Full title: Understanding forms of contention in the post-Soviet setting – Rural responses to Chinese land investments in Tajikistan
LDPI Working Paper 35
by Irna Hoffman
LDPI Working Paper 34
by Jessica Millgroom
Full title: Creating a Zambian Breadbasket – ‘Land grabs’ and foreign investments in agriculture in Mkushi District
LDPI Working Paper 33
by Jessica M Chu
LDPI Working Paper 32
by Ana Sofia Ganho
Full title: Foreign land deals in Tanzania – An update and a critical view on the challenges of data (re)production
LDPI Working Paper 31
by Emmanuel Sulle
Full title: An investigation of the political economy of land grabs in Malawi – The case of Kasinthula Cane Growers Limited (KCGL)
LDPI Working Paper 30
by Michael Chasukwa
LDPI Working Paper 29
by Phil René Oyono
LDPI Working Paper 28
by Kerstin Nolte and Lieske Voget-Kleschin
LDPI Working Paper 27
by Sarah Ruth Sippel
by James Sumberg and Christine Okali
Innovations Journal, Special Edition on Youth Economic Opportunities
In this essay we argue that entrepreneurship-based policy and programmes to address the jobs challenge facing young people in rural Africa need to be much more firmly grounded. Specifically, in terms of expectations, design and implementation they must take explicit account of the highly diverse and changing rural and social realities within which young people both find themselves and help to fashion. We will develop this argument through an exploration of the notion of “opportunity space”, and demonstrate the benefit of putting an appreciation of social difference and social relations at centre stage.
Full title:The Struggle over the Commons: Annual Savanna Fires and Transnational Mango Outgrower Schemes in Northern Ghana
FAC Policy Brief 62
by Joseph A. Yaro and Dzodzi Tsikata
Northern Ghana is characterised by rain fed agriculture, poor infrastructure, food crop production and poor export-oriented agriculture. Large-scale agriculture producing export crops has been one of the many suggestions made to reduce poverty in the region. However, annual savanna fires destroy investments in commercial and food crop agriculture due to a misunderstanding of the nature and purpose of these fires. The underlying causes of fires and their control cannot merely be attributed to overt reasons; they result from socio-political causes such as dissatisfaction with processes of disenfranchisement and social exclusion. This raises many questions regarding the plausibility and efficacy of introducing a modern export-oriented organic mango farming project in improving the local economy of northern Ghana.
This brief examines the Integrated Tamale Fruit Company (ITFC) outgrower farm model, which fits well into the government’s value chain approach to agricultural commercialisation with an export focus. Savanna fires are not necessarily destructive as the current policy formulations prescribe, but an understanding of the varied uses of these fires, the timings and a negotiated management of natural resources including land, is important in regulating the use of fires in ways beneficial to all land users.
FAC Policy Brief 61
by Andrew Dorward and Ephraim Chirwa
Targeting, the process of directing subsidised inputs to particular areas and to households within those areas, plays a critical role in Malawi’s Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP). It involves the implementation of particular targeting systems which are intended to deliver particular targeting outcomes and patterns of subsidised input access across areas and households. These affect how inputs are used, and hence programme impacts. Targeting is controversial and political, as it determines whether or not, how and how much particular people and groups benefit from the programme. Targeting is also difficult – and the large scale of the programme across the country adds to the challenges and costs in implementing and supervising targeting.
This policy brief sets out targeting issues that emerge from FISP evaluations and suggests criteria and options for improving targeting processes, outcomes and impacts.
FAC Policy Brief 60
by Ephraim W. Chirwa, Mirriam Matita and Andrew Dorward
One direct way in which agricultural input subsidies can provide social protection to the poor is by targeting the poor with very high subsidies to ensure that they are able to access inputs. Although the Malawi Agricultural Input Subsidy Programme (MAISP) generally targets resource-poor households, the targeting guidelines also accord special consideration to vulnerable groups such as child-headed, femaleheaded or orphan-headed households and households affected by HIV and AIDS. This Policy Brief considers how the Malawi Agricultural Input Subsidy Programme has contributed to providing social protection to these poor and vulnerable households.
FAC Policy Brief 59
by Ephraim W. Chirwa, Andrew R. Dorward and Mirriam Matita
Considering the high incidence of poverty and food insecurity among Malawi’s rural population, agricultural input subsidies can be seen in part as a social protection instrument, improving accessibility and availability of food for vulnerable groups. However, questions about the sustainability of the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) have been raised since its introduction in 2005/06. Some have argued that with limited public resources and other competing needs of development, subsidisation of farm inputs for a food staple may not be the best use of scarce resources, justifying calls for an exit strategy. Others, however, describe the subsidy as a good thing insofar as it addresses chronic food insecurity in Malawi and contributes to inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction.
FAC Policy Brief 58
by Ephraim W. Chirwa and Andrew R. Dorward
The Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) in Malawi has been implemented since the 2005/06 season with the objective of improving household and national food production and incomes. It targets more than 1.5 million farm families who receive subsidised fertilisers, improved maize seeds and/or legume seeds. The implementation of the FISP has involved the interaction of the Government of Malawi, the private sector, development partners, civil society organisations (CSOs), non-governmental organisations (NGOs), traditional leaders and smallholder farmers, all playing different roles in the implementation and success of the programme. The private sector has played a critical role, but its involvement in the programme has changed over time. This has included the procurement of fertilisers, the transportation of fertilisers to various markets, the retail sale of fertilisers, and the production and sale of improved seeds.
Benefits from the inclusion of the private sector in the implementation of a nation-wide agricultural input subsidy programme include efficiency, reduced bureaucracy, strategic development of the private market system, cost savings on the part of the Government, shared investment finance and costs, and reduction in displacement of commercial sales of inputs.
FAC Policy Brief 57
by Ephraim W. Chirwa, Peter M. Mvula, Andrew Dorward and Mirriam Matita
The Government of Malawi has, since the 2005/06 agricultural season, been implementing a Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) targeting resource-poor smallholder farmers. The input subsidy is targeted at households and implicitly assumes that a household is a unitary decision-making unit and subsidised inputs will be used equitably on plots controlled by various members of the household.
This research demonstrates that in a socio-cultural environment in which men tend to dominate intra-household decision-making processes over allocation of income and resources, these issues are important in understanding the effectiveness of input subsidies and how they can create more equal opportunities for female and male members of the household. This research investigated gender differences in the application of fertilisers in general and subsidised fertilisers in particular, on plots controlled by male and female household members.
Future Agricultures Working Paper 71
Leulseged Yirgu, Alan Nicol and Shweta Srinivasan
This paper addresses how policy responses to climate change are shaping the agricultural sector in Ethiopia, and their significance for the country’s future development. The paper highlights the multiple policy and institutional responses, including those that fall under a new policy direction of ‘green’ economic development, with a focus on development of a low-carbon economy by 2025. Under this broad banner, emerging policy narratives centre on achieving ‘climate smart’ agriculture, establishing more intensified and commercial approaches and, in the livestock sector, seeking major transformations in pastoralism within the country’s lowland periphery. At the same time, a number of structural gaps are emerging, including the success with which climate policy is being integrated across different natural resource sectors, from water and land management to rural afforestation.
Important political-economic considerations are shown to be driving some of the emerging challenges, as Ethiopia struggles to find ways of engaging a rapidly-growing economically active population. The paper suggests that externally-driven policy processes are crowding out more coherent analyses of key national-level resource management and development issues, and that a rush for climate finance may crowd out important local knowledge and experience from below that can better inform policy responses. Without adequately addressing multiple challenges facing smallholder farmers in many parts of the overcrowded highlands, question marks continue to surround the capacity of the country to achieve real agricultural transformation under the ambitious Growth and Transformation Plan.
Future Agricultures Working Paper 70
Immaculate Maina, Andrew Newsham and Michael Okoti
This paper analyses emerging policy discussions on climate change and agriculture in Kenya. Kenya has been ahead of many other countries in developing a national climate change strategy, and agriculture is one of the key critical sectors of interest. However, there are concerns about whether policy goals may be achieved amidst the actors’ many and diverging interests. This paper sets out to map how these debates are starting to take place in practice, and poses the following questions: what are the arguments, who is promoting them, and what are the implications for Kenya’s agricultural sector?
A better understanding of the key actors, their interests and through what narratives actor-interests are mobilised is important because they will all have implications for the kinds of support farmers at the local level do or do not receive, and the extent to which their own interests are fore grounded or marginalised within the policy process. Ultimately, the policy response to climate change in the agricultural sector is one important factor which mediates local-level vulnerability. The paper examines key policy narratives and documents on climate change and agriculture, how (groups of ) key actors cluster in relation to the narratives, and how they are manifesting themselves in practice.
Future Agricultures Working Paper 69
Despite ongoing changes in the structure of African economies, Africa remains heavily dependent on the agricultural sector for employment, foreign exchange and as a (potential) driver of poverty reduction. However, for several decades the dominant narrative regarding African agriculture has been one of underperformance. This paper broadly accepts the “under-performance” narrative, but qualifies it by highlighting the great diversity in performance both across and within countries and regions within Africa. It then considers how African agriculture is positioned to respond to a confluence of powerful forces that are already affecting it and will do so with increasing influence over the next decade(s). The three forces that this paper focuses on are: (1) increased demand for agricultural products in both domestic and international markets; (2) Population growth (which both contributes to this demand and alters the relative scarcities of land and labour available for production); (3) Democratisation (which is a partial exception, as the basic conclusion is that it is not yet exerting as much influence on agricultural policy as might be expected).
Titre complet: Les Transactions Foncières à Grande échelle, la Sécurité Alimentaire et les Moyens de Subsistance au Niveau Local
Point info CAADP 10
par Kate Wellard-Dyer
Les acquisitions foncières étrangères à grande échelle (accaparement de terres), constituent une préoccupation majeure et réelle pour les populations africaines. Les conséquences des transactions foncières sont très significatives pour les populations locales, et pour l’environnement. Certains y voient des opportunités financières pour les communautés locales, par le biais de l’emploi et des revenus générés par la location ou la vente des terrains. D’autres considèrent que l’aliénation des terres représente une menace majeure pour les moyens de subsistance au niveau local, pour la sécurité alimentaire et l’environnement. Il s’agit de déterminer si des modèles ‘gagnant-gagnant’ existent, profitables aux populations locales, tout en fournissant un retour financier pour les investisseurs. Le présent point info s’appuie sur les dernières études de Future Agricultures. Il formule plusieurs questions : Quels sont les moteurs des transactions foncières à grande échelle en Afrique et qui sont les principaux acteurs dans ces transactions ? Quel est l’impact des transactions foncières sur les moyens de subsistance et la sécurité alimentaire des utilisateurs actuels des terres? Que peuvent faire les gouvernements pour protéger les moyens de subsistance des petits exploitants?
CAADP Point Info 09
par Kate Wellard-Dyer
Les gouvernements africains, les organismes internationaux et les ONG ont besoin de politiques qui soient davantage centrées sur les jeunes et sur l’agriculture. Ce point info s’appuie sur les conclusions d’études menées par Future Agricultures et pose plusieurs questions: Quelles sont les attentes et les aspirations des jeunes hommes et femmes vivant dans les zones rurales? Quelles sont les contraintes et les opportunités pour les jeunes qui souhaitent s’engager dans une activité agricole productive? De quelle manière les politiques peuvent-elles apporter un soutien de meilleure qualité aux jeunes pour qu’ils réussissent à prendre part au secteur de l’agroalimentaire?
CAADP Policy Brief 10
by Kate Wellard-Dyer
Large-scale foreign land acquisitions – land grabs – are major and real concerns for African populations. The consequences of land deals are highly significant for local populations and the environment. Some see economic opportunities for local communities through employment and income generated from leasing or selling land. Others see land alienation as a major threat to local livelihoods, food security and the environment. The question is whether ‘win-win’ models exist – benefitting local people as well as providing an economic return to investors. This policy brief draws on latest research by Future Agricultures. It asks: What are the drivers behind large-scale land deals in Africa and who are the main players? What is the impact of land deals on livelihoods and food security of existing land users? What can governments do to protect smallholder livelihoods?
CAADP Policy Brief 09
by Kate Wellard-Dyer
African governments, international agencies and NGOs are calling for policies which pay more attention to young people and agriculture. This policy brief draws on research findings by Future Agricultures and asks: What are the expectations and aspirations of young rural men and women? What are the constraints and opportunities facing young people who wish to engage in productive agriculture? How can policies better support young people to engage successfully in the agri-food sector?
Future Agricultures Working Paper 68
Mohamed Elmi and Izzy Birch
This paper reflects on the work of the Ministry of State for Development of Northern Kenya and other Arid Lands between its formation in April 2008 and the elections of March 2013. The paper begins by summarising the historical, political and institutional contexts within which the Ministry was created, as well as the multiple narratives that have driven policy in Kenya’s drylands over time (section 1). It explains some of the policy choices the Ministry made in interpreting its mandate and shaping the policy agenda. The paper reflects on the response of different actors to the policy space opened up by the establishment of the Ministry, and looks at how it implemented its mandate and its day-to-day engagement with others. The authors discuss the institutional framework in more detail and the steps required to strengthen it further. The paper concludes with reflections and recommendations.
Future Agricultures Working Paper 67
Andrew Dorward and Ephraim Chirwa
This paper presents a partial equilibrium model of the impacts of the Malawi Farm Input Subsidy Programme on smallholder livelihoods in two major and contrasting livelihood zones over the period 2005/6 to 2010/11. Despite inherent difficulties in modelling the multi-scale and complex relationships that are involved, model findings show direct impacts on subsidy recipients (increasing maize production and real incomes), differences between poorer and less poor households (with poorer households normally gaining more proportionally but not necessarily absolutely from the same subsidy package), and differences between central and southern region maize growing areas with different rates of poverty incidence and land pressure (with greater absolute and proportional gains in poorer southern region areas). The results also show the impacts of the programme on wages and maize prices.
However, a significant finding of model simulations is that beneficial indirect effects may be greater than direct impacts in maize growing areas with high rates of poverty incidence and high land pressure. These indirect effects arise through increases in the ratio of wages to maize prices, and benefit poorer households (who sell ganyu labour and buy maize) while potentially harming in the short term the incomes of less poor buyers of ganyu labour and sellers of maize (these households should however gain in the medium and long run from increased livelihood opportunities with wider economic growth). This finding has important implications for programme design, implementation and evaluation. Much more emphasis should be placed on ensuring that the programme and other policies are managed to maximise these indirect benefits, and on assessing these benefits in programme evaluation. There are particular implications for the design and management of area and household targeting and graduation.
Future Agricultures Working Paper 66
Andrew Dorward and Ephraim Chirwa
This paper examines targeting issues that emerge from FISP evaluations undertaken since 2006/07, and puts forward various options for improving targeting. Targeting objectives depend upon programme objectives. In the FISP targeting occurs at area and beneficiary levels – the former targeting subsidies to different zones or districts, the latter targeting beneficiaries within already targeted areas.
Targeting is important because it affects achievement of programme objectives through its impacts on displacement (the extent to which purchases of subsidised inputs replace purchases of unsubsidised inputs that farmers would have bought anyway without the subsidy), productivity of input use, the direct benefits to beneficiaries, and wider economic, social and environmental benefits. Achievement of these benefits is generally supported by pro-poor targeting (with lower displacement and stronger growth linkages) but the effects of pro-poor targeting on the productivity of input use are not known and are an important (but difficult) field of further research. Relations of targeting with area and beneficiary graduation and with environmental benefits are complex, and also require further research.
Full title: Repeated Access and Impacts of the Farm Input Subsidy Programme in Malawi: Any Prospects of Graduation?
Future Agricultures Working Paper 65
Ephraim Chirwa, Mirriam Matita, Peter Mvula and Andrew Dorward
This paper analyses the impacts of the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) using a balanced four-year panel of 461 households from 2004/5, 2006/7, 2008/9 and 2010/11 agricultural seasons. We find evidence of economy wide and input market effects of the subsidy programme. The economy-wide effects of the subsidy programme are strong particularly due to lower maize prices and increased ganyu wage rates. The economy-wide effects of the subsidy which arise from higher ganyu wage rates, reduced time spent on ganyu, availability of maize at local level and lower prices of maize have enabled poor households to access maize when they run out of their own production.
With respect to input market effects, with 2010/11 conditions and quantities of subsidised fertiliser, a 1 percent increase in subsidised fertilisers reduces commercial demand by 0.15 – 0.21 percent. However, using various welfare indicators, we find mixed results on the direct beneficiary household effects of the subsidy programme from panel data analysis and there is no overwhelming evidence on the relationship between repeated access and impacts of the subsidy. The direct beneficiary impacts on food consumption, self-assessed poverty and overall welfare are weak and mixed while there is some statistically significant evidence of positive impacts on primary school enrolment, under-5 illness and shocks. Nonetheless, the impact analysis highlights the challenges of targeting and sharing of subsidy among households, which may have implications on the direct beneficiary impacts and prospects to sustainably graduate from the programme.
Future Agricultures Working Paper 64
Ephraim Chirwa and Andrew Dorward
The involvement of the private sector in the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) has changed over the lifetime of the programme with increasing participation in fertilizer procurement, inclusion and exclusion in fertiliser retail sales, increased participation in seed sales and increased participation in the transportation of fertilisers to various outlets in Malawi. This paper documents changes in private sector involvement in various aspects of the programme since 2005/06 and identifies benefits and challenges of participation of the private sector in the implementation of the programme.
The paper reviews the experience of private sector participation using data from the Logistics Unit and household and community surveys conducted in the 2006/07, 2008/09 and 2010/11 agricultural seasons. The analysis shows that commercial sales of fertilisers, although lower than the pre-subsidy levels, have been increasing suggesting that the programme has in the medium term stimulated demand for fertilisers in Malawi. This has occurred at a time when the private sector has increasingly participated in the procurement of subsidy fertiliser but has been excluded from retailing of subsidy fertilisers. The seed component of the subsidy programme, which has always involved the private sector, has attracted additional seed growers and expanded the number of varieties for maize seeds and legumes.
Sumberg, James; Thompson, John; Woodhouse, Philip
Outlook on Agriculture (2013) Volume 42, Number 2, June 2013 , pp. 81-83(3)
The context in which agronomy research takes place has changed fundamentally over the last 40 years, with important implications for the discipline. Systematic study of the new politics of agronomy is particularly important in an era when the whole basis of global and sustainable food security is under question. One critical challenge is to analyse the forces driving claims on the universality of technology and approaches.
Full title: Graduation of Households from Social Protection Programmes in Ethiopia: Implications of Market Conditions and Value Chains on Graduation
Future Agricultures Working Paper 63
The purpose of this research is to analyse how market conditions and value chain development of Food Security Programme (FSP) promoted products affect livelihood performance and possibility of graduating (as enabler and constrainer) from social support programmes in Ethiopia. The study is conducted in contrasting socioeconomic and livelihood settings of Oromia and Tigray regions. This will help to investigate how these two factors affect the resilience of households to various shocks, and their ability to live productive lives in a sustained manner.
This paper was produced under the Future Agricultures Early Career Fellowship Programme
Future Agricultures Working Paper 62
Laura Silici and Anna Locke
Private equity (PE) and venture capital are forms of investment that bring together specialised fund managers and investors to provide equity investments into private (i.e. non-publicly listed) companies. Compared to other emerging markets, the PE industry in Africa is still at an early stage of development but several circumstances suggest that its growth is proceeding at a sustained pace.
The agribusiness sector in Africa has become an increasingly important destination for investments, and investment in this sector is projected to grow further in future. PE may represent an additional, important source of capital for agriculture. However, due to lack of publicly available data, very little is known about PE deals concluded in Africa, where they stand within the panorama of agribusiness investments and the impact they have on local economies.
This study seeks to shed some light on the volume and the characteristics of PE investments in agribusiness in Africa, with the objective of assessing whether, and how, these could contribute to developing the sector.
This paper was produced under the Future Agricultures Early Career Fellowship Programme
Full title: Dynamics of Maize Seed Production Systems in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana: Agricultural Modernisation, Farmer Adaptive Experimentation and Domestic Food Markets
Future Agricultures Working Paper 61
By Kojo Sebastian Amanor, June 2013
This Working Paper examines the dynamics of maize production in distinct environments and localities in Brong Ahafo Region, Ghana, and the various factors that have influenced patterns of agricultural adaptation, innovation and transformation. Specifically, it analyses the influences of neoliberal policies on the institutional framework of maize seed policy, on the technical recommendations of state institutions and on farmer production systems.
Drawing on detailed interviews with market traders and small-scale producers, it also contrasts the priorities of farmers with the recommendations of agricultural services and the extent to which research recommendations reflect or fail to reflect the actual developments in maize production systems. Finally, it explores the implications of policy support for the commercialisation of seeds for the wider seed system, including interactions between the formal, informal and market sectors.
Future Agricultures Working Paper 60
By Kassahun Berhanu, May 2013
This study examines the motives that underlie the drives of the Ethiopian government in embracing the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) as a national plan of action aimed at effecting agricultural transformation. This is despite the fact that Ethiopia had already surpassed the targets set by CAADP for furthering agricultural-led economic growth. The central argument advanced in this study is that Government of Ethiopia (GOE)’s adopting of CAADP is not the outcome of any shift in the already existing domestic political incentives. It is rather prompted by the EPRDF government’s recognition of the limitations of smallholder agricultural growth on one hand and the quest to offset the negative effects of its soured relations with donors in the aftermath of the May 2005 Elections on the other.
Samuel Asuming-Brempong, John K. Anarfi, Samuel Arthur and Seth Asante
American Journal of Experimental Agriculture (2013), ISSN: 2231-0606,Vol.: 3, Issue.: 3 (July-September)
Smallholder commercialisation may be broadly defined as the situation where farmers of small individual and family farms have greater engagement with markets, either for inputs, outputs, or both. A key premise of commercialization as a development strategy is that markets provide increased incomes to households who are able to maximize the returns to land and labor through market opportunities, using earned income for household consumption in ways that are more efficient than subsistence production. This study assesses the characteristics of smallholder farmers in Ghana using tomato and pineapple production as a case study; analyses the relationship between commercialization and smallholder land holdings; assesses the determinants of commercialization of smallholder agriculture, as well as the benefits or otherwise of smallholder farmers from commercialization; and discusses how commercialization affects household food security among smallholder farmers. Descriptive statistics, correlations and regression analysis are used to describe the characteristics of smallholder farmers and determine the key factors that influence household decision to undertake commercialization among both tomato and pineapple farmers. Based on the study, it was found that 96.3 percent of the respondents in the study communities are farmers; and they fall between the ages of 15 and 59 years (91%), which indicates that they are relatively young. The key determinants of commercialization among tomato farmers are land productivity and labour productivity. Similarly, the main determinants of commercialization among pineapple smallholder farmers are land productivity and savings. The study recommends that both public and private agencies work should together to facilitate the move of smallholder farmers from mainly subsistence to commercialization because it comes with several benefits, including higher household incomes, and improvements in household food security.
by Stephen Whitfield
Climatic Change, June 2013
Drawing on social constructivist approaches to interpreting the generation of knowledge, particularly Stirling’s (Local Environ 4(2):111–135, 1999) schema of incomplete knowledge, this paper looks critically at climate-crop modelling, a research discipline of growing importance within African agricultural adaptation policy. A combination of interviews with climate and crop modellers, a meta-analysis survey of crop modelling conducted as part of the CGIAR’s Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) programme in 2010, and peer-reviewed crop and climate modelling literature are analysed. Using case studies from across the crop model production chain as illustrations it is argued that, whilst increases in investment and growth of the modelling endeavour are undoubtedly improving observational data and reducing ignorance, the future of agriculture remains uncertain and ambiguous. The expansion of methodological options, assumptions about system dynamics, and divergence in model outcomes is increasing the space and need for more deliberative approaches to modelling and policy making. Participatory and deliberative approaches to science-policy are advanced in response. The discussion highlights the problem that, uncertainty and ambiguity become hidden within the growing complexity of conventional climate and crop modelling science, as such, achieving the transparency and accessibility required to democratise climate impact assessments represents a significant challenge. Suggestions are made about how these challenges might be responded to within the climate-crop modelling community.
Future Agricultures / PLAAS Policy Brief 56
by Emmanuel Sulle and Ruth Hall
A dedicated investment in smallholder farmers to enable them to improve their land use and productivity is critical to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth in African countries. The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (‘New Alliance’) focuses on public-private partnership (PPPs) with local investors and multinational corporations (MNCs) to produce food. However, this is unlikely to solve chronic problems of hunger, malnutrition and poverty because of under-investment in smallholder agriculture, and the rolling back of state support following structural adjustment programmes from the 1980s onwards.
The initial signs of New Alliance implementation, instead of reversing this chronic under-investment in smallholder agriculture, suggest the adoption of corporate agriculture, either turning smallholder farmers into wage workers and hooking them into value chains in which they have to compete with MNCs, or expelling them to search for alternative livelihoods in the growing cities. Although tempered by promotion of ‘outgrower’ schemes, in practice this agenda promotes large-scale commercialisation. We argue that African countries engaging with the New Alliance should focus instead on securing citizens’ access to land, water and improved governance. African countries have a better chance of addressing the root causes behind rural poverty and low agricultural productivity by investing directly in smallholder farmers themselves.
Response to ‘Combining sustainable agricultural production with economic and environmental benefits’June 4, 2013 / Journal articles
James Sumberg, Jens Andersson, Ken Giller and John Thompson
The Geographical Journal, Vol 179, Issue 2, pages 183-185, June 2013
We suggest that a recent commentary piece in The Geographical Journal on Conservation Agriculture (CA) and the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) (Kassam and Brammer 2012 was misleading because it drew very selectively from the literature, and presented its conclusions as both widely accepted and uncontroversial. Kassam and Brammer’s intervention in the continuing debates around CA and SRI can be understood as a manifestation of the new ‘contested agronomy’. While Kassam and Brammer call on geographers to do research that will promote the spread of CA and SRI, we suggest that this misconstrues and devalues the potential contribution of geography and social science more generally to agricultural development.
SUMBERG, J., ANDERSSON, J., GILLER, K. and THOMPSON, J. (2013), Response to ‘Combining sustainable agricultural production with economic and environmental benefits’. The Geographical Journal, 179: 183–185. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-4959.2012.00472.x
Full title: Governing REDD+: global framings versus practical evidence from the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project, Kenya
STEPS Centre Working Paper 55
by Joanes Atela
This paper explores the governance and feasibility of globally-linked REDD+ projects in local African settings, focusing on the Kasigau project in Kenya, Africa’s first REDD+ project accredited under internationally accepted standards. The project is a commercial venture and during the last five years it has unfolded in a relatively vulnerable Kenyan setting. A policy process analysis, interactive fieldwork and document review has explored its interrelationship with local livelihood assets and state institutional capabilities.
The paper reveals that while REDD+ institutions are globally standardised through negotiations interlocked with political and development interests, projects are faced with state and local resource histories and perceptions, and in responding to such settings, these projects become highly contextual. Locally, the Kasigau project links carbon benefits to specific and significant local vulnerabilities such as low ‘value’ dryland, water scarcity and illiteracy. This has yielded an apparently uncontested acceptance and favourable perception of the project among the Kasigau people, appearing to reverse long histories of exclusion from their resources by centralised state-based resource management regimes. Yet the negative perception of state institutions that the Kasigau people have built up over time raises questions as to whether the state can ably oversee a successful REDD+ process, as is assumed by the international community. If resource management is not factually decentralised in particular countries, greater capture of local resource rights in REDD+ could result from state regimes than from private-commercial regimes. As such, international gains in safeguarding local communities in REDD+ could be seriously compromised. Kenya recently initiated land reforms as part of resource decentralisation, but the resulting regimes remain fuzzy, subordinate to powerful centralised interests, focused on individual title, and inadequately adapted to particular local contexts. Such reforms potentially re-shuffle the local engagement of the Kasigau project which draws its apparent success partly from a communalised land tenure system.
This paper concludes that communal systems, if well-defined, may provide a better basis for the governance of REDD+ projects, enabling inclusivity, collective action and societal benefits. If projects can genuinely enable local people to manage and benefit from their forest resources, REDD+ promises to be a multi-governance programme that bridges the gap between global and local institutions and interests in the sustainable use of forests.
Colin Poulton and Karuti Kanyinga
Working Paper 59
In March 2004 the Kenyan government set out its radical Strategy for Revitalising Agriculture (SRA). Almost a decade on, remarkably little progress has been made on its priority areas. Beyond bureaucratic resistance to economic reform, we explain the political roots of inertia in the SRA case, encompassing both the political logic of maintaining commodity chain-based state organisations and the impossibility of achieving the necessary collective action for radical reform within a dysfunctional coalition government. Continuation of the historic approach to agricultural development in Kenya is good for regional elites but fails to deliver critical public goods for poorer smallholder producers. We, therefore, consider what political changes might be needed before more radical reforms to Kenyan agricultural policy can be implemented.
John Baptist D. Jatoe, Damien G. Lankoandé and James Sumberg
This paper tests the ‘systems of innovation’ hypothesis for a selection of crops in Ghana and Burkina Faso that have shown significant growth in production over an approximately 20-year period. The question is whether such growth can only occur if supported by a system of innovation. Using two indicators (a common understanding on objectives and priorities, and a high level of interactivity) we find little evidence for the existence of anything that might be considered a high functioning system of innovation.
This paper begins highlights some key features that shape agrarian labour relations in Zimbabwe, illustrated through the setting of Goromonzi district. The new agrarian structure that forms the basis of the reconfigured agricultural production systems and labour relations is then analysed. This allows for the examination of the labour mobilisation patterns among the different classes of producers resulting from agrarian restructuring. The assessment of the material conditions that farm labourers derive from selling labour in various ways and their responses to the challenges they face precede the conclusions.
The new agrarian labour relations are explored using empirical research in Goromonzi district. Research undertaken by the African Institute for Agrarian Studies (AIAS) since 2002, including a baseline survey in 2006 of 695 landholders and 173 farm workers in Goromonzi is used to illustrate the outcomes prior to economic stabilisation in 2009.iii The analysis draws from the results of the survey reported in Moyo et al. (2009) and the data referenced as AIAS (2007). Qualitative surveys in Goromonzi in 2012 are used to trace the dynamic changes to agrarian labour relations as further land redistribution occurred and the macro-economic context and agrarian policies shifted. Data was collected through interviews and observations from farm labourers, landholders, farm compounds, traditional authorities and state officials.
Full title: Making Sense of Gender, Climate Change and Agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa: Creating Gender-Responsive Climate Adaptation Policy
Christine Okali and Lars Otto Naess
Attention to gender and climate change has increased steadily over the last decade. Much of the emerging policy-focused literature resembles to a considerable degree the gender and environment literature from the 1990s, with the nature of women’s work being used to justify placing women at the centre of climate change policy. However, in contrast with the portrayal of women in earlier literature as knowledgeable guardians of the environment, the women at the centre of gender and climate change policy are typically portrayed as vulnerable, weak, poor, and socially isolated. Arguably, this is a reflection of the politics of gender rather than the reality of the men and women who regularly experience and deal with changes of various kinds.
We argue for a more realistic and nuanced framing of gender that is built on an acknowledgement of social complexity, and an understanding of social, including gender relations, in specific local settings. Such a framing would provide a more valuable starting point for understanding the way in which both women and men, together and separately in their different, and changing roles, shape the outcomes of external interventions. This shift does not mean that targeting vulnerable women to meet short term needs is not valuable. Rather, the intention is principally, to minimise the risks of policy failure resulting from the adoption of often erroneous but popular assumptions about the different roles that women and men play, and must continue to play, to achieve food security in the face of climate change.
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