Reflections on costing of agricultural commodities – thanks to COVID19

In addition to disrupting food supply chains, COVID-19 has presented a pricing headache for smallholder farmers in African countries. If government directs supermarkets to revert back to pre-COVID19 prices they can easily do so because they have a tradition of keeping records on stocks and prices.  On the other hand, mass markets will not be Read more about Reflections on costing of agricultural commodities – thanks to COVID19[…]

How COVID19 has exposed limitations of colonial food systems in Africa

The majority of developing countries are still to tear themselves away from the colonial set up where major food markets were located in cities or towns in order to provide food for low income people working in formal industries. Under that arrangement food had to travel from rural areas most of which were 100km away Read more about How COVID19 has exposed limitations of colonial food systems in Africa[…]

Tracking or tracing has never been so important – thanks to COVID19

Before COVID-19, the need for privacy was gaining momentum across the world particularly in the global North. People were beginning to frown at the intrusive nature of technology and digital gadgets are notorious for tracking people’s movements and whatever they are doing. In addition to social distancing, contact tracing is one of the phrases popularized Read more about Tracking or tracing has never been so important – thanks to COVID19[…]

It has taken a crisis for the importance of market infrastructure to be acknowledged

After years of persuading development agencies not to concentrate on the production side but spread their resources along supply chains all the way to the market, eMKambo has finally been vindicated.  COVID-19 has provided the Ahaa! moment for policy makers and development agencies on the importance of building infrastructure at African mass markets. If a Read more about It has taken a crisis for the importance of market infrastructure to be acknowledged[…]

Strategies for cushioning African informal economies against COVID19

Cushioning informal traders and vendors against the impact of COVID-19 is a very noble idea in developing countries. However the devil is in the implementation details. For instance African informal economies function more like ecosystems than a collection of disconnected traders and vendors. That is why before introducing social cash grants, the most important first Read more about Strategies for cushioning African informal economies against COVID19[…]

COVID19 – an opportunity for decision makers to know how African food markets function

African countries are called less industrialized economies for genuine reasons. If the majority of people in a country depend on more than 80 agricultural commodities and less than 10 can be turned into processed products, such a country is obviously less industrialized. For instance in Zimbabwe only maize meal, flour, sugar, wheat flour, magarine, tomato Read more about COVID19 – an opportunity for decision makers to know how African food markets function[…]

Clear benefits of containerization in African Agriculture

Post-harvest handling and storage of agriculture commodities remains the biggest challenge for the majority of African smallholders. Unfortunately most solutions being pushed are designed to get surplus commodities moving quickly from farming areas to the market and consumers. Solutions that enable farmers to hold onto their commodities and sell profitably rather than be pushed to Read more about Clear benefits of containerization in African Agriculture[…]

Using infrastructure to unlock the value of African agriculture

African agriculture requires banks with a vision to invest in infrastructure which can be used by farmers to anchor production in ways that simplify loan repayment. For instance Vision 2030 should have financial products that speak to a 10 year horizon. Financing inputs is just like providing consumer loans which do not have a growth Read more about Using infrastructure to unlock the value of African agriculture[…]

Which sources of information can transform African Agriculture

All over the world, information sources are no longer just important for journalists. African policy makers who really want to transform their agro-based economies cannot afford to remain silent about their sources of information. There is emerging consensus to the effect that information from academic institutions, private companies and development agencies is not enough for Read more about Which sources of information can transform African Agriculture[…]

Ten guiding principles for yoking infrastructure and ICTs in African Agriculture

There has been a general tendency by developing countries to cherry-pick and deploy some components of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in the agriculture sector. Combining infrastructure and ICTs could play a more catalytic role than just using ICTs for promoting extension services. If African countries are going to produce sufficient agricultural commodities, how can Read more about Ten guiding principles for yoking infrastructure and ICTs in African Agriculture[…]