Harnessing the power of needs assessments in African countries

Harnessing the power of needs assessments in African countries Needs assessments are some of the most under-rated and underutilized resources in African countries.  Development agencies that often start some work in communities with a baseline study often do so for purposes of getting donor money as opposed to fully informing and guiding their interventions. In Read more about Harnessing the power of needs assessments in African countries[…]

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 Read more about How to move from ordinary to best agricultural practices[…]

There is still hope for African countries to restore their original food systems

There is still hope for African countries to restore their original food systems In the face of intensifying climate change, voices calling for Africans to go back to their original food systems are getting louder. Such voices are guided by changes in the natural phenomena that once existed in several African communities and countries. Many Read more about There is still hope for African countries to restore their original food systems[…]

Pitfalls of embracing a natural farming region approach to agriculture development

Pitfalls of embracing a natural farming region approach to agriculture development Agricultural practices in much of Africa have always been done in line with natural farming regions. While this approach is sensible, it has consistently disadvantaged dry regions. There has been a tendency to think that drought-prone areas do not have resilience pathways that can Read more about Pitfalls of embracing a natural farming region approach to agriculture development[…]

COVID19 has worsened the plight of disabled agricultural value chain actors

COVID19 has worsened the plight of disabled agricultural value chain actorsFor more than 10 years, Samson Mundodzi a gifted blind farmer from Nyazura in Manicaland province of Zimbabwe used to be accompanied to Mbare market for selling his commodities. Like all other farmers, Samson would have his commodities loaded onto long distance buses that passed Read more about COVID19 has worsened the plight of disabled agricultural value chain actors[…]

The rising prominence of communication, thanks to COVID19

In much of the world including developing countries, COVID19 has re- positioned communication as the key driver in project implementation. Before the pandemic many organizations were reluctant to increase the communication budget. Working from home and restrictions in movement have seen ICT channels and tools moving to the centre of most communication efforts. The pandemic Read more about The rising prominence of communication, thanks to COVID19[…]

The power of clear role definition in African food systems

COVID-19 has revealed the importance of understanding roles of different actors in Africa’s food systems. When roles and responsibilities are unclear, smallholder farmers are exposed to conmen.  For instance, in Zimbabwe farmers are losing produce to unregistered buyers. The situation would be better if all buyers were registered and the trading of all agricultural commodities Read more about The power of clear role definition in African food systems[…]

Reimagining a new socio-economic fabric for African informal economies

Lockdowns as a major method for containing COVID-19 has undoubtedly destroyed social fabrics that sustain most low income economies. While governments have tried to soften the pandemic’s blow by providing cushioning allowances and other social safety nets to vulnerable members of society including vendors,  Mukando or Stokvel and other forms of voluntary and savings clubs Read more about Reimagining a new socio-economic fabric for African informal economies[…]

Africa Day should now be more about knowledge than politics

Without belittling the importance of celebrating independence, African countries should now be using 25 May (Africa Day) to take stock of knowledge-based achievements and gaps. If all African countries had created a university education model relevant to their development needs and aspirations, African Day would be ideal for celebrating home-grown science around indigenous food systems. Read more about Africa Day should now be more about knowledge than politics[…]

Rediscovering the value of indigenous knowledge through COVID-19

By restricting movement between rural and urban areas, there is no doubt that lockdowns in African countries have weakened domestic trade and social fabrics that sustain most low income economies. Contrary to views from policy makers, African economies are not sustained by international trade but domestic commerce and social capital. COVID19-induced lockdowns have made it Read more about Rediscovering the value of indigenous knowledge through COVID-19[…]

COVID-19 shows symbiotic relationships between formal and informal economies

Among other revelations, COVID-19 has shown the extent to which formal and informal African economies do not work in isolation but are more like Siamese twins. African economies are structured in such a way that there are no distinct supply chains that can be locked down without affecting entire ecosystems. For instance, agriculture is tightly Read more about COVID-19 shows symbiotic relationships between formal and informal economies[…]