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Harnessing Agriculture For Development

Harnessing Agriculture For Development

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Published by Oxfam
This report reflects Oxfam's emphasis on the role of sustainable livelihoods in rural areas, particularly agriculture, in reducing poverty and inequality. It also analyses the main challenges we face in the 21st century: identifying which actors have the power to promote the necessary political changes and setting out the elements of a political agenda able to strengthen an agricultural sector made up of millions of small farmers from around the world. Harnessing Agriculture for Development is the result of a process of consultation with Oxfam teams and counterparts in 10 countries (Burkina Faso, USA, Philippines, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, and Tanzania) involved in developing national awareness-raising and mobilisation campaigns demanding agricultural reform.
This report reflects Oxfam's emphasis on the role of sustainable livelihoods in rural areas, particularly agriculture, in reducing poverty and inequality. It also analyses the main challenges we face in the 21st century: identifying which actors have the power to promote the necessary political changes and setting out the elements of a political agenda able to strengthen an agricultural sector made up of millions of small farmers from around the world. Harnessing Agriculture for Development is the result of a process of consultation with Oxfam teams and counterparts in 10 countries (Burkina Faso, USA, Philippines, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, and Tanzania) involved in developing national awareness-raising and mobilisation campaigns demanding agricultural reform.

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Published by: Oxfam on Apr 12, 2011
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02/08/2013

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Harnessing Agriculture forDevelopment
Arabella Fraser
OXFAMRESEARCHREPORT
 
 
Contents
 
Harnessing Agriculture for Development 
Oxfam International Research Report, September 2009
1
 
Introduction
Harnessing Agriculture for Development
is the result of a process of research andconsultation conducted within Oxfam International from the end of 2007 to mid 2008,before the full impact of the current financial crisis was felt across the developing world.It is being published at a time when we face a particularly uncertain and unstable future,with heightened perceptions of risk, but when we also have a unique opportunity togenerate the kinds of policy change required to achieve a new global balance.For those of us who work to reduce poverty and inequality, it is imperative to supportthe most vulnerable people, those worst hit by the current crisis. Between 2007 and 2008,the food crisis increased the number of hungry people by 119 million, meaning that atotal of more than one billion people around the world are living in hunger in 2009. Thecrisis, which originated with the increase in food prices in late 2007 and the first half of2008, has exposed the structural weaknesses of agricultural, trade and social protectionpolicies. As a result of the food price crisis, the problem of food security has becomemore relevant and has put agriculture back onto the development agenda after years ofneglect. In this sense, it is essential to see the present crisis as a moment of opportunity tomove to a more just model of economic growth and development. At the same time, it isan opportunity to shine a light on practices such as agriculture “outsourcing” that are ofincreasing concern for food security in poor countries that are nevertheless land-rich.Land-grabbing by countries and companies to increase food security in one region orcountry at the potential expense of another, while not new, has received increasedattention as a response to the food price crisis. This highlights the importance of landrights and sustainable access to land for reducing poverty and increasing food security.The purpose of this report is to contribute to the debate on agriculture, firstly withOxfam’s partners on the ground on whose experience it is based, as well as through itspublication and subsequent discussion with other relevant actors in the field ofagricultural policy. The report reflects Oxfam’s emphasis on the role of sustainablelivelihoods in rural areas, in particular through farming, in reducing poverty andinequality. It analyses the main challenges we face in the 21
st
century, identifies whichactors have the power to promote the necessary policy changes, and sets out the elementsof a policy agenda to strengthen the agricultural sector that includes millions of smallfarmers around the world.Both the content of this report and the process of consultation were agreed with Oxfamteams and counterparts in 10 countries involved in developing national campaigns toraise awareness and mobilize to demand agricultural reform. The first draft formed thebasis for consultations with partners in 10 countries (Burkina Faso – regional consultationin West Africa, United States, Philippines, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indonesia,Mexico and Tanzania) and sought inputs from many others, which served to test thereport’s findings against national realities and allowed us to incorporate those nationalexperiences in the final version, improving the paper. In several cases, the consultationsalso became the spark for new campaigns and alliances. As a result, this documentreflects most of the policy change priorities identified in these countries. Thedevelopment and consultation process has also allowed us to identify commonchallenges in different regions, as well as those areas where an Oxfam Internationalcampaign could add value. Each of the areas analysed in the report has great potentialfor combined programme and campaign work and provides strong linkages with tradeand climate change issues.It is worth mentioning some of the issues that emerged during the consultations.Participants stressed that for many communities, the role of agriculture goes beyond theeconomic meaning of ‘livelihood’ to include their whole way of life, something
Harnessing Agriculture for Development 
Oxfam International Research Report, September 2009
2

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