Tuesday, 22 July 2014

17 July: China and Brazil in African agriculture - news roundup

China_brazilflags This news roundup has been collected on behalf of the China and Brazil in African Agriculture (CBAA) project.

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China’s New White Paper on Foreign Aid
China’s second white paper on foreign aid has been published, wherein China is shown to have provided RMB 89.34 billion in the three years from 2010-2012. The report includes sections on agriculture and environmental protection and the blog below provides an interesting analysis of the report.
Chinese Ambassador to Tanzania criticises Chinese migrants
China’s ambassador to Tanzania, Lu Youqing, gave an interview to Southern Metropolis Daily, in which he talks of the positives that China has brought to the country, such as adding 150,000 jobs locally, and becoming the country’s biggest trading partner. However, he talks of the difficulties with the Chinese migrants that have come to the country and had pejorative dealings with local government officials and others that fail to respect the local laws.
(Southern Metropolis Daily)

China Zimbabwe hybrid rice project
Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Agriculture and a local private consultation firm have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China’s National Hybrid Rice Research and Development Center to start a pilot hybrid rice production project. A team of Chinese technical experts are due to visit Zimbabwe in the third week of July to plan the project. The local firm is tasked with providing land, labour, logistical support and seek government support.

New IDS Bulletin: ‘China and International Development’
This IDS Bulletin focuses on China’s development strategy and its own development experience, its increasing involvement in development activities in low- and middle-income countries, as well as its collaboration with OECD-DAC members in international development, and its growing engagement in global governance structures.
(Institute of Development Studies)

Should Zimbabwe adopt GM Crops?
In this article,Ian Scoones discusses the politics and science around genetically-modified (GM) crops, arguing that although they has the potential to bring socio-economic benefits, they should not be viewed as the only choice. Rather, GM crops have their limitations and there are equally important non-GM possibilities being driven by the bioscience sector for example. As such “We should always avoid being pushed in a singular direction by those who are (mis)using the authority of science, without a proper and open debate.”
(Think Africa Press)

Climate Smart Agriculture in Brazil, Ethiopia and New Zealand
A new report by CGIAR looks at how policy makers in Brazil, Ethiopia and New Zealand have promoted ‘Climate Smart Agriculture’ into their national policies. This report seeks to use these case studies to suggest how other countries might also promote similar policies.

BICS in Health, Agriculture and Food Security
This paper presents a literature review of what is known about the characteristics of Brazilian, Chinese, Indian and South African development cooperation in the sectors of health and agriculture and food security. It involves several citations from the CBAA project amid a number of other sources. The research examines the characteristics (actors, motivation, objectives) and specific attention is given to development cooperation in health in Mozambique, and agriculture and food security in Malawi.

BRICS Trade Agreements and Development Bank
The BRICS Summit currently taking place in Foraleza, Brazil, is due to emerge with a global trade pact. This comes amid concerns by India regarding agricultural subsidies that it regards as important for its own food security and poverty alleviation issues. Separately, it has also been announced that a BRICS development bank is due to launch with its head office in Shanghai, and US$100bn in startup capital.
By Henry Tugendhat

Time for new approach to health systems in developing countries, parliamentary meeting told

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Trade Out of Poverty, the APPG for Debt, Aid and Trade and IDS co-hosted a meeting in parliament examining how governments, businesses, practitioners and academics can collaborate more effectively to ensure that health markets in developing countries work better for the world's poorest communities.

Chaired by Lord Crisp, it was the first in a series of meetings being organised by the three organisations entitled Driving private sector for public good which will look at how UK development policy needs to evolve to ensure the beneficial long-term impact of business and development initiatives on the well-being of the poorest communities.

Current thinking on health systems and markets out of date
In his opening comments to the meeting, IDS Research Fellow Gerry Bloomhighlighted that compared to 30 years ago when the major guiding frameworks for international health policy were agreed, people in poorer countries have much better access to drugs, health workers and information about health services. Access has improved as a result of the rapid developed of mixed health systems, which incorporate both public and private providers (either formal or informal). However, understanding of these systems and markets has not kept pace with the changes that have taken place and new strategies and approaches are now urgently required if performance is to be improved.

Referring to his work as part of the Future Health Systems consortium with partners in the US, China, India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Uganda, Dr Bloom argued that more needs to be done to share learning and best practice across countries and between governments, businesses, practitioners and academics. He underlined the potential of informal markets in developing countries to broaden access to health care and services. However he was also clear that improved regulation of these markets was needed to ensure the quality, safety and appropriate use of drugs and to address issues such as the over-prescription and use of antibiotics which was leading togrowing resistance to these drugs.

Health innovations in Bangladesh and the challenge of scale and sustainability
Drawing on examples from Bangladesh and a scoping study of health innovations that he undertook in conjunction with IDS, Rubaiyath Sarwar, Managing Director ofInnovision, also highlighted a number of opportunities in relation to expanding informal health markets and private sector providers. He referred to a number of innovative approaches that were being implemented in Bangladesh including floating hospitalsand the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action which provides health information to new and expectant mothers via their mobile phones.

However Rubaiyath Sarwar also raised two important challenges in relation to these innovative approaches. How can they be made sustainable, particularly in terms of ongoing financing, and how can they be taken to scale? Addressing these questions is critical to progress and improvements.

Private sector investment in health in poorer countries
Another challenge that was highlighted by Dr Allan Pamba, Vice President, Pharmaceuticals, East Africa and Government Affairs, Africa, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), was in relation to the risk attached to, and potential lack of incentives, for private companies and businesses to invest in health systems in poorer countries. He used the example of Africa, which has only 1% of the global health budget and 3% of the global health workforce.

However Dr Pamba highlighted that companies like GSK have taken a broader perspective that not only demonstrates value to shareholders but also has significant social impact in developing countries. In order to achieve this, he explained how GSK has had to adapt their business models to work in some of the least developed countries and partner with NGOs and governments to reach the poorest communities, which he admitted still presented a real challenge.

Ensuring health services and markets are targeted at the hardest to reach
Ensuring access to health care and services for the hardest to reach was also an issue that Patricia Atkinson, Vice President and Health Systems Director at Marie Stopes International highlighted in her contribution to the discussion. She spoke about how Marie Stopes was working with partners to increase the utilisation of health services and exploring how health insurance schemes in countries such as Ghana and Kenya could be targeted at the poorest 20% of the population.

By Hannah Corbett, IDS Public Affairs Officer

Listen to the speakers' presentations

Read more about the event on Storify

The road to 2015: CLTS experiences and challenges

I was recently invited to IDS as part of an EPSRC-funded solid waste management project, ‘A Global Solution to Protect Water by Transforming Waste’, a unique initiative that focuses on addressing the problems of safe disposal of human excreta, by using anaerobic digestion technology to treat it and utilize the methane-based biogas produced from it for local/commercial use. The project is led by Gavin Collins (from the University of Glasgow School Of Engineering) and includes IDS’s Lyla Mehta and other UK universities. To minimise the cost of human excreta disposal and ensure acceptability and ownership, it is important to situate this technological innovation within the complex social environment of people. This is where community-based participation and empowerment strategies employed by Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS) plays a crucial role.

CLTS is a time-tested process that has successfully transformed policy thinking and action from toilet construction to the process of collective hygiene behaviour change in more than 63 countries throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America, giving over 30 million people an opportunity to spontaneously stop open defecation (OD) and live in an open defecation free (ODF) environment. While I was at IDS, I also had the wonderful opportunity to address bright young students, leading practitioners and policy analysts from the WASH and related sectors at a STEPS seminar on the changing frontiers of CLTS over the past 15 years and to share my views and concerns on the challenges of CLTS such as those of sustainability and the politics of scaling up.

With the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) deadline fast approaching, countries are scaling-up efforts to meet their national sanitation goals. The progress made by island nations like Madagascar and Kiribati, are especially noteworthy in this respect. For example, in just over a year in Kiribati, areas comprising 25 per cent of the country’s total population have officially been declared ODF.  Similarly, Madagascar has achieved unprecedented success in CLTS implementation, achieving around 9000 ODF communities in just over the last three and a half years.

While these success stories reflect a systematically planned and implemented CLTS intervention process, they also highlight the need for innovative strategies for successful scale-up. The institutionalisation of ‘Natural Leaders’ and ‘Community Consultants’ into the local government system to mainstream nationwide scaling-up of CLTS has been a significant innovation.  Shifting the focus from counting ODF villages to counting ODF districts or communes or regions instead and establishing multi-level partnerships among the community, institutions and private sector has been another innovative approach that has enhanced scaling-up of ODF communities.

The process of rapid scaling-up has however come with its own set of challenges. The poor quality of CLTS facilitation and gaps in ODF verification and certification is reflected in the lack of ODF sustainability. In the rush to achieve the numbers, many agencies have reduced CLTS to a bunch of triggering tools, compromising the very ethos upon which CLTS is conceptualised. In other words, CLTS is an outcome-focused approach, the success of which is reflected in the long-term sustained improvement in human health, triggered through a series of local actions by an empowered community. Effective implementation of CLTS therefore demands an in-depth understanding of the socio-political and behavioural processes involved in triggering and sustaining collective behaviour change which results in an improved health outcome for all, which I find often missing in CLTS implementation.

From this perspective, it is important that research studies in this area capture the overall outcome on individuals and the community as a whole as a result of collective behaviour change, instead of narrowly focusing only on tools and indicators. For example, one of Plan International’s recent reports, ‘ODF Sustainability Study’ records an ODF slippage rate of 92 per cent (combining a set of factors including hand-washing), but fails to provide any analysis if, as a result of this slippage, the ultimate health outcomes in the respective countries had returned to square one. As I’ve mentioned earlier, CLTS is an outcome-focused approach and merely measuring it on a few quantitative parameters could prove to be detrimental in achieving larger development objectives.

Lastly, escalating challenges of urban sanitation call for urgent strategic action. The CLTS experience in urban and peri-urban towns and municipalities in Asia and Africa, though limited, have taught us that it is important for elected people’s representatives managing the municipalities and city corporations to deeply understand the realities of poor migrants and slum dwellers, and to involve them in collective decision-making processes for improved basic facilities through pro-poor governance. This calls for strong political will and positive institutional attitudes towards people who are otherwise seen as illegal or unauthorised inhabitants of a city. Unlike in rural areas, there is also a need for strong partnerships together with local municipalities to deal with waste issues. Furthermore, issues of shrinking spaces and escalating land prices, coupled with providing subsidies, throw up related and important challenges that need to be addressed seriously for sustainable sanitation.

by Kamal Kar, Founder of the Community-Led Total Sanitation Foundation

Listen to an interview with Dr Kamal Kar, founder of the Community-Led Total Sanitation Foundation

Watch the STEPS Seminar ‘The Potential of Community-led Total Sanitation in achieving an Open Defecation Free World’

Read 'Shit Matters: The Potential of Community-Led Total Sanitation' by Lyla Mehta and Synne Movik

Monday, 21 July 2014

Comparing communal areas and new resettlements in Zimbabwe III: land and agriculture

Last week we saw that there are definitely 'new people' (with a different demographic, educational and gender profile) on the land, but how have they fared?

First we should ask: have people got more land than they had before? This is an easy one to answer: yes. In the A1 villagised sites land allocations are about double what is found in the nearby communal areas, with the exception of Chikombedzi where the communal area land holdings are marginal higher. The communal area land holdings range from 1.5ha in Gutu to 8.8ha in Chikobmedzi, while the resettlement land holdings range from 3.7ha in Gutu to 7.4ha in the Chikombedzi area.

But more crucially than the land holding, it's important to ask if a greater land area is being cultivated. The answer is again, yes. Heading north to south, wetter to drier, the A1 villagised sites had the following hectareages cultivated in 2011-12 per household: 2.5ha (Gutu), 3.6ha (Masvingo), 4.3ha (Chiredzi) and 6.2ha (Mwenezi). The comparable hectareages in the communal areas were 1.0, 2.1, 3.2, and 7.4ha, with only the Mwenezi site showing a different pattern, reflecting their pattern of residence (see last week's blog)
However crop output levels in 2010 and 2011 (the two seasons for which we have the comparator data) were not impressive anywhere, except for a few cases. Average maize production across all the resettlements was barely over a tonne, and in the communal areas it was 555kg in 2010 and 935kg in 2011. And these figures were affected dramatically by a couple of farmers producing a lot. Of course it was a drought year, and there was production from other crops – notably small grains (sorghum and millets) in the drier areas, but production was nothing to shout about (although fortunately things have improved in more recent years).

In terms of overall patterns of food security, we found that in 2010 and 2011, 35% and 24% of households across all resettlement households produced more than a tonne of maize, while in the communal areas the figures were only 16% and 10%. The communal area figures were in turn boosted by the relative success of the Ngundu farmers, where 36% and 20% of households produced more than a tonne of maize. Again, in these years the figures show that up to 90% of households require other sources of food during the year, beyond home produced maize. This is lower in the resettlement areas, but this still means two-thirds to three-quarters of households had food deficits. Compared to the situation in latter part of the 2000s, when there were a string of good harvests, the situation was worse, across all areas in these two seasons.

However, by comparison to the communal areas, the resettlement farmers were better off. In 2010, for example, across the A1 sites, one third of all farmers sold some maize. In the A1 self-contained sites, 28% of farmers sold over a tonne, and 45% something; even in this poor season. It is this group of farmers who produce surpluses and sell regularly that we highlighted in our book in class terms as 'middle farmers' who were 'accumulating from below'. By contrast, in the communal areas, the maize sales levels were paltry, averaging 125kg and 277kg in 2010 and 2011. Across all sites only 14% sold any maize in 2010, and 6% in 2011 – and these figures were boosted by the group of Ngundu farmers who sell regularly (although many no longer as they have been displaced by the flooding of the Tokwe Mukorsi dam). In 2010 there were five individuals who sold more than a tonne (4% of communal area farmers in the sample), three of whom were from Ngundu, while in 2011, there was only one farmer from Ngundu (less than one percent of all communal area farmers)

The crop mixes in all sites are similar, and much the same across the A1/informal resettlement areas and communal areas, with the exception of specialisation in cotton in Uswaushava in the Chiredzi area. In addition to maize, sorghum, pearl and finger millet, cotton, groundnuts and sunflowers are grown. In lowveld areas it is the growing of sorghum that dominates food production, so in both cases maize outputs as an indicator of food security is of course insufficient.

Also, in addition to the main fields people also have gardens. Over the last couple of decades, outside the lowveld where land remains abundant, farming in the densely populated areas means there has been a shift to home fields and gardens away from the outfield production of the past. This allows some level of intensification (including the use of conservation agriculture techniques on these small patches), and a concentration of farming activity around homesteads in home fields, where fertility inputs and labour are concentrated. This is reflected in the comparative data we collected.

In the communal area sites 57% of households have a garden at the homestead, and 40% have a garden elsewhere. In the A1 resettlement sites, the figures are 25% and 40%. Gardens have become popular in the resettlements, but usually are located by the rivers away from the homes, focused on vegetables. By contrast, in the communal areas, the home field may have become the main source of production of core crops, while gardens by rivers are left for vegetable production.

In terms of indicators of intensification, nearly half communal area households have invested in soil conservation measures, while less than a quarter have in the resettlement areas. This reflects the level of extension effort in the past decade, as many communal area structures were built earlier. But according to our data, resettlement farmers have been planting trees (usually fruit trees) in their new homesteads at a greater rate than their communal area counterparts, reflecting a process of home establishment in the new farms.

Across all sites inorganic fertiliser application remains relatively low. In the 2010-11 season around two-thirds of households in both communal and resettlement sites applied fertiliser in the Gutu areas, but this declined to nearly zero in the very dry sites of Mwenezi. This is to be expected, and makes good agronomic sense. In other areas between 50% and 75% of households applied fertilisers, but often with very low application rates. Overall a greater percentage of households in the resettlement sites applied fertiliser, but the difference was not pronounced.

So overall, the settlers have larger areas, apply (marginally) more fertiliser, produce more output and sell more. They have a similar crop mix to their counterparts in the communal areas, but have overall better food security from own farm production. Their improved output though is generated by extensification rather than any major intensification, and conservation measures to protect the land are often lacking. Gardening is important in both sites, but in the communal lands it is often a response to land shortage, with a more intensified production in a home field, while in the both areas vegetable gardens are important away from the home.

In the communal lands there are only a vanishingly few individuals who are producing regular surpluses and selling these. By contrast in the resettlement areas, despite the poor seasons, there are relatively more. A core group of around 30% of households is producing and selling, with the same group having sufficient grain to feed a family for a full year. The relative proportions in each of these categories changes between the seasons, but it is this group of middle farmer 'accumulators' in the resettlement areas who we identified in our book from data from the 2000s that is central to the contrast.

This group continues to drive a wider set of economic relations – including employment, input supply, marketing, transport and so on – which the odd individual cannot. While this group was clearly finding the going tough in 2010 and 2011 because of poor rainfall and depressed crop yields, they were still there, associated with the same 'success groups' we identified in the mid 2000s. They are still not getting support – whether extension, credit, or wider infrastructural development – but they are still continuing to capitalise on the opportunities created by land reform.

This post was written by Ian Scoones and originally appeared on Zimbabweland

The on-going Masvingo study research is conducted by Ian Scoones, Blasio Mavedzenge, Felix Murimbarimba and Jacob Mahenehene.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Technology & democracy: the story of Brazil’s Social Technology Network

A new STEPS working paper tells the story of a recent experiment in grassroots innovation – the Social Technology Network (STN) in Brazil.

The paper, by Mariano Fressoli and Rafael Dias, is linked to our project on historical and comparative perspectives on grassroots innovation.

Formed in 2004, the STN was a 'hybrid', involving social movements, NGOs, national institutions and semi-public companies like Banco do Brazil's Foundation and Petrobras. It was remarkable for its success in attracting a large number of projects – over 900.

The victory of Lula's Workers' Party in 2002 proved to be a fertile political environment for the STN to take shape, and it provided an opportunity to try new forms of social inclusion in science and technology development in Brazil.

As well as describing the STN's formation, process, framing and links to public policy, the working paper looks at two examples of technologies supported by STN.

One is the agro-ecological method known as PAIS, which is designed to be suitable for small farms and favours using local materials and knowledge.

Cistern supported by One Million Cisterns programme
Building a cistern. (Image: Instituto Antônio Conselheiro)
The other is the One Million Cisterns programme, which since 2003 has supported the building of over 600,000 water cisterns in arid North-East Brazil, encouraging local people to build and modify the technology.

In its lifetime, the STN attempted to embed Social Technologies into policies and institutions in Brazil, with only partial success. In the end, the loose, informal structure of the STN felt the pressure of differing aims, expectations and forms of assessment, and the network was closed in 2012, though many of the projects have continued to be funded.

But through its efforts to empower social movements as active agents in the development of technologies and policies, the STN has opened a debate on how to democratise technological development. It may offer important lessons and inspiration for future initiatives in Brazil and elsewhere.

Download this paper
The Social Technology Network: A hybrid experiment in grassroots innovation (PDF)

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Ebola: failures, flashpoints and focus

Annie Wilkinson
As the worst Ebola epidemic on record shows no signs of abating in West Africa, fear and ignorance are increasingly said to be playing a role in its continued spread. Meanwhile, local practices such as the consumption of bushmeat and deforestation are the go-to explanations for the epidemic's underlying causes. However, decades of anthropological research in the region by STEPS Centre and Institute of Development Studies (IDS) researchers, indicates not only that this picture is an over-simplification, but that disease control policies based on these ideas may be unhelpful.

The latest news from West Africa is troubling: outreach and surveillance officers have been attacked, rumours circulate that the disease does not exist, that medical staff are harvesting organs and anyone going to hospital will not come out alive. Tear gas was reportedly used to disperse a crowd at Sierra Leone’s Kenema Government Hospital who were demanding the release of family members admitted to the Ebola treatment centre there. As many as 57 patients are reported "missing" in the country, either fleeing treatment centres or avoiding them altogether. This seriously hinders contact tracing and infection control efforts.

Both the Sierra Leonean and Liberian presidents have said anyone obstructing suspected Ebola patients from receiving official treatment will be punished. But these announcements are unlikely to have much effect, being disengaged from the reasons behind the community suspicion and the complexities of the socio-cultural context.

An important lesson from early outbreaks in Central Africa was to include anthropologists in the response teams so that local knowledge could be used to strengthen control measures and minimise fear. Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) have been using anthropologists as part of their team in this current episode too, but the rumours are proving hard to beat. IDS Director and STEPS Centre former Director Professor Melissa Leach, has lived and worked in the region. MSF recently asked for her anthropological insights, so we at IDS and the STEPS Centre have been thinking about how to put the disease and responses to it in context.

Disease and health seeking
Even the most remote rural populations should not be assumed to be unfamiliar with concepts of modern medicine, however their engagement with them may be mediated by other logics. People are accepting of Western medicine but are ambivalent about the formal health system. The history of Lassa fever, another viral haemorrhagic disease which has been recognised as endemic in the area for decades, is relevant. During my doctoral research on Lassa fever I was told of longstanding rumours about medical staff administering lethal injections. Patients have been known to avoid the Lassa ward in Kenema.

Underlying health seeking patterns, is the fact that people hold multiple models for interpreting and responding to sickness. In Mende areas, there are general categories of big and small fever, and ordinary and hospital sick, as well as specific biomedical diseases. Lassa was classified a 'big fever' and Ebola may well be too. Diseases can be understood as caused by multiple things, including germ theory or 'witchcraft'. These causes are not necessarily mutually exclusive. A diagnostic test which 'proves' someone has an illness may not be viewed as conclusive. Key to understanding health seeking is to understand how disease categories shift as the illness progresses. The way people and those around them have behaved, the events leading up to the illness and circumstances surrounding its onset all influence the model which is applied and the treatment sought.

Death and 'secret' knowledge
Traditional burial practices have been implicated in transmission as they involve mourners having contact with the deceased infectious body. The importance of burial practices cannot be underestimated as they are strictly controlled by the male and female societies (known as 'secret societies' in English) who are central to local and regional politics. Medical teams wishing to prevent traditional burials will likely be intervening in domains of power and 'secret' knowledge that lie at the heart of the socio-political fabric which society officials control.

Secret knowledge, and membership of particular societies which offer access to that knowledge (to different degrees) characterises this region of West Africa. Much about the medical response may resonate with these themes: hiding patients behind screens (in isolation), wearing masks (protective clothing). It may be that medical teams are interpreted as another 'secret society'. Response teams should be sensitive to these possibilities and aware of why they may face resistance.

As with disease, there are multiple kinds and causes of death. Certain circumstances – such as sudden death or that of a pregnant woman – raise suspicion. 'Witchcraft' is the most frequently discussed but this confuses some distinct phenomena including malicious spirits, bad intent by sorcerers, and inappropriate behaviour. Such deaths may require special practices and again secret knowledge is likely to be important. This may be an additional reason why funerals are proving a flashpoint in this epidemic. It is possible that by not allowing the secret societies to carry out the appropriate cleansing after unusual deaths that medical teams are perceived to be making the situation worse.

Avoiding simple explanations: the need for a social science
While the recognition of Ebola in the area is new, people are likely to be interpreting and responding to it in line with longstanding local frameworks. Public behaviours and attitudes that might at first sight appear to reflect ignorance, can and should be seen as part of cultural logics that make sense given regional history, social institutions and experience.

Viewing conflicts as stemming from opposing categories of traditional and modern does not capture the complex and emergent meanings which define life in this region and this epidemic. This blog highlights only a small part of this, but it illustrates the need for a social science perspective. That perspective should also include examining the politics of knowledge which are at play. Simple narratives that blame the epidemic on local people for eating bushmeat and deforestation are already appearing. Prof. Leach has highlighted how these overlook well established patterns of land use and interaction with bat habits and so are unlikely to explain why the disease has emerged in West Africa now.

It is hard to say much with great certainty about Ebola, except that it is terrifying and tragic for those affected; all the more need for researchers, health workers, policy makers and the media to be cognisant of the power and politics involved in responding to and controlling the disease.

By Annie Wilkinson, post doctorate researcher, Institute of Development Studies

Find out more:

Monday, 14 July 2014

The EU-Brazil partnership on development: a lukewarm affair

Lidia Cabral, researcher with our China & Brazil in African Agriculture project, has written a policy brief for the think tank FRIDE assessing the limited success of the EU-Brazil strategic partnership on international development.

In particular, the brief identifies problems with a 'North/South' discourse which persists in spite of the changing dynamics of power and influence across continents.

From the brief:
"Much of the debate is infused by a discourse that, by juxtaposing 'North' versus 'South' and 'traditional' versus 'emerging' players, places Brazil and the EU on opposing sides. Yet, there are opportunities to build alliances around specific thematic issues, such as the global fight against hunger. With regard to trilateral cooperation, the analysis reveals a mismatch between high-level pledges and motivations on the one hand and on-the- ground operational capacity on the other. It also shows a fading emphasis on this modality of engagement. There is still scope, nonetheless, for joint learning on trilateral cooperation."

The EU-Brazil partnership on development: a lukewarm affair (FRIDE website)

Comparing communal areas and new resettlements in Zimbabwe II: People and places

The communal areas are crowded places. The population density in Chivi district was for example 46 people per km squared in 2012. In a dryland environment (average rainfall in Chivi is about 550mm), land areas are not sufficient for extensive cropping and grazing areas are limited. Given their histories as 'labour reserves' – sources of labour for the mines and farms of the Rhodesian settler economy and dumping grounds for the retired, unemployed or inform – it is not surprising that their productive potential is limited. This is why before and since Independence the argument for land reform has been strong.

Some argue that the communal areas can be transformed, by investing in new technologies (conservation agriculture is the latest donor driven craze) or reforming property rights giving people private title (a solution which is of course much disputed) or creating alternative income opportunities in 'growth points' or nearby towns (again a set of interventions that has been tried many times). It is not that transformations of the communal areas should not be attempted; they should, as over 1.1 million households, most of the rural population, live there. But if a wider dynamic of rural economic growth is to occur, people need the land on which to do it.

The resettlement process in the 2000s was of course not the same as that which occurred in the 1980s and 1990s. Back then, people moved to resettlement areas often far from their homes, either through the government programme or spontaneously. This meant the links between old and new homes were severed, and on the formal schemes strict rules were applied as part of the permit conditions. In the 2000s, the A1 sites were invaded, occupied by villagers, people from towns and supported by war veterans. They came very often from nearby communal areas; sometimes people invaded the neighbouring farm, as in the case of our Serima CA site and Lonely A resettlement site.

In all cases connections could be maintained. In the years after land invasions, new settlers frequently maintained homes and fields in nearby communal areas, particularly in those sites where uncertainty over tenure prevailed, as offer letters had not been issued. In most cases, they were just keeping a home or field as insurance, and not making much use of it themselves. In 2011 around a quarter of A1 households maintained another home, and 4% and 9% kept a field. Only in Masvingo district resettlements were practically no homes and fields being held on to. For communal area households, there were no households having a home or a field elsewhere in the Masvingo and Chiredzi sites and only 3% in Gutu had a field elsewhere. By contrast in our Chikombedzi site in Mwenezi, 27% of the communal area sample had a satellite home in the nearby resettlement farms.

Even if homes and fields were not being kept, there were still plenty of other connections being maintained: through churches, social events, burials, transfers of food, sharing of equipment and animals, and movement of relatives as workers, for example. These are often tightly linked communities, as new resettlements often have substantial numbers of people from single villages, who joined invasions together. Of course over the decade since settlement some of the links have been formed. New churches have been formed, people are being buried in their new homes, and so on, but social and economic lives remain connected.

What about movements from our communal area sites to the new resettlements? Did 'decongestion' occur? From our comparator sites linked to our Gutu, Masvingo, Chiredzi and Mwenezi sites, there were 20%, 13%, 17% and 18% of households who had some household member move to a new resettlement site. These were usually younger men, looking to establish a new home. By definition, of course, the surveyed household remained.

There was a considerable movement of people. Indeed, government stats shows that across four districts in Masvingo province, a total of 32,500 households were established in A1 sites as part of the Fast Track Land Reform Programme, and many estimate that there was an additional 6000 involved in 'informal' settlement (some now regularised). Assuming that 60% came from communal areas, this represents about 12% of the communal area households in these districts as counted in the 2012 census.

Those who went to the resettlements tended to be younger and better educated than their counterparts in the communal areas. According to our surveys, the communal area household heads were on average 5-7 years older; in their mid 50s, rather than in their 40s (compared to being in their 30s a decade earlier during land occupation). While there is of course a distribution in both sites, the overall demographic pattern is different. This means that those in the communal areas have older children, have more likely worked off the farm, and have therefore access to other income sources. The educational level of the 'household heads' reflects the period of their youth. Those in the resettlements who are now in their 40s benefited from the post Independence education provision, and the biggest group is Form 4 (O level) graduates, while the biggest group for those older individuals in the communal areas is Grade 7 (basic primary).

However, while formal school education levels are higher in the resettlements, agricultural qualifications are not. In the A1 villagised sites, only 9% of household heads have the Master Farmer qualifications, while it is 27% in the communal areas. This reflects experiences of the past decade, when extension services collapsed. When people arrived in the new resettlements, they did not get the support, while those in the communal areas who were older probably got trained in the 1990s.

These age demographic differences are reflected in household sizes and composition. The average size of households in the A1 resettlements is larger, around 6.5 people, compared to 4.85 in the communal areas. This reflects the ageing of households in the communal areas, with fewer children at the parental homes, and greater deaths of older adults. Thus there are only 16% of households whose household head was more than 61 in the A1 villagised resettlement areas, while across the communal area sites it ranged from 37% (Chiredzi) to 56% (Chikombedzi). The generation of adults living in the communal areas was also more vulnerable to the impacts of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, with many mortalities occurring in that age cohort. With the decline of transmission we can speculate that this affected those who moved to resettlements less (although certainly the epidemic has not spared them either).

Another factor that explains the larger household sizes in the resettlement areas, is what Bill Kinsey and colleagues termed the 'magnet effect'. Successful households in resettlement areas attract others, particularly relatives from poorer settings in the communal areas. They can gain food, some work and housing with relatives in the resettlements. Alongside these movements are of course workers who come and stay permanently and temporarily to work on the new farms. In our 2007-08 surveys, we found that household sizes had increased by on average 2.8 people, up from 4.2 on settlement in 2000-01. This pattern continues as family size increases through births, and other relatives come and stay.

What about the gender composition of households? The proportion of female headed households averaged 14% across the A1 sites in 2012, the same as when we surveyed in 2007. By contrast 37% of household heads in the communal area sites were identified as women. Of course the definition of household head is notoriously difficult, but we have tried to be consistent, including absent males if they are still regarded as 'heads'. In such situations – and indeed when the husband is present – women take on many management and organising roles in the household, and so the term 'head' is often a misnomer. Be that as it may, we therefore only defined female household heads when the male was completely absent (through death, divorce etc.), and when a woman was the sole manager of the farm and home. The high proportion of such 'female headed households' in the communal areas is well known, but this figure is surprisingly high, reflecting an ageing, disease-susceptible population, which has suffered the brunt of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

So are resettlement households different? Well, there is much variation of course, but some generalisations hold. A1 resettlement households are (on average) younger, with more children at home, with adults better educated in school, but less in professional farming qualifications, and with more male resident household heads. These are not the classic 'reserves' – retirement places, or places where people grow up to get out for work. Instead, these are places where people have chosen to go at the prime of their working life, when they are younger, healthy and where they want their children to grow up. Partly this is of course because there are few other choices. There is no land in the communal areas to grow food and no jobs elsewhere, but it is partly out of choice.

Next week, I will look at how they are faring in terms of crop production on their new land compared to their communal area counterparts.

This post was written by Ian Scoones and originally appeared on Zimbabweland

The on-going Masvingo study research is conducted by Ian Scoones, Blasio Mavedzenge, Felix Murimbarimba and Jacob Mahenehene.

A culture of extraction and exclusion: How philanthropy impoverishes the vulnerable

Maintenance crew, Zambia by Merlin on Flickr (cc-by-nc-2.0)
Well-intentioned people the world over see transformation to green ways of doing as absolutely essential. Many argue that by switching to green ways of doing, we can have win-win situations in which we tackle both environmental degradation and poverty, through innovative projects and by conserving wild areas where there still exist.

Yet at the Green Economy in the South conference, which took place from 8-10 July in Dodoma, Tanzania, case study after case study has showed how the language and practices of switching to ‘green’ result in the extraction of resources from Africa to the North, from the poor to the wealthy, all under the guise of philanthropy and development. Processes funded by Northern development agencies, such as REDD+, result in capital accumulating more by dispossessing Africans, enclosing African land, and selling ecological services to the wealthy few who can afford the high price tag.
Mining: what counts as development?
In extractive industries like mining, despite using development language, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes are problematic. For example, regarding mining companies in Zambia, Tomas Frederikson argued that while CSR models were changing to become more than just public relations exercises, and while CSR projects were ever more complex, employing many staff in development projects, projects were still counting and costing development in controversial ways.
For example, when mines build roads to improve transport to and from the mining area to enhance extractive activities, they declare this as development; when they upgrade airports to improve their own access to mining areas, this is called development; and when they build schools (but only for the children of their workers) or healthcare facilities (but only for workers and their families) this is also called development, despite the fact that these were not developments identified or chosen by the ‘recipient’ communities, nor necessarily benefitting them. So while they were being displaced from their land, the touted ‘developments’ of CSR never flowed to all the community members, thus ensuring that they are dispossessed with little compensation.
Hope and knowledge in Mtwara
In Tanzania, the newly discovered natural gas boon in Mtwara, is touted to create a ‘boom’ for local communities; the communities themselves have great expectations for this development, and for example, expect that at least one family member per household will be employed in the gas extraction project. Once the gas is extracted, the local community also expects that the power plant for generating electricity from the gas will be located in Mtwara.
However, as Nancy Rushohora pointed out, local communities are not aware of the likely disadvantages and challenges of natural gas extraction, such as adverse environmental impacts. Nevertheless,‘if extracting natural gas will not serve to benefit local communities, local communities feel it would be better not to extract the gas at all’, Rushohora said, and at this stage there is no clear explanation of nor legislation ensuring that benefits will accrue to the Mtwara people.
‘Revenue Sharing’ in Kilimanjaro
Similarly, as described by Hanne Svarstad, in Kilimanjaro National Park in Tanzania, which was extended to cover a greater area in 2005, communities were displaced by extending the conservancy without displaced communities having any guarantee of accruing benefits. However, the Kilimanjaro National Park is held up as a best practice model for other game farms and national parks, because they have undertaken ‘revenue sharing’ with displaced and surrounding communities.
Revenue sharing takes place through several ‘development projects’ like a project giving local communities goats; a calculation of how beneficial the goat project could be calculated that at the current rate of revenue sharing, it would take 17 years for every household to receive one goat. While development agencies and international conservation NGOs involved in the park call it a ‘triple win’ solution (winning for biodiversity, climate change mitigation, and poverty reduction), the main narrative of communities living around the park was one of exclusion, dissatisfaction with the lack of compensation for expropriation of previous commons, and lack of influence and consultation before land was expropriated.
The costs to local communities is more than 10 times higher than the benefits, so in this ‘best case’ scenario there is a marked lack of distributive justice. Despite donors and international NGO rhetoric being pro-people, there has been no effort to look for local solutions to environmental management, but only impositions from outside either from the state or from donors and conservation NGOs.
Limpopo: game theory
In the Greater Limpopo Conservancy, linking South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, Francis Massé explained how Mozambican communities are being forcibly removed from their land (albeit with some compensation), ostensibly in order to protect South African rhinos, but in practice to set up private game farms and game lodges for wealthy tourists in Mozambique.
This is argued to philanthropically benefit Mozambicans through the investment of private South African and other foreign countries in Mozambique, but the compensation paid to communities displaced by these processes nowhere nearly makes up for the loss of access to land (the main means by which they secure their livelihoods). Locals are also not even employed in these game farms, as once they have been displaced they are seen as colluding with rhino poachers by providing information about where the animals are, so it is seen as essential to exclude them from the land where they have lived for hundreds of generations.
The securitisation that typically goes along with the creation of conservation areas is escalated and extreme in the Greater Limpopo Conservancy as former apartheid security forces police the South African side of the border, and Mozambicans from far afield police the Mozambican side of the border. Displacing Mozambican citizens is argued to be the only strategy by which South African rhinos can feasibly be protected from Asian syndicates even though no poaching is taking place in Mozambique, and expanded conservancies are encouraged by conservation NGOs who argue such areas contribute to the green economy.
Exclusion in Indonesia
Outside Africa, for example in Indonesia, similar extractive processes are taking place, both in logging and mining industries. Peter Howson described how in international agency discourse the green economy is equated with ‘green growth’; he argued that this invites elite capture and makes exclusion almost inevitable, particularly when programmes such as REDD+ specifically sought private finance funding. He described exclusion as taking place on the level of regulation, force, markets and legitimation and suggested that ‘the uneven distribution of REDD+ benefits intersected with already existing intimate processes of exclusion’.
At the same time, however, Rini Astuti described how notions of indigeneity were being used to produce obedient conservation subjectivities among Bahaneis and on Bahanei forest land, where concessions were also being granted to mining companies. While Indonesia’s indigenous communities had disintegrated through Indonesia political processes, new processes of reclaiming indigeneity and reterritorialising Bahanei land were being supported by planning land use around carbon markets, thus resulting in a carbon marketisation of Bahanei land. By promising carbon payments through REDD+, indigenous REDD+ subjectivities were also be produced inscribing new sets of customary identities with new rules and new ideologies.
Financialising nature
In Costa Rica, Brett Matulis described how REDD+ programmes promoted by the World Bank are also leading to the financialisation of nature, by creating a direct link between ecosystem services “users” and “providers”, so that, for example, water users are taxed, but water polluters are not, and the biggest users receive more, improved ecosystem services, while the most needy receive poorer ecosystem services. These tariffs have mirrored existing inequalities in Costa Rica, perpetuating uneven conservation development because those most in need cannot afford to pay.
by Rebecca Pointer, Information and Communications Officer, Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS)
The Green Economy in the South conference ran from 8-10 July in Dodoma, Tanzania. This post first appeared on the Green Economy in the South conference blog.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Missionary discourses: can the green economy bring climate justice to the South?

French missionaries in Africa, c.1930
Colonialism by Clapagaré on Flickr (cc-by-nc-sa-2.0)
The green economy has become one of the most powerful political and social agendas in the era of climate change. This week, researchers have met in Dodoma, Tanzania at the Green Economy in the South conference – the first meeting of its kind. Central to this green economy is the emergence of carbon market mechanisms as a form of green development for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
The carbon phenomenon has attracted a variety of multilateral and bilateral investments from the North to the South, with the premise that it represents a form of climate justice for the states and local communities who could participate in these schemes. But in academic and political debates on green economy, questions have been raised as to what extent these carbon schemes – as part of the green economy – represent realistic climate justice to climatically vulnerable farmers and pastoralists in the South.
Specific cases of carbon schemes in Ghana (Vision 2050 carbon project), Zimbabwe (Kariba REDD project) and Kenya (the Kenya Agricultural Carbon Project) indicate that these schemes, in their designs, perpetuate a generic discourse around ‘ecological and social missionary’. In this discourse, projects claim to bring a new life to the ecosystem and livelihoods in the respective target localities that are now suffering the impacts of global change.
The Kariba carbon project in Zimbabwe, for instance, claims that it will alleviate poverty, help people have food, education and health and at the same time provide enormous ecological benefits in terms of reduced degradation and wildlife protection. Similar arguments were put forward by the Vision 2050 carbon project in Ghana, which expects to create livelihoods opportunities for different land owners in the forest transition zones; and the Kenya Agricultural Carbon Project, which aims to achieve ecological and social ‘triple wins’.

Shifting the blame
In this missionary framing however, there seems to be a hidden shift in the blame game. Global problems of climate change are blamed more on local activities such as firewood collection, hunting or unsustainable subsistence agricultural practices in these landscapes. For example, the Vision 2050 project in Ghana claims that the loss of forest in the transition zone is due to peasants’ grazing activities –implicitly absolving from blame greater timber concessions and plantation companies that extracted large sections of the forest.
While carbon projects must find a justification for situating their work in certain localities in the South, they fail to capture the actual drivers of change. Instead, the schemes tend, largely, to pass on the burden and sense of guilt to the local communities – who then become co-opted as part of the solution and cast as beneficiaries of this new ecological and social missionary work from the North.
Hope and hype
On the ground, the new ‘carbon missionary’ discourse potentially creates hopes and hypes that may degenerate into more livelihood injustices and inequalities. For instance, the Zimbabwe case depicts a new wave of repositioning in which rich immigrants expect the Kariba REDD project to displace land ownership claims by indigenous locals – who have been blamed for forest degradation. Our Ghana case paints a picture of a failed mission in which the project was unable to meet its promises to the local people, who abandoned certain forest-based livelihood practices and took responsibility for planting trees along the forest transition zone.
Learning from potential
While the general examples here seem to point to the shortcomings of carbon schemes in achieving climate justice, it is important to note that these shortcomings do not apply to all carbon schemes in the South. Indeed some carbon schemes, for example the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project in Kenya, have demonstrated the potential for these interventions to change lives and livelihoods.
Achieving this potential is only possible if projects take into account the history of land use, development processes and people’s aspirations in the target localities. In this era of green economy, therefore, packaging solutions under carbon is necessary but must be done with caution, historical cognition, and an eye on the global nature of climate change drivers and the local impacts of such actions. It is only through this the green economy debates and actions can realize climate justice for the South.
Author’s note: For more details and insights on this topic look out for the forthcoming book Carbon conflicts and forest landscapes in Africa (Routledge, March 2015) by Ian Scoones and Melissa Leach (eds).
Joanes Atela is a former Early Career Fellow with Future Agricultures and a member of the STEPS Centre's project 'Political ecologies of carbon in Africa'.

Mission-Oriented Finance for Innovation: top-down missions or bottom-up causes?

Andy Stirling, co-director of STEPS, will be a speaker at the conference Mission-Oriented Finance for Innovation on 22-24 July in London, which examines the important role of public sector agencies in tackling societal challenges through innovation. The conference is organised by Prof Mariana Mazzucato of SPRU with Prof L. Randall Wray (UMKC & Levy Institute, USA).

Prof Stirling is part of a panel on 'Mission-oriented finance for smart and inclusive growth' on the third day of the conference, with a contribution entitled 'From top-down missions to bottom-up causes'.

A limited number of tickets are available to the general public free of charge through the conference registration page.

From the website:

"The role of the state in modern capitalism has gone beyond fixing 'market failures'. Those regions and countries that have succeeded in achieving 'smart' innovation-led growth have benefited from long-term visionary 'mission-oriented' policies — from putting a man on the moon to tackling societal challenges such as climate change and the well-being of an ageing population. In addressing these missions, public sector agencies have led the way, investing along the entire innovation chain and courageously defining new high-risk directions. Traditional cost-benefit analysis and market failure justifications would have halted these investments from the start. No internet, no biotech, no nanotech. And today no clean-tech.

To fulfill this mission-oriented function, state agencies — from DARPA in the US to the China Development Bank — have been willing to welcome failure and tackle extreme uncertainty. How do they do it? What are the challenges ahead? Should government step back, or step up? And how can we socialize both risks and rewards so that economic growth is not only 'smart' but also 'inclusive'?
Such investments would not lead to commercialization without a private sector able and willing to engage along the innovation chain. Is financialization putting such engagement under threat? If so, how can innovation policy also promote de-financialization?"

Keynote speakers at the conference include Vince Cable (UK Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills), Luciano Coutinho (BNDES), Giovanni Dosi (Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna), Andy Haldane (Chief Economist at the Bank of England), Mariana Mazzucato, Kit Malthouse (Deputy Mayor of London for Business and Enterprise), Paul Mason (Channel 4 News), Carlota Perez (LSE), Johan Schot (SPRU director), Adair Turner (INET) and L. Randall Wray.

7 July: China and Brazil in African agriculture - news roundup

CBAAnewsThis news roundup has been collected on behalf of the China and Brazil in African Agriculture (CBAA) project.

For regular updates from the project, sign up to the CBAA newsletter

Zimbabwe to Follow Brazilian model of ethanol fuel blending
Zimbabwe’s Agriculture and Rural Development Authority board chairman Mr Basil Nyabadza has said that his country would move from the use of an E15 ethanol blend to an E85 ethanol blend in their cars, to cut down on imported fossil fuels (the number refers to the percentage of ethanol versus petrol). The chairman accepted that some car manufactures will have to readjust, but affirmed that “Zimbabwe has the same opportunity as Brazil to develop a dynamic biofuel industry to serve not only its own fuel needs but the region as well.”
(Manica Post)

Zimbabwe’s Alliance of Anhui-based investors growsThe Alliance of Anhui-Based Investors was established last year and has since then facilitated 37 Anhui companies’ engagement in Zimbabwean markets, with investment contracts worth $17m. These contracts have been signed with business and government leaders, and agriculture is listed as one of the areas of cooperation.
(Anhui News)

Zimbabwe’s tobacco sales exceed expectations
“The sales of tobacco in Zimbabwe reached 190 million kg, which has surpassed this year’s target of 180 million kg, as the country’s 2014 tobacco auction marketing season will end soon, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) announced Thursday.” This was sold for $604.7m and compares with 166m kg sold in 2013 for $616m. The article cites China as Zimbabwe’s biggest buyer of tobacco.

Brazil seeks greater agro-business ties with Angola
The Brazilian ambassador to Angola recently stressed the need for stronger ties between the two countries, during which she stressed the potential role of agro-business. She also spoke of a biofuel project in Angola that is currently being supported by Brazil.

‘China’s hunger for foreign food groups soars’
17% of China’s outbound mergers and acquisitions (M&As) this year have been in the food and beverage industries, almost matching M&As in the energy sector which has traditionally been China’s biggest. The targets are a mixture of winemakers, consumer goods and agricultural raw materials. The main buyers are both national state owned enterprises such as COFCO, and local governments such as Shanghai municipal government, but private companies are beginning to increase their activities too.
(Financial Times)
Comparing Chinese and Japanese Power Tillers in Tanzania
This paper by PhD student Andrew Agyei-Holmes looks at Chinese and Japanese power tillers in Tanzania and argues that despite the Chinese tillers being of lower quality, they are more accessible in terms of cost and maintenance, which has led to their much greater success with Tanzanian famers.
(Globelics Academy (pdf))
5 Challenges for Chinese agricultural policy
China’s Minister of Agriculture, Han Changfu, has outlined 5 key challenges for Chinese agriculture that should not be underestimated. They include: 1) increased droughts and floods, 2) downward pressure on agriculture prices, 3) difficulty raising rural incomes, 4) the complexity of rural reforms, 5) food safety and animal disease. This blog argues that Han’s simultaneous call for increased large-scale production in China is bound to make it even harder to meet these targets.
(Dim Sums blog)

Why China wants African students to learn Mandarin
Kenneth King has written a piece on the importance of promoting Chinese language and culture as part of its engagements with Africa. The article lists several key statistics regarding China’s education engagements with Africa reflecting the scale of these interactions.
(The Week)

Why we should care about developing a Green Economy in the global South

101214 Algeria unveils renewable energy strategy
by Magharebia on Flickr (cc-by-2.0)

The importance of developing a green economy – mostly referred to as “an economy where economic prosperity can go hand-in-hand with the ecological sustainability” (PDF) – in the global South cannot be overstated. Studies indicate that with the basic economic system in place, using less carbon intensive technologies, less developed countries (LDCs) are better placed to go green than developed countries, which have to retire the old fossil fuels dependent facilities/technologies.
The transition to a green economy is, however, not an easy task. The constraints include lack of capital, technologies, policies, and legal and institutional frameworks that would enable and regulate private sector investments in the green economy. Yet the wealthiest Northerners, sometimes in collusion with local elites, are seizing opportunities associated with green economies – in many cases with negative impacts for surrounding communities and vulnerable groups in the global South.
Early studies into biofuels developments, for example, indicate that rural communities especially find limits placed on their access to, ownership and control over resources.
Understanding how these initiatives work, and their consequences, has motivated scholars from all over the world to attend the Green Economy in the South conference, which starts tomorrow in Tanzania. With a wide range of questions and cases covered, the conference will steer a lively debate in search for answers, recommendations and cruxes on how these issues can be dealt with.
The conference themes, including eco-tourism, biofuels, ecosystem payments, large-scale farming and the spread of GMOs in Africa, are topical and controversial both among academics and practitioners. One of the aims of the event is to bring together field-based research with theoretical ideas about framing and context.
As the organizers of this conference, my colleagues and I are hopeful that the course taken in the past, such as structural adjustment programmes – mostly implemented without critical academic debates – will not be repeated in the establishment and advocacy of the green economy in the South.
Why the green economy now?
The notable drivers of the green economy are the impacts of climate change and the limit of growth with the current economic system. Indeed, this has been a major force behind the large-scale land acquisitions in Africa – labelled land grabs in mid 2000s and energized by the food and financial crisis of 2007/2008.
Other drivers include pressure by environmentalists and general public on politicians to address climate change and the readiness of the business community to embrace emerging opportunities. Worldwide, politicians are including environmental issues in their agendas/priorities, though how far they are implemented remains debatable. Business communities are also becoming aware that climate change poses risks to their business, and that engaging in the green economy is itself an opportunity worth pursuing.
Available information supports the fact that developing the green economy has positive impacts to local economies, compared to the status quo. UNEP estimates that the green economy could create between 15m and 60m new jobs.
Combined with all these insights we hope that next week’s conference will provide new statistics, status updates, challenges and visions of these new green economy initiatives/projects.
Challenges ahead
While actions for green economy initiatives are crucial, politics ultimately determines what policies are adopted. It would be interesting, therefore, to see how leaders in the global South react to the academic debate in Dodoma. Could this conference shift the policy paradigm, and shape political, social and economic debates in the global South? All these would be interesting to watch during the conference and in the few couple of years afterwards.
Ways forward
If well implemented, transition to green economy to green economy provide several pathways to the reduction of green house gas emission, creates more jobs while reducing poverty in the global south.
To achieve this, academic debates like the forthcoming Dodoma Conference and awareness-raising campaign strategies are essential to the development of the green economy in any country. Such a campaign needs to be grounded on available information and success stories, such as experience with energy efficient buildings and renewable energy sources like solar and wind power, among others.
This post first appeared on the Green Economy in the South conference blog.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Comparing communal areas and new resettlements in Zimbabwe I: An introduction to a short blog series

One of the things people have asked us about our research on land reform in Zimbabwe is: are people better off in the new resettlements, compared to the communal areas? We made the case in the book by comparing our results with published data from nearby communal and resettlement areas, and argued that indeed the new settlers were better off: producing more, accumulating more assets, and investing.

But to probe this question in more depth, in 2012 Blasio Mavedzenge, Felix Murimbarimba and Jacob Mahenehene and I decided to undertake a survey in some nearby communal areas in parallel with the resurvey of the land reform sites. Exactly the same questions were asked of 120 households evenly spread over four sites, each of which were near the A1 sites we had been studying since 2000-01. With one exception, these were sites we had done surveys in during 2006, as part of a study of livestock production in the province, and we used the same sample. This was drawn to represent a range of households, with cattle ownership used as the main indicator. A 'success group' ranking confirmed an even spread of households in each of the 3 'success groups'. Although necessarily a small sample (due to budget and logistics), we believe it is broadly representative of the communal area settings.

The sites were in Serima (near our Gutu sites, in fact adjacent to Lonely A farm), Gutu South (close to our Masvingo district sites in Wondedzo), in Ngundu south (along the road from our Chiredzi sites at Uswaushava) and in Chikombedzi area (near our Mwenezi sites in Edenvale). The Ngundu site in southern Chivi is probably the least comparable to its paired resettlement site, as it benefits from a particular micro-environment, and regularly has better crops than the more dryland site along the Chiredzi road. But overall, the sites have many similarities in terms of basic agroecology, proximity to markets and so on.

The question was whether, a decade after people had moved – often from these very places – to the new resettlements whether they were doing better, worse or much the same. This is an important question for a number of reasons. Clearly critics of land reform argue that new, backward, hopeless communal area settings are being recreated in the new resettlements and that things are no better, perhaps worse. Some instead argue that the communal areas are not so bad after all, and investments should have been focused there, leaving the new land for more commercial, larger-scale endeavours – or indeed keeping the status quo. Others argue that there is a new dynamic emerging in the new resettlements, especially the A1 areas where access to land has provided the opportunity for people to move beyond 'subsistence' and move towards 'market-oriented' growth. Some thought that land reform offered the chance to 'decongest' the communal areas, and allowing those left behind further opportunities, moving the communal areas from 'reserves' to productive areas as land became available. Still others argue that we need to understand the relationships between communal areas and old and new resettlements, both A1 and A2 in an area if the real economic benefits of land reform are to be realised.

All of these debates are relevant as discussions unfold about how to support agriculture and rural development after land reform. For example, major investments by donors – including for example the UK's Department for International Development in partnership with FAO and others – have premised their programme's design on assumptions about agrarian structure, patterns of accumulation, and the opportunities for investment and growth between different types of farmers and different areas. So solid data on what is going on where and what the potentials are really does matter.

In the 1990s, Bill Kinsey and colleagues did systematic studies between the now 'old resettlements' and communal areas, and found that those given resettlement lands fared significantly better on most criteria, although there were some interesting contrasts too.

So, what is the story for the 2000s resettlements in Masvingo province? As ever, the story is complex.

There are clear limitations with our survey (sample size, comparability, lack of counterfactual of no exits to resettlements and so on), but we believe there is some interesting evidence that emerges. In our analysis we concentrated on the comparison between the communal area sites and the A1 villagised/'informal' sites in our larger sample. These seemed to be the most relevant groups to compare, as 62% of new settlers in our sample in these sites came from nearby communal areas. This was less in the A2 and A1 self-contained sites which had 12% and 39% respectively.

In the next few weeks on this blog, I will present some of the headline results under some different headings: people and places, focusing on demography, household composition and movements; land and cropping, focusing on land sizes and crop production; asset accumulation, focusing on asset ownership and investment, including of livestock; and off-farm income and diversification, focusing on the range of other income activities people are engaged in, including reliance on remittances.

We are writing this up more formally as a journal article, but in the meantime we thought blog readers would like a taste of the results. So please do check in each Monday for the next month for an update.

This post was written by Ian Scoones and originally appeared on Zimbabweland

The on-going Masvingo study research is conducted by Ian Scoones, Blasio Mavedzenge, Felix Murimbarimba and Jacob Mahenehene.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Antibiotics: avoiding a return to the dark ages of medicine

Sean-Warren / iStockphoto
Sean Warren, iStockphoto
Listeners to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme woke up yesterday to Prime Minister David Cameron’s prediction of a return to the “dark ages of medicine” if the problem of growing antibiotic resistance is left unchecked.

This doomsday scenario is one where routine infections which we have come to think of as treatable nuisances, are once again life threatening; where modern medical procedures such as cancer treatment and surgery, threaten patient’s lives by leaving them vulnerable to untreatable infections instead of extending and improving lives. This is scary stuff. And scarier still is the fact that most agree it is not scaremongering. Indeed, it is already happening. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control looked at five well known antibiotic resistant bacteria and estimated that they alone caused 25,000 deaths a year in Europe.

Today Mr Cameron announced an independent review into how to tackle the global resistance problem; as penicillin was a British invention, it was fitting, he said, that Britain should now provide leadership. He defined the challenge as consisting of three elements: evolving resistance, the lack of development of new antibiotics and the over use of existing antibiotics.

The first is an unavoidable process, due to natural selection, which can be influenced but not stopped. On this, the focus on drugs should not detract from the importance of sanitation and infection control; one way to influence the development of resistance is to influence the rate of infection. Worryingly, there are currently huge gaps in what we know about the levels of resistance around the world.

The second element is tricky too. The golden age of drug production is long gone and getting effective drugs to market is expensive and uncertain. Pharmaceutical companies argue that they face limited returns on their investment as not only are antibiotics poor money-spinners (being short-course and low cost treatments), but it is likely that sales of new drugs will be restricted as governments try to regulate their use more strictly. Still, new business models for research and development are plausible and already being negotiated.

The third element, drug use, is potentially the most complex and challenging of all. Inappropriate drug use is a problem the world over and key will be finding ways to regulate the consumption of medicine. Any British leadership on this issue must consider that, in contrast to the highly regulated NHS or European health system models, people in many Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) access healthcare through disorganised and unregulated markets, with the poor in particular relying on informal providers.

In these markets the use of antibiotics is rife, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) reporting they account for 40- 50% of prescriptions. Stopping ‘irrational’ and ‘inappropriate’ use of antibiotics is a common refrain. Yet these labels detract from the many risks and uncertainties which people and healthcare providers weigh up when deciding on treatment, often in the absence of diagnostics. Faced with high and dangerous disease burdens, and with limited access to good quality health services and products, using these medicines presumptively is understandable, and at times beneficial. Indeed it was not long ago that the WHO was recommending presumptive treatment of malaria in endemic regions.

The crux of the issue is the access/excess balance. How can you regulate in a way which ensures essential medicines are available when needed, but are not overused so that they become ineffective? This also involves a trade off between individual and societal needs. The availability of cheap generic drugs to hard to reach populations through informal channels has undoubtedly reduced morbidity. It has been suggested that the impressive reductions in child and maternal mortality in Bangladesh can be attributed to increased access to antibiotics to fight infections. Top down responses such as tightly restricting the availability of antibiotics, to only formal providers for instance (if that was even possible), may adversely affect the poor and vulnerable who face barriers accessing such services. As such they may also work against key development goals like reducing maternal mortality or achieving universal health coverage.

Work by colleagues in the STEPS Centre has highlighted the ways in which regulation must be appropriate for local realities. The informal sector is both problematic and potentially a life line. Attempts to ensure access and also limit antibiotic resistance must take the significant role they play in health systems into account. At the Institute of Development Studies we are partnering with organisations in LMICs who have longstanding relationships with these informal health providers in order to understand the local contexts of drug use more fully.

By Annie Wilkinson, post doctorate researcher, IDS