ifpri kampala newsletter – week of June 4th 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 How Kampala livestock thieves operate and on Data and drones in Uganda: CTA’s new agribusiness project. We also have an article on how Uganda’s Coffee Bill will build a sustainable coffee industry and on how reducing a “Happiness” hormone can make rice plants less attractive to insects.

Under research, we provide links to:



How Kampala livestock thieves operate

A wave of livestock and poultry theft has swept Kampala Metropolitan area that comprises Kampala, Wakiso, Mukono and Mpigi districts.  200 cases have so far been registered since the last quarter of 2017.

Debunking coffee myths in Kampala City
Global Coffee Platform

Uganda is one of the largest Robusta producers in Africa who does not consume much of its coffee internally. Several studies have estimated domestic consumption between 3-5%. The importance of debunking the myths associated with coffee is key to shift the mentality of potential Ugandans who may not have enough access to unbiased facts.

Data and drones in Uganda: CTA’s new agribusiness project

An exciting new pilot project has been launched by CTA with Ugandan partners, the National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises (NUCAFE) and IGARA Tea, for setting up and populating GIS and databases within their management information systems to improve membership transparency and accountability and product traceability.

Volcafe recognised for reducing child labour
Global Coffee Report

Kyagalanyi Coffee, part of the Volcafe group, has helped more than 500 children from poor families in the West Nile sub-region to go back to school.  Working closely with UTZ Certified, Community Empowerment for Rural Development, the Uganda National Teachers Union and Dutch NGO Hivos, Kyagalanyi has been actively involved in the prevention of child labour in Uganda for several years.

Support to Agricultural Revitalization and Transformation (START) Facility officially launched
Private Sector Foundation Uganda

The United Nations Capital Development Fund, in partnership with Private Sector Foundation Uganda and the Uganda Development Bank, and with support from the European Union, launched the Support to Agricultural Revitalization and Transformation Facility.  The Facility is intended to offer access to affordable medium-term finance for agricultural value adding projects in Northern Uganda through provision of Business Development Services and seed capital in the form of concessional loans, grants and partial guarantees.

Uganda’s Coffee Bill to build sustainable coffee industry
The Exchange

Uganda is set to roll out a new Coffee Bill that will create an ecosystem for a better and sustainable coffee industry in the country. The proposed bill is forecast to be the first stepping stone to transform the industry and ensure the nation remains competitive in the international market as well.

GroFin deepens agribusiness reach in East Africa
GroFin blog

The Government of Rwanda is now focusing its reform efforts on a vital needs sector: agribusiness. What makes this sector so crucial is that over 75% of Rwanda’s workforce is concentrated in agriculture. Against this backdrop, GroFin is deepening its efforts to reach out to agribusinesses such as Yak Fair Trade Ltd, based in the Rwamagana district of Rwanda’s Eastern Province. New funds will enable GroFin to screen 200 agribusinesses and offering tailor-made technical assistance to promising SMEs across Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda,

EAC to roll out new export regime in June
East African

Regional exporters of coffee, tea, fish, hides and skins are set to enjoy faster transit times from next month, when the commodities start being cleared under the Single Customs Territory.  The new regime seeks to minimize delays and costs for goods moving across borders to export markets by having them cleared at the point of origin.

Reports find potentially dangerous levels of Diacetyl and other chemicals at coffee roasters in the USA
Coffee and Cocoa International

A number of coffee roasters investigated by the US Centers for Disease Control have been found to have high levels of the chemical diacetyl and other potentially harmful compounds.  The findings suggest that at several facilities workers were exposed to levels of chemicals that were 4-5 times higher than recommended levels.

Lack of “Happiness” hormone makes rice plants less attractive to insects
Newcastle University

Experts at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom have discovered that inhibiting the production of serotonin – the happiness hormone – in rice plants increases their resistance to two of the world’s most destructive and costly insect pests in rice production: brown plant-hopper and striped stem borer.

On the International Day for Biological Diversity, consider the beauty of the potato
Food Tank

This is a time for potatoes to shine. But it is also a time for everyone to think about the agricultural biodiversity that still exists around us. Wherever you live in the world, and whichever crops have the deepest roots in your soil, it is time to learn: to learn about the shared global heritage of our food crops, to learn from the people who grow them, and ultimately to learn together how we can keep agriculture alive for the generations to come.

Coffee drinkers are being conned by suppliers fraudulently using inferior beans in ‘Arabica’ products
The Telegraph

Coffee drinkers are being conned by suppliers fraudulently using inferior beans in ‘Arabica’ products.  A recent UK study has found that a tenth of high quality products labelled “100% Arabica” contained significant levels of inferior and cheaper “Robusta” beans. Arabica coffee trades at twice the price of Robusta because of its superior taste.

What will happen if coffee is not sustainable?
Coffee and Cocoa International

The International Coffee Organization held a coffee sustainability workshop on 21 May 2018 at the First Milano Coffee Festival, a new event in Italy focusing on coffee in all its forms.

What is our role in protecting farmer data privacy and security?
ICT works

In value chains with high levels of competition, agribusiness field agents and other buyers often collect a wide range of information on farmers.  For example, new research showcases how agribusinesses already have databases on farmers that include many personal details.


How African cities lead: Urban policy innovation and agriculture in Kampala and Nairobi
Christopher D. 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.

Review: Meta-analysis of the association between production diversity, diets, and nutrition in smallholder farm households
Kibrom T. Sibhatu, Matin Qaim – Food Policy, 2018

Undernutrition and low dietary diversity remain big problems in many developing countries. A large proportion of the people affected are smallholder farmers. Hence, it is often assumed that further diversifying small-farm production would be a good strategy to improve nutrition, but the evidence is mixed. We systematically review studies that have analyzed associations between production diversity, dietary diversity, and nutrition in smallholder households and provide a meta-analysis of estimated effects. We identified 45 original studies reporting results from 26 countries and using various indicators of diets and nutrition. While in the majority of these studies positive results are highlighted, less than 20% of the studies report consistently positive and significant associations between production diversity and dietary diversity and/or nutrition. Around 60% report positive associations only for certain subsamples or indicators, the rest found no significant associations at all. The average marginal effect of production diversity on dietary diversity is positive but small. The mean effect of 0.062 implies that farms would have to produce 16 additional crop or livestock species to increase dietary diversity by one food group. The mean effect is somewhat larger in Sub-Saharan Africa than in other regions, but even in Africa farms would have to produce around 9 additional species to increase dietary diversity by one food group. While results may look differently under very specific conditions, there is little evidence to support the assumption that increasing farm production diversity is a highly effective strategy to improve smallholder diets and nutrition in most or all situations.

Post-harvest losses reduction by small-scale maize farmers: The role of handling practices
Martin Julius Chegere – Food Policy, 2018

Concerns about food insecurity have grown in Sub-Saharan Africa due to rapidly growing population and food price volatility. Post-harvest Losses (PHL) reduction has been identified as a key component to complement efforts to address food security challenges and improve farm incomes, especially for the rural poor. This study analyses the role of recommended post-harvest handling practices in PHL reduction; and conducts a cost-benefit analysis of adopting practices associated with lower losses. The study finds that maize farmers lose about 11.7 percent of their harvest in the post-harvest system. About two-thirds of this loss occurs during storage. The study shows that adoption of recommended post-harvest handling practices is highly correlated with lower PHL. Lastly the study finds that the cost of implementing some of the recommended practices outweighs the benefits associated with lower PHL. It then discusses the reasons why some farmers may not adopt some of the practices and points out some contributions to the literature.

Do Incentives Matter for the Diffusion of Financial Knowledge? Experimental Evidence from Uganda

J Sseruyange, E Bulte – Journal of African Economies, 2018

Many development interventions involve training of beneficiaries, based on the assumption that knowledge and skills will spread ‘automatically’ among a wider target population. However, diffusion of knowledge or innovations can be slow and incomplete. We use a randomised field experiment in Uganda to assess the impact of providing incentives for knowledge diffusion, and pay trained individuals a fee if they share knowledge obtained during a financial literacy training. Our main results are that incentives increase knowledge sharing, and that it may be cost-effective to provide such incentives. We also document an absence of assortative matching in the social learning process.

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