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[…]

The only market where knowledge exchange is part customer experience

The only market where knowledge exchange is part customer experience What differentiates African food markets from the rest is that they do not just sell commodities but educate consumers. Where the majority of workers in formal markets like supermarkets focus only on selling commodities, traders in African food markets are always ready to educate consumers Read more about The only market where knowledge exchange is part customer experience[…]

Addressing unfair trade is a key step in transforming African food systems

Unfair trading practices have continued to characterize African agriculture and food systems for decades. Determining and setting prices for agricultural commodities remains a big challenge in most African countries including local markets where the majority of farmers, traders and consumers depend for their food and income. There have not been convincing answers to questions like: Read more about Addressing unfair trade is a key step in transforming African food systems[…]

The knowledge economy is redefining the meaning of agricultural extension

The knowledge economy is redefining the meaning of agricultural extension When there is nothing new to train farmers, the onus is on agricultural extension services departments to re-imagine how else they can remain relevant.  This is what is happening in many African countries where farmers have either been over-trained or they have mastered enough skills Read more about The knowledge economy is redefining the meaning of agricultural extension[…]

Making a difference through consensus – lessons from African food markets

Making a difference through consensus – lessons from African food markets Efforts to develop African economies and food systems have been expert-driven and instruction-oriented for decades. One of the most enduring assumptions has been that communities and farmers will not go anywhere without experts like extension officers and livestock specialists, among others. On the contrary, Read more about Making a difference through consensus – lessons from African food markets[…]

An African framework for commercializing indigenous food is long overdue

An African framework for commercializing indigenous food is long overdue As part of combatting the negative effects of pandemics such as COVID19 and distant wars on food systems, African countries have to develop frameworks for commercializing indigenous grains, fruits, vegetables and livestock. There is no longer any doubt that depending on global value chains makes Read more about An African framework for commercializing indigenous food is long overdue[…]

Africans may soon start importing indigenous fruits and vegetables

Africans may soon start importing indigenous fruits and vegetables Hate them or like them, the Chinese have become adept at quietly studying African natural resources such as local food systems. In every African mass market, that is ironically shunned by the African middle class in preference for supermarkets, it is common to see Chinese nationals Read more about Africans may soon start importing indigenous fruits and vegetables[…]

Cultivating a unique sense of self-reliance through African mass food markets

Cultivating a unique sense of self-reliance through African mass food markets After being shunned by formal financial institutions for decades, African SMEs and mass food markets have not run out of ideas.  Mass market traders, vendors, transporters and small-scale food processors have developed strong relationship-based financial ecosystems, creating a self-contained economy that is able to Read more about Cultivating a unique sense of self-reliance through African mass food markets[…]

Tapping into the seasonal nature of indigenous knowledge

Tapping into the seasonal nature of indigenous knowledge Every African community or ecosystem has embedded knowledge which sustains its development. That knowledge can be called local or indigenous because much of it is generated within the community or ecosystem and has been used over decades (if not centuries) for social cohesion, economic and environmental resilience Read more about Tapping into the seasonal nature of indigenous knowledge[…]

Invisible barriers against scaling up food systems projects in African countries

Invisible barriers against scaling up food systems projects in African countries Information about producing any food commodity is now abundant on the internet and in diverse manuals. For anyone who wants to know about how to bake bread or process fruits into drinks or jams, a quick search on the internet can produce tons of Read more about Invisible barriers against scaling up food systems projects in African countries[…]

Converting natural resources into food and raw materials requires thoughtful action

Converting natural resources into food and raw materials requires thoughtful action If converting natural resources into food and raw materials was as easy as it sounds, food insecurity and poverty would not be so rampant in most developing countries that are blessed with abundant natural resources. Although their populations were low, it seems African fore-fathers Read more about Converting natural resources into food and raw materials requires thoughtful action[…]