emkambo

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[…]

charles-dhewa

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[…]

emkambo

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[…]

emkambo

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[…]

emkambo

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.[…]

emkambo

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[…]

charles-dhewa

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[…]

emkambo

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[…]

emkambo

The importance of closing knowledge gaps in African agriculture

Efforts to modernize African agriculture continue to focus on the supply-side at the expense of the demand side. In addition to infrastructure-driven agribusiness models, there is an unfortunate belief that agricultural extension is the only important form of knowledge in transforming the agriculture industry. Instead of embracing a holistic approach that identifies knowledge needs and[…]