Are China and Brazil transforming African agriculture?

A new Open Access Special Issue in World Development based on our work on the changing role of China and Brazil in Africa’s agriculture is now available (links to individual articles are below, and also via here).

India’s seed sector is flourishing. Could African farmers benefit?

Africa’s farmers need quality seeds but the seed sector in Africa has often struggled to meet this need. The continent’s share in the global seed trade is very low, seed markets often aren’t supported, and the supply of quality seeds and improved crop varieties is weak. Poor seed supply threatens agriculture’s ability to play its…

Telling stories about scarcity

‘Scarcity’ is a key term in debates about the global rush for land and other resources. A new Future Agricultures working paper, co-authored by STEPS director Ian Scoones, looks at different narratives of scarcity related to the future of food and farming in Africa and globally, and finds that political questions – about distribution, needs,…

How was a ‘policy space’ created for pastoralism in Kenya?

Pastoralism in Kenya has long been neglected and understood. Pastoralists have been seen by some as vulnerable, a source of conflict and a drain on the country’s resources. But recent developments have begun to change that narrative. A new government Ministry, the Ministry of Development of Northern Kenya and other Arid Lands, was formed in…

IDS Bulletin: China and Brazil in African Agriculture

New research published by the Institute of Development Studies, and jointly edited by STEPS co-director Ian Scoones, reveals the realities of how the BRICS and Africa are engaging in agricultural development cooperation. The questions of how Africa can feed itself, and how the agricultural sector can be a more effective engine for growth and development,…

How can the G8 solve hunger?

By Ian Scoones. Next weekend the leaders of the G8 gather in Northern Ireland for  their annual summit. This year it’s hosted by the UK, and Prime Minister  David Cameron has been highlighting hunger and malnutrition as a major  priority, together with the Enough Food for Everyone If…campaign. Top issues are transparency around tax and…

Contested agronomy: low-level evidence, high-level claims

Demonstrating ‘impact’ has become a strong imperative for those involved in agricultural research. But this pressure has led to some large-scale claims for techniques that have only been tested at farm level. Techniques like Conservation Agriculture (CA) and the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), for example, have shown much promise in experimental trails. But is…

Ghana: take 70,900 metric tons of frozen chicken, add politics

A billboard advertising chicken in Accra, Ghana. By alew on Flickr By Jim Sumberg and John Thompson Convenors, STEPS Centre Livestock project The well known expression – that [something] is ‘as likely as turkeys voting for Christmas’ – makes an intriguing and to date poorly understood link between poultry and electoral politics. But in some…

GLOBAL LAND GRABBING II

See videos, photos, blogs and more from the second international conference on ‘Global Land Grabbing’. The STEPS Centre also has a range of useful resources on land, green and water grabs. Organised by the Land Deal Politics Initiative (LDPI) and the Cornell Department of Development Sociology, two of the STEPS Centre’s directors – Melissa Leach and Ian Scoones – presented…

Video: Pastoralism in Africa – doing things differently

Our new book Pastoralism and Development in Africa explores the booming livestock trade in the Horn of Africa, a region more often associated with conflict and famine. In this video, two of the authors – Hussein Mahmoud and John Letai – and two editors – Ian Scoones and Jeremy Lind – give their views on…