Zimbabwe: Why a Zimbabwean Farming Project Failed – Lessons for Rural Innovation

Many countries in sub-Saharan Africa commit resources to promote agricultural innovations. This is based on the assumption that rural livelihoods are mainly agricultural and that the innovations will increase agricultural production and household income. As resources come under pressure from growing populations and natural resource degradation, governments and donors want to see that agricultural research and innovation has an impact. They want to see “success” and “value for money”. But success is understood in different ways. It depends on how it’s framed and by whom. Studying conflict in agricultural innovations…

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How vanilla is creating a new wealthy class from among farmers in Madagascar

Vanilla essence is used to make a lot of desserts and though it may not seem a big deal to the average baking shop to purchase artificial vanilla flavors, big production companies like Unilever and Mars thrive on quality vanilla beans for their mass production. Madagascar is one of the world’s leading producers of vanilla and the trade of the beans has catapulted in recent years due to shortage. As an orchard vine, vanilla grows on tree trunks and takes up to three years to bear fruits. Its cultivation is…

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