Topic: food and agriculture

Bad Governance leads to bad land deals – the link between politics and land grabs

Ricardo Fuentes-Nieva (right) and Marloes Nicholls (left) crunch the numbers to find that big land investments sniff out countries with ‘weak governance’ – aka no accountability, no regulation, no rule of law, and a green light for corruption. If you had bags full of money and wanted to buy land, where would you go for […]

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‘Technology Justice’ – what does it mean for how NGOs think about new and old tech in development? And would you like a job working on it?

I had an interesting exchange with Practical Action’s policy director, Astrid Walker Bourne (right) recently, about one of my (many) hobby horses – technology and its absence from the NGO agenda. Practical Action is trying to fill the gap with a work programme on ‘technology justice’, but a failed recruitment has got her thinking about […]

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Has Zimbabwe’s land reform actually been a success? A new book says yes.

I’ve never been to Zimbabwe, so tend to get my messages from the news coverage. On land issues, that means a picture of a predatory state driving white farmers off the land and handing it out to cronies and bogus war veterans, who fail to produce anything much in the way of crops. Zimbabwe Takes […]

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Launch of ‘If’ – new megacampaign to tackle global hunger: how does it compare with ‘Make Poverty History’?

Sorry for a second post in one day, but the launch of If is a biggie Ah the perils of age – am I becoming one of those annoying old guys who greets every new idea (however excellent) with a weary sigh and ‘we already did/discussed all that back in the 19XXs’? I ask because […]

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‘Resource Futures’: good new report on how to confront resource scarcity and conflict

Looks like this is going to be crystal ball week on the blog – must be the time of year. Just read Resource Futures from Chatham House (inventors of the ubiquitous Chatham House Rule). The analysis is pretty good, but it really raises the bar on communication, with great interactive infographics and killer facts. Advocacy […]

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Global Trends 2030: top report from US intelligence

My inbox regularly receives the latest ‘global trends 20XX’ reports from thinktanks and futurologists, and a lot of them are pretty bland, and the scenarios they describe threadbare and unconvincing. The new ‘Global Trends 2030’ report from the US National Intelligence Council shares the usual flaws on its scenarios, and is understandably US-centric (the NIC […]

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What’s New in Development? Introducing the Second Edition of ‘From Poverty to Power’

Here’s what the new edition of FP2P adds to the first (in case you want to save yourselves a few quid). This was recently published by the UN University as part of its ‘WIDER Angle’ series Updating a book on contemporary events can be unnerving. In the intervening years, events and new thinking combine to […]

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Does agriculture have a future? Sonali Bisht wraps up Oxfam’s online debate

For the past two weeks, Oxfam has been hosting an online forum on the future of agriculture with a great range of viewpoints from every corner of the globe. Today is the last blogging day before the Christmas break (see you in 2013, everyone), so I’m handing over to Sonali Bisht, founder of INHERE, India, […]

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Natural Disasters and Humanitarian Crises in 2012: how did we do?

Ed Cairns, an Oxfam senior policy adviser, looks back on a very mixed year in the response to humanitarian crises. You might not have noticed it from the headlines, but this year Oxfam has responded to more crises than ever before. Not megadisasters like Haiti’s earthquake in 2010, but the daily struggle for survival that […]

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Calling all Euro/Aid sceptics – here’s some top quality aid from the EU

Oxfam programme researcher John Magrath (he’s the one on the left in the pic) has been looking at some European aid, and is impressed with what he found European Aid gets a lousy press. If you’re a reader of the UK’s Daily Mail (and nearly 2 million Brits are) then you’ll be used to headlines […]

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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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