Topic: food and agriculture

Are global value chains really the right answer for small farmers? Great new study from IIED and HIVOS

If you’re interested in livelihoods, value chains, or agriculture, you absolutely have to read a great new paper from IIED and HIVOS.Small producer agency in the globalised market, by Bill Vorley, Ethel del Pozo-Bergnes and Anna Barnett, does for our thinking on livelihoods what the Africa Power and Politics Programme does for governance, or Portfolios […]

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How we saved agriculture, fed the world and ended rural poverty: looking back from 2050

As Oxfam’s two week online debate on the future of agriculture gets under way, John Ambler of Oxfam America imagines how it could all turn out right in the end It is now 2050.  Globally, we are 9 billion strong.  Only 20% of us are directly involved in agriculture, and poor country economies have diversified.  […]

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Why the World Bank is wrong (so far) on large land deals

You’re getting a lot of guest posts this week, not least because I’m in India – expect a spate of India posts next week. Here’s Hannah Stoddart, Oxfam’s Head of Economic Justice Policy, responding to the World Bank’s response to Oxfam’s call for a freeze on large land deals. Oxfam’s land grabs campaign, launched on […]

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What’s up (or down) with global hunger?

Guest post from Oxfam Research Policy Adviser Richard King (right) Today the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is celebrating World Food Day, and is playing host to the latest Committee on World Food Security meeting. Last week, to warm things up, the FAO, World Food Programme, and International Fund for Agricultural Development launched their […]

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Why the World Bank should declare a freeze on big land deals

‘Buy land. They’re not making it any more.’ Around the world, a lot of investors are taking Mark Twain’s advice to heart, and the resulting land rush is doing an awful lot of damage. A hard-hitting, killer fact-tastic Oxfam briefing written by my colleague Kate Geary published today summarizes the stats (as far as we […]

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In the Philippines: does Oxfam's livelihoods work go beyond trad income generation?

Last week I visited Oxfam’s Philippines programme. Such trips follow a pretty standard format – our national staff and relevant partners whisk me through a series of site visits and conversations with farmers, civil society organizations, local government officials and anyone else who’ll talk to you. For a few days, I’m engrossed, wrestling on multiple […]

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Why don't Africa's politicians invest more in small farmers? The political economy of ag policy.

Interesting if rather impenetrable new(ish) paper from the Future Agricultures consortium on the political economy of Africanagricultural policy. It seeks to answer an important question – why hasn’t the spread of democracy produced more investment in the smallholder farmers that form the majority of the electorate in many countries? Here’s the summary: “Theories of policy neglect […]

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The Hunger Grains: new research shows EU biofuel policies drive food prices and land grabs

Oxfam economic policy adviser Ruth Kelly (right) unveils her new paper, published today, on a really simple, bad policy that rich countries can fix – biofuels. The past five years have seen two record spikes in the price of food; and prices are rising again, with corn and soy hitting record highs in summer 2012. […]

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Prices that bounce – Naomi Hossain on the human face of the food crisis

Oxfam and IDS are starting work on Life in a Time of Food Price Volatility, a 4 year project combining qualitative and quantitative methods to track the human impact in communities in 10 countries, building on the methodology behind our 2011 report, Living on a Spike. Richard King at Oxfam and Naomi Hossain at IDS […]

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Paradigms, lock-ins and liberations: Robert Chambers on rice and shit

 Following my review of his new book, and Robert’s thoughts on immersion programmes (which generated some great comments), here is a third and final piece from Provocations for Development A lock-in is a paradigmatic syndrome in which there is strong mutually-supporting inflexibility. Let us examine two examples of paradigmatic lock-ins which have been comprehensively turned […]

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Extreme weather, extreme prices: what will more erratic weather do to food prices?

Oxfam Climate Change Policy Adviser Tracy Carty summarizes her new paper, published today With greenhouse gas emissions at an all time high, and the world lurching towards a third food price spike in four years following the worst US drought since the 1950s, there is an alarming gap in our knowledge – how will an […]

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Cereal Secrets: Lifting the lid on the World's big 4 grain traders

Campaigners and journalists love a brand – targeting Nike, Walmart, (maybe even Oxfam) virtually guarantees you a bigger audience. Unfortunately, that means brand-less companies can get away with murder (hopefully just a figure of speech). Cereal Secrets, a new research report for Oxfam by Sophia Murphy, David Burch and Jennifer Clapp, lifts the lid on […]

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