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[…]

Reimagining a new socio-economic fabric for African informal economies

Lockdowns as a major method for containing COVID-19 has undoubtedly destroyed social fabrics that sustain most low income economies. While governments have tried to soften the pandemic’s blow by providing cushioning allowances and other social safety nets to vulnerable members of society including vendors,  Mukando or Stokvel and other forms of voluntary and savings clubs Read more about Reimagining a new socio-economic fabric for African informal economies[…]

Rediscovering the value of indigenous knowledge through COVID-19

By restricting movement between rural and urban areas, there is no doubt that lockdowns in African countries have weakened domestic trade and social fabrics that sustain most low income economies. Contrary to views from policy makers, African economies are not sustained by international trade but domestic commerce and social capital. COVID19-induced lockdowns have made it Read more about Rediscovering the value of indigenous knowledge through COVID-19[…]

COVID-19 shows symbiotic relationships between formal and informal economies

Among other revelations, COVID-19 has shown the extent to which formal and informal African economies do not work in isolation but are more like Siamese twins. African economies are structured in such a way that there are no distinct supply chains that can be locked down without affecting entire ecosystems. For instance, agriculture is tightly Read more about COVID-19 shows symbiotic relationships between formal and informal economies[…]

Reflections on costing of agricultural commodities – thanks to COVID19

In addition to disrupting food supply chains, COVID-19 has presented a pricing headache for smallholder farmers in African countries. If government directs supermarkets to revert back to pre-COVID19 prices they can easily do so because they have a tradition of keeping records on stocks and prices.  On the other hand, mass markets will not be Read more about Reflections on costing of agricultural commodities – thanks to COVID19[…]

Tracking or tracing has never been so important – thanks to COVID19

Before COVID-19, the need for privacy was gaining momentum across the world particularly in the global North. People were beginning to frown at the intrusive nature of technology and digital gadgets are notorious for tracking people’s movements and whatever they are doing. In addition to social distancing, contact tracing is one of the phrases popularized Read more about Tracking or tracing has never been so important – thanks to COVID19[…]

COVID19 – an opportunity for decision makers to know how African food markets function

African countries are called less industrialized economies for genuine reasons. If the majority of people in a country depend on more than 80 agricultural commodities and less than 10 can be turned into processed products, such a country is obviously less industrialized. For instance in Zimbabwe only maize meal, flour, sugar, wheat flour, magarine, tomato Read more about COVID19 – an opportunity for decision makers to know how African food markets function[…]

Clear benefits of containerization in African Agriculture

Post-harvest handling and storage of agriculture commodities remains the biggest challenge for the majority of African smallholders. Unfortunately most solutions being pushed are designed to get surplus commodities moving quickly from farming areas to the market and consumers. Solutions that enable farmers to hold onto their commodities and sell profitably rather than be pushed to Read more about Clear benefits of containerization in African Agriculture[…]

Using infrastructure to unlock the value of African agriculture

African agriculture requires banks with a vision to invest in infrastructure which can be used by farmers to anchor production in ways that simplify loan repayment. For instance Vision 2030 should have financial products that speak to a 10 year horizon. Financing inputs is just like providing consumer loans which do not have a growth Read more about Using infrastructure to unlock the value of African agriculture[…]

Which sources of information can transform African Agriculture

All over the world, information sources are no longer just important for journalists. African policy makers who really want to transform their agro-based economies cannot afford to remain silent about their sources of information. There is emerging consensus to the effect that information from academic institutions, private companies and development agencies is not enough for Read more about Which sources of information can transform African Agriculture[…]