food and agriculture

Unilever opens a can of worms on corporate human rights reporting

Duncan Green - August 12, 2015

This guest post comes from Rachel Wilshaw, Oxfam’s Ethical Trade Manager Hundreds of millions of people suffer from discrimination in the world of work. 1.3 billion people live in extreme poverty, surviving on less than $1.25 a day. 34 nations present an ‘extreme’ risk of human rights violations. Nearly 21 million people are victims of forced labour. It’s an unusual opening statement for a corporate …

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How does Change Happen in global commodities markets? The case of Palm Oil

Duncan Green - August 4, 2015

This week’s Economist had an interesting discussion of the change process in the global palm oil industry. I assume all its claims are highly contested, but still, allow me to walk you through it and what it says about how change happens in one bit of the private sector. The basics: a boom industry with a dire track record of deforestation, labour rights abuses on the …

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How looking through a doughnut can test if South Africa is on track for inclusive and sustainable development

Duncan Green - June 3, 2015

Oxfam researcher Katherine Trebeck introduces some new work on doughnut economics, (whose inventor, Kate Raworth has left Oxfam to write a book on it) There is an African proverb that says: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together’ It could be taken as call for inclusivity, solidarity, and equality of people and communities. But it might also …

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Is ‘give them land rights’ enough? Taking the temperature of the global land debate

Duncan Green - May 22, 2015

A bunch of students and academics from Sheffield University had what sounds like a fun time at last week’s big global meeting on land. George Barrett, Yoshabel Durand, Tom Goodfellow, Vremudia Irikefe, Mikael Omstedt, Edward Searight, Julie Shi, Deborah Sporton and Nguyen Vo report back. Last week, dispersed among 700 participants at the International Land Coalition’s global forum in Senegal sat nine of us from the …

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How can grassroots aid programmes influence the wider system?

Duncan Green - April 30, 2015

In the first of two posts on how aid agencies can use their grassroots work to exert wider influence, Erinch Sahan discusses his work with livelihoods programmes (jobs, incomes etc). Tomorrow, I’ll discuss the conditions for such ‘joined-up influencing’ to work. “Give someone a fish and you feed them for a day; teach someone to fish and you feed them for a lifetime.” Sounds comfortingly …

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Why ending poverty in India means tackling rural poverty and power

Duncan Green - January 29, 2015

Vanita Suneja, Oxfam India’s Economic Justice Lead, argues that India can’t progress until it tackles rural poverty More than 800 million of India’s 1.25 billion people live in the countryside. One quarter of rural India’s population is below the official poverty line – 216 million people. A search for economic justice for a population of this magnitude is never going to be possible only by relying on …

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Them Belly Full (but we hungry): great new study on food riots and food rights

Duncan Green - January 8, 2015

A fascinating new report (with too many co-authors to list, but the invariably interesting Naomi Hossain was principal investigator) summarizes the findings of a four country research project on ‘food rights and food riots’ in Bangladesh, India, Kenya and Mozambique. Some highlights from the Exec Sum: ‘The green revolution and the global integration of food markets were supposed to relegate scarcity to the annals of history. …

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How the Other Half Farms: Important new book on Gender in Agriculture

Duncan Green - December 5, 2014

This guest post is from Dennis Avilés (right), Oxfam’s Sustainable Agriculture and Gender Advisor Trying to explain why half of the world’s farmers are systematically underperforming can be elusive. However, the recently published “Gender in Agriculture. Closing the knowledge gap” by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation has just done that. The book is a series of background studies commissioned for The State of Food …

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New research: A wage revolution could end extreme poverty in Asia, with massive knock-on effects in Africa

Duncan Green - October 8, 2014

Spoke last week as a ‘discussant’ (my favourite speaking role, no prep required) at the launch of an extraordinary new ODI paper, with the deeply forgettable title ‘rural wages in Asia’ (we’ll come back to the title later). In one of those papers that restores your faith in economists, Steve Wiggins and Sharada Keats crunch the available data on 13 large Asian countries and find …

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Not so mega? The risky business of large-scale public-private partnerships in African agriculture

Duncan Green - September 16, 2014

Oxfam policy adviser Robin Willoughby shrugs off the big ag groupthink and argues that the current trend of mega projects in African agriculture is a risky and unproven way to help poor farmers. Last week, I attended a large summit on the future of African agriculture in Addis Ababa, hosted by A Green Revolution for Africa (AGRA). My participation really made me reflect on the …

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