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Opportunities to enrich your agricultural decisions with data

With the importance of data and evidence in African agriculture gaining momentum, eMKambo has historical data that can enable diverse value chain actors to understand their agribusiness planning, budgeting and decision-making. Over the past five years, eMKambo (www.emkambo.co.zw) has been collecting data from more than 20 agricultural markets in Zimbabwe. Major parameters of the data[…]

emkambo

Market information and knowledge as therapy

When farmers who have spent years looking for satisfactory answers to their challenges finally get a solution, such a moment of truth becomes a moment of healing. A different feeling often embraces farmers when they finally discover that agriculture markets are always in a random walk such that price is just one part of a[…]

emkambo

The hidden cost of the time lag between marketing and consumption of commodities

One of the most misunderstood aspects of agricultural value chains in most developing countries is the time lag between marketing and consumption of agricultural commodities. While for farmers, supplying commodities and getting paid immediately is the most important thing, a lot happens between marketing and consumption. The way middlemen are blamed as if they stand[…]

emkambo2

Succeeding through a secret mix of competencies and data

The fact that farmers and students exposed to the same capacity building initiatives produce different results suggests training alone does not lead to success. In the majority of developing countries, farmers in the same environment and with access to similar resources achieve different outcomes. On the other hand, agricultural economists and agronomists who did the[…]

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The power of an end to end view of agricultural value chains

Very few actors in African agriculture can see the entire value chain and its nodes. As a result, production activities continue to be based on guesswork. In most cases, some traders who have been in the marketing game for a long time have more knowledge about the value chain than farmers.  Many traders often pre-finance[…]

how-external-expertise-can-undermine-local-community-knowledge

How external expertise can undermine local community knowledge

Many rural communities in developing countries are now more familiar with external experts and consultants who visit them to ask questions about their situation and go away never to be seen again. Using consultants and external experts to gather information or conduct evaluations is not an entirely bad idea. Outsiders can sometimes better see what[…]

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eMKambo Masterclasses – First Session

As agricultural niches become congested and highly competitive, evidence-based decision making has never been so important. It is against these trends that eMKambo (www.emkambo.co.zw) will be conducting a series of master classes to answer the following questions: How can farmers and other value chain actors set prices for their commodities without passing through a complex[…]

how-developing-countries-overrate-foreign-currency

How developing countries over-rate foreign currency

Many African developing countries have a deliberate bias towards exports in the hope that this can bring foreign currency that is expected to stimulate economic development. However, it seems foreign currency is a preserve of the elite who have developed a taste for foreign toys like large vehicles, expensive furniture, clothes, wine and other expressions[…]

using-market-evidence-to-protect-smallholder-farmers-from-price-variability

Using market evidence to protect smallholder farmers from price variability

That most African smallholder farmers can produce enough commodities for household consumption and surplus for the market is now beyond question. The majority of committed farmers have mastered the art of producing almost any commodity.  What remains outside their control are market dynamics such as prices as well as supply and demand trends. The situation[…]

the-power-of-knowledge-retention-in-farming-and-rural-communities

The power of knowledge retention in farming and rural communities

In addition absence of appropriate information at the right time, lack of knowledge retention mechanisms is a big challenge for African farming and rural communities. Unfortunately most resources continue to be directed at the dissemination of ideas from policy makers and development actors.  As a result many development interventions remain projects at the end of[…]