Latest articles

Journal Article: Heterogeneous Market Participation Channels and Household Welfare
January 8, 2024 / Journal articles News Publications
This paper uses panel data and qualitative interviews from southwestern Ghana to analyse farmers’ heterogeneous oil palm marketing decisions and the effect on household welfare. We show that despite the supposed benefits that smallholders could derive from participation in global
Journal Article: Precarious Prospects? Exploring Climate Resilience of Agricultural Commercialization Pathways in Tanzania and Zimbabwe
December 18, 2023 / Journal articles Publications
Smallholder agricultural commercialization is a central objective across Africa, one linked to poverty reduction, sectoral transformation and increasingly, climate resilience and adaptation. There is much attention given to the extent to which agricultural commercialization serves to reduce poverty, but less
Journal Article: The Politics of Policy Failure in Ghana: The Case of Oil Palm
December 18, 2023 / Journal articles Publications
The paper argues that political economy factors have hindered the development of the oil palm value chain in Ghana, which has consistently underperformed despite significant policy support and the sector’s strategic importance to the national economy. These factors include political
Journal Article: Building Twenty-first Century Agricultural Research and Extension Capacity in Africa
December 18, 2023 / Journal articles Publications
This study explores the effectiveness of international efforts to build the capacities of national agricultural research and extension systems (NARES) in Africa and proposes actions to improve the performance of these systems. Analysis draws on agricultural research expenditure data in
Journal Article: Gender Disparity in Cocoa Production Resource Access and Food Security in Ogun State, Nigeria
December 18, 2023 / Journal articles Publications
Understanding gender disparities in production resource allocation is critical for agricultural development and cannot be overstated. The study evaluated farmers’ access to cocoa production resources and its implication for food security in Ogun State, Nigeria. The data were collected from
Global Land Grabbing International Conference – 19-21 March 2024, Bogota, Colombia
November 30, 2023 / Events News
The Land Deal Politics Initiative (LDPI) is reconvening more than a decade on, this time in Bogota. We had our first international conference in 2011, which was co-organised by FAC and PLAAS, and since then much has happened: meetings, collaborations,

Climate resilience and agricultural commercialisation in Africa: Four lessons from APRA research
November 23, 2023 / APRA blog FAC blog
Commercialisation remains a key policy aim for governments across Africa, for obvious reasons. It is seen as a way of: a) increasing farmers’ incomes and thereby reducing poverty; b) transforming the agricultural sector and; c) improving resilience capacities in the

Unlocking the untapped potential of oil palm farming in south-western Ghana
November 13, 2023 / APRA blog FAC blog
In the green fertile landscapes of south-western Ghana, oil palm farming has long been the backbone of rural livelihoods. Shedding light on existing oil palm marketing arrangements and their welfare outcomes reveals a story that is both promising and challenging.

Do women cocoa farmers in Nigeria face gender disparities in resource access, decision-making and food security?
October 2, 2023 / APRA blog
Cocoa is a significant source of revenue for farmers in Nigeria. While women play an important part in the cocoa industry, gender norms reduce their access to resources that have the potential to enhance their production.

Putting farmers first in pathways to equitable food systems: three open access books released
July 4, 2023 / FAC blog
Written by: Robert Chambers, Ian Scoones and John Thompson A focus on food must mean a focus on farming. And a focus on equity in food systems must encompass equity in agricultural systems. As global food systems transform, generating increasing

Why democracy hasn’t resolved policy failures in Ghana’s oil palm sector
June 29, 2023 / APRA blog FAC blog
Ghana's oil palm industry has consistently fallen short of its potential, despite continuous policy support – but why? This perplexing issue is the subject of an APRA research paper recently published in the journal World Development Perspectives.

In Memory of Dr Hannington Odame (1956-2023)
June 26, 2023 / APRA blog FAC blog
It is with great sadness that I must report the tragic loss of our dear friend and long-time collaborator Dr Hannington Odame, who passed away after a sudden illness on the evening of 20 June 2023.

An agrarian revolution in the Fumbisi Valley: the modernisation of farming
June 15, 2023 / APRA blog FAC blog
Written by: Joseph A. Yaro In past green revolutions, Africa has not fared well. During the 1970s, for instance, efforts were made to modernise practices for enhanced farmer efficacy and productivity – and, in turn, reduce poverty and hunger. During

Agricultural technology, food security and nutrition in Ghana
January 31, 2023 / APRA blog FAC blog
Written by: Lisa Capretti, Amrita Saha, Farai Jena and Fred Dzanku Agricultural technologies play an important role in helping smallholders to increase their yields and incomes, and therefore tackle poverty and food insecurity in Sub-Saharan Africa. Using new panel data

Why livestock can be good for the environment
January 16, 2023 / FAC blog
Livestock have been cast as the villains, contributors to environmental destruction and a major driver of climate change. While some livestock systems are obviously damaging, lumping all systems into one argument makes little sense. The result is a confused policy

APRA Working Paper 95: Agricultural Technology, Food Security and Nutrition: Insight From Oil Palm Smallholders in Ghana
December 19, 2022 / Publications Working Papers
The use of agricultural technologies has facilitated gains from agricultural commercialisation for smallholder farmers in Africa. Practices that involve these technologies play an important role in tackling poverty and food insecurity in Sub-Saharan Africa. Hence, the link between agricultural technology
© IFAD/Bernard Kalu
How important is farm size to agricultural productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa?
December 1, 2022 / APRA blog FAC blog
The finding that smallholder farms are more productive than medium- to large-scale farms has long been documented, and has led to smallholder-led agricultural and development strategies in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). However, evidence for this assertion has been largely limited to

© IFAD/Bernard Kalu
Ethiopia’s import dependence on rice-exporting countries: implications for policy and development responses
November 24, 2022 / APRA blog FAC blog
With the current instability in global grain markets – mainly due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, the war in Ukraine, and climatic events impacting rice production – major rice-producing Asian countries have been considering steps to protect their domestic

Journal Article: Determinants of Farmer’s Decision to Transit to Medium/Larger Farm Through Expansion of Land Area Under Commercial Tree Crop Plantation in Nigeria
November 15, 2022 / Journal articles Publications
Decision-making is central to farm management. This study assesses key factors influencing land allocation decisions of households with respects to tree crop cultivation in Nigeria. The study uses primary data collected electronically from a sample of 569 small and 495
Why COP27 needs a more sophisticated debate about livestock and climate change
November 14, 2022 / FAC blog
As the climate conference, COP27, kicks of in Sharm el Sheik in Egypt debates about agriculture and land use will be centre stage. And amongst these discussions the role of livestock in the future of food and agricultural systems will

Boosting commercialisation through the production of commercial tree crops in Nigeria
November 7, 2022 / APRA blog FAC blog News
Farming in Nigeria has been historically dominated by small-scale farms (SSFs). However, recent evidence suggests that medium-scale farmers (MSFs) are becoming increasingly prominent. One pathway for MSF growth in Nigeria has been identified as the expansion of land area under

How does agricultural commercialisation affect livelihoods in Zimbabwe?
September 27, 2022 / APRA blog FAC blog
The question of how agricultural commercialisation affects livelihoods has been central to the recently completed APRA programme, which, along with Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria and Tanzania, had work going on in Zimbabwe. The team, led by Chrispen Sukume and involving Godfrey

APRA Working Paper 94: The Farm Size-Productivity Relationship: Evidence From Panel Data Analysis of Small- and Medium-Scale Farms in Nigeria
September 20, 2022 / Publications Working Papers
The finding that smaller farms are more productive than larger farms has long been documented. At present, evidence in the Sub-Saharan African (SSA) region has been largely limited to data from farms operating 5ha and below. Examining changes in farm
Tobacco and agrarian change in southern Africa
September 20, 2022 / FAC blog
A great new special issue – tobacco and transformation – is out in the Journal of Southern African Studies, edited by Martin Prowse and Helena Pérez Niño. With reflections on Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe (mostly), it provides an

The future of Zimbabwe’s agrarian sector: a new book
August 25, 2022 / FAC blog
A new book on land and agriculture Zimbabwe – The Future of Zimbabwe’s Agrarian Sector – is just out with Routledge and edited by Grasian Mkodzongi. It’s fiendishly expensive, but a paperback version is promised soon. Meanwhile be in touch

ALRE Working Paper 7: Informing the Debate on the Rise of Medium-Scale Farmers in Africa
August 4, 2022 / ALRE Working Paper Publications
This case study explores how APRA evidence is informing an emerging debate on medium-scale farmers (MSFs) through stronger empirical evidence of the broad variation across different contexts. This research has generated healthy internal debate between APRA teams which is contributing
Urban agriculture: surviving in a collapsing economy
August 2, 2022 / FAC blog
Over the last few weeks, we have looked at urban agriculture in different parts of Zimbabwe; from a city like Masvingo to small towns and growth points like Chikombedzi, Triangle/Hippo Valley, Maphisa, Chatsworth and Mvurwi. In all cases we see

How to respond to ‘drought’: rethinking standard approaches
August 1, 2022 / FAC blog
Over the last four weeks, a blog series has asked what is the best way to respond to ‘drought’? This is an important question for a country like Zimbabwe, and with climate change the question will become even more important.

Making the most of the media
July 6, 2022 / APRA blog FAC blog
To disseminate policy-relevant messages based on the Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) research at country and regional levels, the Information and Communication and Engagement (ICE) team encouraged country teams to build relationships with the media from early on in

Communicating new evidence through working papers and briefs
July 2, 2022 / APRA blog FAC blog
Through in-depth, interdisciplinary, comparative research across nine countries, the Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) has generated high-quality evidence and policy-relevant insights on more inclusive pathways to agricultural commercialisation. To disseminate its research findings and policy messages, APRA had a

Investing in social media pays big dividends
June 27, 2022 / APRA blog FAC blog
Over the past six years, the use of social media has been a vital part of the Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA’s) communications strategy in raising awareness of the programme’s activities and outputs. The Impact, Communication and Engagement (ICE)

Raising the profile of agricultural policy research
June 20, 2022 / APRA blog FAC blog
Throughout the Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) Programme of the Future Agricultures Consortium, country research teams were encouraged to engage at district and national levels. Towards the end of APRA, during the latter part of 2021, each country team

e-Dialogues spark debate on the dynamics of agricultural commercialisation
June 16, 2022 / APRA blog FAC blog
In early 2022, as the Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) programme of the Future Agricultures Consortium (FAC) was coming to an end, an e-Dialogue series, Towards an Equitable and Sustainable Transformation of Food Systems, was held in partnership with

ALRE Research Note 6: ALRE Report on Evidence Demand on Inclusive Agricultural Commercialisation in Africa
June 9, 2022 / ALRE Research Note Publications
The Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) programme has generated new evidence and insights into different pathways to inclusive agricultural commercialisation. As part of APRA, the Accompanied Learning on Relevance and Effectiveness (ALRE) team worked to understand how evidence demand
The power of blogs to share research and communicate policy lessons
June 9, 2022 / APRA blog FAC blog
Over the course of the Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) Programme, researchers produced over 150 publications, including Working Papers, Briefs, COVID-19 Papers, Journal Articles and several books. The intended audience of these publications varied, from the academic community to

Changing farm structure and agricultural commercialisation in Nigeria
June 6, 2022 / APRA blog FAC blog
Much of sub‐Saharan Africa, including Nigeria, is experiencing major changes in farmland ownership patterns. Among all farms below 100ha in size, the share of land on small‐scale farms (SSFs) under 5ha has declined over the last two decades. Medium‐scale farms

Farming with variability: mobilising responses to drought uncertainties in Zimbabwe
June 6, 2022 / FAC blog
Climate change is generating greater variability within and across seasons. This is requiring new responses among farmers in Masvingo province in Zimbabwe. Today, farmers must adapt, be flexible and agile and respond to uncertain seasons as they unfold. This requires

ALRE Research Note 5: Lessons Learnt From Delivering the Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) Programme
June 6, 2022 / ALRE Research Note Publications
The Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) programme was a six-year (2016–2022), £7 million research initiative of the Future Agricultures Consortium (FAC), to produce high-quality evidence to inform policy and practice on future agricultural commercialisation options and investments in sub-Saharan
Journal Article: Does Women’s Engagement in Sunflower Commercialization Empower Them? Experience From Singida region, Tanzania 
June 1, 2022 / Journal articles Publications
Empowering women within sunflower value chains can create significant development opportunities for them and generate benefits for their families. This paper asks whether women’s engagement in sunflower commercialization influences their levels of empowerment. The paper uses data from a 2018
ALRE Working Paper 6: Rice: APRA’s Contribution to Informing and Influencing Policy Debates Around Rice in East Africa
May 30, 2022 / ALRE Working Paper Publications
Rice production across Africa varies in many aspects due to socio-political, climatic, and environmental differences in the region. The research and outreach activities of the Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) programme aimed to generate policy-relevant insights on more inclusive
ALRE Working Paper 5: Accompanied Learning: Reflections on How ALRE Enhanced APRA’s Relevance and Effectiveness
May 30, 2022 / ALRE Working Paper Publications
This case study explores the claim that the Accompanied Learning for Relevance and Effectiveness (ALRE) approach contributed to stronger relevance and effectiveness of the Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) research programme. This report outlines the accompanied learning function of
APRA ICE Insight 6: Raising the Profile of Agricultural Policy Research: National Engagement as a Pathway to Change
May 30, 2022 / APRA ICE Insight Publications
Throughout the Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) Programme of the Future Agricultures Consortium, country research teams were encouraged to engage at district and national levels. Towards the end of APRA, during 2021, each country team held final district and
Agricultural commercialisation and rural employment
May 26, 2022 / APRA blog FAC blog
The seasonal nature of agricultural production under rainfed conditions in most parts of rural Ghana, as in other sub-Saharan countries, makes employment in small-scale agriculture alone inadequate for improving the wellbeing of most rural households. Boosting commercial agriculture could be

Diversification and food security in crop-livestock farming systems of Singida Region, Tanzania
May 25, 2022 / APRA blog FAC blog
Diversification is a key strategy for coping with risks associated with climate change and variability among households in Africa’s semi-arid areas. The extent of diversification varies across households, but the crop and livestock enterprises undertaken comprise of at least one

Agricultural commercialisation and rural employment
May 23, 2022 / APRA blog FAC blog
The seasonal nature of agricultural production under rainfed conditions in most parts of rural Ghana, as in other sub-Saharan countries, makes employment in small-scale agriculture alone inadequate for improving the wellbeing of most rural households. Boosting commercial agriculture could be

APRA Working Paper 93: Changing Farm Structure and Agricultural Commercialisation: Implications for Livelihood Improvements Among Small-Scale Farmers in Nigeria
May 23, 2022 / Publications Working Papers
Research in several African countries shows the rapid rise of a medium-scale farming (MSF) sector. While national development policy strategies within the region officially regard the smallholder farming sector as an important (if not the main) vehicle for achieving agricultural
APRA Working Paper 92: Livelihood Outcomes of Agricultural Commercialisation, Women’s Empowerment and Rural Employment
May 23, 2022 / Publications Working Papers
Across Ghana, mixed-crop-livestock enterprises dominate the farming systems with most farmers producing both food staples and non-food cash crops. However, this paper focuses mainly on oil palm-producing farmers because oil palm is Ghana’s second most important industrial crop (aside from
Medium-scale farming as a policy tool for agricultural commercialisation and small-scale farm transformation in Nigeria
May 12, 2022 / APRA blog FAC blog
Land ownership patterns are changing in sub-Saharan Africa. In Ghana, Kenya and Zambia, medium-scale farms (MSFs), of between 5 and 100ha now account for more land than large-scale investors. Most African countries' national agricultural investment plans and policy strategies officially

APRA Working Paper 91: Effects of Commercialisation on Seaonsal Hunger: Evidence from Smallholder Resettlement Areas, Mazowe Distrct, Zimbabwe
May 12, 2022 / Publications Working Papers
Agricultural transformation towards intensive commercial production is a key facet of current development strategies pursued by African governments, aimed at improving welfare outcomes of farm households. However, in Zimbabwe, there is concern that increased commercialisation, especially through tobacco production, may
Journal Article: Livestock, Crop Commercialization and Poverty Reduction in Crop-Livestock Farming Systems in Singida Region, Tanzania
May 12, 2022 / Journal articles Publications
Livestock is an important component of crop-livestock farming systems in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This paper examined the effect of livestock on crop commercialization and poverty reduction among smallholder farmers in crop-livestock farming systems in Singida Region, Tanzania. It was hypothesized