Working Papers

This series reports research activities or interim findings and aim to share ideas and elicit feedback. Future Agricultures publishes approximately six to ten Working Papers per year.

We also support a series of LDPI Working Papers through our involvement in the Land Deal Politics Initiative.

Some of our Working Papers are also available in a French translation: see Documents de travail for a full list.


Latest articles

Dynamics of Maize Seed Production Systems in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana
June 26, 2013 / Working Papers

Full title: Dynamics of Maize Seed Production Systems in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana: Agricultural Modernisation, Farmer Adaptive Experimentation and Domestic Food Markets

Future Agricultures Working Paper 61
By Kojo Sebastian Amanor, June 2013

This Working Paper examines the dynamics of maize production in distinct environments and localities in Brong Ahafo Region, Ghana, and the various factors that have influenced patterns of agricultural adaptation, innovation and transformation. Specifically, it analyses the influences of neoliberal policies on the institutional framework of maize seed policy, on the technical recommendations of state institutions and on farmer production systems.

Drawing on detailed interviews with market traders and small-scale producers, it also contrasts the priorities of farmers with the recommendations of agricultural services and the extent to which research recommendations reflect or fail to reflect the actual developments in maize production systems. Finally, it explores the implications of policy support for the commercialisation of seeds for the wider seed system, including interactions between the formal, informal and market sectors.

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FAC Working Paper 061 Pdf 729.81 KB 0 downloads

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CAADP Ethiopia: A New Start?
June 26, 2013 / Working Papers

Future Agricultures Working Paper 60
By Kassahun Berhanu, May 2013

This study examines the motives that underlie the drives of the Ethiopian government in embracing the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) as a national plan of action aimed at effecting agricultural transformation. This is despite the fact that Ethiopia had already surpassed the targets set by CAADP for furthering agricultural-led economic growth. The central argument advanced in this study is that Government of Ethiopia (GOE)’s adopting of CAADP is not the outcome of any shift in the already existing domestic political incentives. It is rather prompted by the EPRDF government’s recognition of the limitations of smallholder agricultural growth on one hand and the quest to offset the negative effects of its soured relations with donors in the aftermath of the May 2005 Elections on the other.

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FAC Working Paper 060 Pdf 609.44 KB 1 downloads

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Governing REDD+: global framings versus practical evidence from the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project
June 3, 2013 / Working Papers

Full title: Governing REDD+: global framings versus practical evidence from the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project, Kenya

STEPS Centre Working Paper 55
by Joanes Atela

This paper explores the governance and feasibility of globally-linked REDD+ projects in local African settings, focusing on the Kasigau project in Kenya, Africa’s first REDD+ project accredited under internationally accepted standards. The project is a commercial venture and during the last five years it has unfolded in a relatively vulnerable Kenyan setting. A policy process analysis, interactive fieldwork and document review has explored its interrelationship with local livelihood assets and state institutional capabilities.

The paper reveals that while REDD+ institutions are globally standardised through negotiations interlocked with political and development interests, projects are faced with state and local resource histories and perceptions, and in responding to such settings, these projects become highly contextual. Locally, the Kasigau project links carbon benefits to specific and significant local vulnerabilities such as low ‘value’ dryland, water scarcity and illiteracy. This has yielded an apparently uncontested acceptance and favourable perception of the project among the Kasigau people, appearing to reverse long histories of exclusion from their resources by centralised state-based resource management regimes. Yet the negative perception of state institutions that the Kasigau people have built up over time raises questions as to whether the state can ably oversee a successful REDD+ process, as is assumed by the international community. If resource management is not factually decentralised in particular countries, greater capture of local resource rights in REDD+ could result from state regimes than from private-commercial regimes. As such, international gains in safeguarding local communities in REDD+ could be seriously compromised. Kenya recently initiated land reforms as part of resource decentralisation, but the resulting regimes remain fuzzy, subordinate to powerful centralised interests, focused on individual title, and inadequately adapted to particular local contexts. Such reforms potentially re-shuffle the local engagement of the Kasigau project which draws its apparent success partly from a communalised land tenure system.

This paper concludes that communal systems, if well-defined, may provide a better basis for the governance of REDD+ projects, enabling inclusivity, collective action and societal benefits. If projects can genuinely enable local people to manage and benefit from their forest resources, REDD+ promises to be a multi-governance programme that bridges the gap between global and local institutions and interests in the sustainable use of forests.

The Politics of Revitalising Agriculture in Kenya
May 20, 2013 / Working Papers

Colin Poulton and Karuti Kanyinga
Working Paper 59
May 2013

In March 2004 the Kenyan government set out its radical Strategy for Revitalising Agriculture (SRA). Almost a decade on, remarkably little progress has been made on its priority areas. Beyond bureaucratic resistance to economic reform, we explain the political roots of inertia in the SRA case, encompassing both the political logic of maintaining commodity chain-based state organisations and the impossibility of achieving the necessary collective action for radical reform within a dysfunctional coalition government. Continuation of the historic approach to agricultural development in Kenya is good for regional elites but fails to deliver critical public goods for poorer smallholder producers. We, therefore, consider what political changes might be needed before more radical reforms to Kenyan agricultural policy can be implemented.

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FAC Working Paper 060 Pdf 609.44 KB 1 downloads

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Does Rapid Agricultural Growth Require a System of Innovation? Evidence from Ghana & Burkina Faso
May 17, 2013 / Working Papers

John Baptist D. Jatoe, Damien G. Lankoandé and James Sumberg
May 2013

This paper tests the ‘systems of innovation’ hypothesis for a selection of crops in Ghana and Burkina Faso that have shown significant growth in production over an approximately 20-year period. The question is whether such growth can only occur if supported by a system of innovation. Using two indicators (a common understanding on objectives and priorities, and a high level of interactivity) we find little evidence for the existence of anything that might be considered a high functioning system of innovation.

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FAC Working Paper 058 Pdf 485.62 KB 0 downloads

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Agrarian Labour Relations in Zimbabwe after Over a Decade of Land and Agrarian Reform
May 17, 2013 / Working Papers

Walter Chambati
April 2013

This paper begins highlights some key features that shape agrarian labour relations in Zimbabwe, illustrated through the setting of Goromonzi district. The new agrarian structure that forms the basis of the reconfigured agricultural production systems and labour relations is then analysed. This allows for the examination of the labour mobilisation patterns among the different classes of producers resulting from agrarian restructuring. The assessment of the material conditions that farm labourers derive from selling labour in various ways and their responses to the challenges they face precede the conclusions.

The new agrarian labour relations are explored using empirical research in Goromonzi district. Research undertaken by the African Institute for Agrarian Studies (AIAS) since 2002, including a baseline survey in 2006 of 695 landholders and 173 farm workers in Goromonzi is used to illustrate the outcomes prior to economic stabilisation in 2009.iii The analysis draws from the results of the survey reported in Moyo et al. (2009) and the data referenced as AIAS (2007). Qualitative surveys in Goromonzi in 2012 are used to trace the dynamic changes to agrarian labour relations as further land redistribution occurred and the macro-economic context and agrarian policies shifted. Data was collected through interviews and observations from farm labourers, landholders, farm compounds, traditional authorities and state officials.

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FAC Working Paper 056 Pdf 508.00 KB 0 downloads

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Making Sense of Gender, Climate Change and Agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa
May 15, 2013 / Working Papers

Full title: Making Sense of Gender, Climate Change and Agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa: Creating Gender-Responsive Climate Adaptation Policy

Christine Okali and Lars Otto Naess
May 2013

Attention to gender and climate change has increased steadily over the last decade. Much of the emerging policy-focused literature resembles to a considerable degree the gender and environment literature from the 1990s, with the nature of women’s work being used to justify placing women at the centre of climate change policy. However, in contrast with the portrayal of women in earlier literature as knowledgeable guardians of the environment, the women at the centre of gender and climate change policy are typically portrayed as vulnerable, weak, poor, and socially isolated. Arguably, this is a reflection of the politics of gender rather than the reality of the men and women who regularly experience and deal with changes of various kinds.

We argue for a more realistic and nuanced framing of gender that is built on an acknowledgement of social complexity, and an understanding of social, including gender relations, in specific local settings. Such a framing would provide a more valuable starting point for understanding the way in which both women and men, together and separately in their different, and changing roles, shape the outcomes of external interventions. This shift does not mean that targeting vulnerable women to meet short term needs is not valuable. Rather, the intention is principally, to minimise the risks of policy failure resulting from the adoption of often erroneous but popular assumptions about the different roles that women and men play, and must continue to play, to achieve food security in the face of climate change.

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FAC Working Paper 057 Pdf 450.08 KB 6 downloads

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Plantations, Contract Farming and Commercial Farming Areas in Africa: A Comparative Review
April 25, 2013 / Working Papers

FAC Working Paper 55
Rebecca Smalley

There is uncertainty and no small controversy surrounding the potential impacts of commercial agricultural developments that are being proposed for sub-Saharan Africa by domestic governments and foreign investors. Much of the debate concerns how Africa’s rural poor could be affected. One response is to look back and review what the outcomes have been from earlier such developments. This should include consideration of the institutional setting to help us understand how institutions influence the character and outcome of commercial agricultural schemes.

This working paper assesses the historical experience of three farming models that have figured in recent investments in sub-Saharan Africa: plantations, contract farming and commercial farming areas. Based on a literature review, the paper concentrates on the involvement of, and effects on, rural societies in and around the area where the schemes were located. It looks mainly at sub-Saharan Africa but also considers case studies from Latin America and Asia.

This paper was produced as part of the Land and Agricultural Commercialisation in Africa (LACA) project.

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FAC Working Paper 055 Pdf 1.25 MB 3 downloads

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South-South Cooperation in Context: Perspectives from Africa
March 11, 2013 / Working Papers

FAC Working Paper 54
Kojo Sebastian Amanor

This paper examines how liberal economic reforms that permeated and transformed economies during the 1980s and 1990s, both in the emerging BRICS powers themselves as well as in Africa, mediate and influence the relationships between emergent powers and African nations. It investigates the impact of South-South relations on the nature of development and technical cooperation, aid and investment, as well as in the configuration of relations between states, farmers and the private sector. It then examines the extent to which the experiences of China and Brazil in developing their agriculture result in qualitatively new paradigms for agricultural development which create opportunities for a redefinition of the development of policy and practice.

Alternatively, it looks at how South-South development cooperation may merely reinforce the drive to capital accumulation unleashed by global economic liberalisation, and reflect strategies by emergent powers to acquire new markets for agricultural technology, inputs, services and new sources of raw materials. Finally, the paper questions the extent to which alternative paradigms can be created within the institutional framework created by neoliberal reform.

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FAC Working Paper 054 Pdf 648.42 KB 3 downloads

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Narratives of China-Africa Cooperation for Agricultural Development: New Paradigms?
March 11, 2013 / Working Papers

FAC Working Paper 53
Lila Buckley

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Current debate is still largely centred on China’s engagement with African agriculture as either a threat or an opportunity. Such debate will not be resolved without a broader body of empirical evidence on the nature and impacts of the diversity of Chinese agriculture engagements in specific African contexts. This paper explores Chinese narratives on: China’s own agriculture and development success; African agriculture challenges and opportunities; and the nature of China-Africa cooperation, to ask how to best engage with China-African agriculture cooperation to improve the outcomes for African agriculture.

The paper first reviews current literature on China-Africa cooperation for agriculture development and identifies gaps that this paper attempts to fill and methods used in this research. Then a very brief overview is given of the institutional arrangements for China-Africa agriculture cooperation, presenting available data on the nature and scale of these engagements. The following sections present narratives from policy papers, media, statements by officials, literature, and informant interviews on this cooperation towards an exploration of the underlying patterns, justifications, relationships and styles of Chinese agriculture engagements in Africa. In the latter section, challenges to the dominant discourse and potential alternative models are explored. Finally, the conclusion brings forward preliminary assessments of these narratives and suggestions for further research.

Normal 0 false false false EN-GB X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

Current debate is still largely centred on China’s engagement with African agriculture as either a threat or an opportunity. Such debate will not be resolved without a broader body of empirical evidence on the nature and impacts of the diversity of Chinese agriculture engagements in specific African contexts. This paper explores Chinese narratives on:

· China’s own agriculture and development success;

· African agriculture challenges and opportunities; and

· the nature of China-Africa cooperation,

to ask how to best engage with China-African agriculture cooperation to improve the outcomes for African agriculture.

The following section reviews current literature on China-Africa cooperation for agriculture development and identifies gaps that this paper attempts to fill and methods used in this research. The third section gives a very brief overview of the institutional arrangements for China-Africa agriculture cooperation, presenting available data on the nature and scale of these engagements. The fourth and fifth section then present narratives from policy papers, media, statements by officials, literature, and informant interviews on this cooperation towards an exploration of the underlying patterns, justifications, relationships and styles of Chinese agriculture engagements in Africa. In the latter section, challenges to the dominant discourse and potential alternative models are explored. Finally, the conclusion brings forward preliminary assessments of these narratives and suggestions for further research.

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FAC Working Paper 053 Pdf 760.18 KB 0 downloads

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