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

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.

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FAC Working Paper 084 Pdf 426.86 KB 10 downloads

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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.

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FAC Working Paper 083 Pdf 1.47 MB 7 downloads

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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?
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FAC Working Paper 082 Pdf 2.06 MB 7 downloads

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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.

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FAC Working Paper 081b Pdf 1.97 MB 6 downloads

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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.
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FAC Working Paper 080 Pdf 1.62 MB 6 downloads

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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.

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.

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FAC Working Paper 079 Pdf 1.64 MB 3 downloads

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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.

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FAC Working Paper 078 Pdf 1.32 MB 4 downloads

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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.

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FAC Working Paper 077 Pdf 1.27 MB 5 downloads

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Narratives of scarcity: understanding the ‘global resource grab’
February 17, 2014 / Working Papers

Future Agricultures Working Paper 76
Ian Scoones, Rebecca Smalley, Ruth Hall and Dzodzi Tsikata
February 2014

Global resource scarcity has become a central policy concern, with predictions of rising populations, natural resource depletion and hunger. Resulting narratives of scarcity drive behaviour and justify actions to harness resources considered ‘under-utilised’, leading to contestations over rights and entitlements and producing new scarcities. Yet scarcity is contingent, contextual and above all political. We present an analysis of three framings – absolute scarcity, relative scarcity and political scarcity – associated with the intellectual traditions of Malthus, Ricardo and Marx, respectively. A review of 134 global and Africa-specific policy and related sources produced over the past six years demonstrates how diverse framings of scarcity – what it is, its causes and what is to be done – are evident in competing narratives that animate debates about the future of food and farming in Africa and globally. We argue that current mainstream narratives emphasise absolute and relative scarcity, while ignoring political scarcity. We suggest a more political framing of scarcity requires paying attention to how resources are distributed between different needs and uses, and so different people and social classes. This requires, we argue, a policy emphasis for land and resource issues on rights and access, and distributional issues, centred on equity and justice.

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FAC Working Paper 076 Pdf 1.37 MB 5 downloads

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Jostling for Trade: The Politics of Livestock Marketing on the Ethiopia-Somaliland Border
February 10, 2014 / Working Papers

Future Agricultures Working Paper 75
Abdurehman Eid
February 2014

Cross-border livestock trade (CBLT) is an important livelihood activity for many pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in the Horn of Africa. The trade has developed into an informal industry supporting many stakeholders along the value chain: livestock-keepers, fodder suppliers, ranch owners, itinerant traders, large livestock traders and transporters. This paper examines the CBLT spanning the border between Somali Region of Ethiopia and Somaliland. Specifically, it considers policies and controls shaping the dynamics of the trade in recent years. The study also highlights the competition that Somaliland and Djibouti have found themselves in to become the livestock export hub in the Horn of Africa, as well as clan dynamics.

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FAC Working Paper 075v2 Pdf 2.52 MB 13 downloads

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What difference has CAADP made to Tanzanian agriculture?
January 29, 2014 / Working Papers

Future Agricultures Working Paper 74
Brian Cooksey
November 2013

This paper examines the impact of the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) on Tanzania’s agricultural sector. It discusses how CAADP relates to national and regional policy initiatives (including the country’s Agriculture and Food Security Investment Plan, the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania, and the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition) and their governance; the possible impacts of CAADP on spending on agriculture in the country; and the extent of the influence and inclusion of civil society organisations on agricultural policy processes.

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FAC Working Paper 074 Pdf 1.89 MB 2 downloads

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Commercialisation of African Smallholder Farming. The Case of Smallholder Farmers in C. Tanzania
January 22, 2014 / Working Papers

Future Agricultures Working Paper 72
Khamaldin Mutabazi, Steve Wiggins & Ntengua Mdoe
August 2013

African agriculture is predominantly carried out on small-scale family farms. The big question about such family farms is whether they can be successfully commercialised within their current structures, or whether they should give way to commercial medium and large-scale farm enterprises. In more detail, the following questions arise about the experience of commercialisation of small farms in Africa and their prospects. Under what conditions, and with what encouragement from policy, may small farms be commercialised? Does commercialisation benefit smallholding households? Does commercialisation increase social differences? Does commercialisation raise risks in the markets to unacceptable levels?

This study addresses primarily the first two questions about the nature of commercialisation, its benefits and impacts on food security. Four villages in Tanzania that produce commercial crops for sale, mainly onions, were studied.

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FAC Working Paper 072 Pdf 2.51 MB 6 downloads

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Biofuels Investment and Community Land Tenure in Tanzania
December 16, 2013 / Working Papers

Future Agricultures Working Paper 73
Emmanuel Sulle and Fred Nelson
December 2013

Like much of sub-Saharan Africa, Tanzania has experienced a surge in land-based investment during the past decade. While expanding private investment in agriculture is a core ambition of the G8’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, experiences of prior investments raise questions about possible negative impacts. A notable element of this pattern of international private investment in Tanzania has been the emergence of biofuels as a form of agriculture; biofuel investments occurred rapidly and on a large scale around 2005–2008, with about four million hectares around the country requested for allocation to commercial biofuel projects. Many of those investments were large-scale projects based on the cultivation of jatropha or sugarcane, headed by European companies. One of the most well-known biofuel investments was that of Bioshape, which acquired approximately 34,000 ha in Kilwa District for the cultivation of jatropha.

The report documents, insofar as is possible using available information, the process Bioshape and government authorities at national and district level undertook to acquire the land from the four villages in Kilwa where Bioshape established operations.

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FAC Working Paper 073 Pdf 1.54 MB 5 downloads

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Warming to Change? Climate Policy and Agricultural Development in Ethiopia
August 20, 2013 / Working Papers

Future Agricultures Working Paper 71
Leulseged Yirgu, Alan Nicol and Shweta Srinivasan
August 2013

This paper addresses how policy responses to climate change are shaping the agricultural sector in Ethiopia, and their significance for the country’s future development. The paper highlights the multiple policy and institutional responses, including those that fall under a new policy direction of ‘green’ economic development, with a focus on development of a low-carbon economy by 2025. Under this broad banner, emerging policy narratives centre on achieving ‘climate smart’ agriculture, establishing more intensified and commercial approaches and, in the livestock sector, seeking major transformations in pastoralism within the country’s lowland periphery. At the same time, a number of structural gaps are emerging, including the success with which climate policy is being integrated across different natural resource sectors, from water and land management to rural afforestation.

Important political-economic considerations are shown to be driving some of the emerging challenges, as Ethiopia struggles to find ways of engaging a rapidly-growing economically active population. The paper suggests that externally-driven policy processes are crowding out more coherent analyses of key national-level resource management and development issues, and that a rush for climate finance may crowd out important local knowledge and experience from below that can better inform policy responses. Without adequately addressing multiple challenges facing smallholder farmers in many parts of the overcrowded highlands, question marks continue to surround the capacity of the country to achieve real agricultural transformation under the ambitious Growth and Transformation Plan.

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FAC Working Paper 071 Pdf 1.19 MB 6 downloads

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Agriculture and Climate Change in Kenya: Climate Chaos, Policy Dilemmas
August 20, 2013 / Working Papers

Future Agricultures Working Paper 70
Immaculate Maina, Andrew Newsham and Michael Okoti
August 2013

This paper analyses emerging policy discussions on climate change and agriculture in Kenya. Kenya has been ahead of many other countries in developing a national climate change strategy, and agriculture is one of the key critical sectors of interest. However, there are concerns about whether policy goals may be achieved amidst the actors’ many and diverging interests. This paper sets out to map how these debates are starting to take place in practice, and poses the following questions: what are the arguments, who is promoting them, and what are the implications for Kenya’s agricultural sector?

A better understanding of the key actors, their interests and through what narratives actor-interests are mobilised is important because they will all have implications for the kinds of support farmers at the local level do or do not receive, and the extent to which their own interests are fore grounded or marginalised within the policy process. Ultimately, the policy response to climate change in the agricultural sector is one important factor which mediates local-level vulnerability. The paper examines key policy narratives and documents on climate change and agriculture, how (groups of ) key actors cluster in relation to the narratives, and how they are manifesting themselves in practice.

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FAC Working Paper 070 Pdf 2.52 MB 6 downloads

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The State and Performance of African Agriculture and the Impact of Structural Changes
August 20, 2013 / Working Papers

Future Agricultures Working Paper 69
Colin Poulton
August 2013

Despite ongoing changes in the structure of African economies, Africa remains heavily dependent on the agricultural sector for employment, foreign exchange and as a (potential) driver of poverty reduction. However, for several decades the dominant narrative regarding African agriculture has been one of underperformance. This paper broadly accepts the “under-performance” narrative, but qualifies it by highlighting the great diversity in performance both across and within countries and regions within Africa. It then considers how African agriculture is positioned to respond to a confluence of powerful forces that are already affecting it and will do so with increasing influence over the next decade(s). The three forces that this paper focuses on are: (1) increased demand for agricultural products in both domestic and international markets; (2) Population growth (which both contributes to this demand and alters the relative scarcities of land and labour available for production); (3) Democratisation (which is a partial exception, as the basic conclusion is that it is not yet exerting as much influence on agricultural policy as might be expected).

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FAC Working Paper 069 Pdf 1.28 MB 3 downloads

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Creating Policy Space for Pastoralism in Kenya
August 7, 2013 / Working Papers

Future Agricultures Working Paper 68
Mohamed Elmi and Izzy Birch
July 2013

This paper reflects on the work of the Ministry of State for Development of Northern Kenya and other Arid Lands between its formation in April 2008 and the elections of March 2013. The paper begins by summarising the historical, political and institutional contexts within which the Ministry was created, as well as the multiple narratives that have driven policy in Kenya’s drylands over time (section 1). It explains some of the policy choices the Ministry made in interpreting its mandate and shaping the policy agenda. The paper reflects on the response of different actors to the policy space opened up by the establishment of the Ministry, and looks at how it implemented its mandate and its day-to-day engagement with others. The authors discuss the institutional framework in more detail and the steps required to strengthen it further. The paper concludes with reflections and recommendations.

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FAC Working Paper 068v2 Pdf 1.34 MB 5 downloads

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Impacts of the Farm Input Subsidy Programme in Malawi: Informal Rural Economy Modelling
August 7, 2013 / Working Papers

Future Agricultures Working Paper 67
Andrew Dorward and Ephraim Chirwa
June 2013

This paper presents a partial equilibrium model of the impacts of the Malawi Farm Input Subsidy Programme on smallholder livelihoods in two major and contrasting livelihood zones over the period 2005/6 to 2010/11. Despite inherent difficulties in modelling the multi-scale and complex relationships that are involved, model findings show direct impacts on subsidy recipients (increasing maize production and real incomes), differences between poorer and less poor households (with poorer households normally gaining more proportionally but not necessarily absolutely from the same subsidy package), and differences between central and southern region maize growing areas with different rates of poverty incidence and land pressure (with greater absolute and proportional gains in poorer southern region areas). The results also show the impacts of the programme on wages and maize prices.

However, a significant finding of model simulations is that beneficial indirect effects may be greater than direct impacts in maize growing areas with high rates of poverty incidence and high land pressure. These indirect effects arise through increases in the ratio of wages to maize prices, and benefit poorer households (who sell ganyu labour and buy maize) while potentially harming in the short term the incomes of less poor buyers of ganyu labour and sellers of maize (these households should however gain in the medium and long run from increased livelihood opportunities with wider economic growth). This finding has important implications for programme design, implementation and evaluation. Much more emphasis should be placed on ensuring that the programme and other policies are managed to maximise these indirect benefits, and on assessing these benefits in programme evaluation. There are particular implications for the design and management of area and household targeting and graduation.

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FAC Working Paper 067 Pdf 2.30 MB 22 downloads

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Targeting in the Farm Input Subsidy Programme in Malawi: Issues and Options
August 7, 2013 / Working Papers

Future Agricultures Working Paper 66
Andrew Dorward and Ephraim Chirwa
June 2013

This paper examines targeting issues that emerge from FISP evaluations undertaken since 2006/07, and puts forward various options for improving targeting. Targeting objectives depend upon programme objectives. In the FISP targeting occurs at area and beneficiary levels – the former targeting subsidies to different zones or districts, the latter targeting beneficiaries within already targeted areas.

Targeting is important because it affects achievement of programme objectives through its impacts on displacement (the extent to which purchases of subsidised inputs replace purchases of unsubsidised inputs that farmers would have bought anyway without the subsidy), productivity of input use, the direct benefits to beneficiaries, and wider economic, social and environmental benefits. Achievement of these benefits is generally supported by pro-poor targeting (with lower displacement and stronger growth linkages) but the effects of pro-poor targeting on the productivity of input use are not known and are an important (but difficult) field of further research. Relations of targeting with area and beneficiary graduation and with environmental benefits are complex, and also require further research.

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FAC Working Paper 066 Pdf 1.14 MB 16 downloads

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Repeated Access and Impacts of the Farm Input Subsidy Programme in Malawi
August 7, 2013 / Working Papers

Full title: Repeated Access and Impacts of the Farm Input Subsidy Programme in Malawi: Any Prospects of Graduation?

Future Agricultures Working Paper 65
Ephraim Chirwa, Mirriam Matita, Peter Mvula and Andrew Dorward
June 2013

This paper analyses the impacts of the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) using a balanced four-year panel of 461 households from 2004/5, 2006/7, 2008/9 and 2010/11 agricultural seasons. We find evidence of economy wide and input market effects of the subsidy programme. The economy-wide effects of the subsidy programme are strong particularly due to lower maize prices and increased ganyu wage rates. The economy-wide effects of the subsidy which arise from higher ganyu wage rates, reduced time spent on ganyu, availability of maize at local level and lower prices of maize have enabled poor households to access maize when they run out of their own production.

With respect to input market effects, with 2010/11 conditions and quantities of subsidised fertiliser, a 1 percent increase in subsidised fertilisers reduces commercial demand by 0.15 – 0.21 percent. However, using various welfare indicators, we find mixed results on the direct beneficiary household effects of the subsidy programme from panel data analysis and there is no overwhelming evidence on the relationship between repeated access and impacts of the subsidy. The direct beneficiary impacts on food consumption, self-assessed poverty and overall welfare are weak and mixed while there is some statistically significant evidence of positive impacts on primary school enrolment, under-5 illness and shocks. Nonetheless, the impact analysis highlights the challenges of targeting and sharing of subsidy among households, which may have implications on the direct beneficiary impacts and prospects to sustainably graduate from the programme.

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FAC Working Paper 065 Pdf 1.42 MB 22 downloads

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The Role of the Private Sector in the Farm Input Subsidy Programme in Malawi
August 7, 2013 / Working Papers

Future Agricultures Working Paper 64
Ephraim Chirwa and Andrew Dorward
June 2013

The involvement of the private sector in the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) has changed over the lifetime of the programme with increasing participation in fertilizer procurement, inclusion and exclusion in fertiliser retail sales, increased participation in seed sales and increased participation in the transportation of fertilisers to various outlets in Malawi. This paper documents changes in private sector involvement in various aspects of the programme since 2005/06 and identifies benefits and challenges of participation of the private sector in the implementation of the programme.

The paper reviews the experience of private sector participation using data from the Logistics Unit and household and community surveys conducted in the 2006/07, 2008/09 and 2010/11 agricultural seasons. The analysis shows that commercial sales of fertilisers, although lower than the pre-subsidy levels, have been increasing suggesting that the programme has in the medium term stimulated demand for fertilisers in Malawi. This has occurred at a time when the private sector has increasingly participated in the procurement of subsidy fertiliser but has been excluded from retailing of subsidy fertilisers. The seed component of the subsidy programme, which has always involved the private sector, has attracted additional seed growers and expanded the number of varieties for maize seeds and legumes.

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FAC Working Paper 064 Pdf 1.41 MB 24 downloads

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Graduation of Households from Social Protection Programmes in Ethiopia
June 26, 2013 / Working Papers

Full title: Graduation of Households from Social Protection Programmes in Ethiopia: Implications of Market Conditions and Value Chains on Graduation

Future Agricultures Working Paper 63
Feyera Sima
June 2013

The purpose of this research is to analyse how market conditions and value chain development of Food Security Programme (FSP) promoted products affect livelihood performance and possibility of graduating (as enabler and constrainer) from social support programmes in Ethiopia. The study is conducted in contrasting socioeconomic and livelihood settings of Oromia and Tigray regions. This will help to investigate how these two factors affect the resilience of households to various shocks, and their ability to live productive lives in a sustained manner.

This paper was produced under the Future Agricultures Early Career Fellowship Programme

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FAC Working Paper 063 Pdf 1.10 MB 2 downloads

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Private Equity Investments and Agricultural Development in Africa: Opportunities and Challenges
June 26, 2013 / Working Papers

Future Agricultures Working Paper 62
Laura Silici
and Anna Locke
June 2013

Private equity (PE) and venture capital are forms of investment that bring together specialised fund managers and investors to provide equity investments into private (i.e. non-publicly listed) companies. Compared to other emerging markets, the PE industry in Africa is still at an early stage of development but several circumstances suggest that its growth is proceeding at a sustained pace.

The agribusiness sector in Africa has become an increasingly important destination for investments, and investment in this sector is projected to grow further in future. PE may represent an additional, important source of capital for agriculture. However, due to lack of publicly available data, very little is known about PE deals concluded in Africa, where they stand within the panorama of agribusiness investments and the impact they have on local economies.

This study seeks to shed some light on the volume and the characteristics of PE investments in agribusiness in Africa, with the objective of assessing whether, and how, these could contribute to developing the sector.

This paper was produced under the Future Agricultures Early Career Fellowship Programme

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FAC Working Paper 062 Pdf 816.37 KB 4 downloads

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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 2 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 3 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 3 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 2 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 4 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 25 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 14 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 14 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 3 downloads

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

FAC Working Paper 51
Lídia Cabral and Alex Shankland

This paper summarises the findings of a scoping study on Brazilian development cooperation in agriculture in Africa. The study comprised, in the first instance, a review of the relevant literature and interviews with key informants in Brazil, undertaken between October 2011 and March 2012. This was complemented by an international seminar on the topic held in Brasília on May 2012, which brought together experts and practitioners from Brazil, Africa, China and Europe to discuss Brazilian agricultural cooperation in the context of South-South engagements with Africa. The seminar represented a unique opportunity to gather and contrast experiences and viewpoints on the subject across a wide range of state and non-state actors.

The paper is structured into five sections. This brief introduction is followed by an overview of the general features of Brazilian cooperation, including its drivers, principles, modalities and institutional setting. Section 2 describes cooperation with the African continent, with particular focus on its agriculture component and its growing significance. The fourth section offers some preliminary observations and hypotheses for further investigation. Section 5 concludes with some suggestions for the subsequent stage of the research.

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Chinese and Brazilian Cooperation with African Agriculture: The Case of Mozambique
March 11, 2013 / Working Papers

FAC Working Paper 49

Sérgio Chichava, Jimena Duran, Lídia Cabral, Alex Shankland, Lila Buckley, Tang Lixia and Zhang Yue

The purpose of this paper is to provide an account of the policies, narratives, operational modalities and underlying motivations of Brazilian and Chinese development cooperation in Mozambique. It is particularly interested in understanding how the engagements are perceived and talked about, what drives them and what formal and informal relations are emerging at the level of particular exchanges.

The paper draws on three experiences representing a variety of engagements and suggesting the increasingly blurred motivations shaping cooperation encounters: (i) ProSavana, Brazil’s current flagship programme in Mozambique, which aims to transform the country’s savannah land spreading along the Nacala corridor, drawing on Brazil’s own experience in the Cerrado; (ii) the Chinese Agricultural Technology Demonstration Centre (ATDC) in the outskirts of the Mozambican capital; (iii) a private Chinese rice investment project in the Xai-Xai irrigation scheme, which builds on a technical cooperation initiative. The conclusion discusses the extent to which observed dynamics on the ground suggest the emergence of distinctive patterns of cooperation and identities issues for further research on Brazilian and Chinese engagements in Mozambique.

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FAC Working Paper 049 Pdf 1.17 MB 2 downloads

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Chinese and Brazilian Cooperation with African Agriculture: The Case of Ghana
March 10, 2013 / Working Papers

FAC Working Paper 52
Kojo Amanor

This paper explores the differences in Brazilian and Chinese investments in Ghana. It examines the extent to which the framework of South-South cooperation illuminates or masks these changing relationships and their political economy dimensions. The paper also addresses the social vision of development embedded in frameworks of South- South cooperation and whether they harmonise with Ghanaian agrarian sector visions and societal developments.

The extent, framing and structure of Chinese and Brazilian investments in Ghana are examined. The changing political economy of the agrarian sector within Ghana is outlined, as well as the changing framework of agrarian policy in the context of market liberalisation and rise of agribusiness. The specificities of Chinese agricultural investments in Ghana are examined in relation to its wider investments and interests in Ghana. Brazilian investments within the Ghanaian agricultural sector are examined in relation to the expansion of Brazilian agribusiness and its integration into the global economy. The paper discusses the impact of such developments on Ghanaian agriculture and society.

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FAC Working Paper 052 Pdf 419.85 KB 2 downloads

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Chinese and Brazilian Cooperation with African Agriculture: The Case of Ethiopia
March 10, 2013 / Working Papers

FAC Working Paper 50
Dawit Alemu

The increased importance of South-South cooperation in rural and agricultural development, and especially the increased role of BRICS countries, has been debated in relation to international development assistance, specifically in terms of

(i) the modalities and policies for agricultural development deployed, including officially articulated cooperation principles and visions and priorities for agricultural development
(ii) the main actors in the cooperation process
(iii) the explicit and implicit rationales for the modalities that underpin technical cooperation in agriculture
(iv) the lessons for established donors, and
(iv) local perceptions of the value added of the approaches deployed.

This paper provides an overview of rural and agricultural development cooperation and tries to answer these questions for the case of Brazilian and Chinese agricultural development cooperation activities in Ethiopia.

In general, the Government of Ethiopia (GoE) promotes harmonisation and an alignment process of donor support through the Ethiopian High Level Forum, with nine subsidiary sector-specific working groups. Brazil and China are not engaged in any of the nine government-donor coordination platforms including the platform for agriculture, natural resource management and food security, which is called the Rural Economic Development and Food Security Sector Working Group (RED&FS SWG).

However, Brazil and China are engaged as bilateral development partners in Ethiopia, mainly in the form of experience sharing in public governance, technical cooperation, and attraction of private and public investments. Moreover, the cooperation has very specific characteristics in that, in the case of Brazil, the GoE focuses on renewable energy sector development mainly related to biofuels, whilst in the case of China, cooperation is more focused on agricultural technology and skill transfer.

The paper first presents an overview of the cooperation in rural development in Ethiopia, followed by documentation of the level of engagement by Brazil and China in the major areas of cooperation, i.e. experience sharing in public governance, technical cooperation and strengthening private investment.

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FAC Working Paper 050 Pdf 538.03 KB 2 downloads

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Chinese and Brazilian Cooperation with African Agriculture: The Case of Zimbabwe
March 10, 2013 / Working Papers

FAC Working Paper 48
by Langton Mukwereza

This report describes the status of agricultural aid and cooperation programmes by Brazil and China in Zimbabwe from three perspectives:

  • A specification for each programme: the actors (governmental or otherwise) and their roles in the provision of such aid.
  • The nature of the aid and cooperation programmes: i.e. operational instruments used (e.g. financial support, technical cooperation, food aid, government-to-government, private sector driven), volumes pledged/disbursed, and a description of the status with specific projects and programmes.
  • An analysis of the relevance and impacts (current and foreseen) of the cooperation programmes.

Albeit preliminary at this stage, the scope for the cooperation programmes to accomplish intended outcomes is discussed throughout the ensuing sections, with reference made to the actors and interests being served, and any networks being formed.

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FAC Working Paper 048 Pdf 649.68 KB 2 downloads

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Food price volatility and financial speculation
January 23, 2013 / Working Papers

FAC Working Paper 47
Stephen Spratt
January 2013

Price volatility is exacerbated by the tendency of market actors to follow momentum strategies, where price rises encourage more buying, and falls encourage selling.

This paper focuses on the impacts of this activity with respect to global food prices, in order to understand the relationship between financial markets and food price volatility.

It examines how the relationship between financial actors and food commodity markets – particularly futures markets – changed in the last ten years. The paper also explores the benefits and costs of the increased role of financial sector actors in these markets,  and how the balance between benefits and costs might change in the future. Further, it asks what reforms, if any, are needed to ensure that benefits exceed costs.

The paper establishes the context in terms of price movements and the evolution of food and financial markets over the past decade, and develops a typology of speculation as a framework for thinking about these issues. It goes on to apply this typology to global food markets, and reviews the differing explanations for food price movements. The author also considers the role of uncertainty and complexity, and the role of financial markets in this regard, and considers some policy options.

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FAC Working Paper 047 Pdf 1.01 MB 9 downloads

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The Politics of Agricultural Carbon Finance: The Case of the Kenya Agricultural Carbon Project
November 5, 2012 / Working Papers

STEPS Centre Working Paper 49
by Joanes Atela

In the context of major scientific and policy concern with the causes and implications of climate change, various actors are now keen to demonstrate how agricultural carbon finance can help achieve multiple benefits or ‘triple wins’ for sub-Saharan African agriculture.

The target areas for these demonstrations have complex sociopolitical histories including prior donor interventions seeking to address related problems of poverty and the environment. Agricultural carbon finance, with associated globally framed narratives and interests, arrives on the back of these interventions and intersects with existing socio-cultural contexts and local and national policy processes to reshuffle livelihoods and ecologies.

This paper explores this interplay empirically, drawing on evidence from the Kenya Agricultural Carbon Project (KACP). KACP is the first World Bank supported project on agricultural carbon finance in Africa and has worked with groups of smallholders in western Kenya since 2008. Fieldwork, interviews and document analysis show how a powerful donor-science network has established a dominant narrative around ‘triple wins’ which does not resonate well with local circumstances.

Farmers, concerned with food security through maize farming, focus on only one ‘win’- increases in maize production – with little awareness of or attention to climate resilience or carbon income. The Kenyan government, on the other hand, faces an implicit dilemma as to whether to mechanize agriculture as a quick fix for looming hunger or to embrace conservation agriculture for carbon finance.

As more powerful, resource and scientifically endowed global and project development institutions intersect rather messier, informal and complex local institutions, there is not a neat unfolding of a planned ‘agricultural carbon project’ – but a more complex situation from which various actors are nevertheless able to draw benefit, but from which certain farmers lose.

This paper therefore justifies the need to go beyond top-down donor and science-driven projectization of agricultural carbon finance. Approaches and associated capacity-building need to inform farmers more fully of links between sustainable farming practices and carbon; clarify their carbon rights, and attend to wider development issues such as water access and secure land tenure which bear heavily on carbon projects. This is vital if smallholder farmers are to become more empowered to expand their opportunities and wellbeing in the context of climate change and the uncertain promise of carbon money.

This paper was produced jointly by Future Agricultures and the ESRC STEPS Centre

Assessing Enablers and Constrainers of Graduation: Evidence from Ethiopia’s Food Security Programme
November 2, 2012 / Working Papers

Assessing Enablers and Constrainers of Graduation: Evidence from the Food Security Programme, Ethiopia

FAC Working Paper 44

Rachel Sabates-Wheeler, Mulugeta Tefera and Girma Bekele
April 2012

The purpose of this report is to identify the main enablers and constrainers of resiliency and graduation from food and cash support provided through the Food Security Programme (FSP) in Ethiopia. Different groups of women and men were interviewed to explore and interrogate the gendered experiences of change in relation to social protection provisions.

The aim was to: identify different pathways to graduation for different participating households; identify indicators of graduation, resilience and sustainability that go beyond simple benchmarks or thresholds; and understand the enablers and constrainers to graduation. The larger objective of this work is to learn from the ways households strengthen their livelihoods in different PSNP scenarios in order to inform policy debates around assessing sustainable graduation from social protection programmes.

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FAC Working Paper 044 Pdf 518.67 KB 11 downloads

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Climate Change and Agricultural Policy Processes in Malawi
October 3, 2012 / Working Papers

FAC Working Paper 46
by Blessings Chinsinga, Michael Chasukwa and Lars Otto Naess

This paper explores climate change – agriculture debates in Malawi in view of the increasing interest and funding pledges for the agricultural sector in a changing climate. While there is increasing evidence of how climate change may affect Malawian agricultural systems, and a growing body of literature on possible response strategies, less is known about how priorities are made, by whom and with what outcomes. This matters because climate-related funding can be a major factor for how the agricultural sector develops, in Malawi as in other countries across Africa. This paper is the first of its kind to analyse policy discussions on climate change and agriculture in the country. The primary focus is the national level, but some of the implications of national debates at sub-national levels, and the questions they raise, are also discussed.

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FAC Working Paper 046 Pdf 470.40 KB 6 downloads

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Climate Change and Agricultural Policy Processes in Ghana
October 3, 2012 / Working Papers

FAC Working Paper 45
by Daniel Bruce Sarpong and Nana Akua Anyidoho

This paper examines agriculture-climate change policy discussions in Ghana in the context of, on the one hand, increasing international interest and activity around climate change and agriculture, and on the other, concerns over whether climate policy and funding priorities are aligned to domestic development priorities. The paper poses the following questions: What are the contested areas and dividing lines in policy discussions and practices around climate change, which actors are supporting different viewpoints, and what traction do they have in the types of interventions that are being promoted?

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FAC Working Paper 045 Pdf 529.44 KB 2 downloads

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Democratisation and the Political Economy of Agricultural Policy in Africa
August 29, 2012 / Working Papers

FAC Working Paper 43
by Colin Poulton

Theories of policy neglect of, or discrimination against, agriculture in Africa include urban bias (Lipton 1977; Bates 1981) and the narrow self-interest of autonomous elites (van de Walle 2001). Whilst structural adjustment removed much of the previous tax burden on African agriculture (Anderson and Masters 2009), the sector also saw declining investment from international development partners and through national budgets (Fan et al. 2009). Whilst there has been some recovery in public investment in agriculture over the past decade, signalled by the 2003 Maputo Declaration (Assembly of the African Union 2003), investment in the infrastructural and institutional public goods needed to support smallholder-led agricultural growth remains disappointing. As a result, the contribution of the agricultural sector to growth and poverty reduction objectives in Africa is widely believed to have been below potential.

In theory, democratisation, which has proceeded unevenly across Africa during the past two decades, should encourage pro-poor agricultural policy, as the majority of voters in many countries remain rural and poor. This paper draws on case studies of recent policy change (attempted and actual) in eight African countries, plus an analysis of the political systems in these countries, to explore the evolving role of competitive electoral politics in agricultural policy making. An important observation is that politicians are as likely to rely on ethnic allegiances and forms of social or political control to secure votes as they are to engage in policy competition. Moreover, the political incentives facing senior policy makers in the agricultural and rural development sphere may be inimical to the development of strong institutions to promote smallholder agricultural growth. Instead the paper finds that it is exogenous factors – macroeconomic dependence on agriculture and, most strikingly, sustained threats to regime survival – that create positive incentives for agricultural investment, even where social or political control is relied on to secure votes. The implications for participants in agricultural policy processes are briefly explored.

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FAC Working Paper 043 Pdf 975.95 KB 4 downloads

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The Political Economy of Agricultural Extension in Ethiopia: Economic Growth and Political Control
June 13, 2012 / Working Papers

FAC Working Paper 42
by Kassahun Berhanu

The central argument in this paper is that, for the past two decades, state-led agricultural extension in Ethiopia, implemented by excluding other players in general and non-state actors in particular, has facilitated uncontested control of the public space by the incumbent Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). In addition to its presumed economic ramifications, the ongoing agricultural extension scheme that is a major component of transforming smallholder agriculture is driven by political imperatives aimed at effectively controlling the bulk of the Ethiopian electorate whose votes in periodic elections are crucial to the regime’s perpetuation in power.

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FAC Working Paper 042 Pdf 424.57 KB 4 downloads

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Politics, Patronage and Projects: The Political Economy of Agricultural Policy in Tanzania
June 13, 2012 / Working Papers

FAC Working Paper 40
by Brian Cooksey

The Political Economy of Agricultural Policy in Africa (PEAPA) Programme examines the impact of political competition, patronage, and foreign aid on agricultural policy outcomes across a sample of eight African countries. This report examines the effects of these factors on agricultural policy formulation and implementation in Tanzania through the lens of two initiatives, the Agricultural Sector Development Programme (ASDP) and the National Agricultural Input Voucher Scheme (NAIVS). The report asks whether competitive politics has improved the policy regime for rural voters as political parties compete for their support and the ruling elite responds to increasing electoral pressures to deliver concrete benefits. The broad conclusion is that both vote-seeking and patronage incentivise agricultural policy but that the benefits to voters in terms of private and public goods delivered as a result are limited by the same patronage practiced from national to local levels. On balance, donor aid supports essentially statist policies which serve to marginalise the private sector as the ‘engine of growth.’

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FAC Working Paper 040 Pdf 651.47 KB 7 downloads

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The Political Economy of Agricultural Policy Processes in Malawi: A Case Study
June 13, 2012 / Working Papers

Full title: The Political Economy of Agricultural Policy Processes in Malawi: A Case Study of the Fertilizer Subsidy Programme

FAC Working Paper 39
by Blessings Chinsinga

This paper examines the political economy of the agricultural policy processes in Malawi through the lenses of the fertilizer subsidy programme that has raised the profile of the country on the international stage since 2006. Malawi is a regular feature in the international agricultural policy debates as a model for the rest of Africa to emulate in order to achieve a uniquely African Green Revolution (Dugger, 2007; Perkins, 2009; AGRA, 2009). Through its subsidy programme, and against fierce resistance by donors as well as some local fiscal conservatives, the argument is that Malawi has pioneered the implementation of smart subsidy that has transformed the country from a perpetual food beggar for close to two successive decades to a self reliant nation.

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FAC Working Paper 039 Pdf 719.79 KB 8 downloads

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From Subsistence to Smallholder Commercial Farming in Malawi: A Case of NASFAM Commercialisation
May 28, 2012 / Working Papers

Full title: From Subsistence to Smallholder Commercial Farming in Malawi: A Case of NASFAM Commercialisation Initiatives

FAC Working Paper 37
Ephraim W. Chirwa and Mirriam Matita

This paper investigates the relationship between food security and commercialisation using data from a household survey in National Smallholder Farmer Association of Malawi (NASFAM) operated areas. NASFAM promotes commercialisation of agriculture by introducing the principle of farming as a business among its members who are largely smallholder subsistence farmers.

The study finds that households with plenty of family labour are therefore likely to participate in NASFAM commercialisation initiatives. We also find a positive relationship between participation and value of durable assets, suggesting that wealth is an important determinant in the decision to participate in commercialisation. Household food security also increases the probability of participation, suggesting that when food markets are unstable, farmers that are not food secure may be constrained in their attempt to commercialize their farming systems. Furthermore, we find that the degree of commercialisation is negatively associated with age and household size but positively associated with food security, access to fertilizers, NASFAM business orientation and market access benefits.

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FAC Working Paper 037 Pdf 616.96 KB 19 downloads

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Policy for agriculture and horticulture in Rwanda
May 16, 2012 / Working Papers

FAC Working Paper 38
by David Booth and Frederick Golooba-Mutebi

Agricultural development policies in sub-Saharan Africa continue to be weak, and the reasons are to be found in the incentives transmitted to policy makers by countries’ domestic political systems. The enfranchisement of rural voters within multi-party political systems does not seem to have altered the fundamental dynamics, raising the question whether – in Africa as in Asia – successful agricultural transformation will happen first in countries whose rulers are driven by concerns to avert rural-based political threats of a more fundamental sort.

This paper explores this question with reference to Rwanda. It argues that the political incentives are indeed different from those in comparable African countries, but that this did not immediately lead to the adoption of an appropriate agricultural strategy. Today, thanks to a major shock and some serious rethinking, policy has turned a corner and the results are promising. What this experience has revealed is that the political economy of agricultural policy in Rwanda is distinguished by a capacity for learning from errors as well as a seriousness about implementation that are not widely observed elsewhere in the region.

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FAC Working Paper 038v2 Pdf 521.73 KB 2 downloads

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