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Michael Brüntrup

German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

Michael Brüntrup is an agricultural engineer and holds a PhD in agricultural economics. After some year in academics and as a freelance consultant, he works at the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) since 2003. His interests cover topics related to agriculture and rural development, trade policy and food security with a geographical focus on Subsahara Africa. He has worked on several agricultural value chains including cotton, wood, sugar and biofuels, on agricultural and microfinance, large scale land acquisitions and large scale agro-industries and their relations with smallholder farmers and rural areas. More recently, he focuses on integrated food security and resilience against crises in rural areas, particularly on drought policies and strategies.
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publication
Agricultural growth corridors in sub-Saharan Africa – new hope for agricultural transformation and rural development?

Agricultural growth corridors – areas along a central transport line that receive intensive agricultural investments – are a recent approach to economic development in sub-Saharan Africa. Since they are usually planned and managed as strategic private-public partnerships, they promise to bring together expertise, funding and coordination that are usually dispersed and aim to benefit from multiple synergies that arise. There are, however, huge pitfalls to overcome: on the input side the challenges of complex planning and implementation with unequal partners with very different capacities, expectations and time horizons and on the outcome side risks of social exclusion, land grabbing and ecological stress. At the same time, the problems of a conducive environment for agriculture and investment can only partially be overcome by a corridor approach. This chapter brings together literature on geographical approaches to rural development as well as empirical evidence from the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT). A set of policy conclusions is derived, generally keeping up the principles but recommending starting with small units, flexibility of products and partners and seed money for public investments.

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Nucleus-outgrower schemes as an alternative to traditional smallholder agriculture in Tanzania – strengths, weaknesses and policy requirements

The public debate about the right type of agriculture for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) often constructs a dichotomy between smallholders and large-scale agriculture. This over-simplification ignores some important intermediary forms for organising agriculture, including nucleus-outgrower schemes (NOSs). NOSs promise to combine the benefits of both while potentially reducing, though not avoiding, (part of) their drawbacks. This article analyses the conditions under which NOSs are feasible and beneficial for investors, outgrowers and rural development for selected value chains in Tanzania. It is based on an empirical study comprising 276 qualitative interviews with various stakeholders conducted in central Tanzania in spring 2015 on 10 NOSs in three subsectors (rice, sugar cane and tea) in different stages of realisation (planning, establishment, full production and failure or near-failure). The study examines why investments succeed or fail in different stages, the socio-economic impacts and various policies important for their fate. Findings show that there are many challenges to successfully implementing NOSs in Tanzania, including national policies on the business environment, on agriculture in general and on specific subsectors, and, especially, on land issues. Nevertheless, these schemes seem to have considerable potential to support local development, particularly by providing employment and salaries, incomes for outgrower farmers, infrastructure and corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects as compensation for loss of access to land for the community. The specific details of a particular business model influence the opportunities and risks, but no single model seems to be superior; much depends on the subsector structure and the services already available. In general, policies to attract and steer NOSs in Tanzania are not yet sufficiently developed, coordinated or implemented.

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publication
Nucleus-outgrower schemes as an alternative to traditional smallholder agriculture in Tanzania – strengths, weaknesses and policy requirements
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publication
Applying the Water-Energy-Food Nexus to the Charcoal Value Chain

Globally, natural resources are increasingly under pressure, especially due to population growth, economic growth and transformation as well as climate change. As a result, the water, energy, and food (WEF) nexus approach has emerged to understand interdependencies and commonly manage resources within a multi-scale and multi-level framework. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the high and growing consumption of traditional biomass for cooking purposes - notably fuelwood and charcoal—is both a key source of energy and contributor for food security as well as a pressure on natural resources. Improving the bioenergy value chains is essential for limiting environmental degradation and for securing the livelihoods of millions of people. Although the WEF nexus approach entails large potential to address the complex problems arising along the bioenergy value chains, these are currently not considered. Based on the WEF nexus approach, we analyze the different steps within the charcoal value chain in Sub-Saharan Africa and highlight the respective interdependencies and the potential for improving overall socio-economic and environmental sustainability. We emphasize the water, energy and food related implications of vicious and virtuous production cycles, separated by value chain segments. We discuss the potential and major challenges for implementing more sustainable value chains. Furthermore, we underline the necessity of applying WEF nexus approaches to these value chains in order to optimize environmental and social outcomes.

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