Tag: agriculture

GROW: Oxfam’s new Global Campaign

As promised, here’s the outline of the new 4 year Oxfam mega-campaign, GROW. The website is here, with the launch report ‘Growing a Better Future’ and lots of background papers and case studies. The point of departure for Grow is that the survival and flourishing of humanity in this century will be determined by its […]

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What would it take for Tanzanian farmers' kids to stay on the land? Some views from women farmers

Bumba village in Tanzania’s deprived Shinyanga region is green, but not green enough, considering we are just at the end of what was supposed to be the rainy season. The maize is already withering on many of the small farms. But Thelezia Salula’s fields are looking pretty good – neatly planted rice paddy bending under […]

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Helping farmers see their climate future: The Two Degrees Up project

How do you help farmers prepare for climate change? Current climate models, while improving, are still too general and full of caveats and uncertainties to give exact farm-by-farm predictions on temperature, rainfall etc. But if you’re a farmer, you need to think ahead, for example, when deciding whether to plant crops like coffee, which can […]

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Small farmers in development: a great new overview

I’ve known Sophia Murphy of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy for over a decade, since we worked together on the launch of the (still uncompleted) Doha Trade Round, and I’m a big fan. She has consistently been one of the most thoughtful and nuanced commentators on agricultural in general and the role of […]

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The new Future of Food and Farming Report: excellent diagnosis; patchy cure; no power and politics

I attended the launch at the UK Treasury this week of The Future of Food and Farming: Challenges and Choices for Global Sustainability. It’s a high level UK government report from some top scientists, and should have significant influence over the next few years on much of the terrain Oxfam will be exploring in its […]

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State of the World report 2011 – innovation but no politics

Yesterday the WorldWatch Institute launched its new State of the World 2011 report, (or at least the overview chapter, which is the only one I can find online – if people can point to an online downloadable version, please help me out here). The overall report website’s here, but as a confirmed techno-neanderthal, I found […]

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How fertiliser subsidies have transformed Malawi

Max Lawson is Head of Development Finance and Public Services for Oxfam GB When I lived in Malawi in 2002, the outlook was bleak. The received wisdom was that Malawi had a structural food deficit and for the foreseeable future would face periodic famines and chronic food insecurity. Our humanitarian department was thinking of setting […]

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Some good news from Africa: Burkina Faso's farming miracle

Just been reading ‘Helping Africa to Feed Itself: Promoting Agriculture to Reduce Poverty and Hunger’, a paper by Steve Wiggins and Henri Leturque, both of the ODI. It’s a brilliant and to my mind, very fair overview, with one of its main messages being that regional generalizations about Africa are usually misleading – some subregions […]

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Agriculture is key to development – why I (partly) disagree with Owen Barder

It was World Food Day on Saturday, in case you missed it, and Owen Barder had a typically thought-provoking reflection on the links between agriculture and development. He starts off by quoting Amartya Sen’s words from 30 years ago, “Starvation is the characteristic of some people not having enough food to eat. It is not the characteristic […]

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Is food the new oil? Fertiliser wars and Brazil as food superpower

In the Financial Times, Javier Blas gives us the back-story to the attempt by the world’s largest mining company, BHP Billiton, to buy its largest fertiliser company, PotashCorp. Suddenly fertiliser is big business: in the first eight months of the year, deals valued at $61bn have been announced by companies in the industry, a high that […]

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What are African countries already doing to adapt to climate change?

While climate change negotiators seem to be wading through metaphorical cement, national governments have no choice but to get on with adapting to current and future climate change, as far as they are able. A recent review of 10 African countries’ adaptation plans by IFPRI shows some patterns to the response. (The countries were Burundi, […]

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What future for peasant communities in the North? A holiday report

Back from a week’s holiday and a ‘South in the North’ experience attending a wedding in Lewis in the Outer Hebrides (go to the top of Scotland, and turn left). My father-in-law comes from there, and his family still run a croft – a smallholding with a few sheep and cattle in one of Britain’s […]

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