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Another Countryside is the Weblog page of researchers, staff and associates of the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) at the University of the Western Cape.  PLAAS is a  policy research organization focussing on issues of rural poverty, agrarian change, land reform, agriculture and food security in Southern Africa.   The aim of this website is to educate and to inform debate on these issues, and to do so in a stimulating and provocative way.  Views expressed on this website are the opinions of the authors, and do not reflect the views either of PLAAS or of the University.

You are invited to join in the debate.  Spam, hate speech, personal attacks and off-topic posts will be deleted; otherwise all points of view are welcome here.  Enjoy!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 4 December 2009 7:54 pm

    Congrats to PLAAS for taking this initiative and looking forward to interesting discussions. I wanted to also alert you and readers to an interactive website GRAIN has been maintaining over the past year, focusing on the land grabbing currently happening in Africa, which apart from eroding people’s options for food security, is also undermining land reform. The scale at which this is happening is truly scary.

  2. 4 December 2009 5:52 pm

    Congratulations PLAAS on this blog and the high quality of the articles submitted so far. The challenge we face though is how to broaden this conversation. Blog communities are notoriously insular and there is a danger that the few people who converse with each other other online may also be those who talk to each in the corridor as well.
    This requires that the blog is energetically promoted so that it become the must read for people in the sector and on the continent. So it should feature on your email signatures. Articles should be pushed to people. An sms database could alert people to when a new article is posted. Who knows there may even be some people in the rural development sector on Twittter. Invite some bloggers who can stir things up in a thought provoking way. Challenge the weary complacency that has gripped so many and the blog will fly.

  3. 12 November 2009 11:11 pm

    I would like to congratulate PLAAS for creating this Weblog, and to hope that it shall generate debate and feedback on issues of rural poverty, agrarian change, land reform, agriculture, food security and sustainable management of the environment and natural resources, not just in Southern Africa but across the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa. Those of us living further North have a lot to learn from the experiences of South Africa specifically and Southern Africa generally.

    In my country Kenya, the spectre of “another Zimbabwe” is proving to be both the incentive and the disincentive for land policy reform, depending on what side of the debate one is. The Draft National Land Policy is seen by some as the answer to the perennial land question and by others as a recipe for chaos likely to lead us the Zim way. Elite political struggles and ambitions inspired by succession politics ahead of the 2012 elections threaten to roll back the gains of the national land policy formulation process, which for the first time in the history of the country, enabled Kenyans to place the key land issues on the table and attempt to establish a framework for addressing them. Similar discordance in land policy debates are evident across the border in Uganda, Tanzania, and Ethiopia.

    I have spent the last couple of months in Southern Sudan working with the Land Commission to develop regulations for implementation of the Land Act passed by the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly and signed into law by the President of the Government of Southern Sudan in January 2009. The Land Act establishes a separate land law regime and institutional framework for Southern Sudan, different from the pre-existing Khartoum sanctioned system. The challenges of its implementation within a context of post-conflict resettlement, decentralization, strong traditional institutions and diverse customary law regimes across the expanse of the territory, have strong parallels with the situation in post-apartheid South Africa.

    There is therefore a lot of room for sharing and learning from the debates and experience that is embodied in the work of PLAAS and this Weblog. My earnest hope is that it shall provide a forum for practitioners and researchers to share and reflect together on these problems that have relevance across our entire continents. Once again, I congratulate PLAAS and look forward to learning from this important initiative.

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