Contested Agronomy: Imagining different futures for food and farmers

The question of how to improve farming to feed and sustain people in developing countries is as important as ever, and there are no easy solutions. One route to finding answers is through the science of agronomy – testing and evaluating how crops and farming techniques perform under different conditions. But, as with any science,…

Missing politics and food sovereignty

Over the last two decades La Via Campesina has grown as a movement campaigning for a change in the global agri-food system. Some claim that it is the world’s largest social movement. Its main rallying cry has been a demand for ‘food sovereignty’, a term, as Marc Edelman notes, that has a longer genealogy but…

STEPS Symposium 2013: Science and developing countries – whose expertise counts?

Dipak Gyawali at the symposium. Photo: Lance Bellers Guest blog by Rachael Taylor, PhD student, SPRU The second session of the STEPS Symposium on the global politics of scientific advice asked ‘whose expertise counts?’ In his opening comments, Professor Brian Wynne (University of Lancaster) turned this question around by asking “whose questions count?” He described…

EVERYONE’S A WINNER (EXCEPT IF YOU’RE NOT…)

Photo: Jatropha curcas – the biofuel plant from tonrulkens’ photostream on Flickr Our director Melissa Leach is giving the first Annual Piers Blaikie Lecture on Environmental Politics at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in July. She’ll be speaking on ‘Green wins or green grabs? Contested pathways to sustainability in Africa’. In our environmentally-anxious age,…

ERIK MILLSTONE ON FOOD SECURITY IN THE SUNDAY TIMES

Two days ago the Sunday Times carried a briefing on “Environment, Sustainability and the Food Supply Challenge”. The supplement includes an interview with Erik Millstone, STEPS Centre Food and Agriculture Co-convenor, on food security. “Poor farmers should not be thought as entrepreneurs looking for risky investments. They are householders looking to diminish their risk.” Read…

RURAL REFORM IN CHINA: SETTING FARMERS FREE?

By JULIA DAY, STEPS Centre member On the day that the UK has nationalised some of its biggest banking institutions, China has announced bold new proposals to free up the way 700 million peasants can use state-owned land. The plans, announced by the Communist Party yesterday via the Xinhua news agency, could allow farmers to…

UN FOOD SUMMIT: WHOSE VISION FOR THE FUTURE?

By JULIA DAY, STEPS Centre member The UN World Food Summit opened in Rome today, aiming to address the soaring food costs which have sparked riots in Egypt, Cameroon, Cote d‘Ivoire, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Madagascar. The press are filing plenty of copy on the issue (and not just about Mugabe’s prescence in the Italian…

Rethinking regulation in China: decisions facing farmers

By ADRIAN ELY, STEPS Centre member See more photos from this project on our Flickr site The oilseed flowering season is almost over in central China, and cotton planting has started. Farmers first grow seedlings in nursery patches on the sides of their fields, before transplanting to a larger area after oilseed has been harvested….

ON VIDEO: FARMER FIRST REVISITED

At the Farmer First Revisited workshop last week we made videos of some participants talking about thier involvement in farmer participation in agricultural research. Watch Robert Chambers, Paul Van Mele, Lucy Mwangi, David Howlett, Yunita Winarto and others speaking to Susanna Thorp of WRENmedia, publisher of the New Agriculturalist, with video by Gary Edwards.