ifpri kampala newsletter – week of May 21st 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 Secret fruit of the Nile goes to America and on NAADS sued over UShs4 billion tea seedlings debt. We also have an article on how Brazil coffee volumes fall and Africa is expected to fill gap and on the use of drones for data in Tanzania.

Under research, we provide links to:

Note that newsletters are archived on http://ussp.ifpri.info/


Secret fruit of the Nile goes to America
New Vision

An enterprise founded by Ugandan farmers, women empowerment enthusiasts and skincare connoisseurs from the US and UK is starting to cause a stir within the skincare industry in the United States. Nilotic, named after the peoples and region where the Nilotic Shea Fruit Butter originates, is everything that you wouldn’t expect in a cosmetic or skincare brand.

NAADS sued over UShs4 billion tea seedlings debt

Fifty-eight farmers have sued National Agricultural Advisory Services over failure to pay Shs4.1b in tea seedlings supplies to Kabale District.

Refugees transform Kyangwali into massive “farmland”
Uganda Radio Network

All the refugee households have established small gardens in which they have planted and maintained maize and other crops like beans, sweet potatoes, vegetables and bananas. The area is now covered in lush green gardens of the various crops, creating an agricultural scene not seen in most parts of Uganda.

Cotton profits low, farmers willing to increase cultivation

Ugandan ginneries (39 in total, with an installed ginning capacity of close to one million bales per annum, an equivalent of 185,000 MT) currently operate at an average of only 10 % of the established capacity some are inoperable and others silent implying incapability to meet the country’s cotton needs,”

Brazil coffee volumes fall, Africa expected to fill gap

In Africa, Uganda, the leading coffee exporter expects to export five million (60-kilogramme) bags. “Uganda’s exports declined by 18.7 per cent to 0.33 million bags in March 2018, but its shipments for the first six months of 2017/18 are up by 3.7 per cent compared to the same period one year ago, reaching 2.34 million bags,” the report shows.

Kenya’s Maasai herders swap to goats as drought fells cattle


Kenya has seen heavy rains this year in many parts of the country. But in other years more regular and severe droughts are depleting water and pasture and decimating pastoralists herds.
To limit livestock losses, pastoralists are opting to sell drought-threatened cattle to buy goats, sheep and camels, which they say can better withstand erratic weather.

Using drones for data in Tanzania

We Robotics

The goal of our the project is to build best practices, share lessons learned and localize appropriate solutions for the application of robotics in sustainable agriculture, nature conservation and sustainable fisheries.

Rwanda exports ten tonnes of roasted coffee beans to United States
The Exchange

Rwanda exported 10 tonnes of roasted coffee beans that has seen them rake in a massive revenue in the process and hope to export close to 40 tonnes by the end of the year, that speculatively would bring in $320,000 in foreign receipt for the country.

EAC tea exports increase

Regional tea exports at the Mombasa Auction have increased, according to the East African Tea Export Auctions report released last week.  All the five East Africa member states: Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Mozambique registered an increase in exports at the Tea Auction

Ethiopian economy grows, diets still poor
News Deeply

A new Ethiopia has emerged in recent years. A potent combination of increased agricultural productivity, urbanization, and economic growth has improved the standard of living for many Ethiopians. As a result, diets are changing as well, but not entirely in positive ways. Ethiopians are eating more calories on average and more diverse foods, but are still far short of recommended levels of dietary diversity, even as they may soon face overnutrition problems like overweight and obesity.

Indigenous trees and crops hold keys to nutrition in Africa
Chicago Council

At the World Agroforestry Centre, we take indigenous species seriously. We believe that a greater focus on them can provide many of the micronutrients needed to address Africa’s pervasive in utero and childhood malnutrition that leads to the tragically shorter women that Subramanian found – and some of the calories as well.

Farming families and forest victims of failing cocoa market
Coffee and Cocoa International

Solidaridad says the recently published 2018 Cocoa Barometer report reveals that efforts to address poverty, deforestation, and child labour in the cocoa sector ‘have fallen short.’  Solidaridad said the report “reveals that for cocoa growing communities, particularly in West Africa, these issues have been made worse by a rapid fall in prices.  Forests in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana have been transformed into cocoa plantations to increase production, it said.

Should we blame livestock for climate change?

Livestock are essential to rural economies and livelihoods across the world. But are these animals contributing to planetary destruction through greenhouse gas emissions? Estimates suggest that 14.5% of all anthropogenic GHG emissions are from livestock, and nearly all of this is from grazing ruminants. But what to do about it? This is a big debate, and one that much good science is focused on.

Nestle pays Starbucks $7.1bn to sell its coffee


Nestle has announced that it will pay Starbucks $7.1bn (£5.2bn) to sell the company’s coffee into homes. The Nescafe and Nespresso owner will own the rights to market Starbucks’ coffee, which it says generates $2bn in annual sales.

Millets and sorghum: forgotten foods for the future

Food Tank

Millets and sorghum are grains that are nutrient-rich, drought-tolerant crops and can support communities around the world.  However, in the past 50 years, these grains have largely been abandoned in favor of developing more popular crops like maize, wheat, rice, and soybeans.

Innovations in food systems: the key to human and planetary health

The world has made tremendous progress in improving food security and nutrition. The proportion of people experiencing hunger fell from 14.7% to 10.6% between 2000 and 2015. And we’ve made progress on undernutrition, with the prevalence of child stunting dropped from 40% to 23% between 1990 and 2015. Food systems – the technical, economic, social and environmental processes and actors through which we feed the world’s population – have played a huge role in this progress.

The rise of antiglobalization: 2018 Global Food Policy Report
Food Security Portal

The 2018 IFPRI flagship annual report focuses on globalization and growing anti-globalisation trends to examine how changes in the flow of goods, investments, information, and people are impacting global food systems and food security.

Gender and ICTs: Mainstreaming gender in the use of information and communication technologies for agriculture and rural development

This recent publication details how to mainstream gender in the use of information and communication technologies for agriculture and rural development.  ICTs offer valuable opportunities for agricultural and rural development, increasing sustainable output, farm and agribusiness efficiency and revenues for a wide range of players.


Identifying the most deprived in rural Ethiopia and Uganda: A simple measure of socio-economic deprivation

J Sender, C Cramer, C Oya – Journal of Eastern African Studies, 2018

The Extreme Deprivation Index uses easily verifiable answers to ten questions about the ownership of the most basic non-food wage goods – things that poor people in a variety of rural contexts want to have because they make a real difference to the quality of their lives. Using this Index, we define rural Ethiopians and Ugandans who lack access to a few basic consumer goods as ‘most deprived’: they are at risk of failing to achieve adequate education and nutrition; becoming pregnant as a teenager; remaining dependent on manual agricultural wage labour and failing to find to a decent job. As in other African countries, they have derived relatively little benefit from donor and government policies claiming to reduce poverty. They may continue to be ignored if the impact of policy on the bottom 10% can be obscured by fashionably complex indices of poverty. We emphasise the practical and political relevance of the simple un-weighted Deprivation Index: if interventions currently promoted by political leaders and aid officials can easily be shown to offer few or no benefits to the poorest rural people, then pressures to introduce new policies may intensify, or at least become less easy to ignore.

The impact of food price shocks in Uganda: first-order effects versus general-equilibrium consequences

Bjorn Van Campenhout, Karl Pauw, Nicholas Minot – European Review of Agricultural Economics, 2018

For developing countries, whose governments are faced with volatile world food prices, the appropriate policy response hinges on who are the likely winners and losers. Therefore, it is necessary to predict the impact of higher commodity prices on different subgroups of society. We compare the results of a method that is popular with policy makers because of its parsimony and ease of interpretation with the results of a more complex and data-intensive general-equilibrium model. Using historical prices between 2008 and 2011 for Uganda, we find that both methods predict high prices benefit poor rural farmers, but more so if a more elaborate model is used.

Opportunities for sustainable intensification of coffee agro-ecosystems along an altitudinal gradient on Mt. Elgon, Uganda

Eric Rahn, Theresa Liebig, Jaboury Ghazoul, Piet van Asten, Peter Läderach, Philippe Vaast, Alejandra Sarmiento, Claude Garcia, Laurence Jassogne – Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 2018

The viability of coffee farming in East Africa is endangered by multiple factors including climate change, population pressure, low yields, and coffee price volatility. Sustainable intensification (SI) through intercropping and/or agroforestry has been suggested to improve farmers’ livelihoods, facilitate adaptation of coffee production to climate change and contribute to biodiversity conservation.

Do private coffee standards ‘walk the talk’ in improving socio-economic and environmental sustainability?

Koen Vanderhaegen, Kevin Teopista Akoyi, Wouter Dekoninck, Rudy Jocqué, Bart Muys, Bruno Verbist, Miet Maertens – Global Environmental Change, 2018

Private sustainability standards cover an increasingly large production area and involve an increasing number of farmers worldwide. They raise expectations among consumers about the economic, ethical and environmental implications of food production and trade; and attract donor funding to certification schemes. The sustainability impact of standards remains unclear as research focuses on either economic or environmental implications. We analyze both the socio-economic and environmental impacts of coffee standards in Uganda and show that these are not in line with expectations created towards consumers. We find that standards improve either productivity and farm incomes or biodiversity and carbon storage but fail to eliminate trade-offs between socioeconomic and environmental outcomes, even when combined in multiple certification. Our analysis is based on a unique combination of economic survey data and ecological field inventory data from a sample of certified and non-certified coffee farms. Our findings are relevant for farmers, food companies, policy-makers, donors and consumers. They imply that combining different standards in multiple certification is counterproductive; that the design of standards could improve to mitigate observed trade-offs between economic and environmental outcomes; and that this requires increased productivity within ecological boundaries, rather than a price premium and added control mechanisms through multiple certification.

Land Use and Tenure Insecurity in the Drylands of Southern Ethiopia
John G. Mcpeak & Peter D. Little

This paper examines changing patterns of land rights and use in Borana and Guji zones, southern Ethiopia. It seeks to understand how heterogeneous groups of pastoralists and agropastoralists gain access to land under varied institutional configurations. We find different means of exclusion are pursued, including private enclosures that rely on customary institutions, government administration, and/or hybrid combinations to enforce claims. We also find that some herders may be making claims to farm plots with the goal of securing access to land rather than planting crops. By assessing how different situations and socio-economic factors affect land claims, the paper deepens understanding of motivations for plot acquisition by pastoralists and challenges the common dichotomy between customary and formal administrative rules and institutions.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this email and references to online sources is provided as a public service with the understanding that IFPRI-Kampala/USSP makes no warranties, either expressed or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability, or suitability of the information. Nor does IFPRI-Kampala/USSP warrant that the use of this information is free of any claims of copyright infringement. The views and opinions expressed in this this email and references to online sources do not necessarily reflect official policy or position of IFPRI, IFPRI-Kampala or USSP or should not be taken as an endorsement.