charles dhewa

The value of domesticating the Consumer Price Index and other imports

The fundamental role of agriculture and SMEs in many developing countries should by now have seen local economists inventing better ways of capturing and expressing economic conditions and inflation. It is clear that imported concepts like Consumer Price Index and Producer Price Index developed in the North cannot adequately represent economic dynamics in agriculture-driven low[…]

emkambo

How mass markets bring out the best in African food producers

Farmers and traders who do not frequent the booming African mass market will never know their depth.  New market entrants use commodities like leafy vegetables that are easy to produce. Once they are in the market, farmers are exposed to different kinds of leafy vegetables ranging from ordinary Viscose to ever green Viscose. Eventually the[…]

A food systems approach or bio fortification – which is more relevant?

At a time communities in developing countries are diversifying their food systems in order to cope with climate change, isn’t a narrow approach like bio-fortification counter-productive? Could this be yet another example of interventions that are influenced by funders and their collaborators? In several African countries including Zimbabwe, both urban and rural dwellers are no[…]

How do we liberate agriculture and development from academic preferences

Between key informants and literature reviews, which are the most reliable sources of knowledge in developing countries? There is an unfortunate tendency to under-value information and knowledge from key informants like farmers who are coping with climate change. Traders who have seen the informal market surviving several droughts and food processors who have endured hardships[…]

emkambo

The easy of doing business fallacy in low income countries

Besides focusing on pleasing foreign investors, the easy of doing business hype https://tradingeconomics.com/zimbabwe/ease-of-doing-business gives an impression that business is easy. If doing business was easy everybody would be a business person. Farmers and entrepreneurs who wait for conditions to become favorable in order to get into business will stop forever. Most organizations and people who[…]

emkambo

Empowering communities to appreciate and conduct research

If developing countries are going to only recognize and respect research results from formal research institutes and universities, they will continue excluding diverse voices and stifling ambition. While formal institutions in Africa are doing their thing, ordinary people in farming communities, fishing villages and informal markets are creatively shaping their own future and adapting in[…]

emkambo

How consumers use their buying patterns to signal priorities

As buying patterns signify ordinary people’s priorities, developing countries should invest more in finding pockets of opportunity from micro-markets than pursuing mega deals. In most African countries, much of the overlooked growth is within open food markets from which the majority get food and income. An outside observer may see open markets as chaotic economic[…]

charles-dhewa

Who really sets prices in the open market?

No matter how many times this question is answered, it continues to be asked again and again.  One of the reasons is that the answer may be correct but unbelievable. As in all other markets, rules of supply and demand influence pricing of agricultural commodities in open markets that are powerful ecosystems in developing countries. […]

emkambo

How capital determines the structure of agriculture and food systems in Africa

How capital determines the structure of agriculture and food systems in Africa Although finance will not solve all challenges facing developing countries, the structure of African agriculture is largely shaped by the way capital flows into this fundamental sector. In Zimbabwe, for instance, more than 55% of the entire capital devoted to agriculture goes to[…]