Topic: food and agriculture

Desertification is a dangerous Myth – A new book explains why

Oxfam researcher John Magrath reviews an explosive new book I started off life as a newspaper journalist so I appreciate the power of a good story. And that’s what the concept of desertification provides. Since the great Sahelian droughts of the 1970s and 1980s, we’ve become familiar with the idea that humans cause environmental desiccation […]

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Will Bill Gates’ chickens end African poverty?

  Joseph Hanlon and Teresa Smart are unimpressed by a new initiative, but disappointingly avoid all the potential excruciating puns Bill Gates announced on 7 June that he is giving 100,000 chickens to the poor because chickens are “easy to take care of” and a woman with just five hens in Africa can make $1000 […]

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How can campaigners influence the private sector? 4 lessons from the Behind the Brands campaign on Big Food

Oxfam private sector researcher/evaluation adviser Uwe Gneiting reflects on 3 years of a campaign to change thebehavior of Big Food Last month we marked the third anniversary of the Oxfam’s Behind the Brands campaign with a new briefing paper that included an updated scorecard of the world’s ten largest food and beverage companies’ sustainability policies. […]

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Tikamgarh revisited, what’s happened to the amazing fishing communities I visited in 2006?

Just got back from a great week in India, including my first attempt at a phone vlog (above). One of the drawbacks of being a generalist is that you go somewhere, hear riveting stories of organization, resistance (and sometimes of course, of failure), but then never find out what happened next. But last week I managed […]

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

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 […]

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Some fascinating new research on how food prices affect people’s lives and politics

One of the projects I was proudest of getting off the ground while in (nominal) charge of Oxfam’s research team was ‘Life in a Time of Food Price Volatility’, a four year study of the impact of the chaotic food prices of recent years on the lives of poor people and communities in rural and […]

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5 times bigger than aid: important new research on drugs as a (missing) development issue

A couple of years ago I reported on an excellent meeting at Christian Aid on drugs as a development issue. They have continued that work and today published an important new paper by Eric Gutierrez, ‘Drugs and Illicit Practices: assessing their impact on development and governance’. The paper argues that the illicit drug trade is […]

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Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities use 65% of the World’s land; how much do they actually own?

Andy White, the Coordinator of the Rights and Research Initiative (RRI) introduces a new report. A new, unprecedented legal analysis has revealed that despite using and inhabiting up to 65% of the world’s land, Indigenous Peoples and local communities—a population of about 1.5 billion—possess legal rights to barely 18%. That’s a huge gap. And it’s […]

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Unilever opens a can of worms on corporate human rights reporting

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 […]

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

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 […]

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

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, […]

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

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 […]

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