in their new home.

Farmers’ Knowledge and Climate Change Adaptation: Insights from Policy Processes in Kenya & Namibia (pdf)

Climate change and agriculture: victim, villain or opportunity?
November 29, 2011 / Policy Briefs


Agriculture and Climate Change in the UN Climate Change Negotiations

In a new policy brief for Future Agricultures Merylyn Hedger takes a critical look at the agricultural agenda in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to unscramble the issues surrounding agriculture which have become conflated in these negotiations. She also assesses whether UNFCCC is a useful route to addressing these issues and what other courses should be explored.

The 17th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP17) kicked off in earnest this week in Durban, South Africa, with over 190 delegates converging to try and craft a new deal for cutting greenhouse gas emissions to reduce global warming.

Download: Agriculture and Climate Change in the UN climate negotiations (pdf)

Agriculture and Climate Change in the UN Climate Change Negotiations

The 17th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, known as COP17, kicked off in earnest this week in Durban, South Africa with over 190 delegates converging to try and craft a new deal for cutting greenhouse gas emissions to reduce global warming.

Negotiations are expected to continue for several days to come and no doubt agriculture will be in this the COP17 agenda as it has been in the previous convention. Merlyn Hedger, author of Future Agricultures Consortium’s new policy brief takes a critical look at the agricultural agenda in the UNFFC with an aim to unscramble the issues surrounding agriculture which have become conflated in these negotiations. She also assesses whether UNFFC is a useful route to addressing these issues and what other courses should people be looking into.

Agriculture and Climate Change in the UN climate negotiations
November 28, 2011 / Policy Briefs

Policy Brief 43
by Merylyn Hedger

Agriculture is both victim and villain in respect of climate change. Victim because most estimates indicate that climate change is likely to reduce agricultural productivity, production stability and incomes in some areas that already have high levels of food insecurity. Villain because agriculture is a key source for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Yet agriculture may also be part of the climate change solution: there is a considerable, albeit uncertain, technical potential for carbon storage in soils, particularly in developing countries.

This briefing paper aims to

  • Unscramble the various issues around agriculture which have become conflated in the climate negotiations
  • Outline what is formally being sought in negotiation texts under the Climate Convention (UNFCCC) and assess whether this is a useful route, and what other courses might be possible.

Policy Brief 043 Pdf 535.12 KB 9 downloads


Farmers’ Knowledge and Climate Change Adaptation: Insights from Policy Processes in Kenya & Namibia
November 28, 2011 / Policy Briefs

Policy Brief 42
by Andrew Newsham, Lars Otto Naess and Paul Guthiga

One major policy challenge for the agricultural sector is to make sure that lessons from farmers’ knowledge and experience are informing emerging climate change policy processes. This briefing paper reports on lessons from recent studies in two areas: first on seasonal forecasting and indigenous knowledge in Kenya, and second, agro-ecological knowledge and science in Namibia.

Advocates of local knowledge playing a role in adaptation policy and practice need a clearer understanding of how policy processes really work, in order to be more effective in making it happen. Efforts to link local to national are subject to broader processes of global change. Two of these are particularly discussed: first, the prospect of accelerated and more dangerous climate impacts by the 2060s; and second, deagrarianisation (a long-term shift away from farming livelihoods in rural areas).


Policy Brief 042 Pdf 671.75 KB 4 downloads


LDPI Small Grant Competition Part 2 – 2011-12: Call for applications
October 17, 2011 / FAC projects

In-depth and systematic enquiry has become urgent and necessary in order to have deeper, meaningful and productive debates around this issue. This is the reason why the Land Deal Politics Initiative (LDPI) has been launched and had sponsored last year a small grant competition. The latter was a huge success: we were able to fund 40 small grants. Many of these papers were later presented at the LDPI-organized International Conference on Global Land Grabbing held at IDS, Sussex in April 2011. The 2011 Sussex conference was a major success, with 120 papers presented. Many of these papers have subsequently contributed inputs to various policy initiatives such as the UN Committee on Food Security (CFS) related studies and deliberations. Several of the papers from the first round of small grant competition and the 2011 Sussex conference have been selected as contributions to three forthcoming journal special issues on land grabs: ‘Green Grabs: a new way of appropriating nature?’ guest edited by James Fairhead, Melissa Leach and Ian Scoones for release in March 2012, ‘The politics of global land grabbing’ guest edited by Ruth Hall, Ben White and Wendy Wolford for release in May 2012 – both in the Journal of Peasant Studies (JPS), and ‘Governing land grabs’, guest edited by Jun Borras, Ruth Hall, Ian Scoones, Ben White and Wendy Wolford for release in July 2012 in Development and Change. In early 2011, JPS released the 3-article ‘Forum on Global Land Grabbing’ with contributions from Klaus Deininger, Olivier de Schutter and Tania Li. We want to continue building on this emerging body of literature on critical perspectives on global land grabbing. This is one of the reasons for the second round of small grant competition for 2011-12; this is the reason why we are holding an ‘LDPI International Conference on Global Land Grabbing Part 2’ in October 2012 in Cornell University in New York. Further information about the latter will be released soon via:

Éveiller le géant endormi de l’Afrique ? Potentielset risques1?
October 10, 2011 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

Point Info 036 | Juin 2010

Le Future Agricultures Consortium a pour objectif de susciter des débats critiques et d’encourager le dialogue sur les politiques à conduire pour assurer l’avenir de l’agriculture en Afrique. Le Consortium est un partenariat entre divers organismes de recherche basés en Afrique et au Royaume-Uni. Future Agricultures Consortium Secretariat, University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9RE – UK T +44 (0) 1273 915670 E

This policy brief draws on the contributions to a joint Future Agricultures and SOAS workshop on “Awakening Africa’s Sleeping Giant?” held at SOAS on June 21st-22nd 2010. Unless otherwise shown in the reference list, all references in the brief are to presentations made at the workshop. Further details of the workshop can be found at www.future-agricultures. org, from where the presentations can also be downloaded.

Transforming Livelihoods for Resilient Futures: How to Facilitate Graduation in Social Protection
September 19, 2011 / Working Papers

Rachel Sabates-Wheeler and Stephen Devereux
August 2011

It is frequently claimed that the most innovative feature of social protection, in contrast to safety nets, is that it has the potential to reduce the vulnerability of poor people to the extent that they can manage moderate risk without external support. This has led to an expansion of large-scale ‘productive safety net’ programmes. The potential to reduce vulnerability so that people can move off social protection provision is popularly termed ‘graduation’.1 However, the vision for graduation rests on the assumption of the existence of a large population of low-productivity, risk-prone and often poor households. Under this scenario, if risk can be underwritten through appropriate social protection then significant numbers of poor people have the potential to move out of vulnerability and extreme poverty into more productive and resilient livelihoods.The ambition of this paper is to map out the theory of change underpinning the notion of graduation and to set out, conceptually and empirically, the range of enabling and constraining factors that facilitate or undermine this change process.


FAC Working Paper 023 Pdf 1.75 MB 4 downloads


Youth and policy processes
September 5, 2011 / Working Papers

Dolf te Lintelo
August 2011

The rapid and sustained increase in the number of young people in the global south is one of today’s most significant demographic trends. Around 90 percent of young people reside in developing countries (Shankar 2010). By 2030 Africa is projected to have as many youth as East Asia and by 2050 could also exceed the youth population in South Asia (Garcia and Fares, 2008). Young people make up approximately 30 percent of the total population in African countries, and this is increasing fast (Panday 2006). Growing numbers of young people entail a process of demographic change within societies; ‘rejuvenation’ in a literal sense. Thus, in 2005, 76 percent of the Zambian population were under 30 years of age, with those between 20 and 29 years accounting for a mere 18 percent (CSO 2007, p.12 in: Locke and Verschoor 2007).

Whereas some expert commentators are pessimistic about the prospects for economic growth and poverty reduction in Africa (e.g. Collier 2008), youth bulges are recognised by many as a window of opportunity. They are seen to potentially offer a demographic dividend: where a larger workforce with fewer dependents could generate strong economic growth (Fares and Garcia, 2008; Gunatilake et al, 2010). Yet, experiences to date are mixed: while in East Asia, the policy and institutional environment facilitated the harnessing of the demographic dividend to achieve strong growth, similar demographic dynamics in Latin America failed to yield better economic outcomes (Fares and Garcia, 2008).


FAC Working Paper 025 Pdf 699.99 KB 6 downloads


Heifer-in-trust, Social Protection and Graduation: Conceptual Issues and Research Questions
September 5, 2011 / Working Papers

James Sumberg, Gountiéni Damien Lankoandé
August 2011

The imagery of movement is deeply engrained in development discourse, and particularly in relation to poverty: we commonly talk, for example, of people moving ‘out of poverty’ or ‘up the asset ladder’. Nevertheless, these simple images hide what are now widely understood to be complex, non-linear and dynamic processes that are impacted by a bewildering array of factors from human agency and policy to the structure of the global economy and natural disasters. It is within this context that the potential role and contribution of social protection to poverty reduction must be understood.


FAC Working Paper 124 Pdf 352.00 KB 21 downloads


Not Ready for Analysis? A Critical Review of NRA Estimations for Cotton and other Export Cash Crops
August 1, 2011 / Research Papers

Claire Delpeuch and Colin Poulton

Research Paper 22

This paper discusses the estimation methods used in Anderson and Masters (2009) to calculate nominal rates of assistance (NRAs) for cotton and other traditional export cash crops in sub- Saharan Africa (SSA) and offers alternative estimates for cotton for a sub-set of countries, on the basis of a standardised approach, alternative data sources and correcting some basic but important errors concerning processing ratios.

Querstion 4: Linking
July 21, 2011 / Social Relations Analysis E-Debate

What are the pathways for linking outcomes of social relations analysis with the productivity and production outcomes of interest to policy?


  • Margaret MkromaAGRA – ‘This question spotlights the dilemma of social relations analysis; the need for “deeply qualitative data” from specific contexts if it is to point to policies that will address the structural constraints that determine how both women and men, now and in the future, participate in agriculture….’. Pathways could include linking programmes that address practical needs of women to programmes that build strategic capacities among male and female household members to leverage what they own (labour asset, income, etc.) to negotiate in ways that meet individual and household interests.’


  • P Kantor ’The emphasis on contextually specific data leads to a number of now familiar questions: How does one then deal with scale? Can we influence change processes through more than highly localized programmes? What might innovative approaches that address the complexities of social relations in practice, and also operate at scale, actually look like?’


  • Christine Okali – ‘These important scale questions raise the issue of the value of “deeply contextual” evidence. Is this not about learning more about the trade-offs made by individuals and households between different income-earning activities, and other valued outcomes? These data are not intended to be integrated ‘as is’ into policy just as we should not move directly from role data to arriving at conclusions about relations between women and men.’‘What might the policy implications be? Do they not draw attention to the need to accept a range of possible outcomes from say, a programme designed to increase incomes via improved crop production/ productivity for example?’


  • ‘If we accept that policy outcomes will be valued differently by different individuals and groups, where might the current interest in identifying ‘success stories’ (and winners and losers) fit into such a policy outcome?  In our search for successes, have we ourselves defined what success looks like?’ ‘What about flexible policies or policies that leave more room for manoeuvre/ adaptation to specific (local?) circumstances?’


  • Christine Okali – ‘The questions for this debate point to problems of complexity, and even to the nuances in social relations, but possibly these are not the main challenges. Much of the gender literature points to the need to adopt a different starting point for our analysis, and always emphasizes an understanding of the interests of possible policy clients’.
    Certainly there is an issue of commitment – on the part of researchers, their research organisations, and their professional networks – to collect different sets of data, or data that are more disaggregated, and to create a winning alternative narrative for policy makers.


  • Coordinator of Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards (LEGS) –  ‘With regard to the latest LEGS handbook (Introduction), we include gender and social equity as one of the four cross-cutting issues, and as such we highlight some of the key basics (such as the need to understand gender roles with regard to livestock keeping and management, and the differential impact that emergencies can have on men and women). Each technical chapter also considers briefly each of the cross-cutting issues and particular aspects relating to that intervention. 
    However, I feel that there is much more we should include on gender in future editions of LEGS. In particular, it would be interesting to have more data and analysis of gender relations in emergencies. The data we have at present does not go beyond gender differences in access and control over resources, and in the impact of proposed interventions. I would hope that when we produce the next edition of LEGS (planned for the forthcoming phase over the next 2-3 years) we can get some deeper analysis of gender relations, and their implications for planning both for emergencies, and for long term development. It would be interesting for example to have more information on gender dynamics in emergency situations, and especially in relation to coping strategies. In pastoral households during emergencies there is often a split along gender and age lines between obtaining emergency relief support (by women and young children), and moving extra long distances in search of grazing (by men).  If women are to retain any access to livestock and livestock products in these situations, they may have to take on more responsibility for livestock. We might also expect to see a different dynamic occurring in different pastoral groups.’

Question 3: Land Access
July 21, 2011 / Social Relations Analysis E-Debate

How do different kinds of households and wider kin groups incorporate terms of land access into their short and long term livelihood strategies, and what are the implications of this for land policy?


  • Mohamadou Sall Population Studies, The Cheikh Anta Diop University, Dakar (Senegal) – In relation to land access and control, it is very important to pay attention to different (and possibly antagonist?) forces about land within the household. Especially In a context of land scarcity, and with the emergence of a land market, men (often the household heads) who traditionally controlled land, are less likely to favour sharing their power over land. Meanwhile, women who are supported by NGOs, do their utmost to access and to control land as they progressively move out of the private into more public spaces.’


  • Christine Okali – I agree that in the context of land scarcity and the growth of land markets, negotiations around land will change. However, I would question the understanding that men will not give up their customary expectations of land control (such as this exists) in this changed context. Of course there remains the question of inheritance. Even customary rights (at least in some social contexts) include compensation or claims to those who have assisted on farms/ fields/ animals by providing labour and/or other inputs. As to the role of NGOs and the response of women to their (the NGO) objectives of ensuring rights for women, in the case of livestock programmes, these NGO initiatives have been contested in various ways by men with interests in the outcomes of the production. In addition, some livestock programmes have shifted from attempting to enforce the creation of individual rights for women, to acknowledging the need of women (and men) to work together in their enterprise. Should we be contesting the notion of joint rights in these important assets?


  • Mamadou Sall – From the technocratic and political view, the pathway for improving the contribution of agriculture to development is to move agriculture from traditional rules to modern rules (including land). However, this political and technocratic shift will come up against local reality: Land, for example, is controlled by local and traditional power holders who are also the political middlemen and stakeholders. In this context, what is the sense of land reform and other policies like “Parity in elective mandates/positions?”


  • Mohamadou Sall – In Senegal, studies conducted on the relations between gender and access to land have shown that one the main hindrances of access to land for women is their absence from some important institutions such as rural councils and other local agencies and structures.


  • A.N. ChibuduFormer National Dairy Development Project (NDDP), Kenya – My practical experience is more on the Zero Grazing Systems of livestock production and my comments relate to issues that are important in this system. These issues have implications for both men and women as livestock producers, Livestock Policy that takes gender issues into consideration should make sure that these concerns are taken into account. In the 90s the gender approach was Women in Livestock Development (WiLD) which I don’t think has changed much to date. The relevant issues for Zero-Grazing Systems are:-
    • Investment – the financial outlay required for this system is very high taking into account the socio-economic situation of smallholder farmers, and especially women farmers. This investment must be undertaken on land which the farmer is confident of his or her ownership rights! The policy environment surrounding this issue is very complicated as several factors come into play once you start talking about land; issues of security of tenure, and inheritance issues which are intertwined with household (family) stability.
    • Labour – zero grazing is a high input high output system, and labour especially is a key input. Many small scale producers in Africa are women who have multiple roles in life and this system of production denies them the time to attend to these other very important facets of their life. It is therefore important that the output is actually high, and translates into cash incomes that can be utilised to take care of the other roles of the women.
    • Technology – any life system instituted must be progressive and dynamic. For any meaningful success, farmers must be given continuous knowledge for them to deal with the ever-increasing challenges. There are several ways of giving this knowledge but the most popular ones are through residential training, tours and workshops which in many instances are biased against women as women can not be away from home for long periods.