Latest articles

Working Paper 36: Small is beautiful? Policy choices and outcomes for agrarian change for resettled farmers in Mvurwi district
July 21, 2020 / Working Papers
Written by, Terence Chitapi and Toendepi Shonhe. After the fast-track land reform programme (FTLRP), there have been two prominent farming models in Zimbabwe, the small A1 and the large A2 model, whose distinction is primarily based on farm size. This
Working Paper 35: Agricultural Commercialisation in Northern Zimbabwe: Crises, Conjunctures and Contingencies, 1890-2020
July 10, 2020 / Working Papers
Written by, Ian Scoones, Toendepi Shonhe, Terence Chitapi, Caleb Maguranyanga and Simbai Mutimbanyoka. This study observes the interconnecting influences, over five time periods from 1890-2020, that have affected pathways of commercialisation, mostly of tobacco and maize, in Mvurwi area in
Working Paper 34: Does rice commercialisation empower women? Experience from Mngeta division in Kilombero District, Tanzania
July 10, 2020 / Working Papers
Written by, John Jeckoniah, Devotha B. Mosha and Gideon Boniface. Rice commercialisation in Mngeta division is believed to be the core driver for economic growth, poverty reduction, and improvements in the lives of men and women living there. However, as
Journal Article: Hard work and hazard: Young people and agricultural commercialisation in Africa
June 16, 2020 / Journal articles
Thomas Yeboah, Easther Chigumira, Innocensia John, Nana Akua Anyidoho, Victor Manyong, Justin Flynn, James Sumberg. An emerging orthodoxy supports the proposition that the rural economy – built around agriculture but encompassing much more – will serve as sweet spot of
Journal Article: Agricultural corridors as ‘demonstration fields’: infrastructure, fairs and associations along the Beira and Nacala corridors of Mozambique
June 16, 2020 / Journal articles
Euclides Gonçalves. 2020. In the past decade, the Mozambican government has been mobilizing international capital to build and renovate transport infrastructure in the central and northern areas of the country, with the aim of creating agricultural corridors. Based on field
Journal Article: Land, livelihoods and belonging: negotiating change and anticipating LAPSSET in Kenya’s Lamu county
June 16, 2020 / Journal articles
Ngala Chome. 2020. To attract investments in mineral extraction, physical infrastructure and agricultural commercialization over a vast swathe of Northern Kenya, national politicians and bureaucrats are casting the area as being both abundant with land and resources, and as, conversely,
Journal Article: Bureaucrats, investors and smallholders: contesting land rights and agro-commercialisation in the Southern agricultural growth corridor of Tanzania
June 16, 2020 / Journal articles
Emmanuel Sulle. 2020. Since the triple crises of food, fuel and finance of 2007/8, investments in agricultural growth corridors have taken centre-stage in government, donor and private sector initiatives. This article examines the politics of the multi-billion dollar development of
Journal Article: Demonstration fields’, anticipation, and contestation: agrarian change and the political economy of development corridors in Eastern Africa
June 16, 2020 / Journal articles
Ngala Chome, Euclides Gonçalves, Ian Scoones & Emmanuel Sulle. 2020. In much of Eastern Africa, the last decade has seen a renewed interest in spatial development plans that link mineral exploitation, transport infrastructure and agricultural commercialisation. While these development corridors
Journal Article: Land reform and new meaning of rural development in Zimbabwe
June 15, 2020 / Journal articles
Toendepi Shonhe. 2019. This paper reveals new meanings of rural development emerging following a dramatic land reform program and changes in the roles of capital in Zimbabwe. The economy-wide crisis wrought by capital flight in response to the fast track
Journal Article: Irrigating Zimbabwe After Land Reform: The Potential of Farmer-Led Systems
June 15, 2020 / Journal articles
Ian Scoones, Felix Murimbarimba, Jacob Mahenehene. 2019. Farmer-led irrigation is far more extensive in Zimbabwe than realised by planners and policymakers. This paper explores the pattern of farmer-led irrigation in neighbouring post-land reform smallholder resettlement sites in Zimbabwe’s Masvingo district.
Is all work harmful for children?
June 10, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
Written by Neil Howard, Roy Maconachie, Samuel Okyere. Hundreds of millions of pounds are being invested by governments, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and international agencies in support of the development and roll-out of policies and project interventions to end ‘child labour’.
Working Paper 33: Agribusiness Investment in Agricultural Commercialisation: Rethinking Policy Incentives in Africa
June 10, 2020 / Working Papers
Written by, Seife Ayele, Jodie Thorpe, Gezahegn Ayele, Henry Chingaipe, Joseph, K. Teye, Peter O’Flynn. Governments in sub-Saharan Africa and their donors have made business investment a major policy goal, supported by a variety of incentives designed to support business
Rapid response: how to deal with COVID-19 in rural Africa?
June 1, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
Written by Steve Wiggins. What lessons can be drawn from previous health crises to inform responses to COVID-19 in rural Africa? We reviewed seven previous health crises, plus a couple of economic crises, to think about to counter the effects
Rapid Evidence Review: Policy interventions to mitigate negative effects on poverty, agriculture and food security from disease outbreaks and other crises
May 26, 2020 / Evidence Review Publications
Written by, Steve Wiggins, Roger Calow, Joe Feyertag, Simon Levine & Alexandra Löwe. The assessment has been led by Steve Wiggins and colleagues at ODI and was conducted jointly with support from the Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) programme
Reacting to COVID-19: APRA’s rapid response
May 19, 2020 / News
In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) commissioned an in-depth review to draw lessons from previous disease outbreaks and other crises that may be relevant to formulating a coherent policy response in developing countries,
APRA Brief 25: Does rice commercialisation enhance or impair household food security among rice producing households in Mngeta Division, Kilombero District, Tanzania?
May 15, 2020 / APRA Briefs
Written by, Ntengua Mdoe, Gilead Mlay, Aida Isinika, Gideon Boniface, Christopher Magomba, John Jeckonia and Devotha Mosha The Tanzanian government has identified rice as a priority crop and has been implementing the National Rice Development Strategy (NRDS) since 2009 to
APRA Brief 24: The white gold of Wereta: A city raised on rice
May 15, 2020 / APRA Briefs
Written by, Tilahun Taddesse, Dawit Alemu and Abebaw Assaye. Wereta – the administrative capital of Fogera district – is an example of one of the fastest growing urban areas in the Fogera plain. Its rapid development is strongly connected with
Working Paper 32: Intra-Household Gender Differentials in Smallholder Agriculture Productivity in Food and Non-Food Crop Commercialisation Pathways: Evidence from Zimbabwe
May 1, 2020 / Working Papers
Written by, Takesure Tozooneyi, Ephraim W. Chirwa, Vine Mutyasira and Chrispen Sukume. This study contributes to the empirical evidence on gender differentials in smallholder agriculture productivity in Zimbabwe in two ways. First, the data allows households to be grouped into
Working Paper 31: Long-Term Change and Agricultural Commercialisation in Ghanaian Cocoa
May 1, 2020 / Working Papers
Written by, Kojo S. Amanor, Joseph A. Yaro and Joseph K. Teye. This study examines the processes of commercialisation in the cocoa sector in the Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) framework. This study examines the different processes of transformation
Working Paper 30: Does Rice Commercialisation Impact on Livelihood? Experience from Mngeta in Kilombero District, Tanzania
May 1, 2020 / Working Papers
Written by, Aida Isinika, Gilead Mlay, Gideon Boniface, Ntengua Mdoe, Colin Poulton and Amrita Saha. This paper discusses the livelihood impacts of rice commercialisation for farmers in Mngeta division in Kilombero district in Tanzania. Rice commercialisation occurs where more farmers
APRA Brief 23: Does rice commercialisation in Mngeta, Kilombero, Tanzania impact livelihoods?
April 8, 2020 / APRA Briefs
Written by, Aida Isinika, Ntengua Mdoe, John Jeckonia, Christopher Magomba, Gilead Mlay and Devotha Kilave This policy brief draws from research on rice commercialisation in Mngeta division, Kilombero District. The study area was selected because it fits well with the
APRA Brief 22: Enhancing production of quality rice in Ethiopia: Dis/incentives for rice processors
March 30, 2020 / APRA Briefs
Written by, Abebaw Assaye and Dawit Alemu. In order to reduce the import burden and contribute towards the country’s development plan through import substitution, it is critical to focus on increasing rice production and improving the quality of milled rice.
Working Paper 29: Political Economy of Agricultural Commercialisation in Nigeria
March 9, 2020 / Working Papers
Written by, Adelaja Odutola Odukoya. This paper interrogates the trajectory of agricultural commercialisation in Nigeria since independence in 1960 – but with a particular focus on the period from 1999–2018 – vis-à-vis the interface of the pathologies of the post-colonial
Working Paper 28: Agricultural Commercialisation Pathways, Input Use, and Crop Productivity: Evidence from Smallholder Farmers in Zimbabwe
March 9, 2020 / Working Papers
Written by, Vine Mutyasira and Chrispen Sukume. Agricultural commercialisation is increasingly seen as an effective instrument for transforming smallholder production systems and thus increasing the smallholder farmer’s incomes, food security, and other welfare outcomes such as women’s empowerment and rural
Working Paper 27: Divergent Terms of Market Integration of Agro-Pastoralists: Marketisation and Distress Selling of Livestock in South Omo, Ethiopia
March 9, 2020 / Working Papers
Written by, Fana Gebresenbet. The increasing trend of livestock marketing and commercialisation, and its attendant socio-economic consequences, has attracted academic and policy interest. This study investigates the processes of linking pastoralists to the market and the drivers which shape pastoralists’
Journal Article: Revisiting the Farm Size-Productivity Relationship Based on a Relatively Wide Range of Farm Sizes: Evidence from Kenya
January 16, 2020 / Journal articles
Milu Muyanga, T S Jayne. 2019. This paper revisits the inverse farm size-productivity relationship in Kenya. The study makes two contributions. First, the relationship is examined over a much wider range of farm sizes than most studies, which is particularly
Revision of the National Rice Sector Development Strategy of Ethiopia: a 10-year perspective plan
December 17, 2019 / News
A workshop on the National Rice Sector Development Strategy of Ethiopia to guide the national rice research and development interventions for the coming ten years (2020 – 2030) was organised on December 13, 2019, at Debre Zeit in Ethiopia. The
Journal Article: Are medium-scale farms driving agricultural transformation in sub-Saharan Africa?
December 16, 2019 / Journal articles
T. S. Jayne, Milu Muyanga, Ayala Wineman, Hosaena Ghebru, Caleb Stevens, Mercedes Stickler, Antony Chapoto, Ward Anseeuw, Divan van der Westhuizen, David Nyang. This study presents evidence of profound farm-level transformation in parts of sub- Saharan Africa, identifies major sources
APRA Brief 21: Changing Farm Structure and Agricultural Commercialisation in Nigeria
September 18, 2019 / APRA Briefs
Written by, Milu Muyanga, Adebayo Aromolaran, Thomas Jayne, Saweda Liverpool-Tasie, Titus Awokuse, Adesoji Adelaja There is evidence to show that there has been a transition regarding the structure of land ownership in Africa, particularly a rise in the number of
APRA Brief 20: Policy Incentives and Agribusiness Investment in Ethiopia: Benefit or Deadweight
September 18, 2019 / APRA Briefs
Written by, Seife Ayele, Gezahegn Ayele, Tebeje Nigussie and Jodie Thorpe The importance of agriculture to the Ethiopian economy is underlined by the country’s forthright promotion of investment in agriculture since the turn of the century, but how effective has
Research Note: Value Chain Participants in Smallholder Commercialisation in Mvurwi: Emerging Business Relations
August 29, 2019 / APRA research note
Written by, Vine Mutyasira, Tanaka Murimbarimba and Walter Mushayiwa Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector has experienced radical transformation following a series of land reform programs and an economic meltdown that started in 2000. The implementation of the Fast Track Land Reform Program
APRA Brief 19: Agribusiness Investment in Agricultural Commercialisation in Ghana: Rethinking Policy Incentives
August 13, 2019 / APRA Briefs
Written by Joseph Teye Ghana’s recent image as a peaceful and stable country has provided an attractive environment for foreign investors to do business in, reflected by numerous programmes implemented by Ghana and its partners which aim to strengthen foreign
Rethinking technological change in smallholder agriculture
July 24, 2019 / Research article
Written by, Dominic Glover, James Sumberg, Giel Ton, Jens Andersson and Lone Badstue. The concept of technology adoption (along with its companions, diffusion and scaling) is commonly used to design development interventions, to frame impact evaluations and to inform decision-making

Working Paper 26: Changing farm structure and agricultural commercialisation in Nigeria
July 11, 2019 / Working Papers
Written by, Milu Muyanga, Adebayo Aromolaran, Thomas Jayne, Saweda Liverpool-Tasie, Titus Awokuse andAdesoji Adelaja Evidence is mounting that the rise of medium-scale investor farms and associated changes in the distribution of farm sizes are occurring in many African countries. These
Working Paper 25: Building Livelihoods: Young People and Agricultural Commercialisation in Africa: Zimbabwe Country Study
June 26, 2019 / Working Papers
Written by Easther Chigumira This paper is concerned with how young people in the Mvurwi Farming Area in Zimbabwe engage with or are affected by agricultural commercialisation. Mvurwi’s commercialised rural economy offers opportunities for young people to engage in a
Working Paper 24: Building Livelihoods: Young People and Agricultural Commercialisation: Tanzania Country Study
March 28, 2019 / Working Papers
This paper reports on a study of how young people engage in the rural economy in an area where there is a significant level of agricultural commercialisation. The objective was to develop an understanding of the steps and pathways with
Working Paper 23: Mechanised Agriculture and Medium-Scale Farmers in Northern Ghana: a Success of Market Liberalism or a Product of a Longer History?
March 28, 2019 / Working Papers
In recent years, the significant uptake of tractor-ploughing services in Ghana has been heralded as a success of market liberal policies. It has been argued that market reforms have enabled medium-scale farmers to expand their operations and invest in tractors,
APRA Brief 18: The political economy of agricultural growth corridors in eastern Africa
March 22, 2019 / APRA Briefs
A new wave of agricultural commercialisation is being promoted across Africa’s eastern seaboard, by a broad range of influential actors – from international corporations to domestic political and business elites. Growth corridors, linking infrastructure development, mining and agriculture for export,
APRA Brief 17: Tractors, Markets and the State: (Dis)continuities in Africa’s Agricultural Mechanisation
March 22, 2019 / APRA Briefs
Agricultural mechanisation has once again become a topical issue in African policymaking, following the reinstatement of agriculture in the growth and development agenda for the continent since the turn of the century. But the contribution of mechanisation to agricultural growth
APRA Brief 16: A Historical Analysis of Rice Commercialisation in Ethiopia_The Case of the Fogera Plain
March 12, 2019 / APRA Briefs
This brief presents a historical analysis of rice commercialisation and its impacts on local livelihoods and rural economies in Ethiopia, drawing insights from the experience of the Fogera Plain in the Amhara Region. Fogera is one of the regions which
APRA Brief 15: Building Livelihoods: Youth and Agricultural Commercialisation in Ghana
March 12, 2019 / APRA Briefs
Analysing the pathways that young people employ to get started in commercial agriculture should provide valuable and policy-relevant insights about opportunities and challenges for Africa’s rural youth. This paper presents a summary of findings on how young people engage with
Working Paper 22: Tractors in Africa: Looking Behind the Technical Fix
March 11, 2019 / Working Papers
Written by Lidia Cabral. This paper considers the current policy debate on agricultural mechanisation in Africa, situating this in the context of long-standing disputes on appropriate technology and roles for the state. Present calls for mechanisation, and tractorisation in particular,
Working Paper 21: Tractors and Agrarian Transformation in Zimbabwe: Insights from Mvurwi
March 11, 2019 / Working Papers
Written by Toendepi Shonhe. This paper examines postcolonial agricultural mechanisation in Zimbabwe in the context of recent land reforms. It pays particular attention to the central role played by state-capital relations – with notable links to international finance – in
Working Paper 20: Building Livelihoods: Young People and Agricultural Commercialisation in Africa: Ghana Country Study
March 11, 2019 / Working Papers
Written by Thomas Yeboah. This paper is concerned with how rural young people in Ghana engage with or are affected by two processes closely associated with rural and economic transformation – agricultural intensification and agricultural commercialisation. The objective was to
Working Paper 19: Zinc Roof of Mango Tree? Tractors, Modernisation and Agrarian Transformation in Mozambique
March 11, 2019 / Working Papers
Written by Lidia Cabral. This paper analyses the design and implementation of Mozambique’s National Agriculture Mechanisation Programme and wider mechanisation policy, looking at the models devised for service provision, actors involved, their motivations and expectations, and access to machinery by
Working Paper 18: A Historical Analysis of Rice Commercialisation in Ethiopia: the Case of the Fogera Plain
January 25, 2019 / Working Papers
This paper presents a historical analysis of rice commercialisation and its impacts on local livelihoods and rural economies in Ethiopia, drawing insights from the experience of the Fogera Plain, a dynamic farming area in Amhara Region to the west of
Journal of Peasant Studies 2019 Summer Writeshop-Workshop in Critical Agrarian Studies and Scholar-Activism: Call for Application
January 9, 2019 / APRA blog News
Call for Application The Journal of Peasant Studies (JPS), College of Humanities and Development Studies (COHD) of China Agricultural University (Beijing), and Future Agricultures Consortium (FAC) are jointly organizing a new initiative: JPS Annual Summer Writeshop-Workshop in Critical Agrarian Studies

Journal Article: Medium-scale commercial farms in Africa: the experience of the ‘native purchase areas’ in Zimbabwe
December 3, 2018 / Journal articles
Ian Scoones, Blasio Mavedzenge and Felix Murimbarimba. 2018. Across Africa there has been a growth in medium-sized farms, including in Zimbabwe following the land reform of 2000. What are the prospects of such farms driving new forms of agricultural commercialization?
APRA Brief 8: The Political Economy of Agricultural Commercialisation in Zimbabwe
October 11, 2018 / APRA Briefs
This brief presents a critical discussion of the political economy of agricultural commercialisation in Zimbabwe, focusing on the post-2000 period – when major land redistribution brought about dramatic agrarian structural transformation in the country. Understanding shifts in production and commodity
APRA Brief 7: Policy Processes and Political Economy: Ghana Country Review
October 10, 2018 / APRA Briefs
This brief is based on a longer working paper, which examines the political economy of agricultural commercialisation in Ghana from 2000–2018. The relationship between a changing political landscape and agricultural policy in Ghana is neither fully understood nor explored; this