Southern Africa

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Articles

Impact Stories

Africa’s Eyes in the Sky

“Most of Africa missed out on the Green Revolution that transformed agriculture in South and East Asia, but we’re not going to miss the digital revolution,” says Dr Abdelaziz Lawani, Professor of Agribusiness at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU). Dr Lawani is also the founder of Global Partners, a Benin-based start-up which uses unmanned aerial vehicles – or drones – to provide a range of services to farmers and others.

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Impact story

Climate change in Southern Africa: Information is power

Since becoming a farmer in 2001, Phineas Muyabi from Chibombo District in Zambia has struggled to produce enough food for his family to eat. Droughts have destroyed his crops and, as a result, his family has had to rely upon food aid. This year, however, Muyabi is benefiting from CTA’s regional flagship project for Southern Africa, ‘Scaling up Climate Smart Agricultural Solutions for Cereal and Livestock Farmers’.

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Impact story

For farming fortune, dial mAgri

A Botswanan start-up is breaking the barriers to digital technologies for rural smallholder farmers. Brastorne Enterprises, a winner of CTA’s 2016 Pitch AgriHack competition, operates a mobile platform called mAgri to improve farmers’ access to information, markets and finance.

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Blog articles

The Sun Exchange: Democratising energy

 Jaclyn Bolt
by Jaclyn Bolt

Founded by Abraham Cambridge in 2014, The Sun Exchange is based in South Africa where the company is working to address a huge gap in funding for solar projects. Today, their solution is helping to power factories, schools and wildlife. In this article, Cambridge details Sun Exchange’s experience with blockchain technology.

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in Blog Blog

Innovative partnerships based on shared value accelerate the upscaling of CSA solutions

Many climate-smart agriculture (CSA) innovations have been developed to help farmers achieve the triple wins of adaptation, productivity and, where possible, reduced emissions. As efforts by different organisations move forward to improve adoption, it is clear that a wide range of factors influence uptake of CSA. Field experiences with CSA projects in three countries highlight how developing shared value among partners has supported the scaling up of CSA.

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in Blog Blog

Adopting climate-smart agricultural innovations in Southern Africa: Knowledge alone is not enough

Some say that knowledge is power. In the knowledge age, information and ideas are touted as raw materials that are as important as other tangible resources such as land, labour and money. In the agriculture sector, this is also true, with information playing key roles in farmer adaptation and resilience building. But recent experiences from a field project to upscale climate-smart agriculture (CSA) in Southern Africa show that by itself, knowledge of proven climate smart agricultural innovation is not enough to ensure farmer uptake.

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in Blog Blog

Farmer organisations promote youth entrepreneurship – Lessons from Zimbabwe

Farmer organisations have a key role to play in encouraging youth to stay in the agricultural sector, and pursue agro-based livelihoods. Crucially, they have strong potential in helping young people to become thriving agripreneurs, through the provision of training and opportunities to develop their skills, as well as by linking youth to key players in the agricultural value chain.

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in Blog Blog

ZFU-Econet Wireless bilateral partnership in Zimbabwe

Southern Africa is particularly vulnerable to climate change because smallholder subsistence farmers rely almost entirely on rainfed farming. Weather patterns such as drought, floods and erratic rainfall therefore have a significant impact on the food security and incomes of a largely poor population with little capacity to adapt.

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Opinion articles

in Spore Opinion article

Farmers must be involved in the solutions offered by data sharing

Many governments and donor agencies, as well as the private sector work to solve the myriad of challenges smallholder farmers in Africa face every day, including, but not limited to, access to markets and agronomic support. More progress could be made, however, if the farmers themselves were invited to play a role in tackling their own problems – and mobile technology could be a way to make this happen.

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in Spore Opinion article

The 4th P: Experiences from the 4P approach and partnership brokering

The majority of food and other agricultural outputs worldwide are produced by smallholder farmers, but they often have problems participating in profitable value chains. Power and information are divided asymmetrically between partners. Producers are often not sure if there will be buyers next season and what the current market prices are, while buyers are not sure that producers will keep their commitment to supply the agreed quantities at the expected quality.

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in Spore Opinion article

The future farmer: disrupting agriculture

Right now, in Southern Africa, there are a lot of young farmers that are doing great things, they are ambitious with an appetite to grow, and want to achieve this growth through the creation of profitable agribusinesses that will deliver the same quality of life as other professions. They are just not visible. What we see at events like the recent African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), which took place in Abidjan between 4th-8th September 2017, is just a microcosm of a larger pool of agripreneurs.

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Background articles

Channeling Africa's water resources to build resilience

 Caspar Van Vark
by Caspar Van Vark

Relying solely on rain-fed agriculture limits farmers’ ability to improve yields and income. Irrigation can unlock their potential, but it requires a combination of technology, finance and support.

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in Knowledge management (EC) Analysis

Receitas para o Desenvolvimento

Com as feiras e demonstrações simulou-se o que é possível executar em casa, com os alimentos disponíveis e/ou fáceis de serem produzidos no próprio quintal ou na machamba. Com efeito, depois das aulas se nota uma mudança de atitude, tanto na diversificação do cardápio como no número crescente de hortas caseiras. E estes são só dois exemplos.

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in Spore Analysis

Can blockchain plug Africa’s agri-finance gap?

A group of partners are developing a blockchain-powered ecosystem across Africa that they say will boost investment into agricultural infrastructure, allow smallholder farmers to borrow more cheaply and stimulate consumer activity in rural economies.

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in Spore Analysis

Developing a winning strategy

The rapid evolution of ICTs is providing new opportunities for young entrepreneurs in agriculture. However, there are many hurdles to be overcome before these fledgling agribusinesses become profitable.

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News articles

Insurance – saving lives and livelihoods

Erratic and unpredictable weather and changes in the climate threaten the livelihoods and survival of tens of millions of smallholder farmers in Africa. When crops fail, or livestock die of hunger, the repercussions can be devastating. To give just one example, severe drought in 2017 led to cattle herders in northern Kenya losing over 70% of their livestock. In Ethiopia, over 5 million people required emergency food aid and almost 2 million people were displaced from their homes.

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in A year in review 2018 News

Coping with climate change in Southern Africa

By the time CTA’s regional flagship project for Southern Africa comes to an end in 2020, around 140,000 small-scale farmers in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi will have adopted a range of climate-smart strategies to help them cope with drought and erratic weather patterns. About 75,000 farmers are benefiting from the bundle of climate-smart agricultural solutions at the end of the first year of implementation.

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in Spore News

Closing the agri-finance gap for women

Improving rural women’s access to finance represents an untapped business opportunity for financial service providers prepared to tailor products to meet their needs and to find innovative ways to overcome social and logistical hurdles.

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Interviews

Creating shared values for companies, society and the environment

Richard McNally highlights the role to be played by private sector investment in the growth of climate-smart value chain

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Interview

Spreading the word: the benefits of effective knowledge management

Krishan Bheenick, Senior Programme Coordinator of Knowledge Management at CTA, explains the value of knowledge management techniques such as experience capitalisation, which are being introduced as part of CTA’s Southern Africa Flagship Project with the aim to build smallholder farmers’ resilience through the adoption of climate smart agriculture.

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in Spore Interview

Enhancing traceability for informal trade

As the executive director and CEO of the Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC), which brings together producers and processors, Gerald Makau Masila describes the barriers to formal trade for agricultural value chain actors. According to him, there is a need to invest in market infrastructure and to promote ICTs.

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Data Reports

EcoFarmer: bundling information and financial services

Zimbabwe’s mobile network, Econet Wireless, is providing farmers with micro-insurance to cover crops and inputs against damage due to poor weather. The EcoFarmer subscription platform offers farmers a package of mobile phone delivered services to increase their productivity and mitigate risk.

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in Spore Field report

Integrating poultry and poultry feed

The biggest feed mill in Malawi, Central Poultry Feeds (CP Feeds), was established over 14 years ago. As well as feed production, the company is also involved in interrelated activities, including poultry rearing, and dairy and beef cattle production.

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Scientific Articles

mAgri and the woman driving innovation

 Naledi Magowe
by Naledi Magowe

Naledi Magowe, a young female agri-tech entrepreneur, shares her experiences of building her start-up Brastorne Enterprises and the increasing impact her mobile app mAgri is making in Botswana and plans for expansion.

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Events

Transforming Africa’s agriculture: Eyes in the sky, smart techs on the ground

Recognising the opportunities offered by the drone-based systems, in 2016 CTA partnered with leading private sector operators, and assisted African ICT start-ups in acquiring the capacity to deliver UAS services in the framework of this project known as 'Transforming Africa’s agriculture: Eyes in th...

Increasing Dairy Productivity and incomes for smallholder farmers, and youth enterprise development in the Dairy sector East and Southern Africa (DAIRYPROFIT)

The East African region produces 68% of the continent’s milk output, with Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Tanzania among the biggest dairy producers. Smallholder milk production accounts for up to 80% of milk produced in the region; most of this milk (80%) is marketed raw, through a ‘warm’ chain (raw mi...