What have 3 years of campaigning on Big Food achieved? What still needs to happen?

Duncan Green - April 19, 2016

Erinch Sahan, acting head of Oxfam’s private sector team, looks back on 3 years of trying to get the world’s food giants to clean up their act, the subject of a new Behind the Brands report. The captains of the food industry have come a long way over the last few years. The “Big 10”, the world’s 10 largest food and beverage companies, have moved from …

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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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Who Wants to Farm? Hardly any young people, it seems. Should/Could that change?

Duncan Green - May 21, 2014

Since I started globetrotting many decades years ago, I’ve always asked peasants and farm labourers a simple question – ‘would you like your kids to become farmers?’ Across continents, the answer has hardly ever been ‘yes’. That creates a bit of a problem for the ‘peasant romantic’ wing of the aid business, who are then forced to argue that either a) ‘they don’t know what …

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How can Governments and Donors support Africa’s Women Farmers?

Duncan Green - April 24, 2014

I got into a bit of hot water recently for a recent post taking down a dodgy stat on women’s land ownership, so it’s nice to be able to post on some really good numbers on gender and agriculture. Levelling the Field: Improving Opportunities for Women Farmers in Africa, is an important and innovative new report (exec sum here, full report here) – sorry I’ve taken a few weeks …

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The future of Agriculture: useful teaching resource/briefing on current debates

admin - August 20, 2013

If you’re looking for a teaching resource on current debates on agriculture and development, take a look at ‘The Future of Agriculture’, a rather goodsynthesis of a two week online debate hosted by Oxfam last December. The paper, written by Maya Manzi and Gine Zwart, has a 10 page summary of the 23 posts and comments from some 300 participants, followed by 60 pages of …

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What is the impact of women’s collective action? Evidence from 3 African countries

admin - March 28, 2013

Sally Baden (left, in the white shirt), Oxfam’s former Senior Adviser on Agriculture and Women’s Livelihoods, summarizes the findings of a new Oxfam report and research project on women’s collective action in agriculture. As an Oxfam policy adviser in West Africa (2001-8), I worked with many different kinds of farmer organization. These included cotton farmers, pastoralists and rice growers, grouped in informal enterprises as well …

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What can DFID learn from Chinese and Brazilian aid programmes?

admin - March 27, 2013

IDS researcher Henry Tugendhat (right) wonders whether UK aid is following in the path of China and Brazil Two weeks ago at the London Stock Exchange, Justine Greening announced her new policy of supporting UK businesses to invest in developing economies for the mutual benefit of both sides. According to the UK’s Secretary of State for International Development: “This is good for investors, who earn …

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Strikes, Spookytown, and a traumatic exit from feudalism: Women on Farms in South Africa

admin - March 26, 2013

Managed to squeeze at least one day away from offices and lecture theatres in South Africa last week. In this case a road trip with Women on Farms, an Oxfam partner led by the charismatic Colette Solomon (right), IDS PhD turned grassroots activist. In the Western Cape, scenic is an understatement: lush vineyards festooned with bougainvillea at the feet of colossal bare rock escarpments; dinky, …

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