Farming impacts in sub-Saharan Africa

News, 23 April 2015
Three new papers looking at the way in which agriculture is contributing to development in sub-Saharan Africa have been published as part of an ongoing series.

Despite the importance of the agriculture sector in Ethiopia, access to credit is limited (Photo: Morgana Wingard/USAID, Flickr via Creative Commons)

Funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the series seeks to explore the role of agriculture in the context of a changing political and institutional environment, where liberalised markets now dominate.

The three new papers investigate current debates surrounding inward investments and resource grabs, impacts on social relations, and changes and progress in financing. They follow the seven launched last year on World Food Day.

Rural resource grabs or necessary inward investment? The politics of land and water in Africa, by Ruth HallRuth Hall's 'Rural resource grabs or necessary inward investment? The politics of land and water in Africa' explores the messy realities of corporate investment in land and resources in Africa.

It reviews changes in rights to land and water, the growing demand for these resources, and their development outcomes – above all for poor people who depend on these resources for their livelihoods – and analyses the implications for governance and policy.

The social relations of agrarian change, by Dzodzi Tsikata In 'The social relations of agrarian change', Dzodzi Tsikata investigates how the changes in agrarian political economy have affected agrarian social relations – a topic that has not been given full consideration in the literature on land grabbing and agricultural commercialisation.

The paper identifies agreements and contestations about the implications of agrarian change for social relations, particularly those of class, gender and kinship, which are key to the production and reproduction of the agrarian political economy.

Financing agriculture and rural areas in Sub-Saharan Africa: progress, challenges and the way forward, by Richard MeyerRichard Meyer's 'Financing agriculture and rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa: progress, challenges and the way forward' summarises innovations used to improve access to sustainable financial services for agriculture and rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa, assessing their strengths and limitations.

With a special focus on smallholders, the paper examines several examples of new products, delivery channels, and partnerships in the provision of financial services, with special attention to developments with savings groups and financial innovations with mobile phones and ICT.

The series has been commissioned by IIED, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS).

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