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[…]


When data and evidence become currency

Most of the information disseminated to African smallholder farmers and rural marginalized entrepreneurs is barely enough for progressive decision making. In most cases where price information for a particular commodity is provided, critical details are missing and these include diverse sources of the commodity, levels of competition, demand cycles and the type of people who[…]


How the market can convert agricultural commodities into career pipelines

Besides climate change and environmental degradation, a major challenge facing many African rural communities is migration of skills and talent to urban centres. There is no price for guessing who wins in the competition for talent between rural and urban communities. Building rural agricultural markets is one way of converting agricultural commodities and value chains[…]


Moving decision making closer to points of impact and knowledge

In most developing countries, decisions that affect farmers and rural communities are often made by policy makers and development agencies who do not reside in those communities. However, digital technologies are revealing the benefits and possibilities of improving the quality of services by moving decision-making to where impact is felt. For instance, using mobile phones[…]


How external expertise can undermine local community knowledge

Many rural communities in developing countries are now more familiar with external experts and consultants who visit them to ask questions about their situation and go away never to be seen again. Using consultants and external experts to gather information or conduct evaluations is not an entirely bad idea. Outsiders can sometimes better see what[…]


How niche markets influence agricultural commodity prices

One of the most persistent myths in African agriculture is that commodity prices are set by traders, negatively referred to as ‘middlemen’. Paying lip service to understanding market dynamics has seen most interventions designed to get rid of ‘middlemen’ failing dismally. Working with agriculture markets for the past years has opened eMKambo’s eyes to the[…]


Translating common sense into agribusiness models

Knowledge generation and sharing has been happening in every community since time immemorial. However, there has not been enough recognition of the way knowledge is structured from individual knowledge to household knowledge to community knowledge and to inter-community knowledge sharing. The way most African communities engage with knowledge is different from academic learning where one[…]