How to move from ordinary to best agricultural practices

‘Best practice’ is not even a mouthful but what it means in practice remains unclear to many people who use the phrase. In African agriculture, it takes a lot for a farmer or trader to become a best practitioner.  Most value chain actors face challenges in identifying sufficient quality evidence that can be translated into[…]


Carving and sustaining economic identities in evolving agricultural ecosystems

While billions of dollars have gone into African agriculture, smallholder farmers and other food producers are yet to be characterized and structured in ways that give them a recognizable economic identity. Unless value chain actors have a clear economic identity, it will remain difficult for them to participate in a fast-moving global agricultural market where[…]


Revisiting and reconciling differences between literacy and knowledge

It is now known that African graduates are not able to exploit abundant natural resources because the academic education system focuses too much on literacy at the expense of capacity to absorb and apply knowledge. In fact, education policy makers continue to confuse knowledge acquisition and transfer with literacy, which is basically the ability to[…]


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[…]


African food systems: a dance between luxuries and necessities

eMKambo has been in African food markets long enough to notice some invisible patterns that should be known to farmers, financiers, development agencies and policy makers. The new generation of consumers’ tastes and preferences are increasingly defining the extent to which a commodity remains a luxury or becomes a necessity. While tomatoes and leafy vegetables[…]


How informal markets increase access to natural food and natural remedies

Rising demand for wild foods and local herbs in most African informal markets demonstrate the desire for the public to return to natural remedies. In addition to food, all kinds of natural herbs and medicines are an integral part of the people’s food market ecosystem. This means African scientists have a lot of work in[…]


Informal food markets as pathways for bringing science closer to society

Food demand and supply systems like informal markets can be powerful pathways for bringing science closer to local communities in developing countries. More than 70% of food consumed in African countries passes through informal markets. While food processing companies may have their own laboratories, there is no laboratory for food that gets to consumers through[…]


A dozen shades of middlemenship in African agribusiness

Although it has existed for more than 100 years, middlemenship or intermediation continues to be misunderstood in agro-based African countries. Contrary to what most farmers and policy makers think, it’s not about people acting as middlemen but middlemenship as a practice whose features range from excellent to bad. Depending on type of commodity, market integration[…]


Using questions to uncover solutions and spark change in 2018

While many people have made resolutions for 2018, eMKambo is devoting this brand new year to questions that open doors, uncover solutions and spark positive change among farmers and other agricultural value chain actors in developing countries.  In our pursuit for tools and techniques to improve our practices, let us not forget that questions are[…]