Topic: food and agriculture

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

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 […]

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Why is Coca-Cola championing land rights at the UN?

I usually try and minimize Oxfam’s excessive tendency for trumpet-blowing, but this one from Oxfam America’s private sector czar, Chris Jochnick (@cjochnick), looks worth it – some real progress in working on land rights with the epitome of consumer capitalism This week at the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS), Coca Cola publicly declared that […]

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Top new African Progress Report focusses on farms, fisheries and finance

The Africa Progress Panel (a group of the great and good, chaired by Kofi Annan) launches its 2014 Africa Progress Report today. It’s an excellent, and very nicely written (heartfelt thanks) overview of some key areas: agriculture, fisheries and finance. Some highlights: ‘For more than a decade, Africa’s economies have been doing well, according to […]

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Is advocacy only feasible in formal democracies? Lessons from 6 multi-stakeholder initiatives in Vietnam

Andrew Wells-Dang (right) and Pham Quang Tu (left) on how multi-stakeholder initiatives can flourish even in relatively closed political systems such as Vietnam How can NGOs be effective advocates in restrictive political settings? Global comparative research (such as this study by CIVICUS on ‘enabling environments’) often concludes that at least a modest degree of formal […]

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

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 […]

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Why the system for managing the world’s food and climate needs to be more like my car

Today, Oxfam is publishing a briefing on its ‘food and climate justice’ campaign. Here’s a post I wrote for the launch. When I get into my car in London, I step into a system designed to get me safely from A to B. It has seat belts, airbags, and an increasing number of electronic warning devices. […]

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Killer factcheck: ‘Women own 2% of land’ = not true. What do we really know about women and land?

Cheryl Doss, a feminist economist at Yale University argues that (as with ‘70% of the world’s poor are women‘ ) we need to stop using the unfounded ‘women own 2% of the world’s farmland’ stat, and start using some of the real numbers that are emerging (while also demanding much better gender data). For advocates, […]

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What can would-be African lions learn from the Asian tigers? It’s all about how urban elites see farmers, according to ODI.

I am both inspired and alarmed by the work coming out of ODI on ‘Developmental Regimes in Africa’. In previous posts, I’ve moaned at some length about its political infatuation with Mussolini style ‘big men’ who get stuff done. But today, it’s time for a happy face. Sources of developmental ambition in Southeast Asia and […]

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Fairtrade: celebrating the first 20 years. What’s next?

Rachel Wilshaw, Oxfam’s Ethical Trade Manager looks back on the astonishing 20 year rise of Fairtrade. The Fairtrade Foundation launched its first products – coffee, chocolate and tea – 20 years ago. As one of the Oxfam types who sat around in the late 80s debating whether UK supermarkets would ever stock ‘alternative trade’ products, this […]

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What Makes Big Corporations Decide to Get on the Right Side of History?

For the past year, Oxfam’s Erinch Sahan (right) has been working on the ‘Behind the Brands’ campaign. Here he reflects on some successes and lessons from his time in the advocacy trenches. On 19 May 1997, the CEO of BP, John Browne, made a speech at Stanford University. Browne: “We must now focus on what can […]

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What do we know about food riots and their link to food rights? Some interesting new findings from IDS

Went off to a rain-drenched Institute of Development Studies last week for one of those great workshops where a group of country researchers come together with case studies on a similar issue and then swap ideas on what general conclusions are emerging. The topic was the rash of food riots that struck 30+ countries in […]

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Voices of the Hungry; killer indicators, and how to measure the social determinants of health. New thinking on measurement with Gallup Inc.

About once a year, I head off for the plush, Thames-side offices of Gallup Inc, for a fascinating update on what they’re up to on development-related topics. In terms of measurement, they often seem way ahead of the aid people, for example, developing a rigorous annual measurement of well-being across 147 countries. Not quite sure why […]

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