IFPRI-Kampala newsletter – week of April 30th, 2018

Hello, and welcome to a new edition of the IFPR-Kampala’s USSP news and research digest!

As usual, this collection of recent news articles related to agriculture is compiled from online news sources. We also include links to recent publications on agricultural and policy-related research topics pertinent to Uganda and the wider region.

This week, we report on Sesaco gets Shs1.6b to boost expansion and on EU to subject Ugandan agro-products to rigorous checks over fall armyworms. We also have an article on how Uganda loses EA fish market to China and on the fact that Ethical cocoa schemes seem no panacea for struggling farmers.

Under research, we provide links to:

Note that newsletters are archived on http://bjornvancampenhout.com/newsletter/

Sesaco gets Shs1.6b to boost expansion

Sesaco Soya, a Ugandan processing firm has been named as the first beneficiary of the EU Yield Uganda Investment Fund to improve its production in preparation for expansion and business growth.  The Fund, set up with support from the EU and managed by Pearl Capital Partners, will, in its maiden investment in Uganda commit Shs1.6b to Sesaco to enhance technical and governance aspects of the business.

EU to subject Ugandan agro-products to rigorous checks over fall armyworms
Xinhua Net

The European Union (EU) will start this June subject Uganda’s agro-products to rigorous checks due to the fall armyworm, a senior government official has said.  Steven Byantwale, Commissioner for Crop Protection told a farmers’ meeting that the EU’s intention is to scrutinize Ugandan exports for the worms that are decimating crops.

EU injects Shs67b in revamping beef industry

The European Union in partnership with government has injected Shs67.7b in the beef industry with the desire to improve quality in the meat value chain.  The money will help to create a market oriented and environmentally sustainable beef industry in Uganda.

Uganda loses EA fish market to China

Kenya requires one million tonnes of fish annually but only produces 200,000 tonnes domestically, which leaves a deficit of 800,000 tonnes. Much of the deficit was imported from Uganda, Tanzania and India but China has since taken over. This has been occasioned by a near depletion of Uganda’s fish stocks as the country continues to grapple with bad fishing methods.

US envoy on a mission to market Uganda’s specialty coffee

US ambassador to Uganda, Deborah R. Malac, recently led a reverse trade mission to the Specialty Coffee Expo in Seattle. This was part of the US government’s ongoing commitment to building trade and investment opportunities in Uganda.

Kenyan maize farmers threaten demos over Sh2.5 billion Ruto promised
The Star

Farmers have blamed the government for allowing maize imports that have caused price drops.  Traders and some farmers bought the maize for Sh1,800 per bag in Uganda and sold much of it to the NCPB for Sh3,200 per bag.  More than 300 lorries, some suspected to have imported maize, are still lining up to deliver maize at depots in the North Rift, which have been closed for lack of space.

Agricultural change in Africa: How cookbooks and recipes got a bum rap
Future Agricultures

For at least three decades, agricultural research and extension in Africa has been castigated for being top-down and non-participatory and burdened by an overly simplistic, linear, research-centric model of change. This critique is encapsulated in the suggestion that research and extension are so far removed from rural reality that they take a “cookbook approach”, promoting rigid recipes.

Ethical cocoa schemes no panacea for struggling farmers

Global chocolate makers are buying more cocoa sourced through schemes aimed at stamping out poverty as they rush to make their supply chains more ethical ahead of self-imposed 2020 deadlines.The trouble for cocoa farmers is the premiums they receive for beans sold under the biggest and most popular of these ethical sustainability schemes are falling.

Plant-killing pests and diseases have an ally in climate change

In the United States, it is a wood-borer beetle that arrived in packaging and which has indirectly caused an estimated 21,000 premature human deaths. In South Korea, it is a worm that forced the government to cut down 10 million pine trees.  And in Africa, it is a maize-munching pest from the Americas that has infested millions of hectares of crops, and threatens the food supply and income of more than 300 million people.  What do they have in common? All three crossed continents to cause havoc on plants.

Consumers’ role in deforestation addressed by EU study
Coffee and Cocoa International

The European Union which is is one of the largest drivers of tropical deforestation, has produced a long-awaited study* on what steps can be taken to reduce the loss of trees caused by demand for agricultural commodities consumed by its citizens.

Seed vaults protect the world from the apocalypse – but what if Doomsday is already here?

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault was built to help us through the end of the world. But nobody expected that hints of doomsday would arrive quite so soon.  The seed bank stores the crops and plants from around the world on a frozen island in Norway, protecting biodiversity. At least it was frozen until recently – when the permafrost that was thought to be a reliable blanket around it started to melt.


How African cities lead: Urban policy innovation and agriculture in Kampala and Nairobi
CD Gore – World Development, 2018

City governments in sub-Saharan Africa have historically been beholden to national governments. Lack of national urban policies and tensions between national and city governments are common. Yet, for decades, research has identified small-scale innovations at the urban scale. Rarely, however, are policy innovations in African cities so influential as to lead national governments to scale up city based actions. This is particularly true in sectors that have been the dominant purview of central governments. This paper examines how citizens, civil society organizations, city governments and national bureaucrats in two cities of East Africa – Kampala and Nairobi – have interacted to produce policy innovation in agriculture. Agriculture has always been a sector of high national importance in Africa, but increasingly cities are becoming focal points for agricultural policy change. The two cities compared in the paper are unusual in having a collection of interests who have been advocating for improved support and recognition of urban food production. Indeed, these cities are rare for having continually promoted the formalization of urban agriculture in local and national policy. While advocacy for urban agriculture is common globally, what is not clear is under what conditions local advocacy produces policy uptake and change. What are the conditions when city-based advocacy deepens the institutionalization of policy support locally and nationally? Drawing from theory and research on policy change and African urban politics and governance, and qualitative data collection in each country, this paper argues that while external, international assistance has helped initiate policy dialogue, domestic civil society organizations and their engagement with local and national bureaucrats are key to policy support at the local and national scales.

Local and regional drivers of the African coffee white stem borer (Monochamus leuconotus) in Uganda
T Liebig, R Babin, F Ribeyre, P Läderach, P van Asten… – Agricultural and Forest Entomology 2018

The African coffee white stem borer (CWSB) Monochamus leuconotus is a destructive pest of Arabica coffee in Africa. Documentation on outbreaks, spatiotemporal development and the relationship with different environmental conditions and coffee production system is limited. To underpin effective control measures, we studied aspects of local and regional pest drivers in Eastern Uganda. At the local scale, we (i) characterized the temporal development of CWSB and explored associations with environmental and shade‐related indicators. During two growing seasons and on 84 coffee plots, we recorded CWSB incidence/infestation and microclimate on an altitudinal gradient and different shading systems. The bimodal rainfall, altitude and shade affected CWSB development through their effect on minimum temperature. At the landscape level, we (ii) analyzed the spatial pattern of CWSB. Data on CWSB were collected on 180 plots. Pest incidence showed a spatial arrangement varying by districts. A possible relationship with human movement and the landscape context contributing to pest spread is suggested. CWSB control measures should be synchronized with the bimodal rainfall patterns and an emphasis should be given to identifying and limiting pathways of pest spread from highly infested to new areas.

Do Beliefs About Herbicide Quality Correspond with Actual Quality in Local Markets? Evidence from Uganda
Maha Ashour, Daniel Orth Gilligan, Jessica Blumer Hoel & Naureen Iqbal Karachiwalla

Adoption of modern agricultural inputs in Africa remains low, restraining agricultural productivity and poverty reduction. Low quality agricultural inputs may in part explain low adoption rates, but only if farmers are aware that some inputs are low quality. We report the results of laboratory tests of the quality of glyphosate herbicide in Uganda and investigate whether farmers’ beliefs about the prevalence of counterfeiting and adulteration are consistent with the prevalence of low quality in their local market. We find that the average bottle in our sample is missing 15 per cent of the active ingredient and 31 per cent of samples contain less than 75 per cent of the ingredient advertised. Farmers believe 41 per cent of herbicide is counterfeit or adulterated. Beliefs are significantly correlated with quality at the local market level, but beliefs remain inaccurate, adjusting for only a fraction of actual differences in quality. Price is also significantly correlated with quality in local markets, but prices also adjust for only a fraction of quality differences. Although, like fertiliser and hybrid maize seed, herbicide in Uganda is low quality, herbicide use is substantially higher.

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