RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2014

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163 Maintaining livelihoods: Perspectives on agriculture, food, fruit and water
Convenor(s) Stephanie Wyse (Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), UK)
Chair(s) Etienne Nel (University of Otago, New Zealand)
Timetable Thursday 28 August 2014, Session 1 (09:00 - 10:40)
Room Sir Alexander Fleming Building, Room 122
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: AC2014@rgs.org
The spatial imaginaries of UK food security research: an examination of a national research programme and research institution initiatives
Carol Morris (University of Nottingham, UK)
Susanne Seymour (University of Nottingham, UK)
Adam Spencer (The University of Nottingham, UK)
There is increasing research interest in the interrelationship between science and the spatial. Beyond Geography there is evidence of a spatial turn in social studies of science while within Geography itself historical analyses of science have more recently begun to be extended by investigation into contemporary science policy and practice. This paper builds on an emerging concern within this latter body of work that explores the spatialities of research programmes and agendas, as distinct from investigations into the site specific practices of science. Specifically, it examines the spatial imaginaries of UK food security research, how these imaginaries help to shape the problem definition of and identified solutions to food provisioning challenges, and the implications of this for other ways of framing these challenges. The focus on the case of food security is justified by the continuing prominence of this framing in food provisioning policy and politics in the UK and the establishment of a major national Global Food Security research programme. Empirically the paper draws on research being conducted in a three year research project entitled ‘Research agendas for food provisioning: UK framing practices and science-policy interactions’, which began in May 2012 and is funded by the Leverhulme Trust. The specific sources utilised are: websites and documents published by the institutions of interest, namely government funded research councils and research based institutions including universities and research institutes; and interviews with national level actors associated with the Global Food Security research programme including research commissioners and other organisations with an interest in this research.
Women and Watershed Management: A Case Study of Khul-Gad Watershed, Uttarakhand, Kumaon Himalaya
Suman Singh (Banaras Hindu University, India)
Watershed programs are recognized as potential engines for agricultural growth and sustainable development in rain-fed areas. Success and sustainability of watershed programs are directly related to collective action for conserving natural resources to enhance crop productivity, livelihoods for sustainable income development and gender equity. Women are key players as managers and direct actors in managing natural resources in the watershed and addressing the household food security. However, often they have passive role in decision-making process because of their low educational levels, social customs, and economic dependence. Women play an important role in the provision, management and safeguarding of water resources. Despite their essential role, they are still being excluded from important public decision making process in water projects often leading to their failure. The main objective of this study is to examine women’s role and participation in water management in Khul-Gad watershed in Kumaon Himalaya, Uttrakhand. The study examines the various obstacles that hinder women’s participation in water management in the region. Women participation awareness on development activities, workload dynamics in watersheds, empowerment of women and decision-making for livelihood activities in Khul-Gad watershed. Similarly, capacity building needs and institutional framework for women empowerment and drivers of sustainable development in this watershed were assessed and analyzed Primary data was collected through focus group discussions and key informant interviews. The data was then analyzed using thematic analysis. The study found that women’s in Khul-Gad experience many obstacles in their roles and participation in watershed management. These obstacles include: social-cultural challenges, economic challenges amongst others. The study recommends a number of inter-related actions that need to be taken to enable the women in Khul-Gad to make their maximum contributions to the watershed management programme.
Economic and Social Upgrading in the South African Fruit Industry: SIZA’s Moment?
David Bek (Newcastle University, UK)
Tony Binns (University of Otago, New Zealand)
In the last two decades the South African fruit industry has considerably deepened and extended its reach within international markets. The value and volume of exports have risen dramatically and industry analysts project that these trends will continue unabated. However, the internal qualities of this growth are open to critical interpretation. The available data suggest that skill levels in South African agriculture are extremely low and lagging behind other sectors, with the corollary that the industry is failing to maximise value-added opportunities and that employment contributes little to broader social transformation. Indeed, labour unrest is an ongoing feature within the agricultural sector, despite a recent 50% increase in the minimum wage for farm work. Proponents argue that a specific focus upon economic and social upgrading within local value chains is required to facilitate these shifts.

It is within this challenging context that the establishment of the SIZA (Sustainability Initiative South Africa) programme is particularly interesting. SIZA was borne out of a multi-stakeholder project led by the fruit industry seeking to overcome social audit overload among local producers. Instead of undergoing multiple audits linked to different retailer requirements, producers are subject to a SIZA inspection which follows an internationally recognised, but locally driven, audit protocol. Capacity building amongst industry players, owners, managers and workers is a core element of SIZA’s remit which links directly with the objective of moving ‘beyond audit compliance’. The paper argues that the ways in which farmworkers are drawn into this process will be instrumental in facilitating upgrading and draws upon Hedberg’s (2013) assertion that it is vital to ‘view workers as active participants with networked and topological power rather than as passive victims in a hierarchical power structure’. The potentialities offered by the SIZA programme are examined in light of a possible systemic shift in the economic and social productivity of the South African fruit industry.
The Challenges of Irrigated Tomatoes Production in Kano State
Ibrahim Adamu Kabuga (Federal College of Education Kano, Nigeria)
The paper examines the challenges of irrigated tomatoes growers in Kano State. The materials used for the study are sourced from newspaper publications, books, internets, field surveys and observation. Questionnaires were also used to sample the opinion of the tomatoes growers on the production of irrigated tomatoes in the state. The “purposive” and “snowball” sampling techniques was used to select knowledgeable individual farmers in the study areas. The sample size was based on a five percent (0.05%) of the identified numbers of tomato farmers. Data analysis was achieved using cross-tabulation, percentages and SWOT analysis. The study reveals that irrigated tomatoes growers in Kano State faces a lot of challenges in the process of tomatoes production. The study offers some recommendations, such as: Establishment of storage facilities on ground in the state; establishment of processing industries in the state and introduction of high yielding varieties of tomatoes seeds, and abolishing the outdated UC 82B seeds.
Formalizing urban agriculture in Africa: Evaluating case study evidence from Sierra Leone and Zambia
Tony Binns (University of Otago, New Zealand)
Etienne Nel (University of Otago, New Zealand)
Urban agriculture (UA) is gaining attention as a key livelihood strategy in the rapidly growing cities of Africa, where the 'urbanization of
poverty' has become a stark reality. UA often plays a key role in ensuring food security, generating income and providing employment. Evidence suggests that the role which UA can play is significantly enhanced in the context of particular urban stress or conflict. Drawing on field evidence from post-conflict Sierra Leone’s capital city, Freetown, and Zambia’s Copperbelt cities, which have suffered a severe economic downturn, it seems
that the incidence and practice of UA has become more widespread and its significance appears to be greater than comparable research has revealed in other African cities. The paper examines organizational systems, tenure challenges, operational constraints and the degree to which UA has taken
on a class dimension. In both Sierra Leone and Zambia the severity of the prevailing economic crisis is such that the authorities have explored ways in which to formalise the process. Their incipient efforts and on the ground challenges are examined and allow for reflection on broader issues of how to support UA more effectively in cities across the developing world.