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

Grazing rights in Namibia’s communal areas: A case study of a local land grabbing dispute…
July 2, 2014 / Working Papers

Full title: Grazing rights in Namibia’s communal areas: A case study of a local land grabbing dispute in Western Kavango region

Future Agricultures Working Paper 93
Theodor Muduva
June 2014

While conflict and competition over land is a major trend in Africa, and there are allegations of ‘land grabbing’ of large areas of land from local people, usually by foreign companies, other more localised forms of competition over land are less well understood. This paper presents the case of disputes over grazing land between local communities in Northern Namibia and pastoralists/ herders who entered the area and engage in alleged illegal grazing and fencing of communal land for their large herds of cattle. Fencing off of communal land (without authorisation) is forbidden in Namibia by the Communal Land Reform Act.


FAC Working Paper 093 Pdf 663.55 KB 21 downloads


Neo-traditionalism, chieftaincy and land grabs in Ghana
June 24, 2014 / Policy Briefs

Policy Brief 74
Joseph Yaro and Dzodzi Tsikata

The achievement of the Ghanaian state’s objective of modernising agriculture by encouraging transnational capital necessarily requires the regulation of the activities of chiefs in land transactions to prevent the misuse of neo-traditional norms to dispossess community members of their rights to land. The current context of land transactions, which has been characterised by poor governance, opens the gate for opportunism by local and state elites, and the risk of transnational companies ‘colonising’ large parts of rural Ghana. Without fundamental institutional reforms and social protection mechanisms which privilege the land rights of smallholders, large-scale transnational land acquisitions threaten the socio-economic development of rural Ghana.


Policy Brief 074 Pdf 120.48 KB 35 downloads


Kenya’s Land Reform Agenda: Pastoralism within the Current Land Debate
June 24, 2014 / Policy Briefs

Policy Brief 73
John Letai

Kenya’s Community Land Bill could herald a new and improved approach to securing the rights of pastoralists to land, grazing and water. Devolving the governance of these resources to the local level could provide pastoralists with greater influence over decisions affecting their livelihoods.

This policy brief explores and argues for the enactment of a people-driven Community Land Act. The objective is to provide key observations and arguments that can help guide the process that will recognise and respect efficient management, control and use of community land. The process is informed by past practices and experiences whereby pastoralists in Kenya accessed land and natural resources through customary systems and institutions that operated largely outside the statutory legal framework of land administration.


Policy Brief 073 Pdf 142.83 KB 27 downloads


Beyond the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP)? The Political Economy of CAADP Processes in Malawi
June 24, 2014 / Working Papers

Full title: Beyond the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP)? The Political Economy of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Processes in Malawi

Future Agricultures Working Paper 92
Blessings Chinsinga
May 2014

This paper examines the political economy of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) process to which Malawi signed up as a way of fundamentally transforming the agricultural sector to eliminate hunger and reduce poverty According to NEPAD (2011), the overarching goal of CAADP is to reconfigure the way agricultural development issues are formulated, policies are generated and debated, investment decisions are implemented and interventions are scrutinised.

The main concern of this paper from a political economy perspective is to examine the nature of stakeholders’ engagement with the CAADP process, given the already impressive growth performance of the agricultural sector in Malawi. The underlying goal was to understand their interests in engaging with the process, the nature of incentives driving them, the strategies employed to advance, promote and defend their interests and the implications thereof on the attainment of the ideals of the CAADP process. This, in turn, shed a great deal of light on whether or not there is any value addition to the country’s agricultural policy processes as a result of engaging in the CAADP process. Taken together, these exercises helped to identify and understand the political, economic and social processes that promote or block pro-poor change as well as the role of institutions, power and the underlying context for policy processes.


FAC Working Paper 092 Pdf 728.00 KB 20 downloads


Into the fold: what pastoral responses to crisis tell us about the future of pastoralism in the Horn
June 4, 2014 / Working Papers

Future Agricultures Working Paper 91
Jeremy Lind and Lina Rivera Barrero
May 2014

This paper is concerned with how pastoral livelihoods are likely to evolve in areas of the Horn of Africa where processes of incorporation are intensifying. More than ever before, pastoral areas of the Horn of Africa are coming into the fold of wider economic processes. Expropriations of land and key resources in rangelands for the establishment of private ranches and commercial farms, the expansion of roads, telecommunications, and marketing facilities to promote trade and mobility, and investments in hydrocarbons are some of the ways that pastoral areas are being newly encapsulated into regional and global capitalist development. The connections between pastoral areas and wider national, regional and global processes will intensify and become more systematic, codified (in land use planning and statutory tenure, internal revenue and customs, and veterinary rules and regulations, for example), and otherwise formalised.


FAC Working Paper 091 Pdf 438.60 KB 21 downloads


Pastoral Livestock Trade and Growth in Ethiopia
June 4, 2014 / Policy Briefs

Policy Brief 72
Yacob Aklilu and Andy Catley

In Ethiopia, government support to the export of livestock and livestock products started soon after the eradication of rinderpest. This was generic multi-sector support from which the livestock sector benefited, and pre-dated the New Alliance. Although Ethiopia has seen dramatic increases in formal exports, it is less recognised that pastoralist areas supply most of the animals for export. For this supply to be maintained or increased, specific livestock policy support is needed based on consultation with pastoralists, traders and other private sector actors, along with stronger coordination of the government ministries that oversee different aspects of the production and trade system. There are also opportunities to further apply systems to support cross-border trade, in line with the policies of the African Union and IGAD, and supported by certification systems such as the COMESA Green Pass. In terms of the New Alliance objective of supporting equitable growth, commercialisation of pastoral systems is associated with increasing wealth disparity and out-migration of poorer or destitute pastoralists.


Policy Brief 072 Pdf 627.34 KB 47 downloads


Investment in drylands: widening the benefits for food security and development
June 4, 2014 / Policy Briefs

Policy Brief 71
Izzy Birch and Jeremy Lind

After decades of comparative neglect, the drylands of the Horn of Africa are experiencing an unprecedented surge of investment. Largescale infrastructure projects now dominate national development plans. They represent a welcome renewal of interest by states in drylands and an opportunity to reduce long-standing inequalities in the provision of public goods and services. Uneven investment has been a barrier to formal private sector engagement; it has also left pastoralists more vulnerable to shocks and ill-equipped to take advantage of processes of economic transformation. Of all types of investment, state-driven investment should provide for the greater public good. Careful planning and management will be required if it is to contribute to inclusive growth rather than deepen inequality.


Policy Brief 071 Pdf 0.00 KB 39 downloads


Social protection in pastoral areas: promoting inclusive growth at the margins
June 4, 2014 / Policy Briefs

Policy Brief 70
Jeremy Lind and Izzy Birch

Vulnerability and poverty levels remain stubbornly high and arguably are deepening in many pastoral areas of the Horn of Africa. This is in spite of galloping livestock commercialisation in these areas and their closer incorporation into wider systems of marketing, trade and investment. The fact remains that the benefits of recent growth and investment in pastoral areas have yet to result in wider benefits for addressing food insecurity and poor nutrition. Chronically food insecure, poor or vulnerable people with limited assets cannot engage in or contribute to more productive livestock-keeping or other growth-oriented economic activities that are the intended focus of the New Alliance. Thus, strengthening social protection systems in the region is a prerequisite for realising more inclusive growth at the pastoral margins. This brief details the role of social protection in agendas to promote agricultural growth, highlighting areas of innovative programme design and implementation where further efforts might focus.


Policy Brief 070 Pdf 429.09 KB 37 downloads


Savannah fires and local resistance to transnational land deals: the case of organic mango farming..
May 29, 2014 / Journal articles

Full title: Savannah fires and local resistance to transnational land deals: the case of organic mango farming in Dipale, northern Ghana

Joseph A. Yaro and Dzodzi Tsikata
African Geographical Review, Volume 32, Issue 1, 2013

Recent interest in investments in land in Africa targets the supposed ‘abundant and wasting’ fire-prone savannah woodlands. Outgrower models are becoming the recommended business model for transnational investments as they are argued to guarantee a win–win outcome for both trans-national companies and local farmers. Using qualitative interviews in the village of Dipale, we investigate one such project, the Integrated Tamale Fruit Company (ITFC). All outgrowers lost their investments to savannah fires and consequently abandoned or converted the mango farms into food crop farms. The political ecology of the area, manifested in the human-environmental conditions and land management practices confounded the business model of land acquisitions thus threatening their profitability for the investors and reducing their contribution to local livelihood outcomes. The savannah fires represent an instrumentalized form of local resistance against the expropriation of their livelihood resources without their full cooperation and consent.


Land, Gender, and Food Security
May 29, 2014 / Journal articles

Cheryl Doss, Gale Summerfield and Dzodzi Tsikata
Feminist Economics, volume 20, issue 1, 2014

Since 2008, a surge in large-scale land acquisitions, or land grabs, has been taking place in low- and middle-income countries around the globe. This contribution examines the gendered effects of and responses to these deals, drawing on nine studies, which include conceptual framing essays that bring in debates about human rights, studies that draw on previous waves of land acquisitions globally, and case studies that examine the gendered dimensions of land dispossession and loss of common property. Three key insights emerge: the evolving gender and land tenure literature provides valuable information for understanding the likely effects of land deals; some of the land deal issues transcend gender-equity concerns and relate to broader problems of dispossession and loss of livelihoods; and huge gaps remain in our knowledge of gender and land rights that require urgent attention and systematic integration of gender analysis into mainstream research.

Policy processes and agriculture – what difference does CAADP make?
May 29, 2014 / Policy Briefs

CAADP Policy Brief 14

It is just over ten years since African Union (AU) Heads of State made their declaration in support of Africa’s agricultural sector in Maputo. Through the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), they committed to a common process for the development and refinement of national agricultural strategies and investment plans, intended to guide the investments of governments, donors and the private sector. This Brief draws on research by the Future Agricultures Consortium on the political and economic context of CAADP in eight African countries (Poulton et al. 2014)and asks:

  • How does CAADP fit with existing national agricultural strategies and policies?
  • Who and what drives the CAADP process at country level?
  • What value has CAADP added to national agricultural policies?

The findings add to our understanding of how domestic political incentives affect pro-poor agricultural policy in Africa.

Agriculture and climate change – politics behind the policies
May 29, 2014 / Policy Briefs

CAADP Policy Brief 13

Policy-makers are increasingly focusing on the linkages between agriculture and climate change. Since 2009 African Union members have committed to embracing climate change mitigation and adaptation as integral components of agricultural development. While a number of pilot initiatives are under way, we know little about what this kind of focus on climate change and agriculture will mean in practice. Realising the potentials of agricultural systems for adaption and mitigation is about more than technological choices and farming practices; it is also about politics and power.

This Brief draws on recent research by the Future Agricultures Consortium (FAC) which examines how the agenda for climate-smart agriculture is playing out in practice in Africa, and asks:

  • Who participates in national agriculture and climate change policy processes?
  • Whose knowledge counts in defining climate-smart agriculture?
  • On whose terms and in whose interests are particular approaches and technologies favoured?

Review of research and policies for climate change adaptation in the agriculture sector in W Africa
May 28, 2014 / Working Papers

Future Agricultures Working Paper 90
Edward R. Rhodes, Abdulai Jalloh and Aliou Diouf
May 2014

The agricultural sector in Africa is very vulnerable to climate change and there is need for strong support to research on adaptation to climate change. A desk study on the synthesis of research and policy on climate change in the agricultural sector in West Africa was undertaken as part of the activities of a platform for exchange between researchers and policymakers for adaptation to climate change (AfricaInteract), a project funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and coordinated by the Council for Agricultural Research and Development in West and Central Africa (CORAF/WECARD). The objective of the review is to enhance the knowledge base and support research-based policy formulation for climate change adaptation in the smallholder agricultural sector (crops, livestock, pastoral systems and fisheries) in West Africa. Peer reviewed journal papers, peer reviewed reports of CGIAR centres and international organisations, papers published in conference proceedings and consultancy reports were studied. Materials published from 1995 to 2013 were used for the report.

This review was undertaken under the auspices of the AfricaInteract project funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).


FAC Working Paper 090 V2 Pdf 713.94 KB 25 downloads


Review of research and policies for climate change adaptation in urban areas of West Africa
May 28, 2014 / Working Papers

Future Agricultures Working Paper 89
Maruf Sanni, Abdulai Jalloh and Aliou Diouf
April 2014

There has been an unprecedented increase in human population and urban development in recent times. The West African sub-region is no exception. The sub-region’s population is growing at an average annual rate of three percent, and could reach 430m by 2020. Climate change will increase existing urban system challenges in the sub-region. Against this background, the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD) commissioned a review of literature on climate change impacts and adaptation in urban areas of West Africa. This was with a view to enhancing the knowledge base and to supporting research-based policy formulation for climate change adaptation in urban areas of West Africa. This review was carried out using peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings, grey literature, policy documents, technical reports, relevant government and non-governmental organisation (NGO) documents and libraries over the past 15 to 20 years.

This review was undertaken under the auspices of the AfricaInteract project funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).


FAC Working Paper 089 Pdf 2.22 MB 14 downloads


Review of research and policies for climate change adaptation in the health sector in West Africa
May 28, 2014 / Working Papers

Future Agricultures Working Paper 88
Seydou Doumbia, Abdulai Jalloh, Aliou Diouf
April 2014

The African continent is the most vulnerable region in the world to the impacts of climate change. While there is undisputed evidence that the climate is changing, there is a lot of uncertainty regarding the pace and extent of the impacts on the sub-regions of Africa. This review is aimed at identifying gaps in research and policymaking for climate change adaptation in the health sector in West Africa. The purpose is to provide information and insights that can be used to bring researchers and policymakers together to improve evidence-based policymaking that can enhance food security and protect populations vulnerable to the health impacts of climate change.

This report is based on a systematic review of literature on climate change and related health risks, policy and adaptation strategy over the past 15 to 20 years. The search included a broad-based review of published, peer reviewed and grey literature and interviews. Priority was given to relationships between climate change and health risks and vulnerability in West African countries, with a focus on Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria.

This review was undertaken under the auspices of the AfricaInteract project funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).


FAC Working Paper 088 Pdf 679.53 KB 13 downloads


Enhancing the Productive Capacity of Extremely Poor People in Rwanda
May 27, 2014 / Working Papers

Working Paper 87
Ricardo Sabates, Stephen Devereux and Pamela Abbott

Concern Worldwide launched a programme called ‘Enhancing the Productive Capacity of Extremely Poor People’ – known as the ‘Graduation Programme’ in this report – in two districts of southern Rwanda in May 2011. The Graduation Programme is designed to support extremely poor households1 through cash transfers to meet their basic needs, skills development to enable them to improve their livelihood options, and savings to increase resilience to shocks, thereby enabling sustainable exits from poverty.

This report presents the findings from a quantitative survey conducted 12 months after 1st cohort participants on Concern Worldwide Rwanda’s Graduation Programme received their first cash transfer, as well as qualitative research conducted a few months later. The monitoring and evaluation (M&E) component of the programme includes a quantitative baseline survey, a ‘first 12 months survey’ conducted 12 months after the first cash transfer is disbursed (while the cash transfers are still ongoing and before the asset transfer and associated livelihood support begins), and qualitative fieldwork.


FAC Working Paper 087 V2 Pdf 2.86 MB 21 downloads


Rice, cows and envy: agriculture and change among young rice producers in Guinea-Bissau
May 24, 2014 / Working Papers

Working Paper 86
Manuel Bivar and Marina Padrão Temudo

In Guinea-Bissau, a country on the West African coast between Senegal, the Republic of Guinea and the Atlantic, rice is the staple food. During the past three decades, agriculture in Guinea- Bissau has undergone a radical transformation. In Guinea-Bissau, there is a common discourse that young people have abandoned the fields and migrated to the city. A process of ‘depeasantization’ has been described, which implies a decline in the time spent working in agriculture, in the income earned from agriculture and in household coherence as a labour unit, leading to rural out-migration. However, the ethnography of the Balanta-Nhacra rural world presented in this paper suggests a process which is far more complex. When we analyse processes of ‘depeasantization’ in the African context, structural factors must also be taken into account.


FAC Working Paper 086 V2 Pdf 1.33 MB 18 downloads


The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Process in Burkina Faso…
May 23, 2014 / Working Papers

Full title: The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Process in Burkina Faso: From False Start to Restart Towards Rural Development?

Working Paper 85
Augustin Loada

This report is about the adoption of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) by Burkina Faso, and tries to assess if it was a simple means of refreshing the country’s agricultural policies or a starting point towards a new rural development policy.

The current research aims at analysing the implementation of the objectives set at Maputo in Burkina Faso, how the CAADP process was rolled out, and the results. The report starts by analysing the existence of political incentives that made possible a number of initiatives for rural development launched by relatively weak institutions. It then shows how Burkina Faso adhered to the CAADP process whose implementation was characterised by an impasse before it restarted through the formulation of a National Programme for the Rural Sector. The report also analyses the driving forces behind this process and identifies the value added springing from the CAADP implementation. Finally we draw lessons for the upcoming agricultural policies. The current case study relies on a document review and discussions with key informants: representatives of donors (Germany, Denmark), decision makers (Permanent Secretary for the Coordination of Sectoral Agriculture Policies), representatives of private sector and civil society.


FAC Working Paper 085 Pdf 330.46 KB 17 downloads


Gender and farming in Ethiopia: an exploration of discourses and implications for policy & research
May 23, 2014 / Working Papers

Working Paper 84
Asrat Ayalew Gella and Getnet Tadele

There is growing realisation that gender matters in African agriculture. However, a comprehensive and properly contextualised analysis of the nature of gender and gender relations as well as the way it comes into play in agriculture is lacking in much of the scholarly and policy debate surrounding the issue. The positioning of men and women in relation to farming, the spaces they are and are not allowed to occupy, the embodied nature of agricultural activities, and their implications to the future of African agriculture and rural youth are among the issues which have attracted little attention thus far. In this paper, we explore the utility of these issues in understanding gender issues within the context of small scale family farming in Ethiopia. Based on two qualitative studies of three rural farming villages and the existing literature, we explore the cultural and highly symbolic construction of ‘the farmer’ as an essentially masculine subject in Ethiopia, and reflect on the reasons behind the continued persistence of this construction and its implications for policy and further research.

We argue that, due to its likely origin and long history of use in the region, the plough occupies a pivotal and privileged place in the history of farming in Ethiopia. Its practical and symbolic importance and its placement in the exclusive domain of men have resulted in the construction of a particularly male centric notion of what it means to be a farmer and who can be considered one. Although it has been argued that men have certain physical advantages that explain this male centric dominance, we suggest that notions of embodiment have better explanatory power since there appear to be important differences in the way men’s and women’s bodies are perceived in relation to farming implements and activities, on the basis of which narratives of what they can and cannot do are constructed. We discuss the implications of this highly gendered construction for the entry routes of young men and women into farming and their relative positioning afterwards. Finally, we reflect on the implications of our findings for current policy and suggest directions for further policy debate and research.


FAC Working Paper 084 Pdf 426.86 KB 19 downloads


Becoming a young farmer in Ethiopia: Processes and challenges
May 23, 2014 / Working Papers

Working Paper 83
Getnet Tadele and Asrat Ayalew Gella

The Ethiopian government’s Agricultural Development Led Industrialization strategy emphasises the instrumental role that rural youth could play in transforming the agricultural sector. However, there exists a significant body of literature documenting the unfavourable attitudes many young people hold towards a future in agriculture. Despite their negative attitudes, the fact remains that many rural youth are likely to adopt farming as their principal or only means of livelihood, either by choice or the lack of other options. Rural youth encounter a number of insurmountable problems when they set out to be farmers. Other than attitudinal issues, the many difficulties that young people in Ethiopia have to traverse in the process of becoming a farmer, even when they are willing to be one, have not been adequately explored. Drawing from two different qualitative studies of rural youth in three farming communities in the Amhara and SNNP regions, this paper explores the process(es) through which rural youth enter into and become farmers, and the challenges and opportunities they come across in this transition. Focus group discussions and in-depth interviews with different groups of rural youth as well as older farmers and key informant interviews with different stakeholders were conducted in 2011 and 2012.

Overall, our findings show that education, access to land, asset base, gender and local context are important factors which significantly affect who becomes a farmer and who does not. Our findings particularly draw attention to the influence of education and gender. The impact of being educated, both in terms of its effect on the desirability of a future in farming as well as complicating later entry into farming, is one that needs to be recognised by policymakers. The role of gender in young men’s and women’s choice to become farmers, the routes they take to becoming farmers and the lives they lead as farmers is also a key area for further research and policy dialogue. Finally, facilitating meaningful access to land for rural youth along with the expansion of both on-farm and off-farm livelihood opportunities in the agri-food continuum is another area which needs to be addressed urgently.


FAC Working Paper 083 Pdf 1.47 MB 20 downloads


Cautious commercialisation. Findings from village studies in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi and…
May 23, 2014 / Working Papers

Full title: Cautious commercialisation. Findings from village studies in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi & Tanzania

Working Paper 82
Steve Wiggins, Gem Argwings-Kodhek, Samuel Gebreselassie, Samuel Asuming-Brempong, Ephraim Chirwa, Mirriam Muhome Matita, Ntengua Mode & Khamaldin Mutabazi

Commercialisation can be central to agricultural development, with the promise of contributing to economic growth, with the reduction of poverty and hunger. Africa has seen many episodes of more commercial smallholder farming, from the export crop booms in West Africa of the late nineteenth century to more recent spurts in production of food for domestic markets. Unfortunately such episodes have not been more widespread, nor in some cases have they been sustained.

This paper looks at experience of commercialisation in selected parts of Africa in the late 2000s, to shed light on key questions asked about the process, including:

  • How do farmers commercialise, which small farmers commercialise and to what extent, and what are the drivers of change?
  • What are the benefits of commercialisation, both directly to farmers, as well as indirectly to those who may benefit from linkages in the rural economy that create additional jobs?
  • Are there drawbacks? For example, in reduced food security as cash crops replace food production, increased inequality, further disadvantage to female farmers, higher risks to vulnerable smallholders or harm to the environment?
  • What policies and programmes lead to commercialisation with desirable outcomes? What should be the role of governments, donors who assist them, private enterprise and civil society in promoting favourable commercialisation?

FAC Working Paper 082 Pdf 2.06 MB 18 downloads


Changing elderly & changing youth: Knowledge exchange & labour allocation in southern Guinea-Bissau
May 23, 2014 / Working Papers

Full title: Changing elderly and changing youth: Knowledge exchange and labour allocation in a village of southern Guinea-Bissau

Working Paper 81
Joana Sousa, Ansomane Dabo and Ana Luisa Luz

The Nalu people in Cablola, a small village in southern Guinea-Bissau, practice a mixed farming system that includes upland farms, mangrove rice fields and orchards. People produce a wide array of crops for the purchase of rice, which is the main staple food. Currently in Guinea-Bissau the cashew nut is the main cash crop, which is extensively sold and/or bartered for rice for household consumption. Even though local people experience rice scarcity.

In villages nearby to Cablola, many Balanta people are devoted to mangrove rice farming and are experts on this farming system, which requires considerable knowledge, skill and labour. Mangrove rice farming produces higher yields than upland rice farming, and although there was some production recovery recently, mangrove rice production has been largely abandoned in the region. In 2010, the youngsters in Cablola founded an association, known as Youngsters Unite. The recovery of mangrove rice farming, and particularly the role of the association in this work, has been challenging old and present-day leaderships, (re)negotiating relationships and trust, and promoting knowledge exchange between both elders and youngsters and between the Balanta and the Nalu people. The association, within its social context, has boosted the ‘courage’, as farmers say, needed to build a dyke with mud and hand plough.


FAC Working Paper 081b Pdf 1.97 MB 16 downloads


Graduation from the Food Security Programme in Ethiopia: FAC Ethiopia Final Report
May 23, 2014 / Working Papers

Working Paper 80
Stephen Devereux, Rachel Sabates-Wheeler, Mulugeta Tefera Taye, Ricardo Sabates and Feyera Sima

The Government of Ethiopia launched the Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP) in 2005. The overarching objective of the FSP was to break Ethiopia’s chronic dependence on annual emergency appeals for humanitarian assistance, by providing structured support to food insecure households over an extended period. The initial expectation was that the numbers of PSNP participants would fall over time as households achieved food security and no longer needed programme support. In reality, the numbers increased due to several shocks that increased food insecurity in rural Ethiopia, such as food price spikes and rain failures. This highlights the challenge of ‘graduating’ households out of chronic food insecurity in a fragile agro-ecological context characterised by dependence on rain-fed agriculture but with highly variable rainfall.

This study aims to add to the understanding of how graduation is happening in Ethiopia through the Food Security Programme. The specific objectives of this study are:

  • To explore how graduation is conceptualised and operationalised in Ethiopia’s Food Security Programme, from the perspective of both programme administrators and programme participants.
  • To analyse the range of factors that ‘enable’ and ‘constrain’ graduation at different levels, from programme design and implementation to participants’ or beneficiaries’ characteristics, to contextual factors such as market access and climate variability.
  • To draw lessons for good practice and recommendations for improved graduation outcomes, from suggestions made by programme administrators and participants.

FAC Working Paper 080 Pdf 1.62 MB 21 downloads


Women’s economic empowerment and collective action in agriculture: new evidence and measurement…
May 23, 2014 / Policy Briefs

Full title: Women’s economic empowerment and collective action in agriculture: new evidence and measurement challenges

Policy Brief 68
Sally Baden

Development actors increasingly claim that their interventions are contributing to women’s economic empowerment, and donors require that monitoring and evaluation systems capture these empowerment outcomes. However, there are divergent views and perspectives among both development policy makers and among grassroots women themselves on what constitutes ‘women’s economic empowerment’. Differences relate to whether empowerment is seen as an end in itself, or a means to broader developmental goals; how broadly or narrowly economic the definition is; and whether empowerment is primarily seen as having the ability to ‘compete’ in the market, or encompasses the capacity to challenge structural inequalities in the market and beyond. Related to this, there is also considerable debate on what measures constitute rigorous or comparable evidence of economic empowerment, and whether it is even possible to ‘measure’ empowerment across different contexts.


Policy Brief 068 Pdf 833.20 KB 36 downloads


Young people, agriculture, and employment in rural Africa
April 23, 2014 / Working Papers

WIDER Working Paper 2014/080
James Sumberg,  Nana Akua Anyidoho,  Michael Chasukwa, Blessings Chinsinga, Jennifer Leavy, Getnet Tadele, Stephen Whitfield, and Joseph Yaro
April 2014

This paper examines the current interest in addressing the problem of young people’s unemployment in Africa through agriculture. Using notions of transitions and mobilities we set out a transformative work and opportunity space framework that privileges difference and diversity among work opportunities, rural areas and young people. We argue that policy and programmes that seek to engage young people with agriculture must be more realistic, rooted in more context-specific economic and social analysis, and appreciative of the variety of ways that rural men and women use agriculture to serve their needs and interests.

The Role of Indigenous Gums and Resins in Pastoralists’ Livelihood Security and Climate Change…
April 15, 2014 / Research Papers

Full title: The Role of Indigenous Gums and Resins in Pastoralists’ Livelihood Security and Climate Change Adaptation in Garba Tula Area of Northern Kenya

Yasin Mahadi S. Salah
February 2014

The current study investigates the role of indigenous gums and resins in pastoralists’ livelihood security and climate change adaptation in Garba Tula area of northern Kenya. The communities in the area are heavily dependent on natural resources which are influenced by prevailing climatic conditions. In recent years droughts have increased in frequency and magnitude, constraining the livestock sector which is the mainstay of the pastoral communities in Garba Tula. Due to dwindling income from the livestock sector as a result of drought, community members are exploring complementary and alternative livelihoods to survive. One of the activities that has taken precedence in filling the gap in Garba Tula is exploitation of the abundant gums and resins found in the area. This study asks to what extent income from livestock is diversified or complemented by other livelihood strategies, in particular activities that act as climate change adaptation mechanisms.

This paper was produced with support from the Early Career Fellowship Programme.

An investigation into the marginalisation of adolescent girls from the agrarian structure…
April 15, 2014 / Research Papers

Full title: An investigation into the marginalisation of adolescent girls from the agrarian structure and its impacts on their livelihoods in Africa: Experiences from Zimbabwe

Manase Kudzai Chiweshe
February 2014

The paper provides a nuanced and grounded understanding of how young girls relate to agriculture with special emphasis on land ownership, labour, participation in agricultural policy making. In particular, it questions how agriculture can enhance young women’s empowerment. It is based on research carried out in five districts across Zimbabwe. The study was initially a qualitative inquiry in Mazowe concentrating on in depth interviews, focus group discussions and life histories of adolescent girls. In the process of finishing this fieldwork there was an opportunity to increase the scope of the study to include four other districts across Zimbabwe. The research was done under the auspices of Ruzivo Trust from December 2012 to January 2013. This included a quantitative survey and qualitative case studies with adolescent youths in Gokwe South, Chimanimani and Goromonzi.

This paper was produced with support from the Early Career Fellowship Programme.

Market Structure and Price: An empirical analysis of Irish potato markets in Kenya
April 15, 2014 / Research Papers

Nancy M. Laibuni and John M. Omiti
February 2014

In many developing countries, Kenya included, food markets are characterised by information asymmetry, inadequate storage and transport infrastructure and weak physical and institutional market organisation. This study seeks to examine recent trends in domestic Irish potato prices in the production markets of Nakuru and Eldoret and the consumption markets of Nairobi and Mombasa, and investigate the relationship between market structure and price of Irish potato in the different markets. Monthly market data from January 1998 to May 2011 is used. The results show that there is a general rise in the price of potatoes. The farm-gate share of wholesale market prices for ware (fresh) potato increased in Nakuru and Eldoret to 52 percent in 2010 from 35 percent in 2009. These percentage shares suggest that there exist large marketing margins that are accrued by middlemen and brokers. Potato markets are oligopolistic in nature; a few market participants in the form of rural brokers, urban brokers and transporters have the market power. There are barriers to entry at the urban market centres where brokers provide the link between wholesalers and retailers. In many cases, brokers and transporters determine the market price for each potato consignment. The markets are integrated and price transmission does occur; however it is incomplete, the results showed that long run price transmission proportions range between 25 and 59 percent, implying that, the spatial arbitrage conditions are wanting in the markets that were examined. Proposed interventions include facilitation and up-scaling of market information sharing; investment in physical infrastructure (including storage and roads) to facilitate trade; and provision of incentives to encourage public-private partnerships in storage, distribution and marketing. From a policy perspective, efforts should be made to facilitate arbitrage through the improvement of storage and physical market infrastructure.

This paper was produced with support from the Early Career Fellowship Programme.

An integrated approach towards moderating the effects of climate change on agriculture: A policy…
April 15, 2014 / Research Papers

Full title: An integrated approach towards moderating the effects of climate change on agriculture: A policy perspective for Zimbabwe

Denboy Kudejira
February 2014

This study was undertaken to provide a succinct assessment of the linkages between agricultural policy reform in Zimbabwe and the challenges that climate change poses to smallholder farmers in the country. The study is motivated by a lack of analysis of how post-independence agrarian reform processes in Zimbabwe may affect adaptation to climate change in the agricultural sector. The key driving factor behind land redistribution has largely been to enhance equity in the ownership of arable land. So far there has been less focus on assisting beneficiary farmers to adapt to climate change, which is increasingly becoming a reality and further aggravating the stresses already associated with smallholder production, including small farm sizes, informal land tenure, poorly developed infrastructure and unpredictable and uneven exposure to markets. The paper reveals that while the current status of land reforms has enabled previously disadvantaged peasants to acquire land, smallholders still face production challenges such as tenure insecurity, inadequate technical support, poorly developed infrastructure, limited access to markets and the effects of HIV/AIDS. These factors also remain key concerns for farmers in the face of the risks posed by climate change. The study found that smallholder farmers would benefit from climate change adaptation goals that focus on irrigation development, appropriate soil and water conservation technologies and sustainable utilisation of forest resources. While the government has been investing heavily in input support to smallholder famers, this paper argues for a more systemic targeting in resource allocation which is anchored on crop diversification in response to productivity trends across the agro-ecological zones of the country. A ‘market-oriented’ climate change adaptation approach which guarantees high returns to farmers who grow adaptable crop varieties like small grains should be considered, rather than the current situation where emphasis is put on cash crops like cotton and tobacco. Finally, the paper suggests a multi-sectoral and inter-disciplinary approach that involves government ministries, community based organisations, the private sector and other non-state actors. This would ensure a holistic approach in achieving climate change adaptation policy goals, and also help address other socio-economic challenges that smallholder farmers currently face.

This paper was produced with support from the Early Career Fellowship Programme.

Transnational Large Scale Agricultural Firms in Gambella Regional State, Ethiopia
April 15, 2014 / Research Papers

Full title: Transnational Large Scale Agricultural Firms in Gambella Regional State, Ethiopia: Local Potentials, Opportunities and Constraints for Market Linkage and Contractual Farming Schemes

Adil Yassin
January 2014

Even though Transnational Corporations (TNCs) yield a huge potential in supporting the local economy, this opportunity is not realised yet. Concerns on weak market linkage with TNCs are not keenly explored in the literature, if weak linkages result from TNCs failure to utilise local market opportunities or if it is associated with weak local capacity with regard to labour availability, institutional capacity, market demand, and legal support. This study, based on annual import data, discovered that that there is potential demand for TNCs’ products (particularly rice, palm oil, maize, sugar and wheat) to establish forward linkage. Hence, high foreign currency expenditure might be cut, if imports can be substituted by TNCs supply to local market. The government, however, seems to focus on acquiring foreign currency more than reducing its expenditure through local transaction with TNCs. On the other hand, local economy’s capacity in providing inputs for TNCs is weak indicating challenge in backward linkage. Since the introduction of TNCs in Gambella, five years down the line, the most dominant and visible linkage happened in the form of labour [unskilled] employment. The volume of jobs created is insignificant compared to other countries’ standards. Thus far, due to the poor performance of TNCs, government’s expectation of employment generation, infrastructure development, market linkage and foreign currency acquisition are not realised adequately; as a result, it has regarded them as ‘failed’ projects. An absence of linkages with the local economy may lead to enclave development in the near future where there is limited market or economic benefit. Contract Farming (CF), if managed well, can be a viable means to enhance linkage with the local economy. However, there are considerable challenges to establish and facilitate CF in the Gambella region. Undefined land tenure system in the region, less government emphasis on CF in low land areas, TNCs business interest and financial problems, quality of farmers products and lack of modern inputs, and limited experience in CF, among others, are the main current and future challenges. It is concluded that weak linkage happens from both corners due to: lack of TNCs realisation and interest of local potentials and inadequate local capabilities.

This paper was produced with support from the Early Career Fellowship Programme.

Social protection and graduation: Case of heifer-in-trust in Burkina Faso
April 15, 2014 / Working Papers

Working Paper 79
Gountiéni Damien Lankoandé and James Sumberg

March 2014

The distribution of livestock to poor people, commonly known as heifer-in-trust (HIT) or ‘livestock-in-kind credit’, can be seen as a specific type of asset-based social protection. Because of their growth and reproductive potential, some suggest that livestock can play a particularly important role in asset accumulation and thus graduation. This study tests the assumption that livestock will remain a part of the asset portfolio of HIT recipients. Beneficiaries of five HIT-type projects in Burkina Faso were interviewed. The analysis suggests that either because of poor targeting or an appreciation of the demands of livestock keeping, the HIT projects are not reaching the poorest. It also provides only limited support to the assumption that poor people will use the HIT gift to increase their livestock assets. There would appear to be good reason to question the general proposition that livestock are a particularly appropriate asset for transfer to the poor. Because of the demands of livestock – in terms for example of feed, water and management – for the poorest, they may be more of a liability. Understanding the role of asset-transfer programmes in graduation demands a holistic understanding of asset dynamics, which presents important methodological challenges.


FAC Working Paper 079 Pdf 1.64 MB 13 downloads


La lutte pour les terres collectives: feux de savane annuels et schémas transnationaux de…
April 15, 2014 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

Titre complet: La lutte pour les terres collectives: feux de savane annuels et schémas transnationaux de plantation de mangues dans le nord du Ghana

Point info 62
Joseph A. Yaro et Dzodzi Tsikata

Le nord du Ghana est caractérisé par l’agriculture pluviale, le manque d’infrastructures, la production de cultures alimentaires et une faible agriculture d’exportation. La production agricole industrielle de cultures d’exportation est l’une des nombreuses pistes proposées pour réduire la pauvreté dans la région. Cependant, des feux de savane détruisent chaque année des investissements dans l’agriculture commerciale et alimentaire en raison de la méconnaissance de la nature et du but de ces incendies. On ne peut pas se contenter de limiter les causes sous-jacentes et la maîtrise des incendies à des causes manifestes ; ils résultent de causes sociopolitiques telles que le mécontentement quant aux processus de marginalisation et d’exclusion sociale. On peut dès lors se demander dans quelle mesure l’introduction d’un projet agricole moderne de plantations de mangues destinées à l’exportation est plausible et efficace pour améliorer l’économie locale du Nord du Ghana.

Ce Point Info se penche sur le modèle agricole contractuel de la société ITFC (Integrated Tamale Fruit Company), qui correspond bien à l’approche gouvernementale de la commercialisation de l’agriculture par la chaîne de valeur et principalement axée sur l’exportation. Les feux de savane ne sont pas nécessairement destructifs, contrairement au discours politique actuel, mais il est important de comprendre les utilités diverses de ces incendies, leur durée et la gestion négociée des ressources naturelles, y compris de la terre, pour régler l’utilisation des feux d’une manière bénéfique pour tous les usagers de la terre.

Programme de subventions aux intrants agricoles au Malawi de 2006-2007 à 2011-2012: pour qui?
April 15, 2014 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

Point info 61
Ephraim W. Chirwa, Mirriam Matita et Andrew R. Dorward

Le ciblage, le processus de sélection des régions et, au sein de ces régions, des ménages vers lesquels seront orientés les intrants subventionnés, joue un rôle capital dans le programme de subventions aux intrants agricoles (FISP, Farm Input Subsidy Programme) du Malawi. Il implique la mise en oeuvre de systèmes de ciblage particuliers, destinés à procurer certains résultats de ciblage et régimes d’accès aux intrants subventionnés particuliers au sein des régions et des ménages. Ceux-ci influencent l’utilisation des intrants et donc les effets du programme. Le ciblage est sujet à controverse et politiquement chargé, puisqu’il détermine quels individus ou groupes particuliers bénéficieront du programme et, le cas échéant, comment et dans quelle mesure. En outre, le ciblage est difficile – et la grande échelle du programme, qui s’étend à l’ensemble du pays, augmente encore les défis et les coûts de mise en oeuvre et de supervision du ciblage.

Le présent Point Info énonce les problèmes de ciblage soulevés par les évaluations du FISP et propose des critères et des options d’amélioration des processus, des résultats et des effets du ciblage.

Facteurs déterminant l’accès aux coupons de subvention aux intrants au Malawi
April 15, 2014 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

Point info 60
Ephraim W. Chirwa, Mirriam Matita et Andrew R. Dorward

Une manière pour les subventions aux intrants agricoles d’offrir directement une protection sociale pour les pauvres est d’attribuer aux pauvres des subventions très élevées afin de garantir l’accès aux intrants. Bien que le programme de subventions aux intrants agricoles du Malawi (MAISP, Malawi Agricultural Input Subsidy Programme) vise généralement les ménages pauvres en ressources, les directives de ciblage accordent également une attention particulière aux groupes vulnérables, tels que les ménages dirigés par un enfant, une femme ou un orphelin, ainsi que les ménages touchés par le VIH/sida. Le présent Point Info se penche sur la manière avec laquelle le programme de subventions aux intrants agricoles du Malawi a contribué à la protection sociale de ces ménages pauvres et vulnérables.

«S’affranchir progressivement» du programme de subventions aux intrants agricoles au Malawi
April 15, 2014 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

Point info 59
Ephraim W. Chirwa, Andrew R. Dorward et Mirriam Matita

Étant donné le taux d’incidence élevé de la pauvreté et de l’insécurité alimentaire de la population rurale du Malawi, on pourrait, dans une certaine mesure, considérer les subventions aux intrants agricoles comme un outil de protection sociale, qui rend plus accessibles et disponibles les denrées alimentaires pour les groupes vulnérables. La viabilité à long terme du programme de subventions aux intrants agricoles (FISP, Farm Input Subsidy Programme) a toutefois été remise en question depuis son introduction en 2005-2006. En raison du caractère limité des ressources publiques et la diversité des besoins concurrents en matière de développement, certains affirment que le soutien financier aux intrants agricoles visant à assurer la fourniture de denrées de base n’est pas l’utilisation la plus judicieuse des ressources limitées et appellent à l’élaboration d’une stratégie de sortie. D’autres considèrent toutefois que la subvention est une bonne chose, dans la mesure où elle s’attaque à l’insécurité alimentaire chronique au Malawi et contribue à la croissance économique inclusive, ainsi qu’à la réduction de la pauvreté.

Aider les petits exploitants à commercialiser leur production
April 15, 2014 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

Point info CAADP 11

Accélérer la croissance dans le secteur agricole en améliorant les capacités des entrepreneurs privés (producteurs commerciaux et petits exploitants) pour répondre aux exigences toujours plus complexes des marchés intérieurs, régionaux et mondiaux – tel est l’objectif central du Pilier II du PDDAA. La commercialisation fait référence à une participation accrue aux marchés. Les petits exploitants sont depuis longtemps associés aux marchés, pour la vente de leur production, l’achat d’intrants ou l’information. Dans le contexte de l’urbanisation, de l’amélioration des moyens de communication et de la mondialisation, la commercialisation paysanne prend toute son importance. Ce Point Info s’appuie sur une récente étude de Future Agricultures et pose les questions suivantes:

  • Comment les petits exploitants commercialisent- ils leur production?
  • Avec quels résultats à ce jour?
  • Comment les politiques peuvent-elles soutenir la commercialisation agricole à petite échelle et améliorer les résultats?

Lessons for the New Alliance and Land Transparency Initiative: Gender Impacts of Tanzania’s…
April 15, 2014 / Policy Briefs

Full title: Lessons for the New Alliance and Land Transparency Initiative: Gender Impacts of Tanzania’s Land Investment Policy

Policy brief 67
Helen Dancer

There are gender-differentiated impacts when land is harnessed for commercial investment. Land policy needs to address the gendered nature of power relations within families and land tenure systems, and the implications of rural social relations on processes of community consultation, land management and dispute settlement. Without this, land investment policies will not reach their goals of tenure security for all, agricultural productivity and increased revenue. From the outset the full participation of women as well as men, good local leadership and gender-sensitive business practices at the local level are needed, to ensure that the fruits of land-based investment deals in the countryside are gender-equitable.


Policy Brief 067 Pdf 365.08 KB 19 downloads


Inclusive business models in agriculture? Learning from smallholder cane growers in Mozambique
April 14, 2014 / Policy Briefs

Future Agricultures / PLAAS Policy Brief 66
Emmanuel Sulle, Ruth Hall and Gaynor Paradza

Amidst the increasing corporate investment in African farmland the term ‘inclusive business model’ has become a catchphrase touted as an opportunity for incorporating smallholder farmers alongside large-scale commercial farming projects. Inclusive business models require an enabling institutional and regulatory framework. Such frameworks now exist at the international level: the African Union Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa and FAO Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance on the Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forest in the Context of National Food Security provide a starting point. If translated and implemented, these guidelines can help develop transparent and accountable mechanisms that enable and strengthen the participation of smallholder farmers in the process of commercialisation, such as in the sugar industry in Mozambique.

To enable equitable partnerships between corporate investors and small-scale farmers, governments need to prioritise public investment in agriculture, including research and development, that helps smallholder farmers increase and diversify their agricultural produce. Smallholders’ access to, ownership of and control over land and other resources should be secured. Based on our analysis of current large-scale sugar estates and milling companies, as well as smallholder involvement as outgrowers in the Mozambican sugar industry, this policy brief interrogates policy and suggests mechanisms for enabling and strengthening smallholder farmers’ participation in and securing returns from large scale investments.


Policy Brief 066 Pdf 504.04 KB 25 downloads


La participation du secteur privé au programme de subventions aux intrants agricoles au Malawi
March 31, 2014 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

Point info 58
par Ephraim W. Chirwa et Andrew R. Dorward

Le programme de subventions aux intrants agricoles (FISP, Farm Input Subsidy Programme) du Malawi a été mis en place depuis la saison 2005-2006 dans le but d’améliorer la production alimentaire et les revenus des ménages et du pays. Il vise plus de 1,5 million de familles paysannes, qui reçoivent des engrais subventionnés, ainsi que des semences de maïs et/ou de légumineuses améliorées.

La mise en oeuvre de la FISP impliquait une interaction entre le gouvernement malawite, le secteur privé, les partenaires au développement, les organisations de la société civile (OSC), les organisations non gouvernementales (ONG), les chefs coutumiers et les petits exploitants, qui jouent tous des rôles différents dans la mise en oeuvre et la réussite du programme. Le secteur privé a joué un rôle essentiel, mais son implication dans le programme a changé au fil du temps. Il s’est occupé de l’approvisionnement en engrais, du transport des engrais vers différents marchés, de la vente au détail des engrais, ainsi que de la production et de la vente de semences améliorées.

L’utilisation d’engrais sur les parcelles de femmes: le programme malawite de subvention aux…
March 31, 2014 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

Titre complet: L’utilisation d’engrais sur les parcelles de femmes: le programme malawite de subvention aux intrants selon les ménages

Point info 57
par Ephraim W. Chirwa, Peter M. Mvula, Andrew Dorward et Mirriam Matita

Depuis la saison agricole 2005/06,le gouvernement du Malawi met en oeuvre un programme de subvention aux intrants agricoles (Farm Input Subsidy Programme, FISP). Ce programme est axé sur les ménages pauvres de petits exploitants agricoles et suppose implicitement qu’un ménage est une unité décisionnelle unitaire au sein de laquelle les intrants subventionnés seront utilisés équitablement sur les parcelles contrôlées par les différents membres du ménage.

Ce Point Info montre que, dans un contexte socioculturel où les hommes dominent généralement les processus de décisions d’affectation des revenus et des ressources au sein du ménage, il importe de tenir compte de ces aspects pour comprendre l’efficacité des subventions aux intrants et leur rôle possible dans la promotion de l’égalité homme-femme au sein des ménages. L’étude a examiné les différences entre hommes et femmes en matière d’utilisation des engrais en général et des engrais subventionnés en particulier sur les parcelles contrôlées par les hommes et les femmes du ménage.

Redéfinir le programme de la Nouvelle Alliance: une évaluation critique sur base du cas…
March 31, 2014 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

Point info 56
par Emmanuel Sulle et Ruth Hall

Pour réaliser une croissance durable et inclusive dans les pays africains, il est essentiel d’investir spécifiquement dans les petites exploitations agricoles, afin de leur permettre de mieux utiliser leurs terres et d’améliorer les rendements agricoles. La Nouvelle alliance pour la sécurité alimentaire et la nutrition (« Nouvelle Alliance ») se concentre sur les partenariats public-privé (PPP) avec des investisseurs locaux et des entreprises multinationales pour produire des denrées alimentaires. Toutefois, cette initiative ne résoudra probablement pas les problèmes chroniques de faim, de sousalimentation et de pauvreté, en raison des investissements insuffisants dans les petites exploitations agricoles et du démantèlement des aides publiques suite aux programmes d’ajustement structurel menés depuis les années 1980. Plutôt que de remédier à cette insuffisance chronique des investissements dans les petites exploitations agricoles, il semble que les premières interventions de la Nouvelle Alliance aillent dans le sens de la promotion d’une agriculture industrielle.

L’initiative de la ceinture verte et l’accaparement des terres au Malawi
March 31, 2014 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

Point info 55
par Blessings Chinsinga et Michael Chasukwa

Il y a souvent un décalage entre les intentions en apparence bienveillantes et les manifestations pratiques des accords fonciers à grande échelle. Les réalités empiriques de ces accords appellent à étudier en profondeur et à questionner les motivations cachées des intervenants impliqués afin d’évaluer si leur priorité est réellement de développer des situations gagnant-gagnant. Comme l’ont démontré les expériences de l’initiative de la ceinture verte (GBI, Green Belt Initiative), les petits exploitants sont presque toujours les perdants. Cela fait donc douter de la capacité des initiatives internationales – comme les directives volontaires sur la gouvernance responsable de la tenure des terres et des autres ressources naturelles de l’Organisation des Nations unies pour l’alimentation et l’agriculture (FAO), les principes de la Banque mondiale pour un investissement agricole responsable et le Cadre et les lignes directrices sur les politiques foncières de l’Union africaine (UA) – à améliorer significativement les résultats des accords fonciers à grande échelle sur le continent. Depuis l’introduction du programme de subventions aux intrants agricoles (FISP, Farm Input subsidy Programme) lors de la période de végétation 2005/2006, le Malawi occupe une place importante dans les débats politiques sur la sécurité alimentaire et le secteur agricole florissant à travers le continent.

La sécurité alimentaire dans un système environnemental mondial en pleine mutation
March 31, 2014 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

Point info 54
par Laura Pereira

Le système alimentaire mondial connaît une transformation sans précédent. Une transformation qui ne résulte pas seulement de l’impact majeur des changements environnementaux au niveau mondial (CEM), mais aussi de l’expansion rapide des activités agroalimentaires transnationales. Le système alimentaire est devenu un système socioécologique mondialisé et interdépendant – un modèle nouveau, interconnecté et axé sur l’efficacité dans lequel les pays de l’hémisphère Sud sont de plus en plus intégrés. Un système alimentaire efficace permet d’aboutir à trois réalisations majeures: la sécurité alimentaire, le bien-être social et le bien-être environnemental (voir Illustration 1). Pourtant, à ce jour, notre système actuel n’est pas parvenu à en faire bénéficier les populations pauvres de notre planète.

Productivité de la main-d’oeuvre agricole et prix alimentaires: principaux impacts…
March 31, 2014 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

Titre complet: Productivité de la main-d’oeuvre agricole et prix alimentaires: principaux impacts sur le développement et indicateurs

Point info 53
par Andrew Dorward

Le présent Point Info passe en revue l’évolution historique des prix des produits alimentaires de base (en termes de prix internationaux des céréales) et insiste sur l’importance de l’augmentation de la productivité de la main-d’oeuvre agricole et de la baisse des prix alimentaires – moteurs clés du développement, de la sécurité alimentaire et de la réduction de la pauvreté. Ces moteurs sont cependant grippés par les menaces qui pèsent de plus en plus sur les systèmes agricoles et alimentaires internationaux et locaux. Le document propose des indicateurs simples pour mesurer la productivité de la main-d’oeuvre agricole et l’évolution des prix alimentaires par rapport aux revenus réels des populations pauvres. Des indicateurs qui devraient faire l’objet de toute l’attention et être intégrés dans les politiques internationales et nationales en la matière.

La Chine et le Brésil peuvent-ils aider l’Afrique à se nourrir?
March 31, 2014 / Briefings politiques / Policy briefs in French

CAADP Point info 12
March 2014

Les gouvernements nationaux cherchent depuis longtemps à savoir comment l’Afrique peut se nourrir et comment le secteur agricole pourrait accroître son efficacité comme moteur de croissance et de développement. Les donateurs occidentaux ont intensifié leur aide à la suite de la crise des prix des denrées alimentaires de 2007-2008. Toutefois, l’apparition de la Chine et du Brésil en tant qu’acteurs majeurs a suscité l’espoir que les modèles agricoles innovants des «puissances émergentes» puissent être transférés ou adaptés aux pays africains.

Ce Point Info repose sur les conclusions des recherches les plus récentes menées par Future Agricultures au sujet de l’engagement en faveur du développement de l’agriculture dans quatre pays africains. Les questions posées sont les suivantes:

  • Quelle est la réalité des différents modèles et voies de développement agricole de la Chine et du Brésil?
  • Comment la Chine et le Brésil s’engagent-ils dans le développement agricole en Afrique?
  • Comment l’Afrique doit-elle accueillir ces nouveaux engagements: à bras ouverts ou avec précaution, en les considérant plutôt comme des gagnants ou des perdants?

Large-scale Commercial Agriculture in Africa: Lessons from the Past
March 26, 2014 / Policy Briefs

Policy Brief 65
by Rebecca Smalley

African agriculture is in a phase of rapid commercialisation. Planners and investors in sub-Saharan Africa urgently need to consider how the choice of business model, the local context and the political environment affect outcomes of commercial ventures. A review of past experiences with three commercial farming models reveals the conditions that have provided the most stable environment for investors but also protected the most vulnerable in society and created the best chance for technology transfer and local economic linkages. These lessons from history have contemporary relevance.


Policy Brief 065 Pdf 188.23 KB 25 downloads


Collective Action, Gender Relations and Social Inclusion in African Agricultural Markets
March 25, 2014 / Policy Briefs

Policy Brief 64
by Sally Baden

Concerns expressed since the 1970s about women being excluded from mainstream rural development activities in Africa have fostered numerous women-specific activities designed to address this gender inequality. These actions have, more recently, been supported by arguments and evidence linking gender inequality with adverse agricultural productivity and welfare outcomes (FAO 2011). Views are divided on this approach: feminists such as Razavi (2009) have described such arguments as static and ahistorical, because as argued by O’Laughlin (2007) they ignore the larger processes of accumulation and impoverishment that have occurred in the context of capitalist transformation in the countryside. Meanwhile, recent reports suggest that, to varying degrees, rural women have benefitted from their involvement in certain types of women-specific development programmes (Buvinic et al. 2013).

This Policy Brief takes a critical look at one such activity – the engagement of women farmers in formal groups (referred to here as ‘collective action’) that are organised principally for economic purposes, including for acquiring finance, inputs and new technologies; for the bulking of produce for sale; for sharing marketing information and collective sales; and for developing linkages to more distant or remunerative markets (Thompson et al. 2012). The literature on smallholder collective agricultural marketing is large but relatively few studies address gender dimensions of group organisation in this context. The Brief draws on the findings of primary research undertaken by Oxfam between 2010 and 2012 on women’s collective action in agricultural markets in Ethiopia, Mali and Tanzania, as well as other sources, to address this knowledge gap.


Policy Brief 064 Pdf 193.98 KB 24 downloads


Political Economy of Agricultural Policy in Africa: Has CAADP Made a Difference? A Rwanda Case Study
March 17, 2014 / Working Papers

Future Agricultures Working Paper 78
Frederick Golooba-Mutebi
February 2014

The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) is an African Union initiative intended to accelerate agricultural growth across Africa and improve food security as well as strengthen the resilience of the continent’s environment. Rwanda has been enthusiastic in its embrace of the initiative, with the government making an effort to fulfil all its obligations. Has CAADP made a difference? This paper argues that it has, and that in this, it has been helped significantly by the government’s own prior ambitions and the centrality of agriculture therein. Section 2 of the paper explores the background against which Rwanda embraced CAADP, showing evolutions in thinking about agriculture among the country’s policy elite and its development partners.

Section 2.1 looks at the politico-social incentives for agricultural policy, while section 2.2 looks at the steps taken to revalorise agriculture once a decision was made that it would be a key component of the foundation on which the country’s wider strategy for pursuing prosperity would rest. The post-war political settlement has been important in providing the necessary stability without which the pursuit of development is impossible. Section 2.3 examines the contours of the settlement, while section 3 tells the story of how CAADP in Rwanda unfolded.

Section 3.1 highlights the critical role of donors whose efforts have been supplemented by those of non-donor actors, including the business community and farmers’ groups, both of which are explored in sections 3.2 and 3.3. Section 4 highlights the limited but still important regional dimension of the CAADP process, while section 5 assesses the overall significance of CAADP in cementing the central role of agriculture in Rwanda’s pursuit of economic development and prosperity, before section 6 wraps up the story.


FAC Working Paper 078 Pdf 1.32 MB 16 downloads


The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP): Political Incentives, Value…
March 17, 2014 / Working Papers

Full title: The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP): Political Incentives, Value Added and Ways Forward

Future Agricultures Working Paper 77
Colin Poulton, Kassahun Berhanu, Blessings Chinsinga, Brian Cooksey, Frederick Golooba-Mutebi and Augustin Loada
February 2014

It is now ten years since African Heads of State made their declaration in support of the continent’s agricultural sector in Maputo in July 2003. This paper contributes to a small but growing body of independent critical analysis of CAADP, and to debates on future directions for the programme. The paper draws on studies of CAADP engagement in six countries (Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Rwanda and Tanzania) plus preliminary reflections on two more (Kenya and Mozambique). Its particular contribution is to examine CAADP’s interaction with domestic political incentives for support to smallholder agriculture in African countries. Following Poulton 2012, we differentiate countries according to whether the domestic political incentives to invest in smallholder agriculture are strong or weak. In the former, the key question for CAADP is what value it can add to existing policy and planning frameworks for the agriculture sector. In the latter, which are more numerous, the key question is whether the CAADP process contains any mechanisms or provisions that can significantly change the incentives perceived by the governments in question. Experience to date is reviewed and ways forward for CAADP’s second decade are suggested.


FAC Working Paper 077 Pdf 1.27 MB 21 downloads


New Paradigms of Agricultural Development Cooperation in Africa: Lessons from Brazil and China
February 21, 2014 / Policy Briefs

Policy Brief 63
by Henry Tugendhat

As Africa attempts to boost agricultural productivity, many countries are turning to Brazil and China for the possibility of alternative approaches and technologies. Both countries have boasted numerous agricultural achievements, and both are increasing their engagements with African partners. The G8/African Union’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition bears some similarities with China and Brazil’s efforts, particularly with its aims to “increase responsible domestic and foreign private investments in African agriculture, take innovations that can enhance agricultural productivity to scale, and reduce the risk borne by vulnerable economies and communities”. The UK Department for International Development (DFID) describes this initiative as targeting the creation of “new jobs and market opportunities for small and large farms in African agriculture,” albeit, with a greater discussion of the importance of smallholders. Brazil and China’s ‘cooperation’ efforts in trade, aid and investments provide some key lessons for the New Alliance.


Policy Brief 063 Pdf 423.18 KB 19 downloads