IFPRI Kampala newsletter – week of Jan 21st 2019

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 Speeding up seed policies harmonisation and on Ugandan wins grant for environmental research. We also have news articles on Gulu youth punch holes in domestic coffee consumption project and link to the a New study warns of persistent health threats from micronutrient gaps through midcentury.

We also refer to the following policy brief and discussion paper:

Under research, we provide links to:

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Happy reading


Speed up seed policies harmonisation

Delayed harmonisation of policies for encouraging the transfer of seeds across East and Southern Africa is hampering trade and increased agricultural growth, experts say. The goal to harmonise seed trade resulted from having different policies across countries, thus impeding transfer technology to promote agriculture in the region. Harmonised seed policies ensure that countries with similar agricultural production characteristics can trade their seeds for mutual benefits without challenges.

Ugandan wins grant for environmental research

A Ugandan innovator in the Agriculture sector has been named among eleven innovators nominated for the Artificial Intelligence for Earth Innovation Awards.  Ketty Adoch, a geographical information systems specialist in agriculture works towards monitoring change detection for land cover mapping around the areas surrounding the Murchison Falls National Park.   

How hibiscus and tamarind products offer Kiyaga more

Musa Kiyaga of Kayunga District has discovered the hidden gold in adding value to plant which has medicinal value.  The 48-year-old, who dropped out of primary school due to a school fees’ challenges, is the proprietor of Ssezibwa Herbal Uganda Ltd, a company that makes Nino energy drink from herbs.  He makes the drink from hibiscus flowers, honey and tamarind fruit, among others.

Uganda not excited about sugar supplies in region – producers

Uganda Sugar Manufacturers Association has said it is not excited about supplying sugar to Tanzania and Kenya because the two countries only turn to Uganda in times of crisis.
Both Tanzania and Kenya are facing a sugar crisis resulting from increasing demand amid low supplies.

Gulu youth punch holes in domestic coffee consumption project

A group of youth in Gulu district have protested the method being used to implement a pilot project that is intended to promote the domestic consumption of coffee in the area.  It’s being implemented by Inspire Africa, a human capital development organisation that works with young entrepreneurs.

EAC fishing, aquaculture stakeholders to meet over ‘True Fish’ project
Daily News

Ministers and senior officials from Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda are scheduled to meet next month to discuss the grand five-year project-True Fish-that starts this year.  The project will be executed in the Lake Victoria Basin and has been introduced due to the fact that despite efforts by the riparian countries around the lake, measures to sustainably manage the capture of fisheries have failed and stocks of the Nile Perch and Tilapia have drastically declined.

Low seeds quality affecting returns in COMESA region
New Times

Access to improved seeds by more than 80 million small-holder farmers in the Comesa region remains low standing at 23 per cent. This has resulted in low productivity, especially for cereals such as maize, sorghum and pearl millet. Despite Comesa countries having most of the global arable land, the region still grapples with food production.  

ICO expects 2018/19 to be the second year of surplus

Coffee and Cocoa

After a small surplus in the global coffee market in 2017/2018, a surplus is also expected in 2018/2019, primarily as a result of a large crop in Brazil.  Global output is estimated at 167.47 million bags, exceeding world consumption, projected to be 165.18 million bags.

How chicken became the rich world’s most popular meat

The chicken industry is a dirty business, but it is also a profitable one. In the OECD, a club of mostly rich countries, pork and beef consumption has remained unchanged since 1990. Chicken consumption has grown by 70%  

The world now has universal health and sustainability targets
Food Tank

A shift towards healthy diets, reducing food waste and loss, and closing yield gaps with sustainable intensification will make it possible to feed a growing population of nearly 10 billion by 2050 without further food systems-related land expansion.  

Amid global soil crisis, governments struggle to reach farmers

In 2015, the International Year of Soils, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization warned that we only have 60 years of farming left if soil degradation continues. Since then, outsized population growth, human-caused climate change, and industrial farming are among the many factors that have added heavy strain on soils.  Fertile soil — a non-renewable resource — is now being lost at the alarming rate of approximately 24 billion tons a year.

Bigger data, smaller farms: the role of big data in sustainable intensification
Food Tank

Sustainable intensification is one area of agricultural research that could be transformed by Big Data. By leveraging these new digital tools for smallholder farmers, the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture is providing a new perspective on farming that can lead to a greater understanding of the complex systems that make up the global food system.  

World’s coffee under threat, say experts

The first full assessment of risks to the world’s coffee plants shows that 60% of 124 known species are on the edge of extinction.  More than 100 types of coffee tree grow naturally in forests, including two used for the coffee we drink.

New study warns of persistent health threats from micronutrient gaps through midcentury
Harvest Plus

Billions of people around the world are likely to remain vulnerable to the serious health effects of micronutrient deficiency for decades to come, even under the most optimistic scenarios for global economic and income growth, a new research report shows.  

Policy Briefs, Discussion Papers and Research Reports

Stimulating agribusiness entrepreneurship to solve youth unemployment in Kenya
IDS policy brief

This brief analyses the potential of agribusiness to address youth unemployment in Kenya and calls for increased collaboration between agribusiness owners, government, and educationalists through entrepreneurship development.

Did conditional cash transfers in the Productive Safety Net Program empower women in Tigray, north-east Ethiopia?
Megos Desalegne Gelagay and Els Lecoutere – IOB Discussion Paper

Conditional Cash Transfers (CCT), policy instruments for social protection, also have potential to economically empower women. The assessment of the impact of the CCT component in the Productive Safety Net Program in Tigray, Ethiopia, on women’s economic empowerment generates important insights for policy and future CCT programs in similar contexts. Not only does it demonstrate a differential impact on diverse aspects of women’s economic empowerment, it also shows a heterogeneity in the effects in man- and woman-headed households. Women’s access and decision-making power over credit is positively impacted in both types of households, yet, the effect seems larger among woman-headed households, suggesting CCT affect married women differently in this regard. Negative effects are observed as well and call for particular policy attention. Among woman-headed households, CCT reduced women’s decision-making power over agricultural production and asset transfers. If this means women received help in agricultural production and safeguarding their assets as part of the program, this might actually be positive, provided women themselves also appreciate sharing decision-making power. Among man-headed households, there is a negative effect on women’s time available for leisure, which corroborates other findings of increased work burdens due to conditionalities; but here, this only affects married women.


Economic Implication of Grazing and Water Resource Scarcity on Households’ Welfare and Food Security in Tigrai, Ethiopia
M Hadush – Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, 2018

In this paper, I have explored the link between grazing and water resource scarcity and per capita food consumption expenditure as a proxy for welfare and food security using distance and shadow price as a resource scarcity indicator in Northern Ethiopia based on a unique data set for 518 sample farmers. To address my objectives, I employed an IV 2SLS model for estimating welfare and probit for analyzing food security, drawing on a separable farm household model. My results confirmed the theoretical prediction that grazing and water affect households’ welfare and food security adversely, as predicted by the downward spiral hypothesis.

Smallholder responses to climate anomalies in rural Uganda
M Call, C Gray, P Jagger – World Development, 2019

Recent research suggests that sub-Saharan Africa will be among the regions most affected by the negative social and biophysical ramifications of climate change. Smallholders are expected to respond to rising temperatures and precipitation anomalies through on-farm management strategies and diversification into off-farm activities. However, few studies have empirically examined the relationship between climate anomalies and rural livelihoods. Our research explores the impact of climate anomalies on farmers’ on and off-farm livelihood strategies, considering both annual and decadal climate exposures, the relationship between on and off-farm livelihoods, and the implications of these livelihood strategies for agricultural productivity. To examine these issues, we link gridded climate data to survey data collected in 120 communities from 850 Ugandan households and 2000 agricultural plots in 2003 and 2013. We find that smallholder livelihoods are responsive to climate exposure over both short and long time scales. Droughts decrease agricultural productivity in the short term and reduce individual livelihood diversification in the long term. Smallholders cope with higher temperatures in the short term, but in the long run, farmers struggle to adapt to above-average temperatures, which lower agricultural productivity and reduce opportunities for diversification. On and off-farm livelihood strategies also appear to operate in parallel, rather than by substituting for one another. These observations suggest that new strategies will be necessary if rural smallholders are to successfully adapt to climate change.

Household Welfare Effects of Stress-Tolerant Varieties in Northern Uganda
CM Mwungu, C Mwongera, KM Shikuku, M Acosta… – … Climate-Smart Agriculture …, 2019

This study assessed the adoption of stress-tolerant varieties and their effect on household welfare, measured by net crop income per capita in Nwoya District, Uganda. The stress-tolerant varieties were considered to be climate-smart because they stabilise and increase crop income in the presence of climatic shocks. However, the uptake of the stress-tolerant varieties was still low in northern Uganda, due to bad past experience in terms of the performance of other improved varieties. Using data from a random sample of 585 households, a logistic model was estimated to assess the drivers for adoption of stress-tolerant varieties. In addition, a propensity score matching model was employed to assess causal effects. The second model was estimated because it controls for unobserved heterogeneity caused by self-selection bias. Results showed that adoption of stress-tolerant varieties was positively influenced by household size, access to information from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the perception of future climate change, the number of years an individual had lived in the village, and the number and type of assets owned as an indicator of household well-being. Average treatment effect from results showed that stress-tolerant varieties can increase crop income within a range of United States Dollars (USD) 500–864 per hectare per year, representing an 18–32% increase in crop income. The findings offer justification for scaling up stress tolerant varieties among smallholder farmers in northern Uganda to improve their welfare.

The Role of Multi-Stakeholder Platforms for Creating an Enabling Climate Change Policy Environment in East Africa
M Acosta, EL Ampaire, P Muchunguzi, JF Okiror… – … Climate-Smart Agriculture …, 2019

Research-based evidence on the adoption of climate-smart agricultural practices is vital to their effective uptake, continued use and wider diffusion. In addition, an enabling policy environment at the national and regional levels is necessary for this evidence to be used effectively. This chapter analyzes a 4-year period of continuous policy engagement in East Africa in an attempt to understand the role of multi-stakeholder platforms (MSPs) in facilitating an enabling policy environment for climate change adaptation and mitigation. The study shows how MSPs enhanced a sense of ownership, developed knowledge, created linkages between different governance levels and a wide variety of actors (including policymakers and scientists), and, most significantly, improved policy formulation.

Crop prices and the demand for titled land: Evidence from Uganda
VME Perego – Journal of Development Economics, 2018

I investigate how agricultural prices affect demand for titled land, using panel data on Ugandan farmers, and a price index that weighs international crop prices by the structure of land use at the sub-county level. Higher prices increase farmers’ share of titled land. I also present evidence of a positive impact of prices on agricultural incomes. The effect of prices on land tenure is stronger when farmers have access to roads and markets, when they have undertaken investment on the land, and when households fear land grabbing.

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.