Topic: food and agriculture

If we can’t prove that speculation drives food prices, should we regulate it anyway?

One of my more wonk-mind-blowing moments last year was refereeing a debate about financial speculation and commodity prices between Oxfam’s Rob Nash and a UK Treasury wonk who wished to remain nameless. I couldn’t understand either of them (even by international development standards, the language is really weird – try ‘contango’ or ‘backwardation’).  I tried […]

Read More »

Beyond Horsegate: comparing the supply chains of the big 10 food companies

Erinch Sahan (right), a private sector policy advisor at Oxfam GB, introduces Behind the Brands, a big new report and company scorecard, launched today. So we didn’t know we were eating horses. What else don’t we know about the supply chains delivering our food? 18 months ago, Oxfam posed this question to the Big 10: […]

Read More »

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 […]

Read More »

‘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 […]

Read More »

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 […]

Read More »

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 […]

Read More »

‘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 […]

Read More »

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 […]

Read More »

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 […]

Read More »

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, […]

Read More »

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 […]

Read More »

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 […]

Read More »