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

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Latest articles

Review of Research & Policies for Climate Change Adaptation in the Health Sector in Southern Africa
August 29, 2014 / Working Papers

Working Paper 99
Mao A. Amis, Abdulai Jalloh and Sepo Hachigonta

The impact of climate change is being felt across the globe, including in Southern Africa, exemplified by increased incidence of extreme events such as flooding and prolonged drought. These changes, which are partly attributable to anthropogenic activities, will have major implications on human health, ecosystems and the economies of various countries and regions. In Southern Africa, most of the models project drier conditions as a result of increased warming. Extreme events are also projected to occur with greater incidence in some parts of the region, such as flooding in the Mozambican floodplains. The impact of climate change in the health sector in the region is projected to increase the disease burden by changing the transmission patterns of some diseases as habitat suitability for vectors changes. The incidence of food and water borne infectious diseases is also projected to increase.

This synthesis report was conducted in order to advance our understanding of progress in responding to the threat of climate change in the Southern African region, through a review of policy development and implementation, and our understanding of the linkages between climate change and health. Within the region, particular focus was on South Africa, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

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

The Politics of Pastoral Violence: A Case Study of Isiolo County, Northern Kenya
August 18, 2014 / Working Papers

Future Agricultures Working Paper 95
Dr Roba D Sharamo
June 2014

Conflicts and violence taking the form of cattle rustling, ethnic violence, displacements and massacres have characterised inter-communal and clan relations among the various pastoralist communities of northern Kenya and the greater Horn of Africa region. In addition to stress factors such as environmental degradation, drought, famine and other natural catastrophes, pastoralists face complex challenges of land related conflicts (some of which are related to administrative and electoral boundaries); recurrent violent conflicts aggravated by the proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALWs); tensions with agricultural communities; and human-wildlife conflicts aggravated by competing uses of land for commercial ranching and wildlife conservation, amongst others.

However, while the nature of pastoral conflicts has changed over time, recent violence in northern Kenya suggests that there are worrying new dynamics at play. The nature of pastoral conflict seems to be changing yet again alongside northern Kenya’s new importance in the country’s wider development strategy and also in relation to the politics surrounding its new decentralised political system. Through a case study of Isiolo – historically the gateway to northern Kenya – this paper examines in detail the dynamics of new violence in the region’s pastoral areas and assesses their implications for conflict reduction and peacebuilding efforts. While many automatically link intensifying development with more secure livelihoods, well-being and a greater propensity for peace, a different picture emerges from recent violence in northern Kenya. Here, violence and militarism have accompanied and marked developmental transitions. Even with the advent of a new constitutional dispensation that heralded a devolved governance system, from Samburu to Isiolo to Marsabit violence has persisted and flared anew across northern Kenya. Fear of devolution and complex political and economic interests converge to fan violence among Isiolo’s communities.


FAC Working Paper 095a Pdf 303.97 KB 2 downloads


Opportunities and Challenges in Tanzania’s Sugar Industry: Lessons for SAGCOT and the New Alliance
August 7, 2014 / Policy Briefs

Policy Brief 76
Emmanuel Sulle

Sugarcane outgrower schemes are central to several policy and donor strategies for driving agricultural growth and reducing poverty, including the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor project in Tanzania (SAGCOT). But field research into the outgrower component of Kilombero Sugar Company, Tanzania’s largest and best regarded sugar producer, demonstrates a pressing need for change.

Sugarcane production in Kilombero has had benefits for farming households as well as the local and national economy. However, unsustainable expansion and governance issues in the outgrower scheme have created new risks. There are pressures on food security as a result of a decline in land for food crops, and on incomes, particularly when outgrowers’ cane remains unharvested and farmers’ payments are delayed. These problems have been aggravated by the importation of foreign sugar into the country. For this industry to provide its maximum benefits to the economy and to the household, a policy, legal and institutional framework is needed that provides greater efficiency, accountability and transparency, as well as greater security for all participating stakeholders. There are lessons for the sugar industry, as well as donors and investors of ongoing and future agribusiness developments in Tanzania.


Policy Brief 076 Pdf 772.77 KB 0 downloads


Contested Margins, Complex Pathways: The Afar Triangle in the Horn of Africa
July 2, 2014 / Working Papers

Future Agricultures Working Paper 94
Alan Nicol and Mosope Otulana
June 2014

The ‘Afar Triangle’ straddles Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti in the Horn of Africa. Historically it has been at the centre of state building and contestation between state and society for over a century. The contemporary relevance of this area lies in the overlapping contestations of power, economic development and nationhood that continue to mark the present-day struggles of the Afar people. Understanding the challenges, dynamics, histories and continuities of this situation can help in providing future support to Afar development – across all three countries, but particularly in Ethiopia where the majority of the Afar live.

The paper traces key social, political and environmental issues and argues that the Afar Triangle, rather than a single contiguous shape, in fact represents many overlapping and contested ‘margins’ which range from areas of contested (political) control to territorial group identity, and from temperature gradients and rainfall isohyets to environmental and agro-ecological margins. These patterns determine the range and extent of Afar pastoral systems and their interactions with other, often competing, social groups. We identify key interrelationships between these margins and how they affect the security of Afar livelihoods, emphasizing the heterogeneity of experience, but also the major challenges that Afar pastoral systems continue to face.


FAC Working Paper 094 Pdf 662.06 KB 2 downloads


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 0 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 2 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 1 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 2 downloads