Latest articles

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 / 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 / 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
APRA respond to inquiry into UK and Sub-Saharan African cooperation
July 21, 2020 / News
July update The House of Lords International Relations and Defence Committee’s report, The UK and Sub-Saharan Africa: prosperity, peace and development co-operation, was published on 10 July. Access it here. “We welcome the range of effective UK official development assistance
COVID-19: Coping strategies of rice value chain actors in Tanzania (1)
July 20, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
Actors in the rice value chain in Tanzania have been hit hard by COVID-19 pandemic and the measures implemented by the government to contain it. In the first of a two blog mini-series, APRA researchers Ntengua Mdoe, Gilead Mlay and
Who are the commercial farmers? A history of Mvurwi area, Zimbabwe
July 13, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
This blog was written by Ian Scoones and first appeared on Zimbabweland. For some the answer to who are the commercial farmers in Zimbabwe is obvious. The image of the rugged, (male) white farmer in shorts, surveying his family’s land carved out through

Dynamics of change in cocoa enterprise in Ile-Oluji, Nigeria
July 9, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
Cocoa production in Ile-Oluji is among the highest in Ondo State, Nigeria. However, this once prosperous crop – vital for the livelihood of farmers and their families – is under threat due to an increase of cash crops, a lack

e-Dialogue to tackle the future of small-scale farming
July 7, 2020 / News
Small-scale farmers are critical to food systems across the world, yet many are among the poorest and most food-insecure people on the planet. Given the emerging impacts of climate change and COVID-19, the future of small-scale farming is vulnerable and
e-Dialogue: What future for small-scale farming? Inclusive transformation in challenging times
July 6, 2020 / Events
Sign up now Small-scale farmers are critical to food systems in much of the world. Vast numbers of rural households rely, at least in part, on agriculture for their livelihood. Yet times are tough for small-scale farmers, with many being

20 years after Zimbabwe’s land reform: what does the future hold?
June 29, 2020 / FAC blog
This blog was written by Ian Scoones and first appeared on Zimbabweland. This is the final post in this blog series, which asks what have been the changes in land reform areas in Masvingo province since 2000, and what are the possible future trajectories?

Loggers on the attack: Cocoa farming in Idanre, Nigeria
June 25, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
Cocoa farmers in Idanre, Ondo State, Nigeria are suffering from the activities of loggers which leads to damaged farms and has a detrimental impact on the livelihoods of farmers. In our latest blog, APRA researcher Bimbo Omopo describes what he

Zimbabwe’s land reform areas twenty years on (6)
June 25, 2020 / FAC blog
This post was written by Ian Scoones and first appeared on Zimbabweland. Reflections on processes of agrarian change across sites As the previous blogs in this series have shown, there are quite dramatic differences between resettlement sites in our Masvingo sample, with different patterns of

COVID-19: responses of rice farmers and processors in the Fogera Plain, Ethiopia
June 22, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
In our second in a series of blogs of the impact of COVID-19 in Ethiopia, APRA researchers Dawit Alemu and Abewaw Assaye examine the reaction of rice farmers and processors on the Fogera Plain to the lockdown measures, and whether
Does Ethiopia have a social protection system to respond to COVID-19?
June 18, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
The COVID-19 pandemic is leaving a huge economic and social burden in Ethiopia, where there is already a large number of vulnerable people dependent on social support. In the first of a series of two blogs on the impact of
Pastoralism and Uncertainty: free online course launched
June 18, 2020 / News
A new self-study online course has been created to offer students, practitioners and policy makers an introduction to thinking about different aspects of pastoralism. The course is based on a PhD programme at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), part

COVID-19 lockdown in Zimbabwe: ‘we are good at surviving, but things are really tough’
June 15, 2020 / FAC blog
This post was written by Ian Scoones and first appeared on Zimbabweland. On the 13th June I had a follow up conversation on how people are coping with the COVID-19 lockdown in Zimbabwe. As with the previous discussion on April 23rd it was based on a
Leveraging on innovation and technology for inclusive growth in Kenya
June 11, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
In this blog, Hannington Odame refers to the outcomes from the panel on technology and innovation in agriculture at the Agricultural Industry Forum, 3-5 March 2020. He looks at the challenges linked to knowledge systems faced by smallholder farmers when

Zimbabwe’s land reform areas twenty years on (5)
June 8, 2020 / FAC blog
This post was written by Ian Scoones and first appeared on Zimbabweland.  What happened on the A2 medium-scale farms? Medium-scale A2 farms were established in a very different way to A1 farms in Masvingo. They were not the result of invasion and occupation

Gender inequalities in Nigerian cocoa production
June 4, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
Women play a key role in the Nigeria cocoa sector, but in a patrilineal society, they are denied access to inheriting family cocoa plantations despite their vital contribution to the industry. In this blog, APRA researcher Tolani Abegunde examines the

Hard work and hazard: youth livelihoods in rural Africa
June 4, 2020 / FAC blog
Written by Jim Sumberg and Thomas Yeboah. This blog was originally published on the Institute of Development Studies website. It is increasingly acknowledged that productive youth employment is among the major development challenges of our time. In Africa, this challenge

Zimbabwe’s land reform areas twenty years on (4)
June 1, 2020 / FAC blog
This post was written by Ian Scoones and first appeared on Zimbabweland.  What happened in the villagised, ‘informal’ A1 areas? When land invasions took place during 2000, many areas were invaded and land was claimed. In some instances this was not made official

Agriculture transformation: the role of public-private policy dialogues in Kenya
May 28, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
Gem Argwings-Kodhek, APRA Policy Researcher, speaking at the AIF Hannington Odame refers to the discussions from the panel on policy and investment in agriculture at the Agricultural Industry Forum (AIF), 3-5 March 2020. He analyses the nature of public –private

Zimbabwe’s land reform areas twenty years on (3)
May 28, 2020 / FAC blog
This post was written by Ian Scoones and first appeared on Zimbabweland.  What happened in the villagised A1 schemes? This blog focuses on Masvingo’s villagised land reform areas (where people have an individual arable plot, live in villages and share communal grazing). Our

Sustainability of cocoa in Nigeria: preventing the worst case scenarios
May 21, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
The sustainability of cocoa in Nigeria – a very important household cash crop in the country – is under threat and action needs to be taken. In this blog, Oluwabukola E. Ajayi describes the concept of sustainability in cocoa farming,

COVID-19 in West Africa: the impacts for agricultural enterprises
May 18, 2020 / FAC blog
Nigeria’s Government strategies to safeguard the population against COVID-19 and minimise its spread have, so far, been largely effective. But what impact is the country’s strict lockdown having on public food access and fresh produce supply to agribusinesses? Emmanuel Maduka,
Zimbabwe’s land reform areas twenty years on (2)
May 18, 2020 / FAC blog
This post was written by Ian Scoones and first appeared on Zimbabweland.  What happened in the ‘self-contained’ A1 resettlement sites This blog focuses on the ‘self-contained’ A1 farms, with a sample size now of 78. These are found in two sites in Gutu

Essentialist vs interconnected: how to grow and sustain youth and women-led agribusinesses
May 14, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
This blog refers to the discussions at a key note panel on youth and women in agribusiness at the Agricultural Industry Forum (AIF), 3-5 March 2020. The forum was hosted by the Agriculture Industry Network, and in partnership with the
Zimbabwe’s land reform areas twenty years on (1): A blog series
May 11, 2020 / FAC blog
This post was written by Ian Scoones and first appeared on Zimbabweland Twenty years ago the news was filled with stories about land invasions in Zimbabwe. Since then, a group of us have been working in Masvingo province in particular (but also now in Mazowe in

Agricultural commercialisation and food security in rural communities: Insights from Zimbabwe
May 7, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
Written by Vine Mutyasira The debate over the effects of export-led commercialisation of agriculture on household food security has been ongoing for years. Tobacco has become the most commonly grown export crop in Zimbabwe, with an estimated 145,000 growers producing

Five lessons from past global influenza outbreaks for COVID-19
May 4, 2020 / FAC blog
Written by Ian Scoones. This blog first appeared on the STEPS website. The COVID-19 pandemic is a rare event in its scale and spread. But in responding to it, people have been looking at lessons from other outbreaks of infectious
Cocoa commercialisation: findings from Osun state, Nigeria
April 30, 2020 / APRA blog FAC blog
Written by Olubusayo Olorunkoya Following on from our previous blog on the state of cocoa commercialisation in Ogun state, this blog examines the findings of APRA survey results in Nigeria’s 2nd largest producer of Cocoa: Osun state. Surveying method Taking
COVID-19 lockdown in Zimbabwe: a disaster for farmers
April 30, 2020 / FAC blog
Written by Ian Scoones Over the last few weeks we have been tracking what’s been happening in our rural study sites in Zimbabwe as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown (see the earlier blog too). Last week, I caught up with a
Child labour in cocoa from a European ‘doughnut’ perspective
April 27, 2020 / FAC blog
This blog was written by Dorte Thorsen and James Sumberg, and first appeared on the ACHA website Much attention is being given to how best to resurrect economic activity as the COVID-19 crisis subsides. The upheaval caused by the pandemic