IFPRI Kampala newsletter – week of Dec 10th 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 Uganda’s women, youth look to secure land tenure and on East Africans plead with govts to raise agriculture budget. We also have news articles on how climate change is making soils saltier, forcing many farmers to find new livelihoods and link to the 2018 Global Nutrition Report.

Under research, we provide links to:

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Refugees impatient for seedlings as UK MPs open new season of agroforestry and other tree-based solutions in NW Uganda

For ten months, World Agroforestry (ICRAF) has worked in the refugee areas of Northwest Uganda and the long dry stretches have been tough. “We planted at the right time. But we immediately faced a month and a half with no rain,” according to Lawrence Aziruku, a Field Technician with ICRAF based in the region. “Some trees did not survive. It was bad luck.”  

Armed with coffee, Uganda’s women, youth look to secure land tenure

Since March, officials have been recruiting and training staff, and talking to communities, said Sam Viney, communications officer for Farm Africa, a charity involved with the project.  The goal is to put coffee-farming in the hands of 3,600 young people. It will do that by encouraging land-owning farmers to let younger family members use some of their land for growing the bean.

East Africans plead with govts to raise agriculture budgets
The Citizen

Presenting the petition to regional leaders on November 8, 2018, the chairman of the agriculture committee of the EAC Legislative Assembly, Mr Kasamba Mathias, urged governments to honour the declaration they had made in 2014 on ensuring agricultural growth and food security across the continent.

Parliament approves GMO Bill
Parliament of Uganda

Parliament has finally passed a Bill intended to provide a regulatory framework that facilitates the safe development and application of biotechnology in Uganda.  The Bill, formerly called the National Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill, 2012 has now been renamed the Genetic Engineering Regulatory Bill 2018 following a recommendation by the President, who declined to assent to the proposed law raising 12 issues that required improvement. Parliament initially passed the Bill in 2017.

Tanzania: Shock as government bans GMO trials
The Citizen

An air of resignation characterised reactions yesterday to the government’s surprise ban on all genetically modified organism (GMO) trials in the country  

High expectations from cluster project

The Agriculture Cluster Development Project is a six-year-project funded by the government of Uganda, the International Development Agency and the World Bank, and its aim is to raise on-farm productivity, and marketable volumes of selected agricultural commodities in specified districts.  

Academic wins prize for work on turning coffee waste into power
Coffee and Cocoa

A University of Surrey academic has been awarded the 2018 Newton Prize for research into potential uses of coffee waste.  Dr Claudio Avignone-Rossa, Reader in Systems Microbiology at the University, received the accolade in recognition of his work transforming coffee waste into electricity.

Huge Brazilian crop and prospect of a surplus weigh heavily on prices
Coffee and Cocoa

After a small surplus in the global coffee market in 2017/2018, a much larger surplus is expected in 2018/2019, primarily as a result of a large crop in Brazil.  Sufficient rain ensured favourable conditions for flowering, and production of Robusta coffee is expected to recover further.

2018 Global Nutrition Report
Global Nutrition Report

The 2018 Global Nutrition Report shares insights into the current state of global nutrition, highlighting the unacceptably high burden of malnutrition in the world. It identifies areas where progress has been made in recent years but argues that it is too slow and too inconsistent. It puts forward five critical steps that are needed to speed up progress to end malnutrition in all its forms and argues that, if we act now, it is not too late to achieve this goal. In fact, we have an unprecedented opportunity to do so.  

Making value chains climate-smart

Climate-smart agricultural (CSA) practices are increasingly adopted as a means to both adapt to a changing climate, and to mitigate agriculture’s negative environmental impacts. Increasing emphasis is placed on a systems approach to CSA, where climate-smart interventions seek to address the entire value chain.  

Climate change is making soils saltier, forcing many farmers to find new livelihoods
The Conversation

As sea levels rise, low-lying coastal areas are increasingly being inundated with saltwater, gradually contaminating the soil. These salts can be dissipated by rainfall, but climate change is also increasing the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, including droughts and heat waves. This leads to more intensive use of groundwater for drinking and irrigation, which further depletes the water table and allows even more salt to leach into soil.  
From scooter to slaughter: Angola’s go-to app for delivering live goats to your door
The Economist

In the West many people fret that the gig economy encourages insecure work. But in sub-Saharan Africa, where the informal economy is equivalent to more than a third of GDP, about twice that in rich countries, it may do the opposite. By opening bigger markets for vendors, technology may help them grow richer, one goat at a time. No kidding.

Research into action: speaking up: gender (in) equality in agricultural development
University of Illinois

Various studies on African smallholder farmers have shown that women are less likely to adopt improved crop varieties and management systems due to the lack of access to both productive and information resources. As a result, their agricultural productivity levels range between four and 25 percent lower compared to men. Social norms and culture (institutions) have also been shown to promote gender-based discrimination, slow access to resources, information, and opportunities for gender equity  

GMO 2.0: Genetically modified crops and the push for Africa’s green revolution
Canadian food studies

Africa in particular has emerged as the “final frontier” in the global debate over GM agriculture, and a key component of the broader push towards Africa’s Green Revolution (Karembu, Nguthi, & Abdel -Hamid, 2009). The debate over the potential for GM crops to transform African agriculture is an important test for proponents who claim that agricultural biotechnology can play a crucial role in alleviating poverty and hunger. This paper aims to survey the current state of GMO 2.0 in Africa and identify the key trends, critiques and questions that are shaping this contentious debate.


Grain markets, disaster management, and public stocks: Lessons from Ethiopia
S Rashid, P Dorosh, D Alemu – Global Food Security

Ethiopia has made remarkable progress in addressing food insecurity over the past two decades. Unlike many developing countries, the country has managed to improve productivity, enhance market efficiency, and introduce effective safety net programs without large scale price stabilization programs. Public food stocks play only a minor role in the current food system, but the institutions that manage food stocks and emergency relief have grown increasingly effective in addressing crises. Nonetheless, since it remains susceptible to drought, the country will continue to need well-functioning institutions to maintain or surpass the improvements in food security it has achieved over the recent years. Policy evolution, along with recent changes, is evaluated, and implications and lessons for other developing countries are discussed.

Maize–Legume Intercropping and Push–Pull for Management of Fall Armyworm, Stemborers, and Striga in Uganda
G Hailu, S Niassy, KR Zeyaur, N Ochatum… – Agronomy Journal

Maize (Zea mays L.) production in Africa is constrained by several biotic and abiotic factors. The recent occurrence of fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda (JE Smith) a new invasive pest in Africa, has escalated the problem. Push–pull technology (PPT), proven to be effective for stemborers (Chilo partellus Swinhoe and Busseola fusca Fuller) and the parasitic weed striga (Striga hermontica Delile) management in Africa has been shown to provide good control of FAW. This study investigated if intercropping maize with edible legumes can also reduce the abundance of FAW. Six treatments including (i) climate-smart PPT, (ii) conventional PPT, (iii) maize intercropped with bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.), (iv) maize intercropped with soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.], (v) maize intercropped with groundnut [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.] and, (vi) mono-cropped maize were evaluated on farm in six districts of Uganda in the 2017 short rains season. Data collected included FAW, stemborer, and striga infestation symptoms, and severity of infestation. Climate-smart PPT performed best in reducing stemborer, FAW, and striga infestation followed by conventional PPT over all the phenological stages of maize. Intercropping of maize with leguminous crops also provided significant reduction of stemborer and FAW compared to mono-cropped maize, especially in the early growth phases of the maize up to tasseling. However, intercropping of maize with edible legumes was not very effective for striga management as compared to PPT. Hence in addition to PPT, intercropping of maize with edible legumes could also be an alternative FAW management option when integrated with other sustainable management measures.

What factors explain women’s empowerment? Decision-making among small-scale farmers in Uganda
M Sell, N Minot – Women’s Studies International Forum

Evidence from studies on women’s empowerment suggests that when women have a larger role in decision-making, household well-being improves. Understanding patterns influencing women’s empowerment in rural areas is therefore important. We use gender-disaggregated survey data from rural Uganda to explore individual and household characteristics associated with women’s empowerment. We find links between empowerment and age, education, proximity to a paved road as well as the marketed share of crop production. Age and education are associated with higher empowerment, but equality in education between the spouses is more important than the average level of education. Remoteness is associated with lower women’s empowerment, as is greater commercial orientation in crop production. This may be due to the fact that men are more involved in cash-crop activities, giving them an advantage through higher income. One policy implication is that education needs to target both girls and boys, especially in remote areas, putting special focus on girl’s involvement in value added activities.

Fairness and Efficiency in Smallholder Farming: The Relation with Intrahousehold Decision-Making
Els Lecoutere & Laurence Jassogne – Journal of Development Studies

Agricultural households face collective action dilemmas when making decisions about investments in their common household farm and the allocation of resources and benefits derived from it. We relate intrahousehold decisions, as measured in a lab-in-the-field experiment conducted with spouses in agricultural households in western Uganda, with actual investments and intrahousehold resource allocation. Intrahousehold decision-making that supports cooperation and equitable sharing is associated with greater investment in the intensification of cash and food crop production, and more equitable access and control over income. Freeriding behaviour by husbands is associated with the intensification of cash crop production, but not with equitable sharing.

Nutrition-sensitive agricultural interventions, agricultural diversity, food access and child dietary diversity: Evidence from rural Zambia
Adam M. Rosenberg, John A. Maluccio, Jody Harris, Marjolein Mwanamwenge, Phuong H. Nguyen, Gelson Tembo, Rahul Rawat – Food Policy

We study a nutrition-sensitive agricultural program in low-income rural Zambia between 2011 and 2015. Using a pre-post design with a control group, we measure program effects along established pathways connecting agriculture to nutrition: diversity of agricultural production, crop sales, household food access and child and maternal diets. The program increased diversity in crops grown and the number of months in which various food groups were harvested. In particular, the program substantially increased the percentage of households producing three nutritious crops it promoted (groundnuts, rape and tomatoes). As a consequence there were modest increases in household access to diverse food groups. Despite modest increases in the proportion of children consuming pulses, legumes and nuts, ultimately there were no significant improvements in the overall dietary diversity of young children or their mothers. A nutrition-sensitive agricultural program can increase diversity in agricultural production and to a lesser extent access to nutritious foods, but this may not always be sufficient to improve child diets or nutrition.

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