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  • Author: Jennifer Brown, Tara Flint, Jessca LaMay
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Woodrow Wilson School Journal of Public and International Affairs
  • Institution: Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
  • Abstract: The Global North’s growing demand for fresh pineapple has created a system that is disproportionately profitable for companies and consumers in those countries to the detriment of people living and working in the Global South. Since the mid-1980s the Pineapple Development Corporation (PINDECO), a subsidiary of U.S.-based Del Monte, has established a monopoly over fresh pineapple exports in southern Costa Rica. We conducted pilot research in the municipalities of Buenos Aires and San Isidro del General in 2019, where the majority of PINDECO’s production takes place. PINDECO and the Costa Rican state claim pineapple production is beneficial to national development through its contribution to Costa Rican gross domestic product and employment opportunities, but our research and recent data reveal that in pineapple producing areas in the southwest, poverty levels remain high with worsening water and food security despite PINDECO’s large profit margins. There are numerous human and environmental health concerns linked to pineapple monocropping. Intensive pesticide use often utilizes chemicals that are banned or restricted in the countries they are imported from. PINDECO has been able to evade responsibility for environmental damages and social welfare obligations to employees while maintaining a largely positive public image through a lax regulatory environment and extensive subcontracting structure. This article connects regional socioeconomic issues to the intricate power dynamics and collusion between industry and state. The findings suggest that Costa Rica is not as environmentally conscious and sustainable as its public image portrays, with pockets of profit-driven industries taking precedence over community well-being and environmental sustainability.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, International Trade and Finance, International Development
  • Political Geography: South America, Central America, Costa Rica
  • Author: Jana Herold
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and Peace
  • Abstract: The support of agricultural value chains has become an important approach in German and international development cooperation, not only to promote the economic development of a country but also to contribute to poverty reduction and food security by integrating smallholder farmers into value chains. In consequence, this approach can address a number of goals of the Agenda 2030 for sustainable development. While promoting value chains has great potential to advance sustainable development, it can also have negative effects, particularly for poor and vulnerable population groups. In order for these population groups to be able to benefit from value chain support, they need targeted financial and technical support and bridging assistance. Therefore, the approach should primarily aim at poverty reduction, but also at improving food security, empowering women and sustainable natural resource management. The main challenges of the value chain approach are insufficient access to agricultural inputs, markets and agricultural credits and the lack of entrepreneurial know-how for market-oriented production. Overall, the INEF research on agricultural value chains shows that their promotion should always start with primary production, as this is the basis for any further added value. However, the land use rights of the population eligible for support, especially women, should be clarified before any investment is made. Another critical point that any support for value chains should take into account is a country's physical infrastructure. It is necessary to connect both primary production and processing to markets. The integration of smallholder farmers into value chains is particularly viable via primary production. In order to include resource-poor farmers into value chains as well, these should be actively supported at the beginning of the project, among other things through training in market-oriented production. Furthermore, access to financial services and bridging assistance as well as to agricultural inputs is of key importance, especially at the beginning of the growing season, and particularly when market-oriented production is started for the first time. Access to credits can be facilitated by organising in cooperatives. Furthermore, this form of organisation makes it possible to bundle resources and strengthen negotiating power vis- à-vis buyers. In order to ensure that smallholder farmers can continue to supply themselves with food, especially at the start of operations, a sole focus on cash crops should be avoided and instead healthy staple foods should also be promoted. To support sustainable production, the support of value chains should always include natural resource management measures. This can increase productivity and, compared to previous practice, at the same time achieve a more ecologically sustainable cultivation of the land. In this context, secured land use rights, especially for women, provide additional incentives for farmers to invest in their fields. The studies also show that the processing of local agricultural products and commercially harvested products offers income-generating activities especially for women. In this context, locally adapted partial mechanisation is important in order to increase production efficiency without displacing women from further processing.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Natural Resources, Food Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Fiona Mangan, Igor Acko, Manal Taha
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Coffee production is a fairly small part of the Central African Republic's economy, but it plays an outsize role in the country's ongoing conflict. Armed militia groups that hold sway over the country's main coffee growing regions and trade routes reap millions of dollars in funding to sustain their operations. This report discusses how understanding the political economy of conflict in the Central African Republic can help national and international stakeholders break the cycle of violence.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Natural Resources, Economy, Conflict, Violence
  • Political Geography: Africa, Central African Republic
  • Author: Loïc Bisson
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: In the Sahel, market closures, border closures and movement restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19 have disrupted the structurally weak pastoral sector, already made vulnerable by conflict. There are several signs of the negative impacts of COVID-19, such as difficulties in moving food and people, poor access to markets, rising food prices and loss of livelihoods. In Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad, the pandemic adds to ongoing problems of conflict and political instability. The threat to pastoralists is to lose their herds through overgrazing, zoo-sanitary diseases or lack of income to feed the animals. If pastoralists go bankrupt, they could be forced to sell their livestock at devastatingly low prices to large landholders or wealthy neo-pastoralists. This scenario would aggravate an already-growing trend in the region – escalating economic inequality and the consolidation of wealth among an elite. This risks fuelling inequality and deepening existing fault lines. The priority for Sahelian governments should be clear: keep food coming and people moving, and develop a post-COVID-19 strategy to tackle the vulnerabilities revealed by the pandemic.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Poverty, Conflict, Pastorialism, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sahel
  • Author: Graeme Blair, Darin Christensen, Aaron Rudkin
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Empirical Studies of Conflict Project (ESOC)
  • Abstract: Scholars of the resource curse argue that reliance on primary commodities destabilizes governments: price fluctuations generate windfalls or periods of austerity that provoke or intensify civil conflict. Over 350 quantitative studies test this claim, but prominent results point in different directions, making it difficult to discern which results reliably hold across contexts. We conduct a meta-analysis of 46 natural experiments that use difference-in-difference designs to estimate the causal effect of commodity price changes on armed civil conflict. We show that commodity price changes, on average, do not change the likelihood of conflict. However, there are cross-cutting effects by commodity type. In line with theory, we find price increases for labor-intensive agricultural commodities reduce conflict, while increases in the price of oil, a capital-intensive commodity, provoke conflict. We also find that price increases for lootable artisanal minerals provoke conflict. Our meta-analysis consolidates existing evidence, but also highlights opportunities for future research.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Oil, Natural Resources, Commodities, Armed Conflict
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Tchinda Kamdem Eric Joel, Kamdem Cyrille Bergaly
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: Cameroonian farmers face two tenure systems: a modern regime and a customary regime. These two regimes are perpetually confronting each other, putting farmers in a total uncertainty as to the regime to adopt to ensure the sustainability of their ventures. This study aims to assess the influence of land tenure security on agricultural productivity through credit access. To achieve this goal, a two-stage sampling technique was applied to data from the third Cameroon Household Survey (ECAM 3). The number of farmers selected for the analysis was 602. These data were analysed using descriptive and three-step recursive regression models. The results of the analysis reveal that land tenure security improves agricultural productivity through the credit access it allows. A proof of the robustness of this result has been provided through discussion of the effects of land tenure security in different agro-ecological zones and through a distinction between cash crops and food crops. The overall results confirm that land tenure security positively and significantly influences agricultural productivity. The regression has also shown that the size of the farm defined in one way or another, the perception of farmers on their level of land tenure security and therefore indicates the intensity with which land tenure security influences agricultural productivity. The recorded productivity differential indicates that smallholder farmers, because they keep small farms, feel safer and produce more than those who keep medium-sized farms. The results also show that land tenure security significantly improves the value of production per hectare of food products that are globally imported into Cameroon. Therefore, we recommend that the public authorities promote land tenure security by reinforcing the unassailable and irrevocable nature of land title, but also by easing the conditions of access to it.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Economics, International Political Economy, Economic structure, Economic Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Cameroon
  • Author: Ebaidalla M. Ebaidalla
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: Despite the importance of non-farm income in the livelihood of the rural population in Sudan, information available on its size and determinants is scanty. This study examined the patterns and determinants of decisions to participate in non-farm activities in rural Sudan. It also investigates whether the determinants of participation in non-farm activities vary across agriculture sub-sectors and income groups as well as among males and females. The data for this study was sourced from the Sudanese National Baseline Household Survey (NBHS) conducted by Sudan’s Central Bureau of Statistics in 2009. The results show that non-farm income is a crucial source of livelihood, contributing about 43% to household income in rural Sudan. The results of multinomial logit and probit estimation methods indicate that educational level, mean of transportation, lack of land and lack of access to formal credit are the most significant factors that push rural farmers to participate in non-farm activities. Surprisingly, the effect of household income was positive and significant, implying that individuals from rich households have higher opportunity to engage in non-farm activities compared to their poor counterparts. Moreover, the analysis revealed some symptoms of gender and location disparities in the effect of factors that influence participation in non-farm activities. The study concluded with some recommendations that aim to enhance the engagement in non-farm activities as an important diversification strategy to complement the role of the agriculture sector in improving rural economy in Sudan.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Economics, Rural
  • Political Geography: Sudan
  • Author: Reuben Adeolu Alabi, Oshobugie Ojor Adams
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)
  • Abstract: This study examined the impacts of the e-wallet fertilizer subsidy scheme on quantity of fertilizer use, crop output and yield in Nigeria. The study made use of the Nigeria General Household Survey (GHS)-Panel Datasets of 2010/2011 and 2012/2013 which contain 5,000 farming households in each of the panel. We applied relevant evaluation techniques to analyse the data. The results of the impact analysis demonstrate that the scheme has generally increased the yield, crop output and quantity of fertilizer purchase of the participating farmers by 38%, 47%, and 16%, respectively. The study concludes that increased productivity, which the scheme engenders, can help to reduce food insecurity in Nigeria. Provision of rural infrastructure, such as good road network, accessibility to mobile phones, radio, etc., will increase accessibility of the small-scale farmers to the scheme or any other similar agricultural schemes in Nigeria.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Economics, Income Inequality, Economic growth, Rural
  • Political Geography: Africa, Niger
  • Author: Sarah Townsend
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Cairo Review of Global Affairs
  • Institution: School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, American University in Cairo
  • Abstract: When Gulf nations face food, security, and water scarcity issues, one response is to seek lucrative agricultural investments in fertile African lands. Yet, while such deals can bring benefits to the countries involved, there are also sizeable risks.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Water, Food, Food Security, Business
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Julius Tsal
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: In 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi initiated people-to-people (P2P) exchanges to the United States for agricultural scientists and university leaders from the Russian-occupied Georgian territory of Abkhazia. An initial study tour in the spring of 2018 focused on mitigating the devastating agricultural damage from the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB), and a second tour in the fall of 2018 focused on higher education leadership. Despite political sensitivities and logistical hurdles, such people-to-people programs increase participants’ understanding of the United States and give them an unbiased, first-hand experience of American civil society, its culture of innovation and democratic values. For otherwise isolated Abkhaz thought leaders, these experiences directly counter Russian anti-Western propaganda and demonstrate the benefits of Georgia’s pro-Western choice.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Civil Society, Imperialism, Propaganda
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Eastern Europe, Georgia, North America