CFP: The new harvest. Agrarian policies and rural transformation in Southern Africa, Bologna, March 13th, 2015

Joan Wardrop's picture


Dear Colleagues,

It is a pleasure for us inviting you to the forthcoming international workshop ‘The New Harvest. Agrarian Policies and Rural Transformation in Southern Africa’, which will take place in Bologna on March 13th 2015. Please find the conference abstract and program below.


Southern Africa is currently undertaking significant transformations whose trajectory is affected by the legacy of colonialism, as well as by contradictory rural development policies aimed at strengthening local agriculture and rural livelihoods. Although with different characteristics, all of the countries in the region are implementing land reform programmes. Land policies draw heavily on a neoliberal framework, which currently informs two opposing and at the same time overlapping dynamics: on the one hand, processes of land grabbing by private and public sector actors, including local and national elites; on the other hand, policies aiming to strengthen smallholder agriculture and the recognition of customary rights to land. Both dynamics add layers of complexity to rural development implementation, including issues of food security in the countryside. Contextually, the contradictory impact of the radical land reform programme in Zimbabwe led to new debates conceptualising food security as food sovereignty. By using this analytical lens, the conference will discuss the impact of rural development policies on patterns of agrarian transformation through a number of themes, such as access to land and resources, food security, democratisation, the emergence of new conflicts and claims to land. By expecting to stimulate broader attention on the topics of the research project PRIN “State, Plurality, Change in Africa”, funded by the Italian Ministry of University, the international conference aims to discuss new research findings through a multidisciplinary perspective. Theoretical contributions, as well as new empirical research will provide critical and innovative views to elucidate long-term patterns of agrarian transformation in Southern Africa.



9:00 Opening addresses

9:45 Morning Session

African peasantries: between local and global transformations

Chair: Pierluigi Valsecchi, University of Pavia

Mario Zamponi, University of Bologna. African peasantry and rural transformations in contemporary Southern Africa

Pauline Peters, Harvard University, Cambridge MA. Land policies, land laws and agricultural development in past and present challenges to rural livelihoods in Africa

Davide Chinigò, University of Bologna. Agrarian transformation, democratisation and land reclamation movements in Southern Malawi

João Carrilho, Observatório do Meio Rural, Maputo. Land law, power and rural development in post-independent Mozambique: some early thoughts

14:30 Afternoon session

The new harvest: between food security and land grabbing

Chair: Federica Guazzini, University for Foreigners of Perugia

Carlos Oya, School of Oriental and African Studies, London. Contract farming, large-scale land deals and agrarian change in Africa

George Lwanda, United Nations Development Programme, Lusaka. Extracting development in Zambia: the potential role of the extractives sector in enhancing agricultural investments and food security

Emmanuel Sulle, Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies, University of Western Cape. The implications of Tanzania’s ‘Agriculture First’ initiative on food security and land grabbing

Gareth James, University of Edinburgh. The expansion of contract farming in Zimbabwe: causes, consequences, and implications for food security


For more information please contact Davide Chinigò

and visit

cross-posted from H-Africa