Latest articles

eDialogue: What Future for Small-Scale Farming? Emerging themes
November 25, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
5th eDialogue, ‘Wrap-up and Policy Implications’,25th November By Jim Woodhill, Ken Giller and John Thompson Tuesday 10 November was another fantastic session of our eDialogue series on ‘What Future for Small-Scale Farming?: Inclusive Transformation in Challenging Times’. The panellists explored the complementary roles

Abdel Ismail: Is small-scale farming changing for the better?
November 23, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
The final blog in a four-part series highlights the reflections of Abdelbagi Ismail, Principal Researcher at IRRI, on the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Foresight4Food, IFAD and APRA eDialogue session on the future of small-scale farming in Africa.

Land and compensation in Zimbabwe: frequently asked questions
November 23, 2020 / FAC blog
This blog was written by Ian Scoones and first appeared on Zimbabweland. The debate about compensation of former white farmers in Zimbabwe continues to rage. The compensation agreement signed in July agreed a total amount of US$3.5 billion to pay for ‘improvements’ to

Jemimah Njuki looks to an inclusive future for small-holder farming in Africa
November 19, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
In the third of a four-part blog series following the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Foresight4Food, IFAD and APRA eDialogue session on the future of small-scale farming, Jemimah Njuki, the International Food Policy Research Institute’s Director for Africa, reflects on

Final eDialogue on ‘Policy Implications’
November 19, 2020 / News
5th eDialogue, ‘Wrap-up and Policy Implications’,25th November Join us for ‘Wrap-up and Policy Implications’, the fifth and final part of the eDialogue series: ‘What Future for Small-Scale Farming?’ on Wednesday, November 25, 12:15 – 14:00 GMT Small-scale farmers are integral to food
APRA researcher questions Malawi’s approach on poverty reduction
November 16, 2020 / News
Following two widely-circulated media stories on a hard-hitting policy brief on agribusiness investment, and a report on how COVID-19 is affecting food systems and rural livelihoods, the Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) Malawi team have engaged with the press
Martin Muchero’s perspective: small-scale farming, its challenges and how to address them
November 16, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
The second instalment of a four-part blog series highlights the experiences and takeaways of independent consultant Martin Muchero, expert panellist from the Africa Regional Perspectives session of the third UN Sustainable Development Solutions Networks, Foresight4Food, IFAD and APRA eDialogue, regarding

Aida Isinika: reflections on the eDialogue
November 12, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
In the first of a four-part blog series,  – Aida Isinika, APRA Tanzania Country Lead and Professor, Sokoine University of Agriculture, shares her experience of the third UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Foresight4Food, IFAD & APRA eDialogue session, all about

Devastating effect of floods on rice production and commercialisation in the Fogera plain
November 9, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
In September 2020, the northern Amhara region of Ethiopia was hit hard again by floods, already displacing 300,000 people, according to the UN. APRA researchers Dawit Alemu and Abebaw Assaye assess the extent of the damage on rice production and

Women and young people in Zimbabwe’s COVID-19 economy
November 9, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
This post was written by Ian Scoones and first appeared on Zimbabweland. I had another catch-up with colleagues in Zimbabwe recently, reflecting on the COVID-19 situation and its consequences across our sites in Masvingo, Gutu, Mwenezi, Matobo and Mvurwi. This is now the
What is the future for rice as a strategic crop in Ethiopia?
November 5, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
In our latest blog, APRA academics Dawit Alemu and John Thompson summarise their latest working paper to look at the future of rice in Ethiopia. They look at the economic importance of the crop and examine the trends in production,

APRA Tanzania present findings to media
November 2, 2020 / News
After the successful high profile media coverage by the APRA Malawi team, the Tanzania team have followed suit by presenting a selection of their research findings to 23 different media houses during a special event held at the Sokoine Agricultural
Dilemmas of smallholder oil palm farmers in south-western Ghana
November 2, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
This blog utilises the latest research to look at the different choices and outcomes facing small-scale oil palm farmers in south-western Ghana. The authors then examine household participation, transactions and trust, the welfare effects, and the implications of their research

4th eDialogue on transition pathways and strategies
November 2, 2020 / News
SIGN UP NOW for next session on 25th November ‘Transition Pathways and Strategies’, was the fourth part of the eDialogue series: ‘What Future for Small-Scale Farming?’ on Tuesday, November 10, 12:00 – 13:30 UTC/GMT Transition pathways and strategies for small-scale
Do those not enrolled in Fairtrade arrangements in Malawi still benefit?
October 29, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
In the second of a two-part blog series, APRA researcher Stevier Kaiyatsa examines the Fairtrade groundnut arrangement in Mchinji, Malawi, and asks whether farmers not enrolled it still benefit? For part one on whether smallholder farmers in Malawi benefit from

Land reform in Matabeleland: the challenges of living in a harsh, variable environment
October 29, 2020 / FAC blog
This blog was written by Ian Scoones and first appeared on Zimbabweland. The land reform story in Matabeleland has been under-researched, but now there are some new findings being published. This blog profiles two papers focusing on Matobo district, also one of our study

Do farmers benefit when they sell to small-scale traders in the rural market in Malawi?
October 26, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
In the first of a two-part blog series, APRA researcher Stevier Kaiyatsa examines new APRA research and determines whether smallholder farmers in Malawi that operate in isolation benefit from selling their agricultural produce to the small-scale traders in rural markets.

Can medium scale farms contribute to smallholder commercialisation and welfare in Nigeria?
October 22, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
APRA researchers Lenis Saweda O. Liverpool-Tasie and Salim Nuhu explore the beneficial relationship between small-scale and medium-scale farms in Nigeria, where frequent interactions between the two are boosting the productivity and welfare of small scale farmers. They then look at

APRA hit national news again with Malawi COVID19 report
October 22, 2020 / News
Three weeks since the Malawian government was brought to task by the national press following an APRA brief on agricultural policy, the APRA Malawi team has featured in The Nation Paper once again. Appearing under the headline “Covid-19 chokes food
Women empowerment, agriculture commercialisation and gender relations in Mvurwi, Zimbabwe
October 19, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
In this blog, APRA researcher Hazel M. Kwaramba looks at the different areas in which women in Mvurwi, Zimbabwe seek to construct livelihood – particularly strawberries, poultry and sweet potatoes – to examine pathways towards women empowerment, including policy recommendations.

3rd eDialogue on ‘Africa Regional Perspectives’
October 15, 2020 / News
SIGN UP NOW for the next session on Wrap-up and Policy Implications,25th November The sessions on ‘Regional Perspectives’, explored the dynamics of small-scale agriculture and food system change across Africa, Asia and South America. The African session observed the trends
Policy options for expanding land under commercial tree crops cultivation in Nigeria
October 15, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
Tree crops are key to Nigeria’s economy, yet the production yield of crops such as cocoa is falls well below the demand. In our latest blog, APRA researcher Adebayo B. Aromolaran and his colleagues examine the different options available to

The return of fortress conservation: why excluding people means biodiversity conservation will fail
October 15, 2020 / FAC blog
This post was written by Ian Scoones and first appeared on Zimbabweland. The recent UN biodiversity summit reported disappointing results. Not one of the 20 indicators set a decade before were met. In many quarters, there is a growing cry for more assertive measures to protect and

Reflections on the winners and losers in livestock commercialisation in northern Kenya
October 12, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
In this blog, researcher, pastoral development and dryland management specialist Guyo Roba reflects upon and summarises his recent working paper on how livestock commercialisation has impacted different actors and different wealth groups in Isiolo and Marsabit counties. He then provides

Agricultural-based livelihood implications of COVID-19 in Ghana (2)
October 5, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
In the second of a two-part blog series, APRA researchers Louis Hodey, Kofi Asante & Fred Dzanku look at the responses of agribusinesses and farm households to the pandemic, how the Ghanaian government has responded, and offer policy recommendations for
Malawi press tasks government on policy following APRA brief
October 1, 2020 / News
APRA policy research has recently been featured in Malawi’s The Nation newspaper, as well as on the publication’s website.  “Inducing agribusiness investment in Malawi: Insights from investors,” written by APRA researchers Henry Chingaipe, Joseph Thombozi and Horace Chingaipe, investigate the
Agricultural-based livelihood implications of COVID-19 in Ghana (1)
September 28, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
In the latest of a series of COVID19-related blogs, APRA Ghana researchers Louis Hodey, Kofi Asante & Fred Dzanku examine the implications of the pandemic on agriculture-based livelihoods in the first of a two-part blog series, including the impact on
“Know your epidemic”: Reflections from Zimbabwe
September 28, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
This blog was written by Ian Scoones and first appeared on Zimbabweland. “Know your epidemic, act on its politics” was a lesson learned in the HIV/AIDS pandemic. As Alex De Waal argued back in March, it’s just as important for COVID-19. The pandemic is

Future Agricultures Twitter reaches 20,000 follower milestone
September 24, 2020 / News
After almost 10 years on Twitter and posting over 3,000 Tweets, the Future Agricultures Consortium account, @FutureAgrics, has hit the significant milestone of 20,000 followers. The ever-increasing follower numbers highlights the relevance of the content promoted through this channel through
To farm or not to farm? That’s NOT the question
September 21, 2020 / FAC blog
Written by James Sumberg and first appeared on the Institute of Development Studies website. This blog features a short film – including a new French language version – that explores how young people engage with the rural economy in sub-Saharan

How is COVID-19 shaping agricultural production and commodity marketing among smallholders in Zimbabwe?
September 17, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
In this blog, APRA researcher Vine Mutyasira examines the impact of lockdown measures on smallholder farmers in Mvurwi and Concession, Zimbabwe. He examines how these restrictions have hit agricultural production and commodity marketing, and gives recommendations on how to combat
The unintended consequences of COVID19 lockdown in Nigeria
September 10, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
Although the COVID19 pandemic has not yet affected Nigeria to the same extent as some countries, the Nigerian Government introduced strict lockdown measures across the country to restrict the spread of the virus. In our latest blog, APRA researchers Adebayo
Innovation in the pandemic: an update from Zimbabwe
September 10, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
This post was written by Ian Scoones and first appeared on Zimbabweland I had the latest long discussion on responses to COVID-19 in our rural study areas across the country on 5 September. Check out the earlier updates from 27 July, 15 June and 27 April The pandemic

Local perspectives: Second e-Dialogue held on the future of small-scale farming
September 10, 2020 / News
‘Local perspectives’ was the subject of the second e-Dialogue held on August 27, 2020. In a continuation of the new virtual series, ‘What future for small-scale farming? Inclusive transformation in challenging times’. The session looked at the challenges smallholders face
When global capital met pastoralism: learning from a decade of large-scale investment in dryland Africa
September 7, 2020 / FAC blog
By Jeremy Lind, Doris Okenwa and Ian Scoones In recent years, the gaze of global investment has been directed to Africa’s land and resources. Over the past decade, global capital from Europe, the Near East, China and elsewhere poured into

Still debating land tenure reform in Zimbabwe
September 7, 2020 / FAC blog
This blog was written by Ian Scoones and first appeared on Zimbabweland As part of the on-going discussions about Zimbabwe’s new land policy, land tenure is a central concern. Zimbabwe has a multi-form land tenure system, involving different legal arrangements and different forms of authority.

What role does the hand hoe have in rice production in Morogoro, Tanzania?
September 3, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
Basic hand hoes have always played a key part in rice production in Morogoro, Tanzania – but as ox-ploughs and tractors become more widely used, is there still a place for the traditional farm implement? Using information from a recent

How COVID-19 has affected Liliyan’s Catering Services in Morogoro, Tanzania
August 24, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
In our latest blog, APRA researchers Ntengua Mdoe, Gilead Mlay and Gideon Boniface examine the negative effect of the pandemic on Liliyan’s Catering Services Enterprise, and how it is bouncing back and coping with the financial hit. The researchers then
Impact of COVID-19 on daily labourers and rice commercialisation in Ethiopia (3)
August 17, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
In the final blog of a three-part series, Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research researcher Agajie Tesfaye looks ahead and provides seven key recommendations on how the Ethiopian government can lessen the negative impacts of COVID-19 restrictions on day labourers, farmers
Impact of COVID-19 on daily labourers and rice commercialisation in Ethiopia (2)
August 13, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
In the second of a three-part blog series, Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research researcher Agajie Tesfaye examines effects of COVID-19 on labour wages, service providers to labourers, rice production and the future implications on rice commercialisation. Check below for the
Zimbabwe’s land reform compensation deal agreed at last
August 13, 2020 / FAC blog
This blog was written by Ian Scoones and first appeared on Zimbabweland. It has been 20 years since land reform and the issue of compensation for those who lost land has rumbled on. The government has always said it was committed to compensation

Impact of COVID-19 on daily labourers and rice commercialisation in Ethiopia (1)
August 10, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
In the first blog of a three-part series, Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research researcher Agajie Tesfaye presents the preliminary findings and statistical analysis of research assessments that were conducted to examine the impact of COVID-19 on the labour supply of
Poor rural roads: Is cocoa still a ‘wealth spinning exercise’ in Ondo State, Nigeria?
August 6, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
In a previous APRA blog, we explained how unscrupulous activities of loggers in Idanre, Ondo State, Nigeria were causing hardship for many cocoa farms. In this blog, APRA researcher Oluwasegun Ajetunmobi travels to Idanre to examine the poor state of

Matriliny, land tenure and oil palm commercialisation in south western Ghana
August 3, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
Matriliny – the transfer of wealth and inheritance through the female ancestral line – is a driving factor of land tenure practices, land access, use and control in the Ahanta and Mpohor Wassa East districts of the Western Region of

First ‘e-Dialogue with a difference’ held on the future of small-scale farming
July 30, 2020 / News
Smallholder led transformation can reap from huge potential gains, chief among them is the obvious improvement in peoples’ lives’. APRA researcher Milu Muyanga shared his views in the first session of a new virtual series, on ‘What future for small-scale
Five ways governments can help small businesses in the informal sector survive COVID-19
July 30, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
This blog was written by Amrita Saha and Opeyemi Abebe. It was first published by the Commonwealth Secretariat. In Africa, micro, small and medium-size enterprises (MSMEs) in the informal economy are particularly vulnerable to economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
New paper published on youth and food system transformation
July 30, 2020 / News
What, if anything, is special about youth with respect to their engagement in food systems? This is a question asked in a new paper ‘Youth and Food Systems Transformation’, which outlines the importance of the growing numbers of youth and

Viral politics and economics in Zimbabwe
July 30, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
This blog was written by Ian Scoones and first appeared on Zimbabweland. COVID-19 has taken hold in Zimbabwe with a significant growth in community transmission observed in the past weeks. On July 24th, the total reported cases were 2296, with
Small is beautiful? Agrarian change for resettled farmers in Mvurwi, Zimbabwe
July 27, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
This blog summarises APRA Working Paper 36, which investigates long-standing debate on the efficacy and capacity of the ‘small farm’ versus the ‘large farm ’in terms of meeting household and national food self-sufficiency and help achieving rural livelihoods outcomes. Written

COVID-19: Coping strategies of rice value chain actors in Tanzania (2)
July 23, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
In the second of a two-part mini-series, APRA researchers Ntengua Mdoe, Gilead Mlay and Gideon Boniface examine how actors in the rice value chain in Tanzania have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures that were introduced to