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New publication | On whose land is the city to be built? Farmers, donors and the urban land question in Beira city, Mozambique

New article published by Murtah Shannon, Kei Otsuki, Annelies Zoomers (Utrecht University) and Mayke Kaag (African Studies Centre Leiden) — “On whose land is the city to be built? Farmers, donors and the urban land question in Beira city, Mozambique”

A new era of global interventionism in African cities is emerging, the implications of which for existing claims to urban space are poorly understood. This is particularly true for the claims of farmers. Despite being a ubiquitous feature of many African cities, urban agriculture broadly exists in a conceptual limbo between rurality and urbanity, largely invisible to urban governance and substantive scholarship. Based on the case of Beira, Mozambique, in this article we make urban agriculture empirically and conceptually visible within the context of emerging debates on the urban land question in Africa. Through a historical–political analysis, we demonstrate how urban farming has constituted a distinct feature of Beira’s urbanism, which has evolved amidst successive and contradictory state-land regimes. Moving to the present day, we demonstrate how a new urban regime has emerged out of a coalition of municipal leaders and international donors with the aim of erasing all traces of urban agriculture from the city through urban ‘development’. The findings demonstrate that there is a need for a better understanding of the manifold claims to urban space, outside of slum urbanism alone, in contemporary land rights debates. We conclude by arguing that there is a need for a substantive land rights agenda that transcends the prescriptive categories of urbanism and rurality by focusing instead on the universal land question.

Journal of Peasant Studies | Impact Factor

Web of Science released its 2020 Journal Citation Reports in late June. The Journal of Peasant Studies has an Impact Factor of 4.959, ranking 1/41 in Development Studies and 1/90 in Anthropology. In order to thank the authors, reviewers and readers they are offering free access to the articles below to mark such an accomplishment. 

(1) Rural public health systems and accountability politics; insights from grassroots health rights defenders in Guatemala, Fischer-Mackey, J., Batzin, B., Culum, P., & Fox, J.

(2) Interview with João Pedro Stédile, national leader of the MST-Brazil, Sergio Sauer.

(3) Does China’s ‘going out’ strategy prefigure a new food regime?, Philip McMichael.

(4) Does the Arab region have an agrarian question?, Max Ajl. 

(5) Growing farmer-herder conflicts in Tanzania: the licenced exclusions of pastoral communities interests over access to resources, William John Walwa.

(6) Rural revitalization, scholars, and the dynamics of the collective future in China, Hairong Yan, Ku Hok Bun & Xu Siyuan. 

(7) The Long New Deal, Raj Patel & Jim Goodman. 

(8) Mosaics of property: control of village land in West Africa, Matthew D. Turner & Oumarou Mounouni. 

(9) The United Nations Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas, Priscilla Claeys & Marc Edelman. 

(10) Automated agrifood futures: robotics, labor and the distributive politics of digital agriculture, Michael Carolan. 

(11) Who will tend the farm? Interrogating the ageing Asian farmer, Jonathan Rigg, Monchai Phongsiri, Buapun Promphakping, Albert Salamanca & Mattara Sripun. 

(12) Repairing rifts or reproducing inequalities? Agroecology, food sovereignty, and gender justice in Malawi, Rachel Bezner Kerr, Catherine Hickey, Esther Lupafya & Laifolo Dakishoni. 

(13) Chinese state capitalism and neomercantilism in the contemporary food regime: contradictions, continuity and change, Paul Belesky & Geoffrey Lawrence. 

(14) Power and powerlessness in an Appalachian Valley – revisited, John Gaventa.

(15) The digital revolution, data curation, and the new dynamics of food sovereignty construction, Alistair Fraser. 

(16) Capital, labor, and gender: the consequences of large-scale land transactions on household labor allocation, Reem Hajjar, Alemayehu N. Ayana, Rebecca Rutt, Omer Hinde, Chuan Liao, Stephanie Keene, Solange Bandiaky-Badji & Arun Agrawal. 

(17) ‘Civilizing’ the pastoral frontier: land grabbing, dispossession and coercive agrarian development in Ethiopia, Asebe Regassa, Yetebarek Hizekiel & Benedikt Korf. 

(18) The incursions of extractivism: moving from dispersed places to global capitalism, Ye, J., van der Ploeg, J. D., Schneider, S., & Shanin, T. 

(19) Meeting peasants where they are: cultivating agroecological alternatives in neoliberal Guatemala, Nicholas Copeland. 

(20) Why do pastoralists in Mali join jihadist groups? A political ecological explanation, Tor A. Benjaminsen & Boubacar Ba. 


Landesa | Policy Recommendations for Climate Action Through Land Tenure Security

Landesa has released a new policy brief detailing the ways that stronger land rights for people living in rural areas can improve climate mitigation efforts, contribute to the success of Community Forest Groups, encourage adoption of Climate Smart Agriculture, and create opportunities for women to invest in their land.

According to researchers, the world lost 46,000 square miles of forest in 2019, which is roughly an area the size of a soccer field every six seconds. These forests shelter a vast amount of plant and animal species, offer livelihoods for indigenous and local communities, and store carbon necessary to mitigate climate change, and the destruction of them is preventable. With strong land rights, women and men across the globe can slow down deforestation and contribute to restoring forests.

Please click here to read the full policy brief. 

LANDdialogue | Pilot Brazil-Netherlands on LAND

LANDdialogue will start a pilot on a new way of working to find alternative and innovative solutions to accurate land related issues or dilemma’s, or to potential opportunities, since…

If you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve been getting.”

The pilot is a Dutch-Brazilian case effort, and will start at the end of August.

Please note this is a very different approach from a tender-procedure; we will run innovative ideas that are fit-for-purpose, through a process to see whether they also have enough support and power to be actually implemented. Then, they will be tested on viability and impact, and we will assist in seeking alternative ways of financing the idea.

The current lock-down, and freezing of a lot of business activities in Brazil, is not necessarily contributing to obtaining the best results to deal with the challenging Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental (PESTLE)-factors in place and a diversity of actors at all levels.

The pilot-approach will be launched soon… Please send an email to; process facilitator LANDdialogue. Notify your interest, and if possible, please also  indicate your area of expertise, your interest, and possibly whether you have alternative and innovative ideas that are specific-specific to challenging circumstances in Brazil.

This pilot is supposed to generate a new energy. To create creativity. And to alternate a different way of thinking, learning and working together. Hope to meet and greet you soon, Alke

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation | Call for Proposals

The Global Programme Food Security of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is looking for innovative initiatives to contribute to food systems’ improvements and transformative and sustainable impacts on poor people. In order to do so the SDC launches four Calls for Proposals on: 1) Human rights in food systems; 2) Promoting responsible (VGGT compliant) land-based investment practices; 3) Agrobiodiversity for food security and nutrition; 4) Nutrition in secondary cities.

Read more on all the calls for proposals here. Please click here to download the Call for Proposals on Promoting responsible (VGGT compliant) land-based investment practices.

Deadline: 28 August 2020

Arab Land Initiative | Call for Proposals

The Arab Land Initiative is pleased to share with you a call for proposals for research projects on land governance in the Arab Region, issued by the Urban Training and Studies Institute as part of the Arab Land Initiative.

This call for research grants addresses students and young land professionals interested in conducting research on land governance-related topics in one or several countries of the Arab region. The call seeks to promote interest in land-related research and to gather innovative ideas and approaches by supporting and motivating future academic and professional leaders in the field of land governance. It is open to Masters and PhD students with interest in land management and land-related topics in one or several countries in the Arab region, land professionals and practitioners working on land related projects in the Arab region and young scholars working in universities or other relevant research institutions conducting research dealing with land issues.

The deadline for submission of abstracts is Wednesday 15 July 2020.

See here a link to the web page and find more information in the attachment.

Brief aan leden LANDdialoog COVID-19

In Dutch

Het Organiserend Comité van de LANDdialoog heeft op 15 mei een brief verstuurd aan haar leden. Hierin geeft zij haar advies over een vijftal punten rondom landrechten gedurende en na de COVID-19 pandemie. 

Deze adviezen zijn enerzijds instrumenteel, waarbij de Nederlandse spelers wordt verzocht hun hulp, alsmede hun positie (economisch, sociaal en politiek) te gebruiken om kracht bij te zetten aan de zo zorgvuldig opgebouwde naleving van landrechten. Anderzijds vormen landrechten het fundament voor de opbouw na COVID-19. Het is juist nu van cruciaal belang dat landrechten en landgebruik beschermd blijven en meegenomen worden in de vormgeving van de nieuwe ontwikkelingssamenwerking en hulp na de pandemie.

De komende tijd zal de LANDdialoog op deze punten acties gaan ondernemen met haar relevante leden. LANDRECHTEN zijn cruciaal.


IIED | Blog: Stopping land and policy grabs in the shadow of COVID-19

Lorenzo Cotula, principal researcher in IIED’s Natural Resources research group, has published a new blog.

In this blog, Cotula argues that reports suggest the COVID-19 fallout is providing opportunities for elites to seize lands and rewrite regulations. We need effective responses to secure land rights and lay the foundations for a just recovery.

LANDac | Online Encounter 2020 Preliminary Programme Available

The preliminary programme of the LANDac Online Encounter 2020 is now available on our website! Download the programme here.

LAND-at-scale | Programme Update

RVO (Netherlands Enterprise Agency) is pleased to share an update regarding the second call for project ideas for the LAND-at-scale programme.

LAND-at-scale received 25 new ideas from 19 different countries. These new ideas are now being reviewed and ranked by the LAND-at-scale committee in close collaboration with embassies. This means that LAND-at-scale’s portifolio might grow even more in the coming month.

At the same time, LAND-at-scale is working hard to reduce the effect of COVID-19 on the programme activities, together with its embassies, the LAND-at-scale committee and other partner institutions. They are committed to avoiding too many delays. However, the health and safety of their partners come first.

Read the full programme update here.