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[…]


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[…]


Slow knowledge and fast knowledge in African Agriculture

While African countries neglect their informal economies in planning and policy development, the informal sector provides several avenues of looking at knowledge. One of these avenues is the relationship between slow and fast knowledge. Commodities flowing into informal markets from farming areas reveal the extent to which slow and fast knowledge have distinct characteristics. Slow[…]


Making sense of differences between evidence and experience

While there is an increase in emphasis on evidence-based policy, evidence-based medicine and evidence-based this and that, people’s collective experiences may be more powerful than evidence alone. If African agriculture and rural development relied solely on evidence without people’s tangible experiences, most development initiatives would not achieve much. Evidence in the form of facts and[…]

Using evidence to articulate grassroots concerns and opportunities

If concerns and opportunities of people living at the grassroots of developing countries are to be fully understood, evidence gathering tools have to go beyond questionnaires and other techniques designed in the English language. To the extent that facts and figures represent the hardware, in most grassroots communities, feelings and opinions represent the software which[…]


Using feedback to stabilize growth and expand opportunities

For every US$500 million that has goes into agricultural production in Africa, another US$500 million is not injected into the market in order to stimulate demand for what is produced.  As a results, gluts continue to alternate with shortages of commodities. A major reason is lack of investment in gathering and re-using fluid evidence. Monitoring[…]


Recognizing the role of feminine traits in local economies

Another way of increasing the relevance of International Women’s Day which is celebrated on the 8th of March every year is to notice and reflect on how female traits and values play out at grassroots level. If it wasn’t for the presence of feminine traits like empathy, humility, intuition, flexibility, inclusiveness, generosity, balance and patience,[…]


Making sense of the nature of jobs in African agriculture and SMEs

The extent to which farming and non-farming activities in developing countries can create decent employment remains a fertile ground for serious research. While some African governments and churches are competing to establish universities that offer all kinds of degrees, the majority of jobs in the ballooning informal markets and SME sectors do not require a[…]


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[…]