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[…]

COVID19 has worsened the plight of disabled agricultural value chain actors

COVID19 has worsened the plight of disabled agricultural value chain actorsFor more than 10 years, Samson Mundodzi a gifted blind farmer from Nyazura in Manicaland province of Zimbabwe used to be accompanied to Mbare market for selling his commodities. Like all other farmers, Samson would have his commodities loaded onto long distance buses that passed Read more about COVID19 has worsened the plight of disabled agricultural value chain actors[…]

Harnessing the power of needs assessments in African countries

Harnessing the power of needs assessments in African countries Needs assessments are some of the most under-rated and underutilized resources in African countries.  Development agencies that often start some work in communities with a baseline study often do so for purposes of getting donor money as opposed to fully informing and guiding their interventions. In Read more about Harnessing the power of needs assessments in African countries[…]

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[…]

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[…]

How COVID19 has exposed limitations of colonial food systems in Africa

The majority of developing countries are still to tear themselves away from the colonial set up where major food markets were located in cities or towns in order to provide food for low income people working in formal industries. Under that arrangement food had to travel from rural areas most of which were 100km away Read more about How COVID19 has exposed limitations of colonial food systems in Africa[…]

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[…]

It has taken a crisis for the importance of market infrastructure to be acknowledged

After years of persuading development agencies not to concentrate on the production side but spread their resources along supply chains all the way to the market, eMKambo has finally been vindicated.  COVID-19 has provided the Ahaa! moment for policy makers and development agencies on the importance of building infrastructure at African mass markets. If a Read more about It has taken a crisis for the importance of market infrastructure to be acknowledged[…]

Strategies for cushioning African informal economies against COVID19

Cushioning informal traders and vendors against the impact of COVID-19 is a very noble idea in developing countries. However the devil is in the implementation details. For instance African informal economies function more like ecosystems than a collection of disconnected traders and vendors. That is why before introducing social cash grants, the most important first Read more about Strategies for cushioning African informal economies against 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[…]