emkambo

Informal food markets as pathways for bringing science closer to society

Food demand and supply systems like informal markets can be powerful pathways for bringing science closer to local communities in developing countries. More than 70% of food consumed in African countries passes through informal markets. While food processing companies may have their own laboratories, there is no laboratory for food that gets to consumers through[…]

emkambo

A dozen shades of middlemenship in African agribusiness

Although it has existed for more than 100 years, middlemenship or intermediation continues to be misunderstood in agro-based African countries. Contrary to what most farmers and policy makers think, it’s not about people acting as middlemen but middlemenship as a practice whose features range from excellent to bad. Depending on type of commodity, market integration[…]

emkambo

Using questions to uncover solutions and spark change in 2018

While many people have made resolutions for 2018, eMKambo is devoting this brand new year to questions that open doors, uncover solutions and spark positive change among farmers and other agricultural value chain actors in developing countries.  In our pursuit for tools and techniques to improve our practices, let us not forget that questions are[…]

emkmabo

Using the market to cultivate a global mindset among farmers and entrepreneurs

One of the most seductive assumptions in African agriculture is that farmers and aspiring agricultural entrepreneurs can succeed through following a specific set of steps. However, as markets become highly networked and competitive, success no longer just depends on what a farmer or an entrepreneur does but on the actions of rivals or competitors. Unless[…]

emkambo2

Succeeding through a secret mix of competencies and data

The fact that farmers and students exposed to the same capacity building initiatives produce different results suggests training alone does not lead to success. In the majority of developing countries, farmers in the same environment and with access to similar resources achieve different outcomes. On the other hand, agricultural economists and agronomists who did the[…]

emkambo

Making sense of wealth distribution in the new networked economy

Just as they distribute commodities and knowledge to all classes of people and income levels, informal markets in developing countries continue to play a central role in redistributing wealth. African economies have traditionally been characterized and driven by community knowledge sharing and individual innovation. While individual innovation was privatized, local ideas were shared through the[…]

emkambo

The evolving role of smart intermediaries in African agriculture

While digital technology is threatening to diminish the role of intermediaries in African agriculture, there are signs that smart intermediaries will be around for some time. Although it is spreading connectivity among farmers, traders, consumers and policy makers, digital technology will always need people who translate services between value chains actors, most of whom may[…]

emkambo

When is a disadvantage actually an advantage?

If it was true that more resources always lead to better results, African communities in high rainfall areas and favorable climatic conditions would be the richest and happier than everyone else. Development organizations and policy makers are slowly awakening to the reality that dumping resources on communities does not guarantee a beneficial end. For instance,[…]

emkambo

Using evidence to connect with a bigger purpose

In their pursuit for survival, most value chain actors in developing countries do not clarify their contribution to a big purpose like economic growth.  For instance, instead of seeing how their work contributes to national food and nutrition security, most farmers and manufacturers tend to be interested in the colour of the money. That is[…]