emkambo

Reducing the gap between formal and informal economies

Narrowing the gap between formal and informal economies remains a big challenge for many African countries. Instead of increasing interdependence between the two economies, in countries like Zimbabwe, the gap between the two economies seems to be widening. As if that is not enough, academia, politics and financial institutions remain detached from society and the[…]

emkambo

Differentiating specialization from monocultural knowledge pathways

While monoculture is mostly understood as the cultivation of a single crop on a farm, area or country, the other half of its definition is the dominance of a single culture, worldview, mindset, set of tools as well as one way of gathering and sharing knowledge. Farmers who think success comes from producing one commodity[…]

emkambo

Nine nuances that define indigenous commerce

Although many people associate commerce with modernization, it is as old as the hills. To the extent, commerce refers to the exchange of goods and services, it has existed in many indigenous communities for generations. Indigenous commerce is home-grown commerce tied to the origin of specific communities. While academics may want to limit the notion[…]

emkambo

When will developing countries stop importing knowledge?

It is lamentable that, in spite of setting up hundreds of universities and research institutes, developing countries continue to import knowledge.  For instance, African countries are not just importing equipment and finished products from the West and East but also importing knowledge in the form of prescriptions on how to use those imports. Each imported[…]

emkambo

Using informal markets to shape a developing country’s knowledge agenda

The world over, many resources are spent on conferences, agricultural shows and summits like the recent Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in the first week of September 2018 in China. However, what happens before and after these events is more important. On the other hand, while funders and development agencies continue to determine socio-economic[…]

emkambo

Asking and answering fundamental questions through informal markets

Street markets or roadside food markets have remained a permanent feature in most developing countries. The fact that these markets continue to flourish alongside emerging shopping malls shows they occupy a unique position in commercial activities.  Informal markets were previously designed for disadvantaged, low income households with ad hoc incomes who were considered not able[…]

emkambo

Informal food markets as platforms for sharing aspirations and frustrations

An under-appreciated advantage of African informal food markets is how they allow farmers, traders, consumers and other actors to emotionally participate in business and change processes through sharing their aspirations and frustrations. The same cannot happen in formal markets like supermarkets and formal manufacturing industries where farmers just deliver commodities and wait to be paid[…]

1

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[…]