Is Digital Transformation in Nigerian Agriculture a Myth or Reality?

This blog was originally posted on the CDI Blog

There is a lot of hype about digital agriculture as the ‘next big thing’ after crude oil in Nigeria. Currently, there is hardly any debate on agricultural development in the Nigerian news and on social media platforms without the use of buzz words such as ‘digital disruption’ or ‘digital transformation’ in describing the future of Nigerian agriculture. But what are these digital innovations causing all the hype? They are digital platforms, developed over the past five years by start-ups, established by young Nigerian entrepreneurs. While some start-ups are self-funded, most have benefited from international funding and incubation programmes provided by the growing number of tech-hubs across Nigeria (see Figure 1) [1] [2]. Continue reading

Building a climate-smart cassava value chain: The role of partnerships

This is one of a two-part blog series following my visit to Kenya and Zanzibar. The trip was funded by CABI’s development bursary scheme.

Group photo of ACAI project partners and cassava value chain representatives 

In June 2017, I attended a 5-day planning meeting organised by the Africa Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) in Zanzibar, Tanzania. This meeting brought together all ACAI project partners to evaluate project milestones, discuss next-steps and identify scale-up strategies.

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Building a climate-smart value chain: The role of research and development

ACAI blog 1The first blog in this series described the Africa Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) and how it aims to improve cassava agronomy for increased production and productivity. The blog also talked about how ACAI partnerships could help build a climate-smart cassava value chain. This second interview blog is about the role research, development and technology in building a resilient cassava value chain. It talks about how research, and the application of improved cassava agronomic practices can help cassava farmers improve their production and productivity while adapting to climate change.

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Food culture: the anthropology of food and nutrition

Excerpt from an unpublished review paper on Globalisation, Culture and Traditional Food Systems.

Culture, as a concept, cannot easily be defined although it has been described by various Anthropologists over the years. Spencer-Oatey (2012) explained that defining culture tends to be difficult because of the various uses for which the term has been employed. His definition of culture takes into consideration the behavioural patterns of people in a group as shaped by their values, beliefs, orientation and policies, and how this may influence, but not necessarily determine, individual behaviour within the group, as well as their interpretation of the behaviour of people outside the group. Matsumoto and Juang (2012) add that what defines the term “culture” is that it is translated and transferred from one generation to the next. Culture is dynamic and individuals may possess multiple cultures as they move into new cycles such as occupation, religion or geographic regions (Avruch 1998). Continue reading

Food systems of indigenous people

Excerpt from an unpublished review paper on Globalisation, Culture and Traditional Food Systems. This section specifically reviews research by Kuhnlein, H. V., Erasmus, B. and Spigelski, D. (eds.) Indigenous peoples’ food systems: The many dimensions of culture, diversity and environment for nutrition and health. Centre for Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition and Environment, FAO. Rome.

The UN fact sheet[1] on indigenous people estimates that worldwide, there are more than 370 million indigenous people spread across 70 different countries. These indigenous people are custodians of their unique traditions and retain the social, economic, political, and cultural behaviours that distinguish them from the prevailing societies in which they live. It is also believed that they possess invaluable knowledge on the sustainable management of their natural resources and are considered descendants of those who originally inhabited a given geographical location before the arrival of colonisers and immigrants. Continue reading

Food taboos: Religious and cultural food laws

Excerpt from an unpublished review paper on Globalisation, Culture and Traditional Food Systems.

The significance of food to humans is not restricted to nutrition and biological functions (El-Mahi, 2013) but is also a means of expression in many cultures and religions. For instance, when a Muslim faithful asked Prophet Muhammad “What is faith?” he responded: “to offer food and give the greeting of peace” (Feeley-Harnik, 1995).   Continue reading

Open data revolution: Constraints and opportunities for increased agricultural productivity and food security in Africa

Open data blog
Photo copyright: CABI

Research has shown that small scale and rural farmers are responsible for producing a large proportion of the food consumed in Africa. As a result, they have been the target of many agricultural development interventions, especially from the global north. These development efforts are mainly because of the ideology that building the capacity of these small scale farmers to efficiently produce more food will improve food security and nutrition in Africa. Continue reading