APRA Briefs


Latest articles

APRA Brief 14: Participation, Voice and Governance in African Investment Corridors
February 12, 2019 / APRA Briefs Publications

An investment or growth corridor is a geographical area of a country or group of countries surrounding a major transport route, which supports economic activity either end of, and along, the route. Drawing on APRA’s work studying growth corridors in East Africa, this brief focuses on the Lamu Port and South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor, presenting an overview of the corridor’s  infrastructural plan and its place within the region’s politics, as well as its implications for those who live and work along the corridor’s planned route – including smallholders, fishers and pastoralists.

Download: APRA Policy Brief 14

APRA Brief 13: The Political Economy of Agricultural Commercialistion in Malawi
February 12, 2019 / APRA Briefs Publications

Malawi is a predominantly agrarian economy. With around 85 percent of the country’s population relying on agriculture for their livelihoods, it is estimated that the sector makes up as much as 35 percent of GDP, 80 percent of export earnings, and 70 percent of total rural income. Underpinning both Malawi’s industrial and manufacturing sectors, agriculture is integral to any concerted effort aimed at achieving inclusive growth, and therefore lies at the heart of Malawi’s political economy. This brief, which is based on a longer paper1, examines the evolution and political economy of agricultural commercialisation in Malawi since the 1960s, from both a historical and a contemporary perspective.

Download: APRA Brief 13

APRA Brief 12: The Political Economy of Agricultural Commercialisation in Africa
February 12, 2019 / APRA Briefs Publications

This brief seeks to identify key factors that influence the strength and composition of coalitions in favour of and against policies that promote agricultural commercialisation, or that influence the commercialisation trajectory that unfolds within a country or sector. It also recognises the importance of ideas and interests in determining which policies are adopted and implemented. Specifically, the brief seeks to illustrate the influence of three sets of factors on agricultural commercialisation, and their interaction with one another. The three sets of factors are (1) the relationships between politicians and rural citizens arising from the domestic political settlement; (2) geographical factors; and (3) the influence of international actors.

Download: APRA Policy Brief 12

APRA Brief 11: The Political Economy of Agricultural Commercialisation in Ethiopia: Discourses, Actors and Structural Impediments
November 5, 2018 / APRA Briefs Publications

This brief examines the political economy of agricultural commercialisation in Ethiopia, by analysing the changing political landscape and electoral trends spanning the past three decades. It gives an overview of the emphasis placed on agriculture, and the promotion of agricultural commercialisation, across Ethiopia’s past three regimes: imperial, military, and the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). The brief then addresses the state of agricultural commercialisation in Ethiopia with reference to the case study of teff production. Finally, the brief examines the structural impediments to agricultural commercialisation, with a number of suggestions for addressing the challenges identified.

Download: APRA Policy Brief 11

APRA Brief 10: Women’s Empowerment and the Commercialsation of African Agriculture
November 1, 2018 / APRA Briefs Publications

This brief presents a summary of key issues in research on women’s empowerment, drawn from an APRA working paper commissioned to support the design of APRA’s research on pathways to agricultural commercialisation in Africa. In the context of African agriculture, as women move along different pathways of commercialisation, the source of their disempowerment may shift from local to more global actors and factors, and the means of empowerment towards more collective and political processes. Researching the effectiveness of different pathways of agricultural commercialisation to empowering women and girls, therefore, requires an approach which explores the relationships between global and local, shifting dynamics as women move into and up global value chains, and changing gender relations in a specific local context.

Download: APRA Policy Brief 10_Women’s Empowerment and the Commercialisation of African Agriculture

APRA Brief 9: Partnerships, Platforms and Policies: Strengthening Farmer Capacity to Harness Technological Innovation for Agricultural Commercialisation
November 1, 2018 / APRA Briefs Publications

This brief uses three STI revolution storylines based on case studies from Ethiopia, Zambia, and Ghana to highlight the enabling factors that make STI a vehicle for agricultural commercialisation. The storylines based on the three case studies were identified considering their relevance to the different types of farming (small-, medium- and large-scale), the importance of commercialisation linked to STI, and the diversity of production systems.

Download: APRA Policy Brief 9

APRA Brief 8: The Political Economy of Agricultural Commercialisation in Zimbabwe
October 11, 2018 / APRA Briefs

This brief presents a critical discussion of the political economy of agricultural commercialisation in Zimbabwe, focusing on the post-2000 period – when major land redistribution brought about dramatic agrarian structural transformation in the country. Understanding shifts in production and commodity marketing, and how these have had an impact on commercialisation patterns, helps to reveal how power, state practice, and capital all influence accumulation for the different groups of farmers in divergent settlement models.

Download: APRA Policy Brief 8 -The Political Economy of Agricultural Commercialisation in Zimbabwe

APRA Brief 7: Policy Processes and Political Economy: Ghana Country Review
October 10, 2018 / APRA Briefs

This brief is based on a longer working paper, which examines the political economy of agricultural commercialisation in Ghana from 2000–2018. The relationship between a changing political landscape and agricultural policy in Ghana is neither fully understood nor explored; this brief argues that prevailing agricultural commercialisation policies are selected by powerful policy actors, who provide useful resources for policy implementation and whose narratives are consistent with policymakers interests. The brief therefore advocates a strengthening of civil society groups to ensure that pro-poor policies are put in place in Ghana.

Download: APRA Policy Brief 7-Policy Processes and Political Economy

APRA Brief 6: Agricultural Commercialisation Pathways: Climate Change and Agriculture
September 20, 2018 / APRA Briefs

Given the highly climate-sensitive character of agricultural production, climate change has obvious and important ramifications for agricultural commercialisation, which in turn has a bearing on poverty, gender empowerment, and food and nutrition security. The nature and extent of climate change implications for agricultural commercialisation will depend on: the magnitude of the climate impacts that farmers have to deal with; and, the extent to which sustainable intensification processes can be pursued in ways which strengthen, rather than weaken, adaptive capacity and resilience in the face of climate change. This brief provides a summary of a longer working paper, which offers a review of recent literature on the implications of climate change for agricultural commercialisation and APRA’s research in this area.

Download: APRA Brief 6 -Agricultural Commercialisation Pathways Climate Change and

APRA Brief 5: Agricultural growth trends in Africa
August 17, 2018 / APRA Briefs

This brief is based on a working paper, which seeks to inform future APRA research. In so doing, the brief helps to address debates about the feasibility of developing smallholder agriculture through commercialisation. In particular, it seeks to address the following broad questions: How has thinking about agricultural development evolved since 2010? How has the context for smallholder commercialisation evolved in this period? Second, the brief asks: how much growth has been seen in agriculture and agricultural productivity since 1990? And how much does agricultural growth correlate with changes in national income, poverty and nutrition?

Download:APRA Brief 5 – Agricultural growth trends in Africa