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APRA blog

Rapid response: how to deal with COVID-19 in rural Africa?
May 29, 2020

Written by Steve Wiggins. What lessons may 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 of COVID-19 and its controls on agriculture, food systems, food security and rural livelihoods in… Read more »

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Agriculture transformation: the role of public-private policy dialogues in Kenya
May 28, 2020

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 policy dialogue, and assesses whether an innovative new finance mechanism in Kenyan agriculture is needed… Read more »

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Sustainability of cocoa in Nigeria: preventing the worst case scenarios
May 21, 2020

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, and lists the problems already affecting cocoa farming that could deteriorate if steps are not… Read more »

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Essentialist vs interconnected: how to grow and sustain youth and women-led agribusinesses
May 14, 2020

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 Ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries and Cooperatives, the Council of Governors and Food and… Read more »

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Agricultural commercialisation and food security in rural communities: Insights from Zimbabwe
May 7, 2020

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 the “golden leaf” during the 2018/19 farming season (TIMB, 2020). Yet, there are still knowledge… Read more »

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Cocoa commercialisation: findings from Osun state, Nigeria
April 30, 2020

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 place between 21st and 23rd of August, 2019, the APRA exploratory survey was conducted in… Read more »

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How SRI technology and irrigation has transformed Anita’s life
April 23, 2020

This blog was written by Aida Isinika and Ntengua Mdoe Anita’s personal story “SRI changed my life, now I see a brighter future ahead for me and my entire family.”  Anita Israeli Mabena, a farmer from Njage village in Mchombe ward, Mngeta division in Kilombero district. Anita is considered one among the best performing SRI… Read more »

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The challenges of cocoa bean commercialisation in Ogun state, Nigeria
April 16, 2020

Please note: During this time of uncertainty caused by the #COVID19 pandemic, as for many at this time, some of our APRA work may well be affected in coming weeks but we aim to continue to post regular blogs and news updates on agricultural policy and research. Written by Olubusayo Olorunkoya and Olajide O. Adeola… Read more »

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Mobile money services and rice commercialisation in Tanzania
April 9, 2020

Please note: During this time of uncertainty caused by the #COVID19 pandemic, as for many at this time, some of our APRA work may well be affected in coming weeks but we aim to continue to post regular blogs and news updates on agricultural policy and research. Written by Aida Isinika & Ntengua Mdoe Agricultural… Read more »

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Youth and a lack of involvement in cocoa production in southwest Nigeria
April 6, 2020

Please note: During this time of uncertainty caused by the #COVID19 pandemic, as for many at this time, some of our APRA work may well be affected in coming weeks but we aim to continue to post regular blogs and news updates on agricultural policy and research. This blog was prepared by Olabanji T.Balogun and… Read more »

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Food in the time of the Coronavirus: Why we should be very, very afraid
April 2, 2020

Written by Ruth Hall and other researchers at PLAAS The social legitimacy of the ‘COVID-19 lockdown’ in South Africa, government’s regulations imposed to contain the spread of the virus, is most likely to run aground unless an urgent plan can be made to ensure that everyone in the country has access to sufficient food. And… Read more »

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Njage Farmers preparing to take rice commercialisation to the next level
March 30, 2020

Please note: During this time of uncertainty caused by the #COVID19 pandemic, as for many at this time, some of our APRA work may well be affected in coming weeks but we aim to continue to post regular blogs and news updates on #agricultural #policy and #research. This is a tale of rice farmers in… Read more »

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Smallholder capacity for agricultural commercialisation
March 26, 2020

Please note: During this time of uncertainty caused by the #COVID19 pandemic, as for many at this time, some of our APRA work may well be affected in coming weeks but we aim to continue to post regular blogs and news updates on #agricultural #policy and #research. Much of the agricultural economics literature has defined… Read more »

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‘Donkey to the slaughter’: a classic case of short sighted economic planning
March 23, 2020

Please note: During this time of uncertainty caused by the #COVID19 pandemic, as for many at this time, some of our APRA work may well be affected in coming weeks but we aim to continue to post regular blogs and news updates on #agricultural #policy and #research. Dogs are traditionally known as “Man’s best friend”… Read more »

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The challenge of getting to Lukilikila village
March 18, 2020

Luvilikila village is located within Mngeta division in Kilombero district, about 80km from Ifakala town, the district headquarters and just 13km south of Kilombero Plantation limited (KPL) – a large scale rice farm within Mngeta division. The Kilombero Ramsar site, a protected wetland lies to the south.  Luvilikila village is one among ten villages participating… Read more »

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Political economy of agricultural commercialisation in Nigeria
March 16, 2020

Background The historical and contemporary importance and contributions of agriculture to industrialisation and human development cannot be over-emphasised. Although pre-colonial agriculture in Africa consisted of peasant agriculture, for better accumulation, colonialism brought about a market and export oriented agriculture to Africa. Agricultural commercialisation in Nigeria had roots in the colonial political economy, and is defined… Read more »

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Herbicides: opportunities and challenges for commercial rice production in Kilombero Valley
March 12, 2020

Herbicide application for rice production has risen to a new level, not only in Mngeta division but in the entire Kilombero valley, and is favoured by farmers as it replaces some manual and backbreaking farm implements, such as the hand hoe.  In 2017 when the first wave of data collection under work stream one (WS1)… Read more »

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Climate change and the future of cocoa in southwest Nigeria
March 9, 2020

Cocoa, and products related to it, are an integral part towards the daily life of an average Nigerian. According to the National Bureau Statistics (NBS, 2019), exports of fermented cocoa bean in the first half of 2019 was estimated at N31 billion (£65 million), while raw cocoa beans exports worth N17.15 billion (£37 million) and… Read more »

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Tanzania makes substantial progress towards meeting CAADP commitments
March 5, 2020

The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) is an initiative of the African Union (AU) within the context of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). The CAADP provides a framework for African countries to achieve economic growth and food security through the transformation of the agricultural sector. It reflects the commitment of African leaders… Read more »

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Oil palm good, rubber better: a tale from south-western Ghana
February 27, 2020

Cash crop production is widely considered vital for improved incomes in developing countries. In Ghana, the production of cash crops in the past few decades have assumed a greater proportion of farmers’ production in the south-western parts of the country, an area predominantly known for large cocoa, oil palm, coconut, and rubber plantations. These crops… Read more »

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Shaking off decades of stagnation in the Nigeria cocoa sector
February 6, 2020

Cocoa remains Nigeria’s most important non-oil export commodity. However, in five decades, Nigeria has dropped from the second largest to the fourth largest producer of cocoa in the world, behind Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Indonesia. Nigeria is currently contributing 5 percent of global cocoa output, but with significant scope for expansion. This blog highlights critical… Read more »

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The case for integrated organic farms in Nigeria
January 23, 2020

Efforts by the Government to reduce food imports, increase food availability and incomes from agriculture could put more pressure on land use through the growth of medium/large scale farms, and an expansion in area cultivated by smallholder farms across Nigeria. This could, in turn, create a situation of unregulated expansion of cultivable land under “conventional… Read more »

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Top Tips from APRA’s Policy friends
January 16, 2020

During APRA’s recent annual meeting in Naivasha from 2-6 December 2019, a panel of distinguished policy voices made up of representatives from Department for International Development (DFID), African Union (AU), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Tegemeo Institute, Agricultural Non-State Actors Forum (ANSAF), and independent consultants shared their perspectives and offered advice on how to guarantee… Read more »

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Rural transformation in Ethiopia: the right or wrong end of the stick?
January 9, 2020

The underlying causes of the ethnic and religious conflicts in Ethiopia have had little space for discourse. This blog [1] is aimed at reminding academics, researchers, extension workers and other development practitioners not to be distracted by the on-going events and to continue to foster dialogue around agricultural and rural development issues.[2] Rural transformation in… Read more »

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APRA Annual Workshop 2019 hosted by CABE
December 19, 2019

The Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurship (CABE) successfully hosted the APRA Annual Review and Planning Workshop in Naivasha, Kenya from 2-6 December 2019. Members of the three APRA work streams and APRA Consortium, stationed at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), also participated. The theme of this year’s workshop was Impact, Communications and Engagement (ICE).  It… Read more »

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Unattractive bride – the case of government extension services in Central Malawi
December 5, 2019

In 2000, Malawi adopted a pluralistic and demand-driven agricultural extension policy which liberalised agricultural extension provision, allowing multiple stakeholders to freely provide extension services that are coordinated and regulated by the government. This policy is anchored by an implementation system called District Agricultural Extension Services System (DAESS) that has established structures at District, and community… Read more »

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Livelihood trajectories in the Nigerian cocoa industry: An exploratory study of smallholder cocoa farmers in Ondo State
November 28, 2019

The Nigerian cocoa industry has seen a resurgence with the recognition of agriculture in national economic development. However, its level of growth, especially with regards to commercialisation has been limited. There have been reported cases of cocoa farms being sold to give way to other enterprises; at the same time, there have been reports of… Read more »

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Closing the cocoa frontier in western Ghana. Time to intensify?
November 13, 2019

Ever since the 1880s when cocoa began to be planted in southern Ghana, new land has been acquired for cocoa trees. These have expanded westwards from the first lands planted below the Akwapim ridge, just north of Accra, 130 years ago. The driver for this expansion has often been older groves being lost to disease, including… Read more »

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The future of cocoa production in south western Nigeria: Stakeholder insights
November 4, 2019

Background Agricultural enterprise in Nigeria’s economy has played a key participatory role by addressing the issues of poverty, food insecurity, unemployment and foreign revenue acquisition. Cocoa has been integral to  championing the agricultural economy as it remains the top most exported cash crop, alongside oil palm and rubber, accounting for 58.4 per cent of Nigerian… Read more »

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APRA presents at AAAE conference
October 14, 2019

“Rising to meet new challenges: Africa’s agricultural development beyond 2020 Vision” was the theme for the 6th  African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE) triennial conference, which took place on the 23-26th September 2019 at the Sheraton Hotel in Abuja, Nigeria. Professor G. B. Ayoola, the President at Farm & Infrastructure Foundation (FIF) chaired the 6th AAAE Conference Local Organising Committee. In… Read more »

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Oil Palm Processing in Ghana: Hanging In, Stepping Up and Stepping Out
October 3, 2019

Oil palm production has been a lifelong activity for many farmers in south-western Ghana. Although oil palm could be harvested throughout the year, production peaks from January to May.  Like other crops of this nature, one would expect prices to fall or rise with production quantities. However, this is not always the case, as the… Read more »

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The contemporary agrarian question in West Africa
September 25, 2019

The agrarian question in West Africa is dominated by the integration of peasant agriculture or smallholder farming into agribusiness markets, which includes contract farming, but also other mechanisms to encourage uptake of inputs and the incorporation of farmers into corporate controlled food processing. Although there is a growing presence of medium-scale farms and acquisition of… Read more »

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Ethiopia’s incentives to agribusiness investment require a serious rethink
September 19, 2019

Primarily through its investment promotion agency, Ethiopia has been encouraging business investment for decades. It uses incentives such as import, export and income tax reduction or exemption, and provides investors with access to land. In a recent study, we explored the effectiveness of these incentives on agribusiness investment and found that – comparable to other… Read more »

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Promoting Agribusiness Investment in Ghana: Rethinking Policy Incentives
September 12, 2019

Agriculture is a major economic activity in Ghana, contributing 20 per cent to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In recognition that increased investment can help transform the largely subsistence-based agricultural sector, the government of Ghana and its development partners have implemented a number of programmes, including fiscal incentives, to attract private investors into the sector. As… Read more »

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Value Chain Participants in Smallholder Commercialisation in Mvurwi: Emerging Business Relations
September 3, 2019

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 (FTLRP) led to widespread disruptions in the sophisticated input supply system, altered agrarian relations and generally caused changes in the functioning of input and… Read more »

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Social Dynamics of Agricultural Commercialisation: What are the Community Perceptions?
August 14, 2019

Agricultural commercialisation is seen by smallholder farmers as a potent means of improving their livelihoods and transforming rural communities. However, the commercialisation-induced rural transformation has the potential to alter both social relations and gender-based power dynamics within rural communities. As communities commercialise and realign production practices with the demands of the markets, they increasingly embrace… Read more »

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The Future of Cocoa Production in Nigeria: An Account of Adegeye’s Extensive Research Experiences
August 1, 2019

Cocoa farming is a profitable cash crop due to its economically diverse value chain products, as well as the international acceptance of that. Players and actors in cocoa value chain are the direct beneficiaries of this venture.  Nonetheless, Nigerian cocoa farmers have not fully utilized its inherent potentials, as majority of farmers concentrate only on… Read more »

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Collective Action within Poor Farming Communities in Western Ghana
July 10, 2019

Attempts to improve rural livelihoods tend to emphasise private sector and informal economic arrangements or social protection mechanisms, in the hope that these would spur local self-help initiatives among the poor. Underlying such thinking is the assumption that success in these initiatives would mobilise the rural poor towards the solution of larger collective action problems.… Read more »

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Youth engagement with commercialisation hotspots in Zimbabwe
May 23, 2019

My interest in youth and agriculture commercialisation stemmed from two pivotal moments in the past decade. One from an ‘accidental finding’ from a 10-year longitudinal study of land beneficiaries of the Fast Track Land Reform (FTLRP) in Sanyati District, Zimbabwe for my doctoral study. Here, young people (children of the first settlers and those from… Read more »

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A lever for agricultural commercialisation? A critical look at the agricultural extension system in Malawi.
May 20, 2019

In this assessment, we ask the question: is the extension services system in Malawi doing enough to facilitate agricultural commercialisation among smallholder farmers? This question arrives amidst concerns that commercial agriculture in Malawi, especially among small-scale farmers, has not really taken off as farmers struggle to produce and sell their produce. That situation occurred despite… Read more »

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APRA involved at the event: Towards a Pan-African Transformation: Innovative Approaches to Evidence uptake and use in Africa.
May 3, 2019

Date: 02 May 2019 – 03 May 2019 CABE Africa (https://www.cabe-africa.org/) are hosting Utafiti Sera, a policy research community of practice, via PASGR (Partnership for African Social & Governance Research). Hannigton Odame of APRA is conducting a presentation: “Charting the Path for a Youth Apprenticeship Policy: Lessons from Utafiti Sera House on Youth Employment Creation… Read more »

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It is impossible to commercialise agriculture in Malawi: A quick political economy audit
May 3, 2019

Introduction Agriculture is the mainstay of Malawi’s economy; it contributes between 30 to 40 % of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP); employs 85 % of the workforce; accounts for about 60 % of rural income; and, contributes about 90 % of total export earnings. The main challenge however, is that the agricultural sector is not… Read more »

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EVENT – APRA Public Debate on the Character of the Agrarian Question in the Contemporary Africa
May 3, 2019

The event will take place on 14 May 2019, from 13:00-15:00 at the University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa.

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Cyclone Idai hits Agriculture in Beira Corridor: Preparing for the Future
May 1, 2019

ESA: “This Copernicus Sentinel-1 image indicates where the flood waters are finally beginning to recede west of the port city of Beira in Mozambique. The image merges three separate satellite radar images from before the storm on 13 March, from one of the days when the floods were at their worst on 19 March, and… Read more »

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PLAAS hosting new roundtable: ‘What is the character of the Agrarian Question in contemporary Africa?’
April 30, 2019

The APRA South Africa Hub at the Institute of Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) is hosting a roundtable on the question: ‘What is the character of the Agrarian Question in contemporary Africa? Perspectives from East, West and Southern Africa’? The event shall be attended by renowned scholars of the field: Professor Issa Shivji, the… Read more »

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Building Livelihoods: Young People and Agricultural Commercialisation – Tanzania Country Study
April 18, 2019

With many African young people living in rural areas, their economies are characterised by small manufacturers and high rates of youth unemployment. Unemployment has been a major concern especially for graduates who seek formal employment in the urban areas. However, realities support the proposition that only the rural economy – built around agriculture, but encompassing… Read more »

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Credit: Milu Muyanga
The Changing Face of African Agriculture: Farm Size Distributions in Sub-Saharan Africa
April 10, 2019

In Jeffrey Herbst’s seminal book, States and Power in Africa: Comparative Lessons in Authority and Control, African states and local traditional authorities are struggling over control of land.  Herbst’s prescient observation, written in 2000, continues to unfold in dramatic ways today.  Traditional authorities, historically the custodians of customary land, are selling it to those with… Read more »

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Agricultural Commercialisation Pathways and Household Outcomes: The Tale of Four Oil Palm Output Sales Arrangements in South-Western Ghana
April 3, 2019

The availability of well-developed markets for agricultural output is crucial for boosting commercialisation and reducing poverty in rural sub-Saharan Africa. Oil palm, Ghana’s most important traditional export crop besides cocoa is widely produced in south-western Ghana, particularly the Ahanta West and Mpohor (Wassa East) districts. Consequently, various oil palm output marketing arrangements have emerged over… Read more »

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Credit Neil Palmer - CIAT
Youth engagement with commercialisation hotspots in Ghana
March 21, 2019

Youth unemployment and underemployment are key development challenges facing many developing countries, especially in Africa. In working to address these challenges, there is a belief among policymakers and development practitioners that the rural economy – built around agriculture, but encompassing much more – will be able to provide income-earning opportunities for many millions of young… Read more »

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Ruia Tractor
Animal vs tractor power: emerging mechanisation dynamics in Mvurwi
March 15, 2019

Debate on agricultural mechanisation has largely been framed as policy choices between markets versus state intervention. Within the market conceptualization, adoption of tractors is seen as a derivative of changes in the costs within factors of production such as land, labour and capital. A rise in labour costs and/or shortage leads to the adoption of… Read more »

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