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

People’s food markets as sources of multiple knowledges

One of the benefits of continuously observing and learning from informal African food markets is an opportunity to update knowledge and see inevitable trends before everyone sees them. In a recent interaction with informal markets in Zambia and Zimbabwe, eMKambo discovered that these markets do not just classify agricultural commodities into luxuries and necessities. There[…]

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[…]

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[…]

knowledge-driven-ways-to-assess-the-socio-economic-impact-of-agricultural-interventions

Knowledge-driven ways to assess the socio-economic impact of agricultural interventions

Measuring the authentic impact of development interventions remains a big challenge for many development organizations and governments, mainly in developing countries. Terms like Value for Money (VfM) and Social Return on Investment (SROI) are being mentioned repeatedly as organizations try to ascertain the value of millions of dollars that continue to go towards development. While[…]

key-elements-of-market-informed-agribusiness-models

Key elements of market – informed agribusiness Models

Like all businesses, agribusinesses should be built around a product/service and a niche market. Ideally, more products and services spawn more business models with some models eventually becoming separate business units.  When that happens, it becomes easy to assess the viability of each business model. Contrary to some beliefs, in a business model, money is[…]

domestic-animals-as-sources-of-knowledge-and-social-intelligence

Domestic animals as sources of Knowledge and Social Intelligence

In African agrarian communities where livestock are part of people’s livelihoods, farmers have forged symbiotic relationships with their cattle, goats, sheep, camels, pigs and poultry, among others.  While the world is elevating the role of ICTs in mediating knowledge, domestic animals have, for generations, distinguished themselves in mediating knowledge between people, the environment and the[…]

are-icts-improving-african-agriculture-or-smearing-digital-lipstick

Are ICTs improving African agriculture or just smearing digital ‘lipstick’?

While ICTs have been part of African agriculture and rural communities for many years, benefits associated with these technologies have eluded the majority of farmers, traders and value chain actors. There is now a strong feeling that most ICT initiatives constitute smearing of digital ‘lipstick’ on African agriculture and rural development. The proliferation of mobile[…]