African informal food markets as better expressions of democracy

African countries are full of human rights interventions that focus mostly on partisan political rights ignoring the rights of local people to produce their own diverse foods in ways they want.  Human rights should not just be enabling local people to access donated food. Evidence from African informal food markets show the extent to which[…]


The sum of community knowledge is greater than the sum of individual expert knowledge

While it is true that community knowledge is broader and deeper, most African farming communities hesitate to make decisions without consulting an extension officer. The need to cross-check and verify facts through an extension officer can be counter-productive if it causes farmers to stop experimenting and learning from their innovations. Surveys by eMKambo over the[…]


Revisiting the role of informal markets in distributing income

Informal markets have existed for centuries, as contexts where communities make sense of their resources and exchange value. However, urbanization has given these markets a more pronounced role particularly in meeting the needs of different classes of consumers and farmers. In many African countries, informal markets are the fastest ways for transferring income from buyers[…]


Building a case for decolonizing Agricultural Value chains

Identifying and explaining each agricultural value chain’s nodes is a better way of revealing the extent to which a value chain can lift people out of poverty and contribute to broader development aspirations. The longer the value chain, the more contribution to socio-economic development. Most agricultural commodities produced by smallholder farmers are characterized by very[…]


Opportunities to enrich your agricultural decisions with data

With the importance of data and evidence in African agriculture gaining momentum, eMKambo has historical data that can enable diverse value chain actors to understand their agribusiness planning, budgeting and decision-making. Over the past five years, eMKambo (www.emkambo.co.zw) has been collecting data from more than 20 agricultural markets in Zimbabwe. Major parameters of the data[…]


Making marginalized farmers ready for the impact of globalization

Although digital technology is beginning to show potential for increasing the impact of individual knowledge, in most African marginalized communities, community knowledge will remain important for a long time. Unfortunately, many development interventions are meddling with African communities’ capacity to make sense of knowledge. Development actors sincerely want to help marginalized communities but their strategies[…]


Cultivating the power of real-time awareness

As agricultural value chains in developing countries become over-crowded and hyper-competitive, real-time awareness has never been so important. While digital technology is being presented as a solution,  more efforts have to go into ensuring information satisfies the needs of farmers, traders and other value chain actors who want to engage in evidence-informed decision making. Many[…]

Empowering communities to evaluate their knowledge

eMKambo is increasingly meeting rural communities that have been schooled into valuing tangible assets like dams and tractors at the expense of intangible assets like knowledge on how to earn more value from those assets. In agricultural communities where assets like irrigation schemes and roads have been built or rehabilitated, people are still unsure how[…]


How ecosystems are replacing value chains in African food systems

Instead on choosing a few value chains in which to specialize, some agribusinesses in developing countries are being compelled to embrace an ecosystems approach to agriculture.  This is because each commodity has its limits. Many contract farming models are collapsing as value chains evolve into ecosystems where different agricultural commodities either complement or substitute each[…]