African countries need better ways of responding to bumper harvests

African countries need better ways of responding to bumper harvests Why does a bumper harvest not get as much attention from governments and development agencies as disasters like droughts and cyclones? When there is a drought, African governments are quick to declare a national disaster so that food aid starts being mobilized from outside with Read more about African countries need better ways of responding to bumper harvests[…]

An ideal market is more than a few companies buying from thousands of farmers

An ideal market is more than a few companies buying from thousands of farmers Every marketing season (March to August) in East and Southern Africa is characterized by people from cities camping in rural areas to buy agricultural commodities cheaply. Farmers will have produced surplus commodities but with no capacity or space to store, process Read more about An ideal market is more than a few companies buying from thousands of farmers[…]

Knowledge inclusion is the most important of all forms of inclusion

Knowledge inclusion is the most important of all forms of inclusion Digital inclusion, financial inclusion, gender inclusion and several other forms of inclusion have received too much attention over the past few years including 2020. What has been ignored is the mother of all inclusions – knowledge inclusion. All forms of inclusion are meaningless when Read more about Knowledge inclusion is the most important of all forms of inclusion[…]

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[…]

Knowledge is not enough without a unique set of values

Knowledge is not enough without a unique set of values The above statement is the main reason why indigenous knowledge should be part of the 4th industrial revolution. Most rural African communities have survived COVID19 so far not only due to their indigenous knowledge but unique sets of values on how to co-exist with nature Read more about Knowledge is not enough without a unique set of values[…]

Behind every quantity of food are units of measurements in African markets

Behind every quantity of food are units of measurements in African markets Contrary to western markets like supermarkets where most of the commodities are sold by weight through kilograms, for instance, African mass markets have developed their own best practices in measurement and linking measurements to price or value. To avoid the inconvenience of having Read more about Behind every quantity of food are units of measurements in African markets[…]

Food is more than commodities – it embraces culture and local knowledge

Food is more than commodities – it embraces culture and local knowledge African mass markets are always demonstrating possibilities for reshaping food systems based on the understanding that food is a right not a commodity. While digitalization enables commodification, food is not just about commodities but culture and local knowledge.  Food systems are broader than Read more about Food is more than commodities – it embraces culture and local knowledge[…]

Indigenous knowledge should drive transformation of African food systems

African countries can only change the persistent negative image of Africa as a net importer of food when they start looking at food systems as more than agriculture. Most African food systems continue to be influenced by Western tastes and preferences. In addition to exploiting natural resources, colonization transformed African food systems for the purposes Read more about Indigenous knowledge should drive transformation of African food systems[…]

Why there should be clear criteria for positioning actors within food systems

Why there should be clear criteria for positioning actors within food systems Like knowledge and other valuable resources, land, water and labour should be managed professionally. For developing countries, the starting point can be crafting growth-oriented and future-focused criteria for allocating land to different classes of farmers. That will prevent land, water and other resources Read more about Why there should be clear criteria for positioning actors within food systems[…]

African mass markets continue to function as templates for local nutrition

African mass markets continue to function as templates for local nutrition In spite of most resources being directed at promoting imported food systems using commercially-oriented agricultural shows and trade fairs, mass markets continue to influence food choices and consumption patterns across the African continent. Coincidentally, COVID19 has increased the relevance and reliability of these food Read more about African mass markets continue to function as templates for local nutrition[…]

Investment should start with owners of the resources not outsiders

Investment should start with owners of the resources not outsiders While the temptation in most African countries is to celebrate investors from outside and money from global institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), investment should start with the owners of natural resources not outsider. An important question to be answered by each African country Read more about Investment should start with owners of the resources not outsiders[…]

How does food move from production zones to markets and consumers?

How does food move from production zones to markets and consumers? Besides not knowing what is involved in producing food, there are high chances that most urban consumers across the world have no clue how potatoes, tomatoes and other commodities they eat every day get to their plates. Transporters are some of the unsung heroes Read more about How does food move from production zones to markets and consumers?[…]