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APRA blog

Analysing the impact of COVID-19 on food systems and livelihoods in Africa
January 21, 2021

To better understand the impact that COVID-19 is having on food systems and rural livelihoods in the region, APRA researchers have been conducting a rolling series of telephone-based household surveys and key informant interviews. This blog is based on the findings of these two reports, that were written by Amrita Saha, Marco Carreras and John… Read more »

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COVID-19 and price uncertainties in grain marketing in Malawi
January 14, 2021

In the third and final blog of the series on grain marketing in Malawi, APRA researcher Stevier Kaiyatsa looks at the contributing effects of COVID-19 on grain price instability, the implication of this, and what the Malawian government can do to tackle the problem. Part one examined the role played by small-scale traders in the… Read more »

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How small-scale traders exploit farmers in Malawi
January 11, 2021

In the second of a three-part blog series on grain marketing in Malawi, APRA researchers Stevier Kaiyatsa and Mphatso Susuwele examine the methods used by some small-scale traders are taking advantage of farmers who produce a market surplus, and what the government should do to help. Part one looked more closely at the vital role… Read more »

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Lockdown politics: reflections from Zimbabwe
January 11, 2021

This post was written by Ian Scoones and first appeared on Zimbabweland. Last week, the blog looked at the COVID-19 situation in Zimbabwe. The situation continues to get worse. On 9 January, there were 20499 reported cases and 483 deaths – 6000 more cases and over 100 more deaths in just a week. It looks like the South African ‘new… Read more »

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Understanding small-scale grain traders in Malawi
January 7, 2021

In the first of a three-part blog series on grain marketing in Malawi, APRA researchers Stevier Kaiyatsa and Mphatso Susuwele examine the vital role played by small-scale traders in Malawi in the grain supply chains, how they are classified, and why understanding them is key for any kind of programme intervention that aims to improve… Read more »

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eDialogue: What Future for Small-Scale Farming? Policy Options
January 4, 2021

By Jim Woodhill, Ken Giller and John Thompson The final eDialogue in our five-part series on the ‘What Future for Small-Scale Farming?’ finished off by exploring policy implications for the inclusive transformation of small-scale agriculture in challenging times. A stellar panel of experts from five continents brought a rich and insightful set of perspectives to the table. We asked: “Is… Read more »

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Can Zimbabwe survive a second wave of COVID-19?
January 4, 2021

This post was written by Ian Scoones and first appeared on Zimbabweland. On January 2nd, Vice-President and Minister of Health, Constantino Chiwenga, announced another strict lockdown on the whole country. As in March, non-essential businesses are shut, travel is restricted and schools are closed. Everyone is urged to stay at home. In the last week, there have been… Read more »

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Armed conflicts, land expansion and resilience: evidence from Nigeria
December 17, 2020

In this blog, APRA researchers Adesoji Adelaja and Justin George summarise their two latest working papers on the role of resilience factors in mitigating the negative effects of conflict on land expansion, and how conflicts affect land expansion by smallholder farmers in Nigeria. They condense the findings from both studies and offer policy recommendations on… Read more »

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Zimbabweland’s 2020 wrap-up
December 17, 2020

This post was written by Ian Scoones and first appeared on Zimbabweland. 2020 has been quite a year in Zimbabwe and across the world. The blog has had two major series of posts, and this wrap-up features both – now with the links all working. One series has followed the COVID-19 pandemic in Zimbabwe, and particularly the consequences… Read more »

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Drivers of market orientation among farm households in Nigeria
December 14, 2020

APRA academics Adebayo Aromolaran, Milu Muyanga and Thomas Jayne summarise their latest working paper to look the drivers of market-orientated land use decisions among farm households in Nigeria, with particular focus on Ogun and Kaduna states.  The authors then suggest possible government interventions in order to increase access to input and output markets. This blog… Read more »

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Rice value chain: has life returned to normal after lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in Tanzania? (2)
December 10, 2020

In part two of this blog series, APRA Tanzania researchers Ntengua Mdoe, Gilead Mlay and Gideon Boniface use data from follow-up interviews with raw rice traders and the hospitality business in Morogoro and Mbeye regions, before drawing a conclusion on the way forward. For the first blog on their interviews with farmers, processors and input… Read more »

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COVID-19 reinforces pre-existing market risks for pastoralists in northern Kenya
December 7, 2020

Following his blog on the winners and losers in livestock commercialisation in northern Kenya and the accompanying working paper, researcher, pastoral development and dryland management specialist Guyo Roba examines the impact of COVID-19 market risks, explaining how strengthening their resilience is a key priority. Access this previous blog, and Working Paper 39, here. This blog… Read more »

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Rice value chain: has life returned to normal after lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in Tanzania? (1)
November 30, 2020

In the first of a two part blog series, researchers from APRA Tanzania follow up on their earlier blog series on the COVID-19 coping strategies of rice value chain actors. In this blog, they use data from follow-up interviews with farmers, processors & input suppliers in Morogoro and Mbeya regions to determine what difference there… Read more »

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eDialogue: What Future for Small-Scale Farming? Emerging themes
November 25, 2020

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 of commercialisation, food production for self-consumption and social protection in tackling farming household poverty and… Read more »

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Abdel Ismail: Is small-scale farming changing for the better?
November 23, 2020

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.

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Jemimah Njuki looks to an inclusive future for small-holder farming in Africa
November 19, 2020

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 the discussion and emphasises the importance of this sector’s social dimensions. Written by Jemimah Njuki… Read more »

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Martin Muchero’s perspective: small-scale farming, its challenges and how to address them
November 16, 2020

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 the future for small-scale farming. Written by Martin Muchero The eDialogue session focusing on Africa… Read more »

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Aida Isinika: reflections on the eDialogue
November 12, 2020

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 African regional perspectives on the future for small-scale farming. Click below for links to eDialogue… Read more »

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Devastating effect of floods on rice production and commercialisation in the Fogera plain
November 9, 2020

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 commercialisation in the Fogera plain, government measures to counter the floods, and the impacts on… Read more »

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Women and young people in Zimbabwe’s COVID-19 economy
November 9, 2020

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 fifth update since March/April (see summary so far here). The pandemic has not proceeded as some… Read more »

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What is the future for rice as a strategic crop in Ethiopia?
November 5, 2020

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, imports and domestic consumption. Finally, they list the challenges that hold back development in the… Read more »

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Dilemmas of smallholder oil palm farmers in south-western Ghana
November 2, 2020

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 on oil palm commercialisation. This blog is based on APRA Working Paper 43. Access it,… Read more »

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Do those not enrolled in Fairtrade arrangements in Malawi still benefit?
October 29, 2020

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 selling their goods small-scale traders in rural markets, click here. This blog is based on… Read more »

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Do farmers benefit when they sell to small-scale traders in the rural market in Malawi?
October 26, 2020

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. Part two (posted on 29/10), will look at the effect of the Fairtrade arrangement on… Read more »

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Can medium scale farms contribute to smallholder commercialisation and welfare in Nigeria?
October 22, 2020

APRA researchers Lenis Saweda O. Liverpool-Tasie and Salim Nuhu summarise their team’s effort to 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 policy implications, and how the government can help support this… Read more »

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Women empowerment, agriculture commercialisation and gender relations in Mvurwi, Zimbabwe
October 19, 2020

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. This blog is based on APRA Working Paper 42. Access it, for free, here. Written by Hazel… Read more »

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Policy options for expanding land under commercial tree crops cultivation in Nigeria
October 15, 2020

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 policymakers to bolster production, and that can make long-standing difference to the sector. This blog… Read more »

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Reflections on the winners and losers in livestock commercialisation in northern Kenya
October 12, 2020

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 recommendations for the government and donor agencies how to improve the livelihoods of pastoralists and… Read more »

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Agricultural-based livelihood implications of COVID-19 in Ghana (2)
October 5, 2020

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 the way forward. For part one on the impact on food prices, agribusinesses and household… Read more »

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Agricultural-based livelihood implications of COVID-19 in Ghana (1)
September 28, 2020

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 food prices, the impact on agribusinesses, household incomes, and food and nutrition security. For part… Read more »

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“Know your epidemic”: Reflections from Zimbabwe
September 28, 2020

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 playing out in very different ways in different places, yet the public health responses tend… Read more »

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How is COVID-19 shaping agricultural production and commodity marketing among smallholders in Zimbabwe?
September 17, 2020

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 problems, such as the decline in extension services to farmers. This blog is linked to… Read more »

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The unintended consequences of COVID19 lockdown in Nigeria
September 10, 2020

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 B Aromolaran, Fadlulah O Issa and Milu Muyanga examine what the impact has been the… Read more »

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Innovation in the pandemic: an update from Zimbabwe
September 10, 2020

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 continues to take a hold in Zimbabwe, and the case numbers are rising (total 6837 reported cases… Read more »

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What role does the hand hoe have in rice production in Morogoro, Tanzania?
September 3, 2020

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 study, APRA Tanzania researchers discover that factors such as geography play a role in determining… Read more »

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How COVID-19 has affected Liliyan’s Catering Services in Morogoro, Tanzania
August 24, 2020

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 provide recommendations to policy makers on how they can ensure that small businesses like this… Read more »

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Impact of COVID-19 on daily labourers and rice commercialisation in Ethiopia (3)
August 17, 2020

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 and rice commercialisation. Look below for the previous blogs: Part one: Presents preliminary findings and… Read more »

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Impact of COVID-19 on daily labourers and rice commercialisation in Ethiopia (2)
August 13, 2020

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 other two blogs of this series: Part one: Preliminary findings and statistical analysis of research… Read more »

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Impact of COVID-19 on daily labourers and rice commercialisation in Ethiopia (1)
August 10, 2020

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 rice farm workers and rice commercialisation in Fogera plain, Ethiopia. Check out the other two… Read more »

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Poor rural roads: Is cocoa still a ‘wealth spinning exercise’ in Ondo State, Nigeria?
August 6, 2020

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 roads and detrimental impact they have on the cocoa industry and the well-being of those… Read more »

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Matriliny, land tenure and oil palm commercialisation in south western Ghana
August 3, 2020

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 Ghana.  As part of the oil palm commercialisation study, APRA researchers Esther Darku & Alexander… Read more »

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Five ways governments can help small businesses in the informal sector survive COVID-19
July 30, 2020

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. Consumers are demanding and spending less, leading to decreasing revenues, liquidity problems, reduced output and… Read more »

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Viral politics and economics in Zimbabwe
July 30, 2020

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 32 deaths. This is likely the tip of a much bigger iceberg given under-reporting and limiting testing.… Read more »

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Small is beautiful? Agrarian change for resettled farmers in Mvurwi, Zimbabwe
July 27, 2020

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 by Terence Chitapi After the fast-track land reform programme (FTLRP) of which began in 2000,… Read more »

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COVID-19: Coping strategies of rice value chain actors in Tanzania (2)
July 23, 2020

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 contain it. Part two focuses on rice processors, farmers, input suppliers and service providers in… Read more »

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COVID-19: Coping strategies of rice value chain actors in Tanzania (1)
July 20, 2020

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 Gideon Boniface look at the measures in closer detail, and examine how badly consumers and… Read more »

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Who are the commercial farmers? A history of Mvurwi area, Zimbabwe
July 13, 2020

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 hard labour and skill from the African bush is etched on the popular imagination. But… Read more »

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Dynamics of change in cocoa enterprise in Ile-Oluji, Nigeria
July 9, 2020

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 of youth involvement, and poor infrastructure and amenities. APRA researcher Oluwasegun Ajetunmobi investigates the dynamics… Read more »

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Loggers on the attack: Cocoa farming in Idanre, Nigeria
June 25, 2020

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 saw during his study in the cocoa farming communities and outlines what action is needed… Read more »

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COVID-19: responses of rice farmers and processors in the Fogera Plain, Ethiopia
June 22, 2020

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 they adapted to new circumstances. Read more on the Impact of COVID-19 on Food Systems… Read more »

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