The latest (big) numbers on land grabs, and some powerful case studies

admin - September 22, 2011

Oxfam adds its voice to the growing clamour about land grabs with two new reports out today. Land and Power: The Growing Scandal Surrounding the New Wave of Investments in Land pulls together some fascinating (and sometimes shocking) case studies from South Sudan, Uganda, Indonesia, Honduras and Guatemala, and adds up some big new global numbers. The New Forests Company and its Uganda Plantations goes …

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Introducing Growbag, a round up of new research on food, farming and climate by guest blogger Richard King

admin - August 5, 2011

I can’t keep up with the flood of research on the issues related to the GROW campaign, so my ever-hungry colleague Richard King is riding to the rescue…… This occasional ‘blog series is a nutritionally dense (but non-exhaustive) collection of links, highlighting major recent publications and miscellaneous happenings that are relevant to Oxfam’s GROW campaign. Like any growbag, this series requires planting and watering (to …

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Will the 2012 Earth Summit be a flop? Guest post from Sarah Best

admin - August 2, 2011

    You’re Invited!   20th Anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit 4-6 June, 2012, Rio de Janeiro Gift list: to be determined   You’d be forgiven for not clocking that that there’s a major UN sustainable development conference on the horizon.  In less than a year, governments will convene in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, 20 years on from the 1992 Rio ‘Earth Summit’.  …

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Living on a spike – how are high food prices actually experienced by people living in poverty?

admin - June 22, 2011

The G20’s Agriculture Ministers are meeting for the first time today and tomorrow, in Paris, a sign of the rising importance of food security and related issues, following the recent chaos in global food prices (see graph). Oxfam is focussing its lobby efforts on biofuels (in many cases, a bad thing, diverting food to fuel and not even helping reduce carbon emissions) and food reserves …

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GROW: Oxfam’s new Global Campaign

admin - June 1, 2011

As promised, here’s the outline of the new 4 year Oxfam mega-campaign, GROW. The website is here, with the launch report ‘Growing a Better Future’ and lots of background papers and case studies. The point of departure for Grow is that the survival and flourishing of humanity in this century will be determined by its success in rising to two historic challenges: ending hunger and …

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An effective public campaign (on palm oil)

admin - June 29, 2010

You know you’ve had an impact when the Economist devotes three pages to your campaign, so hats off to Greenpeace and the other organizations featured in this week’s spread on palm oil. Here are some excerpts: “Palm oil is a popular, cheap commodity, which green activists are doing their best to turn into a commercial liability. Companies are finding them impossible to ignore. Early on …

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What should Oxfam be doing on renewables? Your advice, please

admin - June 16, 2010

Wisdom of crowds time. We’re doing some thinking on renewable energy and energy poverty (which affects about 1.5-2bn people), and thought we’d pick your brains. My colleague John Magrath has written this guest blog as an opener, and I’ll run a few posts on energy-related issues over the next few days. Over to John: As an NGO we’ve never done much work in the field. …

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Successful Green Industrial Policy – Brazilian biofuels

admin - May 11, 2010

The highly polarized debate on the role of industrial policy in development is dominated by discussions of the East Asian tigers, so good to see a discussion from another continent on what makes for successful state intervention – Brazil and biofuels. Here’s the highlights from a recent article by Tarun Khanna of the Harvard Business School and Santiago Mingo of the University of Miami School …

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A good new update on land grabs

admin - August 12, 2009

Two very good summaries of the state of play on the spate of ‘land grabs’ which came to prominence last year with Daewoo’s attempts to acquire half of Madagascar (for free) on a 99 year lease (see previous overview and Daewoo blogs ). A July paper from the International Land Coalition argues that the problem goes beyond food: ‘not only food, but also fuel, fibre, …

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What's different about the current spate of land grabs in poor countries?

admin - May 27, 2009

This week’s Economist has an excellent overview of the issues surrounding what it calls ‘outsourcing’s third wave’ (the first two were manufacturing and services) – deals in which foreign investors are buying up huge tracts of land in poor countries to produce food to ship back home (see map). Some highlights: Saudi investors are spending $100m to lease land from the Ethiopian government to produce wheat, …

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