Reimagining a new socio-economic fabric for African informal economies

Social safety nets will not be able to cover ordinary people’s coping mechanisms. Where economies were functioning normally, many farmers, traders and other entrepreneurs were busy servicing loans taken from banks and Micro Finance Institutions. What is going to happen? Importance of careful business profiling The biggest challenge for policy makers is navigating difficult trade-offs Read more about Reimagining a new socio-economic fabric for African informal economies[…]

The power of clear role definition in African food systems

COVID-19 has revealed the importance of understanding roles of different actors in Africa’s food systems. When roles and responsibilities are unclear, smallholder farmers are exposed to conmen.  For instance, in Zimbabwe farmers are losing produce to unregistered buyers. The situation would be better if all buyers were registered and the trading of all agricultural commodities Read more about The power of clear role definition in African food systems[…]

Helping communities to benefit from their information and knowledge

Helping communities to benefit from their information and knowledge Marginalized communities and farmers always find it difficult to access relevant and reliable information. Their capacity to objectively assess that information is also inadequate. The situation is worse during the marketing season when information overload increases especially from different buyers competing to portray themselves as offering Read more about Helping communities to benefit from their information and knowledge[…]

Decolonizing African Food Systems Has Never Been So Urgent

Decolonizing African Food Systems Has Never Been So Urgent African countries have remained stuck in colonial food systems and structures where grain silos, abattoirs, processing centres and other important food handling facilities are located in cities. By now, silos and processing facilities should have been established at community level, close to production zones. Why should Read more about Decolonizing African Food Systems Has Never Been So Urgent[…]

Why demand for advice and knowledge increases during the marketing season

Why demand for advice and knowledge increases during the marketing season The urgency with which farmers seek help, advice and support increases during the harvesting season compared to the planting season. Production knowledge is now relatively abundant but the same cannot be said about knowledge on markets and their behaviours. During the planting season, the Read more about Why demand for advice and knowledge increases during the marketing season[…]

African countries need better ways of responding to bumper harvests

African countries need better ways of responding to bumper harvests Why does a bumper harvest not get as much attention from governments and development agencies as disasters like droughts and cyclones? When there is a drought, African governments are quick to declare a national disaster so that food aid starts being mobilized from outside with Read more about African countries need better ways of responding to bumper harvests[…]

An ideal market is more than a few companies buying from thousands of farmers

An ideal market is more than a few companies buying from thousands of farmers Every marketing season (March to August) in East and Southern Africa is characterized by people from cities camping in rural areas to buy agricultural commodities cheaply. Farmers will have produced surplus commodities but with no capacity or space to store, process Read more about An ideal market is more than a few companies buying from thousands of farmers[…]

Knowledge inclusion is the most important of all forms of inclusion

Knowledge inclusion is the most important of all forms of inclusion Digital inclusion, financial inclusion, gender inclusion and several other forms of inclusion have received too much attention over the past few years including 2020. What has been ignored is the mother of all inclusions – knowledge inclusion. All forms of inclusion are meaningless when Read more about Knowledge inclusion is the most important of all forms of inclusion[…]

There is still hope for African countries to restore their original food systems

There is still hope for African countries to restore their original food systems In the face of intensifying climate change, voices calling for Africans to go back to their original food systems are getting louder. Such voices are guided by changes in the natural phenomena that once existed in several African communities and countries. Many Read more about There is still hope for African countries to restore their original food systems[…]

Pitfalls of embracing a natural farming region approach to agriculture development

Pitfalls of embracing a natural farming region approach to agriculture development Agricultural practices in much of Africa have always been done in line with natural farming regions. While this approach is sensible, it has consistently disadvantaged dry regions. There has been a tendency to think that drought-prone areas do not have resilience pathways that can Read more about Pitfalls of embracing a natural farming region approach to agriculture development[…]