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Africa UK Seminar (Birmingham) - Agricultural Development and the Role of the African Diaspora

Perez Ochieng, Dr Andrew Coulson & Professor Ben Bennett
  • Date: 19 March 2014 Time: 5:00 PM
  • Finishes: 19 March 2014 Time: 7:00 PM
  • Venue: Department of African Studies and Anthropology (DASA),University of Birmingham Room: Danford Room, University of Birmingham
  • Type of Event: 0
As part of the regional events from Africa-UK run by the Centre of African Studies, SOAS, this seminar aims to foster effective dialogue between the Diaspora and decision makers; challenge policy perspectives that neglect realities on the ground; and recognise the crucial role that the Diaspora plays in Africa’s development. Focussing on agricultural development in East Africa, this seminar will engage both the academic and diaspora practitioner perspectives.

We welcome Perez Ochieng, the CEO/Director of Commercialization at Sacoma, an organisation which provides information, advice and guidance linking the diaspora and small-holder famers in sub-Saharan Africa. From the University of Birmingham, Dr Andrew Coulson will bring an academic perspective on the current state of research on agriculture and development in East Africa. And from the Natural Resources Institute at the University of Greenwich, Professor Ben Bennet will present from the European Union funded research project ‘African Food Tradition Revisited by Research’ (AFTER) about 're-engineering' traditional African foods for international markets.
Andrew Coulson worked in the Ministry of Agriculture in Tanzania in the 1960s, taught in the Department of Economics at the University of Dar es Salaam in the 1970s, and then at the Project Planning Centre for Developing Countries in the University of Bradford, England, before coming to Birmingham University in 1984, to the Institute of Local Government Studies. He has an MA and a PhD from the Faculty of Economics and Politics at Cambridge.  His book Tanzania: A Political Economy was published by Oxford University Press in 1982;  a 2nd edition, with a new Introduction, was published in 2013.  In Birmingham, Andrew worked mainly on issues relating to British local government, and for 14 years served as a city councillor.  But since 2009 he has been returning regularly to Tanzania.  He has written papers about the organisation of agricultural research in Tanzania, the policies of Kilimo Kwanza (Agriculture First), and the choices between large and small-scale agriculture - which are highly relevant in the context of land-grabbing in almost all African states.  He is Vice-Chair of the British Chapter of the Britain Tanzania Society.

Professor Ben Bennett has been with the Natural Resources Institute for 24 years, much of it spent overseas as a policy advisor in Namibia and the Philippines. His work has been largely in the field of trade and market economics for tropical commodities in developing countries with a particular focus on aspects of agricultural value chains for novel products. He has undertaken consultancy and research in over 30 countries working on cereals, legumes, horticulture, fisheries, fibres, non-timber forestry products, livestock, oilseeds and industrial crops. Professor Bennett is known for my value chain analysis work on many different commodities as well as market research for primary and secondary products. He has long experience in leading research and consultancy teams including complex evaluations and reviews for major multi-national bodies and donors. He has an interest in the marketing of wild harvested natural products and the relationship between markets and conservation of natural resources. He has supported a number of trade negotiations including SADC, COMESA and SACU and led an international effort to improve Trade Capacity Building, particularly in the area of standards.

Perez Ochieng is the CEO/Director of Commercialization at Sacoma. The organisation works across a range of areas: Information Advice and Guidance (IAG), Training of the workforce, business development and support services by investing in people, places and partnership. Since 1998, the SACOMA ambition has been to pursue excellence and deliver opportunities for all. Together with associated partners in the UK and Africa both in the private, public and voluntary sectors, Sacoma have track record of working with this community for over 12 years, at the forefront of many regeneration initiatives in the UK as well as International Development initiatives of poverty reduction, Trade and investment. In England, Sacoma also works with Government Departments and NGOs to deliver a range of advisory and social support services.  In Kenya, Sacoma has made significant progress encouraging entrepreneurship; especially among the many young men and women who have tremendous potential but lack access to resources.  

This event is free and open to all. Please email to register.


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