Lídia Cabral

Lídia Cabral

Rural Futures Cluster Lead

Lídia is a social scientist with training in development economics, social policy and development studies. She has 15+ years of experience in international development and her work has concentrated on the politics of aid and public policy, particularly in relation to agriculture and rural development in Africa. Her latest research looks at Brazil as a development actor and its influence in shaping agricultural policy and research in Africa.

Lídia started her career as a civil servant with the government of Mozambique, working on aid management, sectoral budgetary planning and public financial management. She then worked as a freelance consultant, a consultant for Oxford Policy Management and as a research fellow at the Overseas Development Institute. She has interacted with a range of public, private and not-for-profit organisations, mostly in African countries and Brazil, including the African Development Bank, FAO, the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development, IFAD, NEPAD, the OECD, UNDP-UNEP and several bilateral aid agencies, including DFID, SDC and SIDA.

Lídia is a member of the Future Agricultures network, where she has contributed to research on the political economy of agricultural policy in Africa and Brazil’s engagement in African agriculture. She has co-led the Brazil component of the ESRC-funded research programme China and Brazil in Africa Agriculture. Her research has focused on the discourse politics of Brazilian cooperation policy in relation to agricultural development programmes in Mozambique.

She has published with the following peer-reviewed journals: Development Policy Review, European Journal of Development Research, IDS Bulletin, Globalization and Health, Global Policy Journal, Journal of Agrarian Change and World Development. She has also published extensively with the Overseas Development Institute, Future Agricultures and IDS.

Google Scholar



Food Equity Centre

The Food Equity Centre brings together researchers, policy makers, practitioners and activists to collaborate in developing solutions to inequities in food systems. It addresses the urgent need for research and action towards fairness, justice, and inclusion at a time when the Covid-19...


Just Food? A Mutual Exchange Network on Just Food System Transitions

This action-research project will establish a mutual exchange network on just food system transition including food system actors from four usually unconnected geographies. This will be a space for dialogue, exchange and learning between local food system actors working and advocating for...



COP28: A cautious cheer for Brazil’s return

Brazil’s enthusiastic return to this year’s COP - the UN’s annual climate change conference - is welcome but we should interrogate the motivations of powerful players in the government’s broad-based coalition, including agribusiness. There is a danger that these players encourage the...

1 December 2023


Embrapa at 50 should be a celebration of its fringe heroines

This year the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) commemorates its 50th anniversary. Embrapa is well know for driving the Brazilian Green Revolution, centred on soybean and the power of science to conquer nature and push through agriculture modernization. This celebration...

11 October 2023


Brazil’s return to international development under Lula 3.0

The return of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to the presidency of Brazil has been met with much expectation worldwide. During a visit to China, he announced that ‘Brazil is back’ to the international stage. Focusing on the food, climate, and South-South cooperation agendas, we consider his...

Lídia Cabral
Lídia Cabral & 2 others

29 August 2023



Pathways to Equitable Food Systems

IDS Report

Globally, our food systems are highly inequitable. In a world with enough food, hunger is becoming normalised for large numbers of people, while diets are worsening and obesity is rising. Racialised minorities are more at risk from obesity than other groups; indigenous communities have...

Lídia Cabral
Lídia Cabral & 4 others

26 June 2023

Working Paper

Connecting Food Inequities Through Relational Territories

IDS Working Paper 583

This paper explores how food inequities manifest at a territorial level, and how food territories are experienced, understood, and navigated by stakeholders to address those inequities. We interpret ‘food territory’ as a relational and transcalar concept, connected through geography,...

Julian May & 6 others

19 December 2022

Lídia Cabral’s recent work


Brazil election result – implications for global development?

120 million citizens of Brazil have voted, and Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva has been elected as Brazil’s next President.  However, in the tight run-off race held on Sunday, he only beat the incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro by the tightest of margins, with the final result being Lula...

2 November 2022