Our blog

Opinions and comments from Future Agricultures researchers on agricultural politics, science and society in Africa


Latest articles

It is impossible to commercialise agriculture in Malawi: A quick political economy audit
May 3, 2019 / Our blog
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 %
Cyclone Idai hits Agriculture in Beira Corridor: Preparing for the Future
May 1, 2019 / Our blog
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
Building Livelihoods: Young People and Agricultural Commercialisation – Tanzania Country Study
April 18, 2019 / Our blog
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,
Credit: Neil Palmer (CIAT)
So Near Yet So Far: Some Reflections on Land Reforms in Southern Africa
April 12, 2019 / Our blog
Land is the most critical productive asset in southern Africa, yet it remains a subject of unending contestations. The protracted land efforts in most of these countries have not yielded acceptable outcomes to all stakeholders. The land question is very
Credit: Milu Muyanga
The Changing Face of African Agriculture: Farm Size Distributions in Sub-Saharan Africa
April 10, 2019 / Our blog
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
Agricultural Commercialisation Pathways and Household Outcomes: The Tale of Four Oil Palm Output Sales Arrangements in South-Western Ghana
April 3, 2019 / Our blog
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
Farmers shelling groundnuts_ Credit Linvell Chirwa
At what level is market participation by smallholder farmers considered commercial farming?
March 27, 2019 / Our blog
There is consensus in literature that smallholder agriculture commercialisation occurs when farmers produce more output per unit of land and labour by using improved technologies, such as improved seed and inorganic fertiliser; produce greater surpluses; and, increase their market participation,
Irrigating Africa: can small-scale farmers lead the way?
Irrigating Africa: can small-scale farmers lead the way?
March 22, 2019 / Our blog
Ian Scoones, University of Sussex We often hear that irrigation in Africa is too limited, and that the key to a “green revolution” on the continent is to expand to levels seen in Asia. But what if there is much
Credit Neil Palmer - CIAT
Youth engagement with commercialisation hotspots in Ghana
March 21, 2019 / Our blog
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
Models for integrated resource assessment: biases and uncertainties
March 20, 2019 / Our blog
What are the most appropriate ways of understanding changes in natural resource change in rural areas, particularly in the context of climate change? How can we make use of data that is patchy and uncertain? How can models help decision-making