The latest (big) numbers on land grabs, and some powerful case studies

September 22, 2011

Introducing Growbag, a round up of new research on food, farming and climate by guest blogger Richard King

August 5, 2011

Will the 2012 Earth Summit be a flop? Guest post from Sarah Best

August 2, 2011

Living on a spike – how are high food prices actually experienced by people living in poverty?

June 22, 2011

GROW: Oxfam’s new Global Campaign

June 1, 2011

An effective public campaign (on palm oil)

June 29, 2010
You know you’ve had an impact when the Economist devotes three pages to your campaign, so hats off to Greenpeace and the other organizations featured in this week’s spread on palm oil. Here are some excerpts: “Palm oil is a popular, cheap commodity, which green activists are doing their best to turn into a commercial liability. Companies are finding them

What should Oxfam be doing on renewables? Your advice, please

June 16, 2010
Wisdom of crowds time. We’re doing some thinking on renewable energy and energy poverty (which affects about 1.5-2bn people), and thought we’d pick your brains. My colleague John Magrath has written this guest blog as an opener, and I’ll run a few posts on energy-related issues over the next few days. Over to John: As an NGO we’ve never done

Successful Green Industrial Policy – Brazilian biofuels

May 11, 2010
The highly polarized debate on the role of industrial policy in development is dominated by discussions of the East Asian tigers, so good to see a discussion from another continent on what makes for successful state intervention – Brazil and biofuels. Here’s the highlights from a recent article by Tarun Khanna of the Harvard Business School and Santiago Mingo of

A good new update on land grabs

August 12, 2009
Two very good summaries of the state of play on the spate of ‘land grabs’ which came to prominence last year with Daewoo’s attempts to acquire half of Madagascar (for free) on a 99 year lease (see previous overview and Daewoo blogs ). A July paper from the International Land Coalition argues that the problem goes beyond food: ‘not only

What’s different about the current spate of land grabs in poor countries?

May 27, 2009
This week’s Economist has an excellent overview of the issues surrounding what it calls ‘outsourcing’s third wave’ (the first two were manufacturing and services) – deals in which foreign investors are buying up huge tracts of land in poor countries to produce food to ship back home (see map). Some highlights: Saudi investors are spending $100m to lease land from the

What would feminist GM crops look like?

May 14, 2009
I was in a conversation on genetically modified crops with a feminist economist and a leading ecologist the other day (Chatham House rules, so no names, alas). As often happens, the unusual combination of disciplines led to some thought-provoking exchanges. After lamenting the way most new biotech and GM research is top down and biased towards both rich country agriculture

Is the world running out of water?

April 20, 2009
Excellent overview of water scarcity in last week’s Economist. Here are a few highlights ‘The overthrow of Madagascar’s president in mid-March was partly caused by water problems—in South Korea. Worried by the difficulties of increasing food supplies in its water-stressed homeland, Daewoo, a South Korean conglomerate, signed a deal to lease no less than half Madagascar’s arable land to grow