From academic and scientific research to commercial and social viability

When academic and scientific research came into African economies, communities were already surviving on Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS). In agriculture, for instance, a long tradition of seed selection, multiplication, retention and preservation exists up to today. Conservation Agriculture and other related forms of knowledge have also been part of community assets since time immemorial. The Read more about From academic and scientific research to commercial and social viability[…]

How people’s markets value satisfaction more than colonial measurements

The formal education system in developing countries has not taken time to explain and justify colonial measurements that continue to be used in attaching value to agricultural commodities. Consequently, smallholder farmers wonder why some commodities are measured in kilograms and liters.¬† In the absence of meaningful explanations, consumers and farmers surmise that these measurements were Read more about How people’s markets value satisfaction more than colonial measurements[…]

How ICTs are being misused to perpetuate poverty

Contrary to the hype in which ICTs are presented as a panacea, ICTs-related costs in many African countries eroding the meagre promised benefits. Countless studies and articles (including this one – https://www.techzim.co.zw/2019/03/cost-of-mobile-data-in-zimbabwe-should-we-even-compare/) show that the cost of data is increasing in Africa when such costs are decreasing in other parts of the world. This is Read more about How ICTs are being misused to perpetuate poverty[…]

How can developing countries build financial systems that work for the majority and for the environment

Not much research is needed to prove that financial systems in most developing countries do not work for the majority of people and for the environment. To the extent that financial systems are fundamentally urban ecosystems, more than 60% of the populations that live in rural areas are not part of mainstream financial systems. Where Read more about How can developing countries build financial systems that work for the majority and for the environment[…]

When poor communities start asking searching questions!

Although rural communities in Africa may not directly push-back donor support, murmurings of dissatisfaction with some development interventions are getting louder. Such concerns are being expressed when farmers meet in markets and farming areas. Some community leaders are mastering the courage to loudly reflect on how long they will continue relying on food aid when Read more about When poor communities start asking searching questions![…]

What if policies are highly over-rated?

Policy makers in developing countries are often blamed for lacking the vision to craft appropriate agricultural policies that can guarantee food security and better standards of living for their people. While ¬†good policies are considered magic bullets, there is no sufficient proof that countries that have developed their economies have done so through robust policies. Read more about What if policies are highly over-rated?[…]

Why do cities consume more food than rural communities?

While 70 percent of the population in most African countries live in rural areas, the bulk of food produced in rural areas is consumed in cities. There is still no clear explanation why most of the food produced in rural and marginal areas is consumed by a small population that lives in cities compared to Read more about Why do cities consume more food than rural communities?[…]

Who will be future winners and losers in African Agriculture

While many African countries are competing to lure investors into their agriculture sector, a lot still needs to be done in order to clearly identify winners and losers. A formula for winning in African agriculture https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/agriculture/our-insights/winning-in-africas-agricultural-market?cid=other-eml-alt-mip-mck&hlkid=d31b21d5ace243d3b2ce17001f2c9ca1&hctky=2883691&hdpid=235f0b4f-dc4a-4226-98ca-e6c36e7703cd is not yet revealing the extent to which smallholder farmers and other small value chain actors will benefit from Read more about Who will be future winners and losers in African Agriculture[…]

How and why transacting is a small part of market linkages

Reducing market linkages to transactions is one of the major reasons why efforts to integrate smallholder farmers into value chains have failed to transform agriculture in developing countries. While the notion of market linkages is mostly associated with three to five year projects by development agencies, there is a new realization that linking farmers to Read more about How and why transacting is a small part of market linkages[…]

How can developing countries valuate their fluid economies?

A major headache for many developing countries is developing criteria for valuating highly fluid and transitory economic activities that are now more prevalent. Employment creation in agricultural markets and informal business ecosystems is now a major domain for women and youth, most of whom are highly mobile. Economic actors in the trading business specialize on Read more about How can developing countries valuate their fluid economies?[…]