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A Multi-Phase Assessment of the Effects of COVID-19 on Food Systems and Rural Livelihoods in Zimbabwe
November 9, 2021 / COVID Country Report Impact Assessment Publications
Written by: Vine Mutyasira The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to affect agri-food systems around the world and lay bare its fragility, worsening the welfare of millions of smallholder farmers whose livelihoods are anchored on agricultural activities. For the vast majority
APRA Working Paper 74: The Role of Small-Scale Processors in Supporting Agricultural Commercialisation Among Smallholder Rice Farmers in East Africa: Lessons from Ethiopia and Tanzania
November 9, 2021 / Publications Working Papers
Written by: Dawit Alemu, Aida Isinika, Hannington Odame and John Thompson Until recently, attention to rice value chain upgrading has been limited in many rice-producing countries of Eastern Africa. Yet, it is this mid-stream section (the millers and traders) –
COP 26 Blue Zone, Glasgow (Ian Scoones)
COP26: why a more sophisticated debate on livestock and the climate is needed
November 8, 2021 / FAC blog
Last week I was in Glasgow at COP26, shuttling between events in the Blue Zone and the fringe across the city. It was overwhelming, with a cacophony of conflicting voices and views. The first week including a flood of announcements

APRA Working Paper 73: Land and Labour Relations on Cocoa Farms in Sefwi, Ghana: Continuity and Change
November 8, 2021 / Publications Working Papers
When in the 1880s farmers in southern Ghana began to plant cocoa, their main concerns were finding land to plant and mobilising labour to do so. The issue of finding land remained paramount until at least the 1990s, when the
Online COVID-19 & poverty: Informing economic and social policy in Malawi
November 4, 2021 / Events News
How is COVID-19 impacting people living in poverty in Malawi? What are the policies needed to mitigate these impacts? Recent research from COVID Collective partners and APRA finds COVID-19 has had a detrimental impact on people living in, or at
APRA researchers to join 8th Annual ReNAPRI Stakeholders Conference
November 4, 2021 / Events News
As the Regional Network of Agricultural Policy Research Institutes prepares to host its 8th Annual Stakeholders Conference, under the theme, ‘Transform: Toward Sustainable and Resilient Food Systems in Africa’, APRA researchers are gearing up for their side event! Conference sessions
Zimbabwe’s bumper harvest: what explains the success?
November 4, 2021 / FAC blog
As farmers turn to the next season with the beginning of the rains, the country is in a good position having reaped a bumper harvest in 2020/21. An estimated 2.7 million tonnes of maize were produced, triple the amount in
APRA Ghana researchers to participate in University of Ghana conference
November 1, 2021 / Events News
On Wednesday 3rd and Thursday 4th November, 2021, the University of Ghana’s School of Social Sciences will be hosting its seventh international conference. The event, under the theme ‘Addressing Africa’s Challenges in the 21st Century’, will cover a vast range
How are different groups affected by the changing land tenure systems in Ghana’s oil palm growing districts?
November 1, 2021 / APRA blog FAC blog
Oil palm is Ghana’s second most important cash crop after cocoa, and the sector is an important contributor to the country’s economy. The production of cash crops in Ghana has largely been dominated by small-scale farmers in mostly rural areas

Precarious prospects? Agricultural commercialisation and climate change in semi-arid Tanzania
October 29, 2021 / APRA blog FAC blog
Commercialisation has long been considered a path out of poverty for farmers across Africa, as elsewhere in the global South; it is also increasingly seen as a means to strengthen farmers’ resilience to climate change. A study carried out in

APRA Research Note 5: Agricultural Commercialisation in South-Western Ghana
October 28, 2021 / APRA research note Publications
The Agricultural Policy Research in Africa study in Ghana consists of three work streams. This report contains results of the analyses of Work Stream 1 (WS1) baseline and endline survey datasets for Ghana. Oil palm commercialisation arrangements and outcomes are
APRA Working Paper 72: Land Tenure and Oil Palm Commercialisation
October 28, 2021 / Publications Working Papers
Oil palm is the second most important cash crop after cocoa, and the sector is an important contributor to the Ghanaian economy. The production of cash crops in Ghana has largely been dominated by small-scale farmers in mostly rural areas
Lessons from Zimbabwe’s tobacco farmers for the COP26 climate change talks
October 28, 2021 / APRA blog FAC blog
Zimbabwe holds important lessons for the COP26 global climate change talks. This blog, originally published in The Conversation, reflects on the findings of APRA Working Paper 64.

APRA Tanzania to host national feedback workshop
October 25, 2021 / Events News
APRA Tanzania team at a previous media workshop On Tuesday, 26 October 2021 at the Institute of Rural Development Planning in Dodoma, Tanzania, the APRA Tanzania team will be hosting a national feedback workshop. At this event, the team plans
Commercialisation of quality seeds could enhance rice yields in Tanzania
October 25, 2021 / APRA blog FAC blog
Research finds that the productivity of Tanzania’s rice sector could improve due to commercialisation of new varieties.This blog comes against a backdrop of studies, programmes, interventions, and activities by the public and private sectors which work towards commercialisation of rice,

Biodiversity and climate change: why tree planting schemes may not be the answer
October 18, 2021 / FAC blog
The first phase of the delayed Biodiversity Convention of the Parties (COP15) ended last week. There has been much talk of linking the twin crises of biodiversity and the climate. Grand plans for protecting 30% of the planet by 2030

Moving up, or out? The political economy of agricultural value chains and commercialisation in Africa
October 14, 2021 / APRA blog FAC blog
Some initial – and selective – reflections on 11 case studies of agricultural value chains and commercialisation across sub-Saharan Africa demonstrate that the policy choices to promote a value chain depend, to a large extent, on its importance to the
APRA Working Paper 71: The Drivers of Medium-Scale Farms and the Emerging Synergies and Contradictions Among Socially-Differentiated Farmers in Northern Ghana
October 12, 2021 / Publications Working Papers
Since the turn of the century, agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa has been undergoing rapid transformation. Ghana is experiencing an agrarian revolution with increasing farmland sizes, increased mechanisation of production and external input usage, and high levels of commercialisation. In this
APRA Working Paper 70: The Rise of Medium-Scale Farms in the Northern Savannah of Ghana: Farmland Invasion or an Inclusive Commercialised Agricultural Revolution?
October 12, 2021 / Publications Working Papers
Agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa is undergoing rapid transformation involving major changes in farmland ownership and farm scales from small to medium farms, with the widespread use of mechanisation and agro-inputs. Generally, households are increasing their farm sizes while others are
Why are farmer-based organisations so weak in southwestern Ghana’s oil palm growing communities?
October 12, 2021 / APRA blog FAC blog
Oil palm, the second most important industrial crop in Ghana, holds the potential to improve farmers’ livelihoods and alleviate rural poverty. It is a quintessentially commercialised crop, being cultivated for sale in local and foreign markets as well as industrial

Monocrop or diversified enterprise portfolio? Lessons for inclusive commercialisation from Singida Region, Tanzania
October 6, 2021 / APRA blog FAC blog
Many people have attributed the Singida Region in Tanzania’s rapid development during the last twenty years to the evolution of the sunflower value chain. The successes of this value chain’ development include increased oilseed production, expanding processing capacity and declining

APRA Working Paper 69: Politics, Power and Social Differentiation in African Agricultural Value Chains: The Effects of COVID-19
October 4, 2021 / Publications Working Papers
Since the structural adjustment policies of the 1980s, policymaking at a national and continental level has increasingly turned to agricultural commercialisation as the foundation for Africa’s long-term nutrition and food security. However, socio-economic inequalities, land tenure and food insecurity, as
APRA Working Paper 68: Explaining the Weakness of Associational Life in Oil Palm Growing Communities in Southwestern Ghana
October 4, 2021 / Publications Working Papers
As the second most important industrial crop in Ghana, oil palm holds the potential of improving farmers’ livelihoods and alleviating rural poverty. For smallholder farmers, collective action through farmer-based organisations (FBOs) could provide a pathway to inclusive participation in agricultural
APRA Working Paper 67: Sunflower Commercialisation in Singida Region: Pathways for Livelihood Improvement
October 4, 2021 / Publications Working Papers
Sunflower commercialisation in Singida Region, Tanzania has been successful. The successes include increased oilseed production, expanding processing capacity and declining rural poverty. Policies and efforts by development agents to promote sunflower commercialisation have increased the number of actors and service
The politics of control in Zimbabwe’s COVID times
October 4, 2021 / FAC blog
The COVID-19 situation in Zimbabwe has improved since our last report, with infection rates and deaths declining in all areas. The alert level has been reduced to Level 2, with restrictions relaxed. At the same time, the vaccination drive has
Holistic adoption of System of Rice Intensification can increase yields: A case of Mngeta, Kilombero District, Tanzania
September 27, 2021 / APRA blog FAC blog
This blog highlights the findings of APRA Working Paper 66, which discusses the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) interventions and their potential effects on paddy yield and commercialisation in Kilombero district, Tanzania. The study compared the adoption of SRI interventions

Does livestock enhance or reduce crop commercialisation? A case of Singida in Central Tanzania
September 22, 2021 / APRA blog FAC blog
Livestock is an important component of mixed crop-livestock farming systems in Singida Region in Tanzania, contributing to household income, and reducing poverty in the region. The use of ox-plough to perform farm operations, such as ploughing, and the application of

APRA Working Paper 66: Yield and Commercialisation Effects of SRI Interventions in Mngeta, Kilombero District, Tanzania
September 21, 2021 / Publications Working Papers
This paper discusses System of Rice Intensification (SRI) interventions and its potential effects on paddy yield and commercialisation in Mngeta division, Kilombero district in Morogoro region, Tanzania. SRI is an innovative agroecological methodology that aims to improve yields and farmers’
APRA Working Paper 65: Livestock, Crop Commercialisation and Poverty Reduction Among Rural Households in the Singida Region, Tanzania
September 21, 2021 / Publications Working Papers
Livestock is an important component of mixed crop-livestock farming systems in the Singida Region in Tanzania, directly or indirectly contributing to household income, food security and poverty reduction among rural people in the region. This paper examined the effect of
Challenging simplistic land degradation and restoration narratives in Zimbabwe
September 20, 2021 / APRA blog FAC blog
In the last blog, I reviewed the results of our land use analysis using a combination of Landsat satellite imagery, document/archival analysis and field interviews from Mvurwi area in northern Zimbabwe from 1984 to 2018, now out as APRA Working

APRA Working Paper 64: Commercial Tobacco Production and Climate Change Adaptation in Mazowe, Zimbabwe
September 20, 2021 / Publications Working Papers
There has been an increasingly well-documented, rapid rise in tobacco production over the last couple of decades in Mazowe, Zimbabwe, despite growing public health concerns about lung cancer and nicotine’s addictive capacities in the wealthier countries of the West –
APRA features at the Second Scientific Conference held at the Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania
September 16, 2021 / APRA blog FAC blog
The Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) participated in a scientific conference at Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), Tanzania from 24th May–27th May 2021. Themed ‘Agricultural Technologies, Productivity and Market Competitiveness in Tanzania: Towards an Upper-Middle Income Economy’, the conference

Dynamic drivers of land use change in Zimbabwe
September 13, 2021 / APRA blog FAC blog
What are the drivers of land use change and how do they interact over time? Are the changes, uni-directional and linear, or are the dynamics more complex? This is the question we posed for our study site in Mvurwi in

Influence of rice commercialisation on poverty reduction levels in Kilombero Valley, Tanzania
September 9, 2021 / APRA blog FAC blog
The commercialisation of smallholder agriculture has been considered a key strategy for sustainably reducing poverty and achieving equitable growth across many countries in sub-Saharan Africa. In Tanzania, linking farmers to markets is pursued as an important strategy towards commercialisation and

APRA Working Paper 63: Rice Commercialisation Effects in Mngeta, Kilombero District, Tanzania: Identifying the Underlying Factors
September 7, 2021 / Publications Working Papers
Rice production is the most dominant farming system in Kilombero valley in Morogoro region, Tanzania, accounting for more than 80 per cent of cultivated land within the valley. This paper examines changes in rice commercialisation and livelihood outcomes for different
Worker-peasants and peasant-workers: new labour regimes in rural Zimbabwe
September 6, 2021 / FAC blog
Much academic debate about rural farm labour has focused on the idea of linear transitions in labour regimes through processes of agricultural commercialisation. This sees farmworkers as either moving towards a class of wage-labour, profiting from modernising, efficient, large-scale agricultural

Are smallholder farms or medium-scale farms more productive in Nigeria?
September 2, 2021 / APRA blog FAC blog
In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), support for smallholder-led agricultural strategy has been motivated by the stylised fact that smallholder farmers are more productive. This stylised fact is known as inverse relationship (IR) between farm size and productivity, which has been widely

Ghana’s agricultural commercialisation and food security: An analysis of smallholder farmers across gender and geography
September 1, 2021 / News
Photo credit: Charles Nyaaba of the Peasant Farmers Association A recent study by Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) Ghana researchers addresses the question: under what conditions, and at what scale, does smallholder agricultural commercialisation promote or hinder food security?
Enhancing nutrition for a stronger, sustainable post-COVID-19 rice sector in Africa
August 31, 2021 / APRA blog FAC blog
In the second blog of a series following APRA’s participation in an Independent Food Systems Dialogue on sustainable value chains for Africa’s rice sector in a post-COVID 19 context, we examine the nutrition-related outcomes of the dialogue. The event, which
Does sunflower commercialisation empower women in Singida, Tanzania?
August 26, 2021 / APRA blog FAC blog
This blog explores the findings of APRA Working Paper 59, which investigates the influence of sunflower commercialisation and diversity on women empowerment in Singida region, Tanzania. This study assesses the assumption that women engagement along Tanzania’s sunflower value chain empowers

APRA Brief 27: Commercialising Pastoralist Livestock Systems in East Africa
August 23, 2021 / APRA Briefs Policy Briefs Publications
Across East Africa’s vast rangelands, pastoralist livestock systems have been commercialising since the early 1900s. Commercialisation has varied widely within and between areas, but now includes substantial livestock exports, regional and cross-border trade, and supply to domestic markets. This policy
Rice commercialisation, agrarian change and livelihood trajectories: Transformations on the Fogera Plain of Ethiopia
August 23, 2021 / APRA blog FAC blog
This blog summarises APRA Working Paper 61, which explores the commercialisation of rice in Ethiopia since its introduction in the early 1970s. This process has evidenced wider agrarian changes that have contributed to the emergence and development of diverse livelihood

Building sustainable post COVID-19 value chains for Africa’s rice sector: Outcomes of an East African Dialogue
August 19, 2021 / APRA blog FAC blog
This blog reflects on the recent East Africa Independent Food Systems Dialogue, which brought together rice producers, the research and academic community, donors and investors, the private sector and farmers which aimed to discuss and develop pathways to building sustainable
Agricultural commercialisation and changing labour regimes in Zimbabwe
August 16, 2021 / Publications
Written by: Toendepi Shonhe, Ian Scoones and Felix Murimbarimba This paper explores the emerging labour regimes and the consequences for agricultural commercialisation across multiple land-use types in post land reform Zimbabwe. The livelihoods of farmworkers, including those still resident in
End of the road? The future of smallholder farmers in Malawi
August 16, 2021 / APRA blog FAC blog
This paper reflects on the findings of APRA Working Paper 56 and APRA Working Paper 58 to understand the reality of smallholder farming in Malawi, and what the future can be expected to hold for individuals involved in this sector.

Unmasking the socio-economic potential of rice in Burundi: Outcomes of the East Africa Rice Conference 2021
August 12, 2021 / APRA blog FAC blog
As part of the 2021 East African Rice Conference (EARC), national workshops were held in six African countries: Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. EARC aimed to identify policy reforms to transform Africa’s rice sector through scientific innovations, and

APRA Working Paper 62: Agricultural Investment Corridors in Africa: Does Smallholder and Women’s Participation Count?
August 12, 2021 / Publications Working Papers
Agricultural development corridors and clusters are highly complex projects that have been driven in Africa by agribusiness and mining corporations, host governments, international donors and development finance institutions. There is interest in whether these projects can support inclusive agribusiness. Evidence
Why it is expensive to produce cocoa in Ghana, a former global leader? APRA Ghana share findings
August 10, 2021 / Events News
Cocoa producers in Ghana incur high production costs, but obtain low yields and receive less income. This hampers the country’s cocoa commercialisation efforts, hence requiring adoption of high yielding varieties and innovative financing options and investments in labour and inputs.
Upcoming webinar: Development corridors in Africa: whose voices count?
August 9, 2021 / Events News
An upcoming webinar on development corridors in Africa will be held virtually on Thursday 12 August from 1300-1400 SAST/CAT.
COVID-19 spreads to rural Zimbabwe
August 9, 2021 / FAC blog
The third COVID-19 wave has firmly arrived in Zimbabwe’s rural areas. This is no longer the ‘rich person’s disease’ of those based in town. The number of cases and sadly deaths has surged across our rural study areas in the