From selling raw commodities to product development

From selling raw commodities to product development

In almost all agro-based African economies, there is now consensus that smallholder farmers cannot move out of poverty by producing and selling raw crops directly to the market because that guarantees below average profit. There is no reason why farmers do not engage in farm level value addition closer home,...Read more
Pitfalls of embracing a natural farming region approach to agriculture development

Pitfalls of embracing a natural farming region approach to agriculture development

Pitfalls of embracing a natural farming region approach to agriculture development Agricultural practices in much of Africa have always been done in line with natural farming regions. While this approach is sensible, it has consistently disadvantaged dry regions. There has been a tendency to think that drought-prone areas do not...Read more

How farmers learn from emergent practices than best practices

While many organisations design top-down training and ‘capacity building’ programmes for farmers and rural communities, a recent eMKambo survey has shown that farmers and traders learn more from emergent practices than ‘best’ practices. In some areas, social media is exacerbating this trend. Using their own intelligence, farmers observe and organize...Read more

Are we using the right methods to gather agricultural and rural development information?

Policy makers and development partners in Zimbabwe have become accustomed to making decisions on the basis of the annual Crop and Livestock Assessment report as well as the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) report which also conducts a rural livelihood assessment every year. Other sources of information for policy makers...Read more

Can groups really deliver more than individuals?

In many African countries, farmers, traders and ordinary people are often encouraged to form groups as a way of pooling their resources towards achieving their individual goals. Group formation is sometimes introduced as a condition for receiving support from financial institutions and development partners. The underlying assumption is that groups...Read more

Of packaging and units of agricultural trade

Units of measurement and packaging have an enormous influence on the value of agriculture commodities in all markets including people’s markets. Many farmers lose or gain depending on packaging and units of measurement used in the market. While it may seem easy to determine the value of meat by using...Read more

Where TRUST is more than collateral!

A few financial institutions and policymakers are beginning to see what farmers and traders working in the people’s market have known for decades. That TRUST is a key enabler of successful agriculture development. On the other hand, academics are also waking up to the fact that without TRUST you cannot...Read more