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[…]

Remarkable insights from attaching university students in agricultural markets

Remarkable insights from attaching university students in agricultural markets Knowledge Transfer Africa (KTA) has been providing attachment or internship to university students since 2014 in agricultural mass markets where the organization works. Attachment/internship opportunities have been offered to students studying agricultural economics, pure economics, banking &finance, food science, sociology, geography & environmental science, development studies, Read more about Remarkable insights from attaching university students in agricultural markets[…]

To what extent should African countries be obsessed with foreign currency

To what extent should African countries be obsessed with foreign currency? When agro-based African countries embrace a foreign currency mentality, there is a serious danger of marginalizing the majority of economic actors like farmers who do not need foreign currency for their daily needs. It becomes difficult for people to be patriotic about their currency Read more about To what extent should African countries be obsessed with foreign currency[…]

Farming as family businesses and succession pathways

Farming as family businesses and succession pathways What will transform most African economies is not agriculture but agribusiness. Without business models, agriculture is not profitable. That is why smallholder farmers should be supported to operate as family business. Throughout the world, family-run businesses are the oldest and most prevalent form of business ownership. For most Read more about Farming as family businesses and succession pathways[…]

The value of cultivating uniqueness in African food systems

The value of cultivating uniqueness in African food systems Why does African agriculture continue to lack uniqueness? For how long is it going to be all about using the same template to produce the same crops? This would not be happening if the agriculture was not controlled by seed companies who use farmers and farmers’ Read more about The value of cultivating uniqueness in African food systems[…]

Why African food systems need watchdogs and whistle-blowers

Why African food systems need watchdogs and whistle-blowers One of the key lessons from COVID19 for African agro-based economies is the importance of fast and frequent early warning systems. Countries are being forced to think about how early is early? Vulnerability assessments whose results and reports come out after a month or more are no Read more about Why African food systems need watchdogs and whistle-blowers[…]

The high costs of ignoring local knowledge

The high costs of ignoring local knowledge The developed world looks at Africa only as a source of natural resources like land, water, raw materials and labour not a source of knowledge. In the same vein, African governments see rural communities as sources of raw materials and cheap labour, not sources of knowledge. By ignoring Read more about The high costs of ignoring local knowledge[…]

African countries should start investing in their substitute commodities

African countries should start investing in their substitute commodities While the profile of indigenous food has been rising over the past few years across Africa, policy makers are yet to direct policies and public spending to the majority of indigenous commodities. A lot of support continues to be directed at exotic commodities that are being Read more about African countries should start investing in their substitute commodities[…]

Free flowing information will ensure policies are backed by fresh evidence

Free flowing information will ensure policies are backed by fresh evidence What has constrained the capacity of African countries to translate politics into economic development is paying lip service to the true value of information. For instance, the majority of African countries have not put in place systems for collecting data and information in ways Read more about Free flowing information will ensure policies are backed by fresh evidence[…]

Agricultural economies should develop farmer-responsive pricing models

Agricultural economies should develop farmer-responsive pricing models The past few years have seen climate change-induced droughts constraining the capacity of African countries such as Zimbabwe to predict future harvests. Consequently, when a bumper harvest happens governments are compelled to lead agricultural value chain actors in building buffer food stocks against future shocks. Developing responsive pricing Read more about Agricultural economies should develop farmer-responsive pricing models[…]

Market literacy is more important than financial literacy

Market literacy is more important than financial literacy Financial literacy has gained prominence as a necessary intervention in most developing countries. However, what has become clear in most agro-based African countries is that market literacy is more important than financial literacy because the market provides the broader context in which financial literacy can be understood. Read more about Market literacy is more important than financial literacy[…]