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Land Reform, Natural Resources Governance and Food Security: Message from and to Africa and Beyond

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Type: Book Chapter
Author: Matondi, Prosper B.
Book Title: Looking Back, Looking Ahead - Land, Agriculture and Society in East Africa
Publisher: Nordic Africa Institute
Location: Uppsala, Sweden
Page(s): 209-224
Date: 2015
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/9956
Sector: Land Tenure & Use
Region: Africa
Abstract: "I have been a student, mentee and colleague of Kjell Havnevik for some 17 years. In those close to two decades of professional relationship, we have shared many thoughts on land reform, natural resource governance and food security in Africa. He has been a top scholar and Africanist who believes that these subjects are of such importance they should be part of the world’s scholarship, policy and practical discourse. His contribution as a teacher for many generations has been outstanding, and I am both fortunate and privileged to have been one of his close students ‒ even now, mid-career, when I am trying to make a contribution and a difference. I work in the same area, not by coincidence, but because I believe there have to be some ideological shifts on these matters. For Kjell, the underlying questions and issues include what type(s) of governance institutions and mechanisms will lead to improved livelihood outcomes and environmental sustainability in rural Africa? It is this my chapter seeks to address. This is not an easy question to answer, yet it must be answered in several ways. First, by understanding the local knowledge and capital base, and opportunities or collective action/institutional development for strengthening the productive capacity of fractured households and communities. Second, by enhancing the adaptive capacity of communities to climate change and emerging market opportunities and risks (technical, technological, climatic and social aspects). Third, by examining the impact of land grabbing on livelihood strategies and rural dynamics (labour shortage for agriculture, impact on access to and use of natural resources, on gender, on property rights of affected segments and on family and social values and safety nets). Fourth, natural resource governance must achieve a balance between rural life improvement and environmental sustainability. Fifth, production and markets (formal and informal) must be governed to achieve rural improvement (labour productivity, technology, innovations, institutions, pro-poor market development). Sixth, governance mechanisms should be in place to promote African agency (promoting sound policies and institutions at all levels, countering ill-devised policies and mitigating the negative impacts of globalisation on rural livelihoods and on the management of natural resources)."

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