today-2

The power of an end to end view of agricultural value chains

Very few actors in African agriculture can see the entire value chain and its nodes. As a result, production activities continue to be based on guesswork. In most cases, some traders who have been in the marketing game for a long time have more knowledge about the value chain than farmers.  Many traders often pre-finance[…]

how-external-expertise-can-undermine-local-community-knowledge

How external expertise can undermine local community knowledge

Many rural communities in developing countries are now more familiar with external experts and consultants who visit them to ask questions about their situation and go away never to be seen again. Using consultants and external experts to gather information or conduct evaluations is not an entirely bad idea. Outsiders can sometimes better see what[…]

how-developing-countries-overrate-foreign-currency

How developing countries over-rate foreign currency

Many African developing countries have a deliberate bias towards exports in the hope that this can bring foreign currency that is expected to stimulate economic development. However, it seems foreign currency is a preserve of the elite who have developed a taste for foreign toys like large vehicles, expensive furniture, clothes, wine and other expressions[…]

using-market-evidence-to-protect-smallholder-farmers-from-price-variability

Using market evidence to protect smallholder farmers from price variability

That most African smallholder farmers can produce enough commodities for household consumption and surplus for the market is now beyond question. The majority of committed farmers have mastered the art of producing almost any commodity.  What remains outside their control are market dynamics such as prices as well as supply and demand trends. The situation[…]

the-power-of-knowledge-retention-in-farming-and-rural-communities

The power of knowledge retention in farming and rural communities

In addition absence of appropriate information at the right time, lack of knowledge retention mechanisms is a big challenge for African farming and rural communities. Unfortunately most resources continue to be directed at the dissemination of ideas from policy makers and development actors.  As a result many development interventions remain projects at the end of[…]

knowledge-driven-ways-to-assess-the-socio-economic-impact-of-agricultural-interventions

Knowledge-driven ways to assess the socio-economic impact of agricultural interventions

Measuring the authentic impact of development interventions remains a big challenge for many development organizations and governments, mainly in developing countries. Terms like Value for Money (VfM) and Social Return on Investment (SROI) are being mentioned repeatedly as organizations try to ascertain the value of millions of dollars that continue to go towards development. While[…]

when-old-knowledge-prevent-adoption-of-new-socio-economic-practices

When old knowledge prevent adoption of new socio-economic practices

One of the dominant facets of colonization is visible in the structure of African formal food industries. Many African countries are stuck with infrastructure designed for supporting manufacturing of a few agricultural commodities, mainly for the export market. Such commodities include maize, beef, coffee, tea, cocoa, soya bean, tobacco and wheat. The biggest mistake by[…]

making-sense-of-differences-between-communicating-evidence-and-facilitating-its-use

Making sense of differences between communicating evidence and facilitating its use

Besides promoting linear ways of communicating information, most efforts by policy makers and development agencies in Africa continue to confuse dissemination of evidence with facilitating its use. Instead of speeding up the adoption of new knowledge, social media is also generating noise which gets in the way of adoption. If they were facilitating adoption and[…]

key-elements-of-market-informed-agribusiness-models

Key elements of market – informed agribusiness Models

Like all businesses, agribusinesses should be built around a product/service and a niche market. Ideally, more products and services spawn more business models with some models eventually becoming separate business units.  When that happens, it becomes easy to assess the viability of each business model. Contrary to some beliefs, in a business model, money is[…]

if-acronyms-were-a-solution-poverty-would-be-history-in-many-african-communities

If acronyms were a solution, poverty would be history in many African communities

Almost all development interventions into Africa are framed into acronyms. eMKambo will not give examples because there are far too many acronyms to mention and you know what we mean. Although they are designed to make programmes easy to remember, most acronyms turn development interventions into slogans. As if that is not enough, acronyms have[…]