charles-dhewa

How marketing systems in developing countries penalize poor farmers

Whether it is potato production in the highlands of Rwanda, cassava production in Northern Mozambique or sweet potato production in Gokwe South district of Zimbabwe, the marketing season presents the same headaches for farmers. While production is now much easier, profitably moving commodities from farms to markets remains a nightmare that cannot be solved by[…]

charles-dhewa

Extent to which inherited knowledge systems are constraining African Imaginations

The introduction of exotic crops, fruits and livestock into Africa was initially guided and informed by the way indigenous crops, livestock and fruits performed in different micro climates. Unfortunately, instead of cultivating co-existence between exotic and indigenous foods, the colonial knowledge system has sought to completely replace indigenous crops, fruits and livestock with exotic food[…]

emkambo

The opportunity cost of industrialization in developing countries

The African spiny horned cucumber (pictured below) is abundant in Southern Africa this farming season. Like other natural crops, it does well in seasons characterized by global warming-induced drought such as the one ravaging Mozambique, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe this year. Replaced by the English cucumber, the African cucumber has been completely ignored[…]

emkambo

From academic and scientific research to commercial and social viability

When academic and scientific research came into African economies, communities were already surviving on Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS). In agriculture, for instance, a long tradition of seed selection, multiplication, retention and preservation exists up to today. Conservation Agriculture and other related forms of knowledge have also been part of community assets since time immemorial. The[…]

emkambo

How people’s markets value satisfaction more than colonial measurements

The formal education system in developing countries has not taken time to explain and justify colonial measurements that continue to be used in attaching value to agricultural commodities. Consequently, smallholder farmers wonder why some commodities are measured in kilograms and liters.  In the absence of meaningful explanations, consumers and farmers surmise that these measurements were[…]

charles-dhewa

How ICTs are being misused to perpetuate poverty

Contrary to the hype in which ICTs are presented as a panacea, ICTs-related costs in many African countries eroding the meagre promised benefits. Countless studies and articles (including this one – https://www.techzim.co.zw/2019/03/cost-of-mobile-data-in-zimbabwe-should-we-even-compare/) show that the cost of data is increasing in Africa when such costs are decreasing in other parts of the world. This is[…]

emkambo

How can developing countries build financial systems that work for the majority and for the environment

Not much research is needed to prove that financial systems in most developing countries do not work for the majority of people and for the environment. To the extent that financial systems are fundamentally urban ecosystems, more than 60% of the populations that live in rural areas are not part of mainstream financial systems. Where[…]

emkambo

When poor communities start asking searching questions!

Although rural communities in Africa may not directly push-back donor support, murmurings of dissatisfaction with some development interventions are getting louder. Such concerns are being expressed when farmers meet in markets and farming areas. Some community leaders are mastering the courage to loudly reflect on how long they will continue relying on food aid when[…]