How people’s markets value satisfaction more than colonial measurements

The formal education system in developing countries has not taken time to explain and justify colonial measurements that continue to be used in attaching value to agricultural commodities. Consequently, smallholder farmers wonder why some commodities are measured in kilograms and liters.  In the absence of meaningful explanations, consumers and farmers surmise that these measurements were[…]


How can developing countries build financial systems that work for the majority and for the environment

Not much research is needed to prove that financial systems in most developing countries do not work for the majority of people and for the environment. To the extent that financial systems are fundamentally urban ecosystems, more than 60% of the populations that live in rural areas are not part of mainstream financial systems. Where[…]


What if policies are highly over-rated?

Policy makers in developing countries are often blamed for lacking the vision to craft appropriate agricultural policies that can guarantee food security and better standards of living for their people. While  good policies are considered magic bullets, there is no sufficient proof that countries that have developed their economies have done so through robust policies.[…]


Who will be future winners and losers in African Agriculture

While many African countries are competing to lure investors into their agriculture sector, a lot still needs to be done in order to clearly identify winners and losers. A formula for winning in African agriculture https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/agriculture/our-insights/winning-in-africas-agricultural-market?cid=other-eml-alt-mip-mck&hlkid=d31b21d5ace243d3b2ce17001f2c9ca1&hctky=2883691&hdpid=235f0b4f-dc4a-4226-98ca-e6c36e7703cd is not yet revealing the extent to which smallholder farmers and other small value chain actors will benefit from[…]


How and why transacting is a small part of market linkages

Reducing market linkages to transactions is one of the major reasons why efforts to integrate smallholder farmers into value chains have failed to transform agriculture in developing countries. While the notion of market linkages is mostly associated with three to five year projects by development agencies, there is a new realization that linking farmers to[…]


How can developing countries valuate their fluid economies?

A major headache for many developing countries is developing criteria for valuating highly fluid and transitory economic activities that are now more prevalent. Employment creation in agricultural markets and informal business ecosystems is now a major domain for women and youth, most of whom are highly mobile. Economic actors in the trading business specialize on[…]


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[…]


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,[…]


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[…]


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[…]