Tag: Agriculture


Agricultural policies in Africa could be harming the poorest

Agricultural policies aimed at alleviating poverty in Africa could be making things worse, according to research by the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Published this month in the journal World Development, the study finds that so-called ‘green revolution’ policies in Rwanda – claimed by the government, international donors and organisations such as the International Monetary Fund to be successful for the economy and in alleviating poverty – may be having very negative impacts on the poorest.

Women-make-progress-in-modern-agriculture-2One of the major strategies to reduce poverty in sub-Saharan Africa is through policies to increase and modernise agricultural production. Up to 90 per cent of people in some African countries are smallholder farmers reliant on agriculture, for whom agricultural innovation, such as using new seed varieties and cultivation techniques, holds potential benefit but also great risk.

In the 1960s and 70s policies supporting new seeds for marketable crops, sold at guaranteed prices, helped many farmers and transformed economies in Asian countries. These became known as “green revolutions”. The new wave of green revolution policies in sub-Saharan Africa is supported by multinational companies and western donors, and is impacting the lives of tens, even hundreds of millions of smallholder farmers, according to the study’s lead author Dr Neil Dawson.

The study reveals that only a relatively wealthy minority have been able to keep to enforced modernisation because the poorest farmers cannot afford the risk of taking out credit for the approved inputs, such as seeds and fertilizers. Their lora_fertiliser_fullfears of harvesting nothing from new crops and the potential for the government to seize and reallocate their land means many choose to sell up instead.

The findings tie in with recent debates about strategies to feed the world in the face of growing populations, for example the influence of wealthy donors such as the Gates Foundation, initiative’s such as the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, and multinational companies such as Monsanto in pushing agricultural modernisation in Africa. There have also been debates about small versus large farms being best to combat hunger in Africa, while struggles to maintain local control over land and food production, for example among the Oromo people in Ethiopia, have been highlighted.

Dr Dawson, a senior research associate in UEA’s School of International Development, said: “Similar results are emerging from other experiments in Africa. Agricultural development certainly has the potential to help these people, but instead these policies appear to be exacerbating landlessness and inequality for poorer rural inhabitants.

“Many of these policies have been hailed as transformative development successes, yet that success is often claimed on the basis of weak evidence through inadequate impact assessments. And conditions facing African countries today are very different from those past successes in Asia some 40 years ago.

“Such policies may increase aggregate production of exportable crops, yet for many of the poorest smallholders they strip them of their main productive resource, land. This study details how these imposed changes disrupt subsistence practices, exacerbate poverty, impair local systems of trade and knowledge, and threaten land ownership. It is startling that the impacts of policies with such far-reaching impacts for such poor people are, in general, so inadequately assessed.”

Rwanda farming is very labor intensive, rural Rwanda, 1/13/09The research looked in-depth at Rwanda’s agricultural policies and the changes impacting the wellbeing of rural inhabitants in eight villages in the country’s mountainous west. Here chronic poverty is common and people depend on the food they are able to grow on their small plots.

Farmers traditionally cultivated up to 60 different types of crops, planting and harvesting in overlapping cycles to prevent shortages and hunger. However, due to high population density in Rwanda’s hills, agricultural policies have been imposed which force farmers to modernise with new seed varieties and chemical fertilisers, to specialise in single crops and part with “archaic” agricultural practices.

Dr Dawson and his UEA co-authors Dr Adrian Martin and Prof Thomas Sikor recommend that not only should green revolution policies be subject to much broader and more rigorous impact assessments, but that mitigation for poverty-exacerbating impacts should be specifically incorporated into such policies. In Rwanda, that means encouraging land access for the poorest and supporting traditional practices during a gradual and voluntary modernisation.

‘Green Revolution in Sub-Saharan Africa: Implications of Imposed Innovation for the Wellbeing of Rural Smallholders’, Neil Dawson, Adrian Martin and Thomas Sikor, is published in World Development.

Divas on Demand present .. Careers in Ghana

Have you always wanted to start your own business? Do you have an entrepreneur spirit? Are you a graduate or someone looking for ideas?

Perhaps you already have an idea and want to network with likeminded people? If so, then you must attend “CAREERS IN GHANA”

Careers in Ghana will take place on Saturday 23rd of May from 12pm at the dashing Africa Regent Hotel. Tickets are only from 50Ghc.

Careers in Ghana brings a panel of international speakers from six different industries to talk about how to be successful in Agriculture, Gas and Oil, Property and Real Estate ,Entrepreneurship, Telecommunications and Finance within Africa.

There will be participants from all over the world! There will be an opportunity for you drop of your CV, win fantastic raffle prizes, a chance to donate to charity by our silent auction, speak with recruitment agencies, and participate in speed networking and network with like minded people while indulging in lush refreshments.

dod

Divas On Demand is a social enterprise created to provide a platform for likeminded individuals to network and discuss a variety of issues on environmental change, career development, social economic matters, diversity and other topic of professional interest. We put on monthly networking events focused on empowering and inspiring women. However, every so often we provide high calibre speakers to discuss interesting subjects on a panel and provide a platform of diverse individuals to network.

This May, they bring the people of Ghana – ‘Careers in Ghana’. As  unemployment continues to be on a rise all over Africa Divas On Demand want to use this opportunity to create a platform to bridge gaps between employers, SME’s, international business, start ups, graduates and entrepreneurs. By doing so, they are creating and leveraging business with the right individuals and thus, encouraging participants to think outside of the box. Our event will bring together a panel of successful professionals who will discuss what organisations need to do in order to encourage participants by discussing the top six industries, which included Agriculture, Gas and Oil, Telecommunications, Finance, Entrepreneurship and Property and Real Estate.

They are super excited to launch Divas On Demand Gh and look forward to influencing our nation for the better.

Join them at 12.00pm on Saturday 23rd May 2015 at The African Regent Hotel

To register call 00233 (0) 271333777 or email diva.demand@yahoo.com

For more information visit

F: divasondemand

T: @on_dod

IG: divasondemand

www.divasondemand.co.uk

Me Firi Ghana (@Me_FiRi_GHANA)

MeFiRi Ghana’s Political Corner…

Here is the fifth edition of Political Corner:

‘SUMMIT’

 

Eight Ghanaians are scheduled to attend the forthcoming G8 Summit,

Attending the Global Agriculture and Food Security to ensure crops don’t plummet.

While at the event, the representatives will promote food security,

Strengthening the relationship between Ghana at the G8 to avoid obscurity.

Mr Fenton Sands, Senior Food Security Officer of the USAID,

Told Accra journalists Ethiopian and Tanzanian personnel will also be at the committee.

He said Ghana was chosen because she had become a ‘welcome’ country to investors,

Being highly noted for her stability, dependability and a lack of regime protesters.

Madam Marjorie Valerie Abdin, First VP of Federation of Associate of Ghanaian Exporters,

Said she hoped to return with “solid contracts” to assist within the Ghanaian quarters.

The focus of discussion by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and its political charmers,

Will be maize, soya and cassava, which Madam Valerie said were mainly grown by rural farmers.

Mr John Awuku Dziwornu, a farmer from Asutuare in the Dangme West District of Greater Accra,

Said “we need to know who is working elsewhere, to improve upon our own way” by far.

He said the area was made up of small scale farmers who produced maize,

So it was encouraging that USAID was partnering with the government to improve its ways.

And that’s the latest MeFiRi Ghana Political Poetry.

To read more of Anthony Lyrics’ poetry follow him on Twitter @AnthonyLyrics and check out his website http://www.checkmyflow.co.uk

By Anthony Lyrics