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[…]

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[…]

Potential for youth employment through making livestock feed from urban agriculture

Potential for youth employment through making livestock feed from urban agriculture While the majority of youths in African countries are still interested in white collar jobs, a monthly salary or wage, agriculture offers new platforms for young people to participate in creating their own employment. These opportunities extend from communal to urban farming. The growth Read more about Potential for youth employment through making livestock feed from urban agriculture[…]

Using agriculture and natural resources to decolonize parliamentary debates

Using agriculture and natural resources to decolonize parliamentary debates Except in Burkina Faso and Uganda, parliamentary debates in the majority of agro-based African economies are completely disconnected from issues that affect ordinary people daily. Ideally, Members of Parliament (MPs) from production zones should be conversant with issues in their constituencies to be able to articulate Read more about Using agriculture and natural resources to decolonize parliamentary debates[…]

Why each agricultural food commodity needs a solid profile in the market

Why each agricultural food commodity needs a solid profile in the market The COVID19 pandemic has provided sufficient reasons why agro-based countries should not wait until there is a crisis to invest in data collection, analyses and sharing. Given the extent to which agriculture is a baseline for most African economies, the value of agricultural Read more about Why each agricultural food commodity needs a solid profile in the market[…]

The power of clear role definition in African food systems

COVID-19 has revealed the importance of understanding roles of different actors in Africa’s food systems. When roles and responsibilities are unclear, smallholder farmers are exposed to conmen.  For instance, in Zimbabwe farmers are losing produce to unregistered buyers. The situation would be better if all buyers were registered and the trading of all agricultural commodities Read more about The power of clear role definition in African food systems[…]

Reimagining a new socio-economic fabric for African informal economies

Social safety nets will not be able to cover ordinary people’s coping mechanisms. Where economies were functioning normally, many farmers, traders and other entrepreneurs were busy servicing loans taken from banks and Micro Finance Institutions. What is going to happen? Importance of careful business profiling The biggest challenge for policy makers is navigating difficult trade-offs Read more about Reimagining a new socio-economic fabric for African informal economies[…]

Helping communities to benefit from their information and knowledge

Helping communities to benefit from their information and knowledge Marginalized communities and farmers always find it difficult to access relevant and reliable information. Their capacity to objectively assess that information is also inadequate. The situation is worse during the marketing season when information overload increases especially from different buyers competing to portray themselves as offering Read more about Helping communities to benefit from their information and knowledge[…]

Decolonizing African Food Systems Has Never Been So Urgent

Decolonizing African Food Systems Has Never Been So Urgent African countries have remained stuck in colonial food systems and structures where grain silos, abattoirs, processing centres and other important food handling facilities are located in cities. By now, silos and processing facilities should have been established at community level, close to production zones. Why should Read more about Decolonizing African Food Systems Has Never Been So Urgent[…]

Why demand for advice and knowledge increases during the marketing season

Why demand for advice and knowledge increases during the marketing season The urgency with which farmers seek help, advice and support increases during the harvesting season compared to the planting season. Production knowledge is now relatively abundant but the same cannot be said about knowledge on markets and their behaviours. During the planting season, the Read more about Why demand for advice and knowledge increases during the marketing season[…]