Global Food Studies continues to support the capacity building of our students to develop their research and professional skills and develop their networks. The activities are being tailored to the specific needs of our students. One of the research activities that can provide opportunities for students to not only present and get feedback on their research; but also contribute to development policy discussion is conference attendance.
Our Master of Global Food and Agricultural Business (MGFAB) Seth Offei attended the DevNet Biennial Conference 2014 from 27th – 29th November, 2014. The conference was jointly organised by the Aotearoa New Zealand International Development Studies Network (DevNet) and the University of Otago, New Zealand and was held at the University of Otago’s Dunedin campus. Seth’s participation was supported by travel assistance from the AusAid. Seth reported his conference participation.
Student research highlights the importance of raising land grabbing awareness among policy makers:
The theme of the conference was “From Vulnerability to Resilience: Partnership For Development”. The conference brought together a network of academics, non-government organizations (NGOs), development practitioners, students and other stakeholders for exchange of ideas, information on research findings.
It stimulated thinking for the future reflecting on issues such as land scarcity and food security issues, climate change and adaptation, natural resource management, aid and the changing role of donors, sustainability in the post 2015 development agenda.
One of the key challenges being discussed at the conference was finding new and innovative approaches to mitigating these vulnerabilities to ensure greater resilience for communities and individuals in the Global South.
A key feature of the DevNet Conferences is the mix of papers from a broad spectrum of its participants involved in development.
Personally, with the guidance of Prof. Randy Stringer, I presented my work on “Land Grabbing and Sustainable Agriculture in Ghana”.
My presentation talked about a phenomenon involving large-scale cross-border acquisition of land that has gained much discussion since the 2007-2008 global food crisis. I highlighted the importance of raising awareness among policy-makers on the adverse impacts of land grabbing (in particular the magnitude of arable land loss) and the practice’s threat to sustainable agriculture. For instance according to Boamah (2014), despite the surge in large-scale land deals for biofuels investments in Ghana, the Draft Biofuels Policy (2005), Ghana Energy Commission, 2011a and Ghana Energy Commission, 2011b developed by Ghanaian governments failed to address key issues such as land acquisitions processes, biofuels markets and government incentives that are critical for biofuels development.
My study recommends the need to develop a universal land valuation market through strong international collaboration to standardize land administration to prevent cheap sales and avoid exploitation.
*Read other student’s research and internship on land grabbing in Nigeria: here
Boamah, F. (2014). Imageries of the contested concepts “land grabbing” and “land transactions”: Implications for biofuels investments in Ghana, Geoforum 54, 324-334.
*Seth’s submission to GFS Blog was edited by Risti Permani. Usual disclaimer applies.