Author: Professor Sir Colin Spedding

Intensive (farming) Agriculture

Professor Sir Colin Spedding
Since people often hold quite strong views for or against what they call “intensive” farming, it is important to clarify the meanings that can be attached to the term. Agriculture uses a vast range of resources and each one can be used intensively (or not), often related to output (but not always). Thus labour can be used intensively in terms of output per man but some- times meaning a large number of men per unit of some other resource (e.g. space or time). Capital can be used intensively …


Developments in East Africa

Professor Sir Colin Spedding
Recently there have been two important developments in East Africa and both have involved Dr Christie Peacock, one of our Board members. First, Farm Africa has set up Sidai Africa Ltd, with Christie as Chairman, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Sidai (Massai for “Good”) Africa Ltd is Africa’s first livestock franchising social enterprise and has potential to become applicable in all developing countries. The immediate objective is to establish, over the next four …


The ‘Organics’ Debate

Professor Sir Colin Spedding,
Robert Cook,
Dr David Frape
We make no apology for publishing more articles and an editorial on the general subject of ‘organic’ farming in this issue of World Agriculture . The subject gives rise to extensive and often polarised discussion, especially in Europe and the developed world generally. The reasons for the popularity of produce from organic systems often derive from the belief that they are better for the environment, or have health or other personal benefits. This is often a genuine response to real …


Organic Farming

Professor Sir Colin Spedding
In 1987 the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) established the United Kingdom Register of Organic Food Standards to set the organic production standards for this country: I chaired it for the next 12 years. It brought together the organic sector bodies, of which there were about six at that time, the largest being the Soil Association, to agree on common standards. Each sector body was, however, free to set additional requirements to be met by its own members. Some years …


Africa and Agriculture

Professor Sir Colin Spedding
Agriculture, including animal production, has always been important to Africa and is likely to continue to be so. It has provided food for people and other products such as feed for livestock and raw materials for building and clothing, e.g. cotton, employment, fuel from dung and exports, for which there may be new opportunities. In the future, a wider range of products is likely to be produced, such as chemical feedstocks, fuel and medicinal crops. The latter represent some of the newer …