Contested Agronomy: more heat than light?

by Jim Sumberg, John Thompson, Ken Giller and Jens Andersson Agriculture, and the agronomic research that supports it, will be critical in making sustainable, equitable and secure development a reality. Surprisingly however, there seems to be increasing contestation around the priorities and methods used by agronomists, and the technologies that they develop and promote. Why…

Video: Dominic Glover on agricultural biotech and smallholder farmers

STEPS member Dominic Glover spoke yesterday at the FAO’s International Symposium on “The Role of Agricultural Biotechnologies in Sustainable Food Systems and Nutrition”. Dominic’s presentation focused on the need to ensure that agricultural biotechnology policies benefit smallholders. You can watch his presentation on the FAO website (skip to 2 hours and 7 minutes in).

From Dragon Heads to Farm Drops, Chinese agriculture has many faces

In Beijing last week, STEPS member Adrian Ely hosted a roundtable with social enterprises, NGOs and firms involved in food and agriculture to discuss the findings of the Low Carbon Innovation in China: Prospects, Politics and Practice project. Based on fieldwork by Sam Geall (SPRU), and support from Yiching Song (Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy,…

Africa’s land rush

There is a rush on for African farmland – a phenomenon unmatched since colonial times. Africa’s land rush, and the implications for rural livelihoods and agrarian change, is the subject of a new book that I have edited together with Ruth Hall (from PLAAS at UWC, South Africa) and Dzodzi Tsikata (ISSER, University of Ghana at Legon)….

How can African agriculture adapt to an uncertain climate? 

 By Stephen Whitfield, Lecturer: Climate Change & Food Security, University of Leeds  Often operating at the margins of sustainability, for smallholder farming systems in Africa the challenge of adapting to uncertain climatic change is particularly acute. Across international research and development programmes, a variety of technologies, agronomic innovations, and cropping systems are advocated as the means to a green revolution; a future…

New book: Sustainable Livelihoods and Rural Development

Livelihoods are a vital lens on rural development, but should be examined in the context of wider questions of political economy. A new book by STEPS director Ian Scoones looks at the relationships between livelihoods and sustainability, and proposes four elements of a new politics of livelihoods: interests, individuals, knowledge and ecology. Sustainable Livelihoods and…

Has the ‘impact agenda’ helped agronomy – or harmed it?

Every agronomist or agricultural research institute with an interest in international development, and who has applied for a research grant in the last 15 years, will have had to develop and justify a theory of change, and identify outcomes, anticipated impacts, measurable indicators and impact pathways. These tasks have become an obligatory part of agricultural…

Greening Agrarian Studies

In honor of this year’s Earth Day, The Journal of Peasant Studies (JPS) is delighted to offer readers free access to a special virtual issue entitled ‘Greening Agrarian Studies’. “As the title suggests, this collection brings together 40 articles on various environmental themes that speak to critical agrarian studies,” said  Saturnino (‘Jun’) M. Borras Jr,…