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[…]

emkambo

How climate change is inspiring intelligent experimentation at grassroots

During times of socio-economic stability, farmers and entrepreneurs can afford to rely on one commodity or value chain.  Not when climate change is announcing itself in unpredictable ways. That is why experimentation is no longer a preserve for schools and universities. Farming areas and markets are becoming laboratories for intelligent experimentation among farmers, consumers, traders,[…]

emkambo-kta

The elusive quest for defining a business case

If defining and executing a business case was easy, many farmers and traders in developing countries would have become business people. In spite of persistent emphasis on agribusiness from development organizations and academic institutions, business schools are not producing entrepreneurs able to translate agricultural resources from ground zero into reliable jobs, incomes and better lives[…]

emkambo

What if big organizations no longer have monopoly on knowledge?

Unprecedented disruption affecting the food retail sector across the globe is also spilling over into the knowledge industry. For some of the world’s biggest knowledge brokering organizations, gone are the days when a logo was enough to lure funding and command brand loyalty. For example, sources of agricultural and financial knowledge have become so diverse[…]

emkambo

How can the predatory nature of development efforts be tamed?

Many rural communities in low income countries are fed up with the predatory nature of external development initiatives. According to the WordWeb dictionary, a predatory animal is one that lives by catching and preying on other animals. Predatory tendencies also include living by or victimizing others for personal gain. When development agencies move into rural[…]

emkambo

Of premature technology and information overload

Hundreds of mobile applications and technology platforms are launched in Africa almost every day, thanks to the promise of digital-fueled progress. Unfortunately most of the platforms (including those owned by famous mobile network providers) are trotted onto the market prematurely before sufficient pre-testing. There is also confusion between a platform, a portal, a Whatsapp group[…]

emkambo

Two hopes for African Agriculture and rural development in 2019

The fact that countries which have moved toward middle-income status have started by transforming their agriculture sector is no longer debatable. Unfortunately, out of 54 countries in Africa, Ethiopia is mentioned as the only one on the path to meaningful agricultural transformation. The rest are still running from pillar to post, chasing different prescriptions. During[…]

emkambo

Invisible trends and emerging good practices in African Agriculture

Attempts to use African agriculture as a catalyst for economic revival and growth have focused mainly on mechanizing production and luring young people into farming. While there is nothing wrong with such efforts, lack of attention to other agricultural value chain nodes has seen new commodity brokers and traders quietly setting themselves for success through[…]

emkambo

Questions that must be answered before poor countries import or export food

In the absence of evidence-based agricultural policy formulation and implementation, most developing countries always rush to import food without sufficiently understanding their national contexts. During gluts, farmers in areas where fruits are produced in abundance do not benefit from selling nationally compared to when there are shortages.  On the other hand, when the price of[…]

emkambo

The seasonal appetite for knowledge demand and use in developing countries

It is not only revenue streams that tend to be seasonal for farmers in developing countries. The demand and use of knowledge also follow seasonal patterns. From leaking market sheds in Mbare market of Harare and makeshift stalls in Mitundu market of Lilongwe to landslides in the land of a thousand hills (Rwanda), Africa is[…]