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Robin Bourgeois at GFAR Webinar ‘Beyond decision making: Foresight as a process for improving attitude towards change’, 27.06.2018

GovInn’s Senior Researcher Robin Bourgeois participated in the GFAR Webinar ‘Beyond decision making: Foresight as a process for improving attitude towards change’.

As part of its series of webinars, GFAR Secretariat is bringing together foresight practitioners and others interested in foresight for agriculture and rural development. They will engage on the role of foresight in proactive and participatory decision making, and in improving attitudes towards change in order to realize effective agriculture and rural development programmes.

 

 

Link to Robin’s presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tnv7epRFNbs&feature=youtu.be

Link to the overall webinar broadcast: https://www.slideshare.net/gcard/beyond-decision-making-foresight-as-a-process-for-improving-attitude-towards-change

General information about the webinar:  https://blog.gfar.net/2017/06/07/gfar-webinar-beyond-decision-making-foresight-as-a-process-for-improving-attitude-towards-change/

‘The State of Foresight in Food and Agriculture: Challenges for Impact and Participation’ by Robin Bourgeois

GovInn’s Senior Researcher Robin Bourgeois published together with Cristina Sette the article ‘The State of Foresight in Food and Agriculture: Challenges for Impact and Participation‘ in the journal Futures.

Actionable foresight for food and agriculture faces the double challenge of including, and impacting on multiple stakeholders. We present here a state of the art of participation, stakeholder inclusion and impact of 38 recent foresight studies on food and agriculture. All cases were selected through a worldwide survey in seven languages, a bibliography and multi-lingual web review, and a review by a group of foresight experts. Our results indicate that global foresight studies are led by experts or scientists from international organizations or national organizations from advanced countries, with rather limited participation of stakeholders, while more local studies are more inclusive and directly linked to policy making. Leadership in foresight by least developed countries’, farmers’ or civil society’s organizations is marginal. While there is more than anecdotic evidence of the impact of these foresight works, this is rarely documented. The paper combines literature review and case study to provide evidence on the links between stakeholder inclusion and impact and presents the Global Foresight Hub, an innovative initiative at global level for strengthening participation, inclusion and impact of foresight in food and agriculture.

Read the full article here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S001632871630221X

Participants of the conference "ONE World No Hunger" hand over the "Berlin Charter" to Minister Muller.

The Berlin Charter on “Creating opportunities for the young generation in the rural world”

Bruno Losch, GovInn’s co-director, participated in the International Conference on The Future of the Rural World (Berlin, April 27-28) organized within the framework of the German G20 Presidency.

Bruno Losch was part of the International Advisory Committee in charge of drafting the Berlin Charter: “Creating opportunities for the young generation in the rural world“. The Charter was discussed through an open web based dialogue, amended, and then submitted to the Conference. Participants worked in six parallel thematic Charter Fora which provided final revisions. Bruno Losch was the advocate of the Charter Fora session on Entrepreneurship, jobs and skills. His testimony was shared along with the other advocates – including University of Pretoria’s Sheryl Hendricks – in a video presented to the audience.

The Charter was then approved by the Conference (the final version is here) and handed over to Dr. Gerd Müller, German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The Charter calls on all stakeholders – national governments, development partners and finance institutions, the private sector, civil society and youth  – for transformative change and to commit to significant, quantified and time-bound targets in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It particularly addresses the situation of people suffering hunger and undernutrition and the need for concerted political and humanitarian actions to immediately end the current food crises situations in Africa.

The Charter focuses on the critical importance of access to innovative education and training as well as information and communication technologies (ICTs) for youth and young entrepreneurs. It reminds the role of infrastructure and services in rural areas and the necessary change of perspective about the potential of rural areas in school, politics and the media. As highlighted by Losch, an important result of the Berlin Charter is that “it puts upfront the need to reinvest and invest in development strategies. We need to understand the processes underway in order to engage in better policy making”.

Bruno Losch also particpated in a parallel panel session titled “Decent Jobs for Youth in the Rural Economy” organized by FAO and ILO. More information can be found on the International Labour Organisation website.

For more information of the initiative, visit the website for the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the website of the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Food Security.

 

What Future for Rural Areas? Seven plausible rural transformations

GovInn’s Researcher Robin Bourgeois published the article “What Future for Rural Areas? Seven plausible rural transformations”  in the journal Development.

The future of rural areas is unpredictable, but it can be explored. This article draws from selected Futures Studies to identify global trends and discontinuities in these trends that could affect rural areas in contrasting ways. These drivers are combined to explore plausible rural transformations, focusing on two major dimensions. One is rooted in societal values and worldviews about the rural world. The other is rooted in consumers’ preferences and how they link to production systems. As a result, seven plausible transformations are identified and discussed. Some of them are already happening, others are in an embryonic stage in various places. Some are desirable, others are not. They call for societal choices and immediate action if the future of rural areas is to be the future we want for them.

Nepad Atlas

Dr Bruno Losch on China Global Television Network

Bruno Losch, lead political economist at CIRAD and co-director of GovInn, based in Govinn’s Cape Town office at the University of the Western Cape, was host of Africa Live broadcasted by the China Global Television Network (CGTN).

In the video he discusses the recent NEPAD atlas on the emerging new rural Africa he coordinated last year and which was presented at the last AU Summit of the Heads of State in Addis Ababa. In this interview he insists on the importance of reshaping over-segmented public policies towards territorial approaches and local development.

 

You can watch the full video below.

Africa remains a target as Global South ‘land rush’ moves to production

“Africa remains a target as Global South ‘land rush’ moves to production” The Conversation, 11.10.2016

This article was originally published on The Conversation

Now, almost ten years have after the term “land grabbing” first entered the popular imagination, large-scale land acquisitions remain shrouded in secrecy.

The Land Matrix Initiative aims to shine some light in the deals by providing open access to information on intended, concluded, and failed land acquisitions that have taken place since the year 2000. Over recent years, both the quality and the quantity of the data have improved considerably.

This led us to take a fresh look at the current trends in international large-scale land acquisitions.

The start of production

The Land Matrix records more than 1,000 deals covering 26.7 million hectares of contracted land, equal to about 2% of the arable land on Earth.

Most of these deals cultivate pure food crops, and crops that have multiple uses, such as oil seeds. Palm oil is the single most important crop driving large-scale land acquisitions.

Palm oil production in Côte d’Ivoire. Thierry Gouegnon/Reuters

One of the most striking things we found about land deals is their increasing rate of implementation. While speculation was discussed as one of the main drivers of the “rush for land” in earlier years, our data indicates that about 70% of the deals have now started activities on the ground.

Compared to previous figures published in 2012, the number of operational projects has almost doubled. For most deals, it takes less than three years to enter the production phase.

Development of size under contract and size under operation. Authors’ calculation based on the Land Matrix data, April 2016, Author provided

For a subset of deals – 330 out of 1000 – we are familiar with the area under production. This means we are able to look into the implementation of these deals over recent years.

The chart above shows that while the area under contract increased rapidly since 2004, (red bars), the area under production has only increased since 2011 (blue bars). Today, about 55% of the contracted area is under production.

Africa remains a target

Africa remains the most important target area of land acquisitions, with deals concluded in many countries across the continent.

Africa accounts for 42% of the deals, and 10 million hectares of land. Land acquisitions are concentrated along important rivers such as the Niger and the Senegal rivers, and in East Africa.

The second most important region is Eastern Europe, mostly due to the large average size of land per deal: 96 deals covering 5.1 million hectares of concluded deals. One single deal in Ukraine by the company UkrLandFarming covers an area of 654,000 hectares alone.

Another emerging trend is that investors from the Global South have gained in importance. Malaysia is now the leading investor country, with Singapore at number four (the USA and UK are second and third). Global South investors show a strong preference for investment in their own region.

Most investors are still based in Western Europe, and their interests in 315 concluded deals cover nearly 7.3 million hectares. Private sector investors account for more than 70% of the concluded deals. So we know that governments are not the main driver of large-scale land acquisitions.

But investors are part of complex chains, which often include state-owned entities. This means the indirect impact of governments through these entities, and also through policy and trade agreements, is likely bigger than what we can see in the data.

Increased competition

We find that land acquisitions take place in relatively highly populated areas, dominated by existing croplands. About one-third of the area acquired was formerly used for smallholder agriculture – implying an increasing competition over land use between investors and local communities.

We will only see the full impact of the deals in years to come. Positive impacts of large-scale land acquisitions generally include more local jobs and better access to infrastructure. On the negative side, loss of access to land and natural resources, increased conflict over livelihoods and greater inequality are frequent issues.

Given their increasing rate of implementation, the topic of land acquisitions remains hugely important, with many deals entering the production stages for the first time. The fact that land deals often target areas that have been used before hints at considerable socioeconomic and environmental implications for the target regions. And the more we know about these deals, the better we can understand how they will affect local people.

 

The South African Land Observatory

Land governance and access to information

GovInn welcomes the opening of the South African Land Observatory (SALO), an initiative that promotes  evidence-based and inclusive decision-making over land resources in South Africa.

SALO offers people and organisations an accessible, open-data and open-source online hub for informed debate and interaction. The initiative makes user-friendly land-based information available to all stakeholders with the aim of creating an informed land community in South Africa, through facilitating access to data, information and networking. It is a one-stop help desk for the land community to debate the pressing questions of land ownership and land use in South Africa.

The platform, as it is seen now, is only a starting point. The website is participatory, populated through crowd-sourcing information for accuracy and updating by relevant stakeholder participants. We invite you to join the land community for debates, information exchange and networking for a participatory governance of land: Contribute here!

A pro-active process to introduce SALO to land stakeholders in South Africa and to engage with them in developing the land community will follow shortly.

SALO is supported by the Flemish Cooperation and hosted by the University of Pretoria, through the Postgraduate School of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation, and the Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development. A small dedicated team of researchers, data and communication specialists created it and keep it constantly updated. Learn more about the South African Land Observatory 

The quiet rise of medium-scale farmers in Malawi

The Quiet Rise of Medium-Scale Farms in Malawi

Ward Anseeuw and John Kotsopoulos, along with Thomas Jayne and Richard Kachule published a paper on Land Vol 5, No19

 

Abstract

Medium-scale farms have become a major force in Malawi’s agricultural sector. Malawi’s most recent official agricultural survey indicates that these account for over a quarter of all land under cultivation in Malawi. This study explores the causes and multifaceted consequences of the rising importance of medium-scale farms in Malawi. We identify the characteristics and pathways of entry into farming based on surveys of 300 medium-scale farmers undertaken in 2014 in the districts of Mchinji, Kasungu and Lilongwe. The area of land acquired by medium-scale farmers in these three districts is found to have almost doubled between 2000 and 2015. Just over half of the medium-scale farmers represent cases of successful expansion out of small-scale farming status; the other significant proportion of medium-scale farmers are found to be urban-based professionals, entrepreneurs and/or civil servants who acquired land, some very recently, and started farming in mid-life. We also find that a significant portion of the land acquired by medium-scale farmers was utilized by others prior to acquisition, that most of the acquired land was under customary tenure, and that the current owners were often successful in transferring the ownership structure of the acquired land to a long-term leaseholding with a title deed. The study finds that, instead of just strong endogenous growth of small-scale famers as a route for the emergence of medium-scale farms, significant farm consolidation is occurring through land acquisitions, often by urban-based people. The effects of farmland acquisitions by domestic investors on the country’s primary development goals, such as food security, poverty reduction and employment, are not yet clear, though some trends appear to be emerging. We consider future research questions that may more fully shed light on the implications of policies that would continue to promote land acquisitions by medium-scale farms.

The article, which belongs to the “Special Issue Changing Land Use, Changing Livelihoods” can be downloaded here

Note: This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

EU-ACP Rethinking Development Seminar ‘EU Agricultural Reforms, Trade Policy Initiatives and African Agro-Food Sector Development’, 20 June 2016

Govinn-NAS logo

The Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn) and
Postgraduate School of Agriculture and Rural Development invite you to a seminar on

“EU Agricultural Reforms, Trade Policy Initiatives
and African Agro-Food Sector Development”

By Dr Paul Goodison
(an expert on EU-ACP trade and development relations)

Date: Monday, 20 June 2016
Time: 12:00 – 14:00
Venue: GovInn Headquarters, Old College House, University of Pretoria Main Campus
(Hatfield)
RSVP essential: http://goo.gl/forms/x6UuK4UKSkCHvxM13 by 16 June 2016
Queries: thinah.moyo@up.ac.za

The seminar will focus on the Emerging Impact of EU Agricultural Reforms and Trade Policy Initiatives on Agro-Food Sector Development in Africa. In particular, focus will be on the impact of the EU reciprocal trade agreement on Southern African countries in the context of the on-going process of EU agricultural reforms. Factors that need to be taken into account in designing and implementing smallholder development programmes if smallholder farmers are not to be left in a perilous financial position (e.g. Swazi smallholder sugar producers in Swazi who have been brought into the sector in the past ten years). There is also a need to try and ease the disproportionate burden which falls on smallholder producers through a better design of certain measures.

Book: ‘South Africa’s Agrarian Question’ by Hubert Cochet, Ward Anseeuw and Sandrine Fréguin-Gresh

South Africa’s Agrarian Question

South Africa’s Agrarian Question, by Hubert Cochet, Ward Anseeuw and Sandrine Fréguin-Gresh, to be published by HSRC Press this month:

Based on an in-depth analysis of several contrasting agricultural regions, this book aims to assess South Africa’s ongoing agrarian reform and the country’s agrarian dynamics.

The conclusion is without doubt: 20 years after the first democratic elections, the country’s land pattern remains almost unchanged, and primary agriculture and its broader value-chains are more concentrated than ever. Without fundamentally questioning the highly specialised, fossil energy and synthetic input dependent, oligopolistic entrepreneurial agricultural production model, which is presently structuring the sector and is guiding the reforms, a more equitable redistribution of resources and value-addition will by no means be possible.

The answers provided in this book will be of interest not only to all those interested in the South African experiment, but also to those who, in all regions, are questioning the mainstream agrifood regime and asking how it can be transformed – Olivier De Schutter

This book examines and contributes to the structural questions that underpin the current stagnation of South Africa’s agrarian reform. Presenting fresh approaches in analysing agrarian issues and tools to assess farming systems and agricultural development, this incisive study will be an important resource to policy makers, academics and those with an interest in agrarian reform.

More information on the book can be found here.