Publications

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

Use the search field below or review our thematically structured research archive.


Latest articles

Food Aid and Smallholder Agriculture in Ethiopia
January 3, 2006 / Policy Briefs

Policy Brief 03
By Samuel Gebreselassie
January 2006

Ethiopia has been structurally in food deficit since at least 1980. Today, Ethiopia is the world’s most food aid dependent country. The country received 795 thousand metric tonnes of food aid annually between 1990 and 1999, about 10% of total domestic grain production. This Briefing asks what have been the impacts of food aid in Ethiopia and what are the implications for future policy, and particularly the links between food aid and smallholder agriculture?

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Policy Brief 003 Pdf 372.96 KB 1 downloads

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Pathways for Ethiopian Agriculture: Options and Scenarios
January 2, 2006 / Policy Briefs

By Samuel Gebreselassie, Amdissa Teshome, Stephen Devereux, Ian Scoones, and Kay Sharp
Policy Brief 002

The paradox facing agricultural policy in Ethiopia was neatly encapsulated in a statement by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, in 2000: “The agricultural sector remains our Achilles heel and source of vulnerability. … Nonetheless, we remain convinced that agricultural-based development remains the only source of hope for Ethiopia.

” The reality is that most Ethiopians continue to struggle to make their living from smallholder farming, despite low returns, high risks, and the evident inability of agriculture to provide even a reliable subsistence income, let alone a ‘take-off’ to poverty reduction and sustainable economic growth.

Policy-makers and analysts, both national and expatriate, have vacillated between arguing for increased investment in smallholder farming, commercialising agriculture, or abandoning unviable smallholder agriculture by promoting diversification or urbanisation instead. It is often remarked that, if Ethiopia can solve the profound challenges facing its agriculture sector, the lessons will be applicable in many other parts of Africa.

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Policy Brief 002 Pdf 342.24 KB 2 downloads

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Processus de formulation des politiques agricoles au Kenya
January 1, 2006 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

Au Kenya, le succès de la Stratégie de relance de l’agriculture (SRA), examinée par Future Agricultures dans son document d’information « La politique agricole kenyane », dépend des structures, acteurs et processus politiques affectant la politique agricole kenyane. Ce document d’information examine l’impact de chacun de ces facteurs sur les politiques agricoles kenyanes d’hier mais aussi d’aujourd’hui. Il resitue les différentes étapes politiques présentes dans le cadre de la SRA et vérifie si ces structures et actions sont suffisantes ou non pour la mise en oeuvre de la SRA.

Terres, politique foncière et agriculture paysanne en Éthiopie
January 1, 2006 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

Terre et régime foncier sont des sujets sensibles en Éthiopie. Trois problèmes cruciaux se posent : d’abord, la taille et le morcellement de l’exploitation et la question de savoir ce qu’est une exploitation « viable » ; ensuite, la sécurité foncière et savoir si le manque de cadastrage/de certification ou la définition d’unités cadastrales freinent les investissements visant à l’amélioration de la productivité ; et enfin, suivre les marchés fonciers et savoir si des marchés en évolution irrégulière réduisent les opportunités de remembrement, d’investissement et de croissance.

Orientations possibles pour l’agriculture au Malawi : défis et dilemmes. (ii) politique
January 1, 2006 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

Ce document d’information examine les défis et dilemmes auquels sont confrontés les décideurs en matière de politique agricole au Malawi, qu’ils soient issus des processus politiques actuels ou qu’ils soient enracinés dans les politiques et résultats du passé.

Issues pour l’agriculture éthiopienne : options et scénarios
January 1, 2006 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

Le Premier ministre éthiopien Meles Zenawi a clairement cerné le paradoxe de la politique agricole nationale en 2000 lors d’une déclaration : « L’agriculture demeure notre talon d’Achille et une source de vulnérabilité […] Nous demeurons cependant convaincus que l’agriculture est le seul espoir de développement de l’Ethiopie ». Le fait est que la plupart des Ethiopiens luttent pour vivre sur de petites exploitations agricoles, obtenant de faibles rendements, courant des risques, dans une activité incapable de leur fournir un revenu de subsistance fiable et encore moins de leur permettre de « décoller » grâce à une réduction de la pauvreté ou à une croissance économique durable. Les décideurs politiques et les observateurs, qu’ils vivent en Ethiopie ou à l’étranger, hésitent entre encourager l’investissement dans les petites exploitations, l’agriculture commerciale ou l’abandon de ces fermes familiales sans avenir, en faveur de la diversification ou de l’urbanisation. Ils soulignent souvent que, si l’Ethiopie peut résoudre les problèmes graves de son agriculture, les leçons pourront s’appliquer dans de nombreuses autres régions africaines.

Land, Land Policy and Smallholder Agriculture in Ethiopia
January 1, 2006 / Policy Briefs

By Samuel Gebreselassie
Policy Brief 001

Land_Land_Policy_and_Smallholder_Agriculture_in_EthiopiaLand and land tenure is a hot policy issue in Ethiopia. Three key issues are raised – farm size and fragmentation and the question of what is a ‘viable’ farm unit; tenure security and whether lack of land registration/certi. Cation or titling undermines investment in productivity improvements; and finally the issue land markets andwhether imperfectly functioning markets constrain opportunities for land consolidation, investment and agricultural growth.

Farm size, land fragmentation andsmallholder production
Ethiopia is a country of smallholder agriculture. In the 2000 cropping season, 87.4 % of rural households operated less than 2 hectares; whereas 64.5 % of them cultivated farms less than one hectare; while 40.6 % operated land sizes of 0.5 hectare and less. Such small farms are fragmented on average into 2.3 plots. The average farm size can generate only about 50% of the minimum income required for the average farm household to lead a life out of poverty, if current levels of farm productivity and price structures remain constant. Such farmers have little or no surplus for investment and for input purchase.

The increasing decline of farm size also leads to a reduction of fallowing practice or shortening of fallow cycles, and rotation, with a consequence of declining soil quality and fertility in some highland areas. The average farm size is considered by many too be small to allow sustainable intensi. Cation of smallholder agriculture. The probability of adopting fertilizer and improved seeds decreases with declines in farm size. Households with relatively small farm size are generally poor in cash income, have less access to extension services and credit, and have less risk coping opportunities to take risks of rain failure, and less profitable technologies given higher transaction costs of acquisition and application of fertiliser per unit of operated land.

Déclarations des donateurs : quel rôle pour l’agriculture?
January 1, 2006 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

Quel est le rôle de l’agriculture aux yeux des organismes internationaux concernés par le développement agricole ? Quel rôle jouent le marché et l’état ? Ce document de synthèse examine quatre déclarations faites récemment par des organismes d’aide de premier plan et s’interroge sur la manière dont ils voient le rôle de l’agriculture dans le développement.

La politique agricole kenyane
January 1, 2006 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

Rôle de l’agriculture dans la lutte contre la pauvreté

L’agriculture est le moteur de l’économie kenyane. Elle contribue à environ 25 % du PIB, employant 75 % de la population active nationale. Plus de 80 % de la population kenyane est établie dans les zones rurales et vit, directement ou indirectement, de l’agriculture. Ce secteur est important pour réduire la pauvreté sachant que les groupes les plus vulnérables, comme les gardiens de troupeaux, les sans-terre et les agriculteurs de subsistance dépendent de l’agriculture, qui est leur principale ressource. On peut donc s’attendre à ce que la croissance agricole ait un impact significatif sur une portion plus large de la population que tout autre secteur. De même, les mesures politiques affectant la performance de l’agriculture ont des implications importantes pour l’économie en général.

 

 

Communities, Commodities and Crazy Ideas: Changing Livestock Policies in Africa
June 2, 2005 / Miscellaneous

In the late 1990s a review of aid-assisted livestock projects included an assessment of sustained impact on poorer producers (Ashley et al. 1998). The review looked back over 35 years and analysed documents from more than 800 livestock projects funded by major donors, including the Department foInternational Development (UK), the World Bank, the US Agency for International Development, the European Commission, DANIDA, theNetherlands Development Cooperation and the Swiss Development Cooperation.

The majority of these projects were based on a technical transfer paradigmin which constraints facing poor livestock keepers were to be addressed by the development anduptake of technologies, including new methods to control animal diseases, improve livestock breedsor raise production through a variety of other means. However, the lack of sustained impact on the poowas dramatic. In many cases, technologies were developed which livestock keepers either did not want or could not access due to weak delivery systems. In other cases, the benefits of new technologies were captured by wealthier producers.

Partly in response to these problems, a second broa category of livestock projects evolved which aimed to strengthen the capacity of organisations to develop and deliver novel technologies and services to the poor. These projects focused on government organisations (veterinary and extension services, research centres) and aimed to promote more clientfocused and decentralised approaches. A key project activity was training middle-level managers, researchers and field-level technicians. Again, the sustained benefit of these “organisational projects” was limited.

New skills did not change the way organisations behaved, as the overriding institutional frameworks rarely provided incentives for addressing the specific needs of the poor. Despite this rather gloomy picture a few projects did demonstrate substantial impact. These included new approaches to primary animal health care using privatised community-based animal health workers (CAHWs). Working in marginalised arid and semiarid areas of East Africa, local problem analysis wit communities led to the selection and training of CAHWs in areas where few veterinarians were willing to work. However, even these projects faced problems at a policy and institutional level – veterinary policies and legislation did not support CAHWs and were often vague or not implemented.

This article describes how workers at the Africa Union/InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU/IBAR) addressed policy constraints toCAHWservices in theHorn and East Africa. The AU/IBAR team developed and applied a range of lobbying, advocacy, networking and learning methods within an overall strategy which recognised the overtly political nature of the policy process. Over time, the teamalso targeted global animal health standard setting bodies and began to apply their experience of policy process to a broader range of livestock policies.