Hello, and welcome to a new edition of the IFPR-Kampala’s USSP news and research digest!
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 Pastoralist women in Uganda and on how Ugandan farmers test big-data solution to climate challenges. We also have news articles on tariff, non-tariff barriers hitting Eastern Africa grain trade and link to an article explaining how good urban farming can combat bad eating
Under research, we provide links to:
- Mobile technology and food access
- Subsidies for Agricultural Technology Adoption: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment with Improved Grain Storage Bags in Uganda
Note that newsletters are archived on http://ussp.ifpri.info/.
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Karamoja’s pastoralist communities are deeply rooted in tribal traditions, with strong gender disparities between men and women. While women rarely make decisions in the family, small but significant changes are starting to sprout, initiated by the women themselves, turning a life of obstacles into potential opportunities.
Did you know that you can cash in on agriculture without necessarily tilling the land? You can increase the value of primary agricultural produce through value addition.
Thomson Reuters Foundation
When the MUIIS (Market-led, User-owned, ICT4Ag-enabled Information Service) launched in 2017, farmers who signed up paid a small monthly fee and contributed details about their farms to the programme database. In return 10 companies and other groups, including financial technology firm Ensibuuko, the Uganda Cooperative Alliance and the Uganda National Farmers Federation, teamed up to harness the data to give subscribers training and access to finance.
One person has died in Amudat District and several others are said to be in critical condition and currently admitted to different health centres after eating porridge supplied by World Food Programme.
Global Coffee Platform
In Uganda, Emmanuel Iyamulemye highlighted the findings of the most recent study on Economic Viability of Coffee Farming, which has provided much needed facts on the investment cases for commercial coffee farming in Uganda, as well as creating awareness of the imperious need to empower farmers and act collectively to increase profitability of small holders.
and non-tariff barriers are adversely affecting grain trade across the
Eastern African region, a report by the East African Grain Council
showed on Tuesday. According to the report, in Uganda, authorities are
employing stringent measures on rice importation from Tanzania with more
requirements from the Uganda Bureau of Standards (UNBS). Traders from
Uganda selling to Tanzania, on the other hand, are required to retest
products that had been already certified by UNBS.
Tanzania injects $72.4 million into agricultural sector
Tanzania plans to invest 170 billion Tanzanian shillings ( $72.4 million) in a five year ambitious project to transform its agriculture sector under the second phase of its National Agricultural Sector Development Plan. To achieve the transformation, the ministry is targeting four major areas: (i) Renewable water sources (ii) Land conservation (iii) Environment protection and (iv) Increased use of irrigation schemes.
“Farmers have been closing down ponds and setting aside fish production as they struggle to feed fish correctly due to changing temperatures and conditions,” said Dave Okech, who initiated the AquaRech project and partnership, as the founder of a local fish farming group RioFish. “Our sensors transmit data to the cloud, where it is processed before sending specific instructions to farmers on the timing and quantity for feeding.”
The New Humanitarian
Long dry spells and occasional droughts have always been part of the rhythm of pastoralism here, but Turkana, like much of east Africa, is currently nine months into one of severest droughts in living memory.
The East African
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa is pushing member states to align their laws with the bloc’s regulations to abolish trade barriers. It is argued that the Comesa Seed Trade Harmonisation Regulations will lead to increased seed production, supply reliability, enhanced trade and competitiveness of the seed sub-sector.
Farmers and cattle herders have clashed over land for as long as most people can remember in Kaduna. But they’re coming into increased proximity due to climate change. As grasslands have been degraded in northern Nigeria, semi-nomadic herders have starting moving their herds into densely populated farming areas to the south. At the same time, as Nigeria’s population has boomed, farmers have expanded their fields, often into the herders’ traditional grazing routes.
For countries in the sub-Saharan Africa region to maintain current food self-sufficiency levels of around 80 percent, they would need to “radically” accelerate rates of yield improvement—or massively expand land areas (with associated greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss), or increasingly resort to food import dependency. A new IFPRI study focuses on the potential of irrigation in providing food security for Sub-Saharan Africa’s growing population. If the region is to feed its growing population over the coming decades, sustainable drylands irrigation will be essential. The time to make irrigation both a national and regional priority is now.
An expert group convened by the European Union to offer advice on how to create jobs in African agriculture will point to shortcomings in the EU’s flagship initiative for the African continent, the External Investment Plan. A Commission official, who requested anonymity, said: “It’s true, [EFSD] definitely didn’t turn out as successful in the first go for agriculture, because apparently, the risk is quite high. The banks are afraid to go there and the incentives being put by the External Investment Plan are not fully understood or not fully used in this sector of the economy.”
Governments must increase material, technical and informational support to urban farmers. This could include improving access to extension services, agricultural inputs, finance and insurance. Urban farmers could particularly benefit from help developing business plans and other technical advice. This could come from the government, NGOs, educational bodies or other organisations.
There is still a long way to go in virtually every area of the world to ensure that all people have access to safe, nutritious, and affordable food. Making the reduction of food waste and loss a priority will help to achieve this objective.
Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation helps women succeed as entrepreneurs around the globe by providing them with support services to commercialize agricultural technologies and grow their businesses. Six months ago, two of our clients won the Feed the Future Accelerating Women Entrepreneurs Prize for their promising business ventures.
Coffee and Cocoa
Last week saw the price of Robusta coffee dip to a two-year low and close only marginally higher at US$1,485/ton. Commerzbank Research said it shed around 3% during the course of the week, although the Robusta coffee price fared better than Arabica – the latter’s price dropped for a time to a 13-year low of under 95 US cents per pound.
Coffee and Cocoa
The World Coffee Producers Forum has condemned the global coffee industry and the price currently being paid for the coffee its members produce. “According to the International Coffee Organization, about 25 million families – mostly smallholders – produce coffee. Today, most of them cannot even cover their production costs and many of them cannot make a living for themselves and their families,” said the Forum.
Discussion papers, policy briefs and research reports:
Michael Carter, Rachid Laajaj, and Dean Yang – 2019
The Green Revolution bolstered agricultural yields and rural well-being in Asia and Latin America, but bypassed sub-Saharan Africa. We study the first randomized controlled trial of a government-implemented input subsidy program (ISP) in Africa. A temporary subsidy for Mozambican maize farmers stimulates Green Revolution technology adoption, and effects persist in later unsubsidized years. Social networks of subsidized farmers benefit from spillovers, experiencing increases in technology adoption, yields, and expected returns to the technologies. Spillovers account for the vast majority of subsidy-induced gains. ISPs alleviate informational market failures, stimulating learning about new technologies by subsidy recipients and their social networks
M Fafchamps, A Islam, A Malek, D Pakrashi – 2019
We run a randomized controlled experiment in which farmers trained on a new rice cultivation method (SRI) teach two other farmers selected by us. We find that farmers invited to teach others are much more likely to adopt new practices than farmers who only receive the BRAC training. Teacher farmers are effective at spreading knowledge and inducing adoption. Incentivizing teachers improves knowledge transmission but not adoption. Matching teachers with farmers who list them as role models does not improve knowledge transmission and may hurt adoption. Using mediation analysis, we find that the knowledge of the teacher is correlated with that of their student, consistent with knowledge transmission. We also find that SRI knowledge predicts adoption of some SRI practices, and that adoption by teachers predicts adoption by their students, suggesting that students follow the example of their teacher. Explicitly mobilizing peer-to-peer (P2P) transmission of knowledge thus seems a cost-effective way of inducing the adoption of new agricultural practices.
L Wantchekon, Z Riaz – World Development, 2019
Access to food is a basic pillar of human development. It is therefore unsurprising that it features so centrally on global development agendas and that a robust, interdisciplinary literature seeks to examine its determinants. This study focuses on the relationship between mobile technology and food access. Specifically, we ask whether mobile technology can strengthen the relationship between food access and certain social and political factors such as remittance flows and political participation. We use Afrobarometer surveys and highly disaggregated data on 2G network coverage to estimate a multilevel model testing how increased connectivity measured by mobile technology influences food access. We show that mobile phone use and higher frequency of use are significantly and positively correlated with food access, but we do not find evidence that remittances and political participation levels can explain the mechanisms linking mobile technology and food access. The study highlights that connectivity can play a powerful role in shaping food outcomes even when controlling for commonly identified impediments such as income constraints or physical isolation. These findings suggest that policies aimed at improving food access should devote attention to strengthening both communication and physical infrastructure.
OJ Omotilewa, J Ricker-Gilbert, JH Ainembabazi- American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 2019
This article addresses the question of whether subsidizing an entirely new agricultural technology for smallholder farmers can aid its adoption early in the diffusion process. Based on a theoretical framework for technology adoption under subjective uncertainty, we implemented a randomized field experiment among 1,200 smallholders in Uganda to estimate the extent to which subsidizing an improved grain storage bag crowds-out or crowds-in commercial buying of the technology. The empirical results show that on average, subsidized households are more likely to buy an additional bag at commercial prices relative to the households with no subsidy who are equally aware of the technology. This suggests that under certain circumstances, such as when there is uncertainty about the effectiveness of a new agricultural technology, and the private sector market for the technology is weak or nascent, a one-time use of subsidy to build awareness and reduce risk can help generate demand for the new technology and thus crowd-in commercial demand for it. In this context, a subsidy can allow farmers to experiment with the technology and learn from the experience before investing in it.
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.