Another Countryside

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Katlego Ramantsima: Land tenure school for activists a success

By Katlego Ramantsima From 16 to 24 February, the Institute for Poverty Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) joined Tshisimani Centre for Activists, Ntinga Ntaba kaNdoda (Ntinga), Border Rural Committee (BRC), Land and Accountability Research Centre (LARC) and the Trust for Community Outreach Education (TCOE) in co-organising a land tenure school to support marginalised rural communities and land activists in the…
PLAAS
March 19, 2020
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Wytske Chamberlain and Karin Kleinbooi: Southern African governments fail smallholder farmers in their commitments made in the Malabo Declaration

In 2014, the African Union (AU) member states adopted the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods (the Malabo Declaration). This declaration provides direction to transform the agricultural sector in Africa for the period 2015-2025 within the wider framework of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). It is an essential document that…
PLAAS
March 12, 2020
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Andries du Toit: Beyond the “populist” challenge

PLAAS recently reposted three thought-provoking blog posts exploring progressive  responses to  the new wave of ‘populist’  politics that has risen to prominence since 2015:  Ian Scoones’s overview of the activities of the Emancipatory Rural Politics Initiative, and Brian Levy’s reflections on the ‘four moral challenges’ of populist discourse, and on the nature of appropriate responses to the antagonistic and confrontational…
PLAAS
February 6, 2020
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Brian Levy: Combat fire not with fire, but non-violent resistance

How to fight back against toxic populism? In the spirit of standing up against bullies, a natural tendency is to fight fire with fire. But is this the right response? A few years ago, this question might have seemed to be largely of historical interest—an exploration of, say, whether different tactics by Germany’s left and centre-left might have slowed the…
PLAAS
January 31, 2020
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Brian Levy: Learning from populism–four moral struggles

While I’ve not become a born-again populist, a sea change in the tenor of political discourse has led me to explore some uncomfortable terrain: What might be usefully be learned for the task of democratic renewal from the resurgence of populism in country after country? I have come to understand that the health of societies and polities depends on modes…
PLAAS
January 31, 2020
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Euclides Gonçalves: Corridors Miniseries–Agricultural Commercialisation along Mozambique’s Growth Corridors

People cannot eat gas, oil or coal Since he took office in 2015, president Filipe Nyusi has sought to redirect the attention of Mozambicans, from the prospect of wealth associated with the exploration of natural resources, to increasing agricultural production and productivity. In his words: “the people do not eat gas, oil or eat coal.” Along the Beira and Nacala…
PLAAS
January 21, 2020
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Emmanuel Sulle: Corridors Miniseries: Accumulation and Contested Commercialisation in Tanzania

Tanzania, like many other African countries, needs significant investment in agriculture to achieve key development goals—poverty alleviation, economic growth and industrialisation, food security and improved nutrition. Since the late 2000s, the Tanzanian government, in partnership with donor agencies and the private sector, launched several initiatives, including the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT). This is a public-private partnership aimed…
PLAAS
January 21, 2020
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Ngala Chome: Corridors Miniseries–Anticipating Lamu’s New Corridor on Kenya’s Coast

The day starts early in Lamu, an ancient archipelago on Kenya’s northern coast. Fishermen, sailors and boat makers can be seen striding towards the sea, where moon-powered tides and sea waves are the undisputed masters. Hours later, their skiffs return from the shallow waters surrounding the mouth of the archipelago on Manda and Pate islands. They approach the main island,…
PLAAS
January 21, 2020
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Ngala Chome et al.: Corridors Miniseries –The Political Economy of Agricultural Growth Corridors in Eastern Africa

Words by Ngala Chome, Euclides Gonsalves, Ian Scoones and Emmanuel Sulle A new wave of agricultural commercialisation is being promoted across Africa’s eastern seaboard, by a broad range of influential actors—from international corporations to domestic political and business elites. Growth corridors, linking infrastructure development, mining and agriculture for export, are central to this, and are generating a new spatial politics as…
Esté Beerwinkel
January 21, 2020
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Ian Scoones: Rural support for authoritarian populism is strong—but another way is possible

The rise of authoritarian populism continues. Now the UK has a fully signed-up version in its new right-wing government, with allies in Trump, Modi, Bolsarano, Orban and others. It is a dangerous, but perhaps inevitable, trend. The soul-searching on the Left after the UK election rather belatedly diagnosed the problem. It has been long in the making—the result of sustained…
Esté Beerwinkel
January 15, 2020