To what extent does the market inform production decisions?

In the course of working with African mass markets, eMKambo continues to notice several nuances that inform the production of different agricultural commodities, among other patterns. A recent study focused on figuring out the extent to which the market informs production decisions among African smallholder farmers. There are strong indications that most production decisions are Read more about To what extent does the market inform production decisions?[…]

Why each African country should have a ministry responsible for indigenous foods, medicines, arts, culture and sports

To the extent combinations of food systems, arts, culture and sports can be a full expression of national identity, the African Union should ensure every African country has a government department responsible for indigenous food systems, medicines, arts, sports and informal science. At practical African grassroots level, all these aspects are part of an integrated Read more about Why each African country should have a ministry responsible for indigenous foods, medicines, arts, culture and sports[…]

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[…]

Africa Day should now be more about knowledge than politics

Without belittling the importance of celebrating independence, African countries should now be using 25 May (Africa Day) to take stock of knowledge-based achievements and gaps. If all African countries had created a university education model relevant to their development needs and aspirations, African Day would be ideal for celebrating home-grown science around indigenous food systems. Read more about Africa Day should now be more about knowledge than politics[…]

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[…]

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[…]