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The "context" for smallholder farming is a political ecology of agrarian change

Research output: Contribution to conference Conference paper

Unpublished
Publication date12/07/2017
<mark>Original language</mark>English
EventN8 AgriFood 2017 International Sustainable Food Production Conference - Durham, United Kingdom

Conference

ConferenceN8 AgriFood 2017 International Sustainable Food Production Conference
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityDurham
Period11/07/1713/07/17

Abstract


Keynote II argued that the “context” for smallholder farming has a significant effect on livelihood outcomes and the success of technological interventions. “Context” includes adaptive skill, and a wide set of constraints. African farmers are quite capable of managing their own genetic resources, innovating, finding markets and diversifying livelihood systems in the absence of severe structural constraints, as Paul Richards, Mike Mortimore, Robert Netting and others have argued. But the “constraints” operating in African and Asian farming systems have been magnified in recent decades by large scale land acquisitions, conflicts over land tenure, city growth, environmental challenges and displacement through civil war and rebel groups. Responding to these problems is a necessary precursor to achieving any widespread success through external technical interventions; food security and ‘Climate Smart Agriculture’ first involves recognising, understanding and tackling different forms of vulnerability, and the role of states, corporations and elites in creating it. I develop some ideas about how to do so, based on studies in Timor Leste, Niger, Cameroon and Burkina Faso.