Newsletter

IFPRI Kampala USSP weekly newsletter – week of sept 10, 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 an agricultural success story, and on how to gender inclusivity in video-enabled agricultural extension. We also have news articles on cheesemakers are in Congo and on video-mediated extension in Ethiopia.

Under research, we provide links to:

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

News:

An agricultural success story
Independent

As the prospect of Uganda reaching middle income status seems to be receding, it might be worthwhile for policy makers to examine the experiences of the dairy sector. Dairy has for long been seen as a static sector, dominated by pastoralists and subsistence farmers. Yet, the sector has in the past few years been catapulted to the forefront of the (agricultural) economy. Two interrelated developments have greatly contributed to this transformation of the dairy sector; the meteoric rise of export of dairy products, and the professionalisation of production.

Tobacco raises more tax money than any other farming activity
Monitor

Tobacco growing fetched more money in terms of tax than any other activity in the agricultural sector, according to data obtained from Uganda Revenue Authority.  More than Shs18b was collected from tobacco growing out of a combined sector contribution of Shs125b in 2017.

Designing for gender inclusivity in video-enabled agricultural extension
Agrilinks

Most extension services assume newly introduced information is freely shared among members within smallholder farm households and tend to ignore the fact that these households are composed of multiple decision-makers, each with their own preferences, capabilities and access to resources.

Regional coffee players target domestic market
New Times

Regional coffee growers, exporters and sector policy makers are turning their focus to domestic consumption, a move they say is intended to cushion them against fluctuations on the international market, which sometimes adversely affects their incomes.

The world’s least blessed cheesemakers are in Congo
Economist

Eastern Congo is best known for producing coltan, a mineral used in mobile phones, and refugees. But it also makes rather good cheese. The verdant hills of North Kivu, dotted with Friesian cows and known as “Africa’s Switzerland”, are ideal for caseiculture.

East Africa’s largest coffee shop chain is taking Kenyan tea and coffee to China
Quartz Africa

Java House, east Africa’s largest chain of coffee and dining shops, is taking Kenyan coffee and tea to China.  The company said it signed a distributorship agreement with Shanghai-based Green Chain. Under the deal, Java will sell 10 tons to 15 tons a month of its 375-gram bags of Kenya AA Arabica coffee and Gold Label Tea brands.

When saying ‘see, it works!’ isn’t enough: sharing results from an evaluation of video-mediated extension in Ethiopia
IFPRI

For many researchers at IFPRI, the ultimate aim of our work is to convey findings to an audience that has a stake in the research and is in a position to act on our recommendations. In July, our team had just such an opportunity in Ethiopia when we shared preliminary results from an evaluation of a video-mediated approach to providing agricultural extension services to farmers.

Refusing to be cowed, Somali opens country’s first dairy
East African

Starting a dairy in Mogadishu was not an obvious choice: Islamist bombs go off with startling regularity, electricity is patchy and expensive and most Somalis don’t even drink fresh cow’s milk.

Nespresso help revive Zimbabwean coffee production
Coffee and Cocoa

Nespresso’s investment in Zimbabwe follows similar efforts the company has made to revive coffee production in South Sudan and in former conflict zones of Colombia

The great African regreening: millions of ‘magical’ new trees bring renewal
The Guardian

Rain had come to nearby villages, but not yet to Droum in south-east Niger. The sand under its stately trees looked completely barren, but Souley Cheibou, a farmer in his 60s, was not worried. He crooked a finger, fished in the sand, and brought out a millet seed. In a week or two, this seed would germinate and sprout, and soon the whole field would be green.

Faced with crisis, Arabica producers strengthen ties – issue joint declaration
Coffee and Cocoa

Representatives from the coffee sector in Brazil and Colombia met on 27 August 2018 to discuss the world coffee price crisis and imbalance in the supply chain.  At the meeting at the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Supply participants discussed action they might take to confront the low-price scenario, which has seen the C price in New York fall below 100 cents, well below the cost of production. This jeopardises the survival of 25 million coffee families worldwide, they said.

Big data for farmers
Indian Express

The scheme, that was introduced in 2015, intended that every farmer receive a health card for their soils that tells them the status of the nutrients in it, and, as a result, guides them about the fertilisers they should apply to maximise their yields. The entire government agriculture extension and research system galvanised itself, collected samples, analysed them for 12 soil chemical parameters, recommended fertiliser dosages and printed these on the SHCs, which were given to farmers. The scheme delivered on the basic promise.

August coffee price fell to 57-month low
Coffee and Cocoa

Coffee prices averaged 102.41 US cents/lb in August 2018, a 20.1 per cent drop compared to August 2017.  The last time the monthly composite indicator price was lower than 102.41 US cents/lb was in November 2013, when it recorded 100.99 US cents/lb.  This decline is linked primarily to market fundamentals, though other factors, such as exchange rate movements and futures markets, are also playing a role.

Research center races to prepare farmers for climate change effects
Food Tank

The Center for the Improvement of the Adaptation to Drought recently earned regional recognition for their efforts to help dry cereal farmers overcome challenges like drought and climate change. The Senegalese research center’s expanded programming includes developing drylands cereals-related technologies for farmers across West and Central Africa, seeking,“to make the technology understandable and accessible to all people,” through testing and knowledge sharing.

Prospect of big Brazilian and Vietnamese crops depresses coffee prices
Coffee and Cocoa

Coffee prices have failed to recover from their lowest levels in several years, primarily as a result of what is expected to be a huge harvest in Brazil and a very large one in Vietnam.  In mid-July, the price for Arabica coffee in New York fell to less than 110 US cents per pound, the lowest levels since December 2013. As of mid-August it was trading even lower, at around 106 cents.

Financing for smallholder farmers has high impact and low margins
Impact Alpha

Some loans perform better than others. Loans in Latin America perform better than those in Africa. Larger loans outperform shorter loans – costs are similar, while revenues grow with size. Shorter term loans do better than longer loans. Loans to existing borrowers outperform loans to new borrowers. Lending into formal coffee and cocoa markets is a better bet than lending in less develop value chains.

2018 Africa Food Prize awarded
Africa Food Prize

The International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) has been awarded the Africa Food Prize for 2018 at the African Green Revolution Forum in Kigali, Rwanda on September 7, 2018. IITA is the first institution to receive the distinguished award, being recognised for generating solutions on and off the farm that have improved the lives of millions in the face of climate change, a surge of crop pests and disease, and an urgent need for youth employment.

Reports, Discussion Papers and Policy Notes:

Africa Agriculture Trade Monitor 2018
ReSAKSS

The report examines Africa’s recent performance in different markets and identifies changes in the composition and direction of global, intra-Africa and intra-regional economic community trade in agricultural products. It finds that Africa’s agricultural trade has increased over time, with faster growth in imports contributing to a growing trade deficit. The continent’s agricultural exports tripled in value between 1998 and 2013, while the value of imports increased five-fold, due in part to strong growth in population and incomes and increased food demand.

Extension and advisory services in 10 developing countries: a cross-country analysis
Developing Local Extension Capacity

The report presents results of analysis of ten published diagnostic reports to draw out lessons for extension globally. The country reports include Honduras, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Malawi, Liberia, Guinea, Rwanda, Senegal, Mozambique and Mali.  The report is aimed at project implementers, policymakers and others interested in improving EAS in their countries and projects.

Digitizing Agricultural Payments: Uganda’s Coffee Value Chain
CGAP

This paper tells the story of how the United Nations Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P) team in Uganda worked with exporter Kyagalanyi Coffee Limited (KCL) to digitize one of the country’s most important cash crops: coffee. In addition to addressing the complex dynamics of digitizing agricultural value chains, the paper illustrates how seven organizations from different sectors embarked on a three-year journey to digitize Uganda’s coffee value chain. The solutions they built and lessons they learned have fueled the digitization of several other agricultural value chains in Uganda—particularly, tea, dairy, and maize. Their work helped to build a foundation that enables greater financial inclusion of smallholder farmers by increasing financial participation of farmers, traders, off-takers, and exporters in the formal economy.

Research:

Impact pathways of a participatory local governance initiative in Uganda: a qualitative exploration
Bjorn Van Campenhout, Emmanuel Bizimungu, Jennifer Smart & Nassul Kabunga, Development in Practice, 2018.

The baraza project, initiated in 2009, is a government-led initiative in Uganda that aims to increase the quality of public service delivery through the provision of information and involvement of beneficiaries in project monitoring by means of providing citizens with an advocacy forum. This article provides a qualitative assessment of the self-identified pathways through which barazas are thought to influence public service delivery, as expressed by participant stakeholders. It also explores motivating factors behind behavioural changes of stakeholders, hindrances to achieving positive outcomes, and opportunities for the implementation of future barazas.

Does linking farmers to markets work? Evidence from the world food programme’s purchase for progress satellite collection points initiative in Uganda
Kizito, Andrew Muganga and Kato, Edward – African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 2018

Using a non-experimental cross-sectional dataset of 471 households, we evaluate the impacts of satellite collection points (SCPs) under the Purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative implemented by the World Food Programme (WFP) on storage decisions and crop income from maize sales among smallholder farmers in Uganda. We find strong evidence that storage users had significantly more maize sales due to significantly larger inventories and received higher maize prices than the nonstorage users. This evidence is robust across the two econometric estimators, consisting of the ordinary least squares (OLS) and two-stage instrumental variable approaches. These results demonstrate that the SCPs are successful in linking farmers to markets and result in improved welfare of the users, suggesting that they should be scaled up and scaled out as a poverty-reducing development intervention and strategy in rural areas with storable agricultural products.

Group membership and certification effects on incomes of coffee farmers in Uganda
Brian Robert Ssebunya, Ulrich B Morawetz, Christian Schader, Matthias Stolze, Erwin Schmid – European Review of Agricultural Economics, 2018

Discrepancies in certification effects on smallholder incomes have been found in scientific literature. Unobserved farmer-group heterogeneity is a likely reason. For the long-standing Robusta coffee farmer-groups in Uganda, we find no significant effect of certification on net-farm income. But, we find 20 percentage point differences in net-farm income between certified and non-certified farmers explained by membership duration. In contrast, the recently founded certified Arabica coffee farmer-groups have positive net-farm income effects of 151 per cent, partly explained by a higher degree of vertical integration. With or without certification, long-standing group membership is found to have positive income effects.

Grain today, gain tomorrow: Evidence from a storage experiment with savings clubs in Kenya
Shilpa Aggarwal, Eilin Francis, Jonathan Robinson, Journal of Development Economics, 2018.

Many farmers in the developing world lack access to effective savings and storage devices. Such devices might be particularly valuable for farmers since income is received as a lump sum at harvest but expenditures are incurred throughout the year, and because grain prices are low at harvest but rise over the year. We experimentally provided two saving schemes to 132 ROSCAs in Kenya, one designed around communally storing maize and the other around saving cash for inputs. About 56% of respondents took up the products. Respondents in the maize storage intervention were 23 percentage points more likely to store maize (on a base of 69%), 37 percentage points more likely to sell maize (on a base of 36%) and (conditional on selling) sold later and at higher prices. We find no effects of the individual input savings intervention on input usage, likely because baseline input adoption was higher than expected.

Noncooperative decision making in the household: Evidence from Malawi
Selma Walther, Journal of Development Economics, 2018.

This paper proposes a novel test of productive efficiency in the household that also allows a test of noncooperative decision making. I extend the collective model (Chiappori 1988, 1997) to allow labor choices to affect future bargaining power by raising the value of outside options. Even if household consumption sharing is efficient, labor choices are no longer efficient. Using data on Malawi, where there is predetermined variation in land rights that determine outside options in marriage, I show that individuals spend more time on agricultural labor and less time on wage labor when household land is theirs. They also have lower overall income and consumption. The results are inconsistent with the fully efficient collective model but consistent with a noncooperative model with limited commitment, where individuals allocate their labor supply to maximize future bargaining power. Limited commitment can lead to inefficient allocations that reduce household welfare.

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.

IFPRI Kampala newsletter – week of sept 3rd 2018

Hello, and welcome to a new edition of the IFPR-Kampala’s USSP news and research digest!

You may have noticed we have taken a short break, but now we are back with your usual collection of recent news articles related to agriculture 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 standards created to promote Shea nut exports
and on how digital technology can help transform Africa’s food system. Also, make sure to read the fascinating story on the wonder plant that could slash fertilizer use.

Under research, we provide links to:

News:

Hundreds lose jobs as factories close in Jinja over fish scarcity
Nile Post

Most fish factories in Jinja have closed down and hundreds of employees lost jobs due to fish stock outs. As fishermen and fish traders ponder their next step, Jinja Municipal Council authorities are decrying the loss of revenue. Masese Fish Parkers Ltd, Marine and Agro Export Processors Ltd, Gomba fish Processing Factory and Kamic foods, have all closed down.

Four standards created to promote Shea nut exports
Monitor

Uganda’s effort to grow shea nut as an export commodity have been boosted by four new standards that will be used at the local, regional and international market. The cosmetics standards that have been developed by Uganda National Bureau of Standards and Uganda Export Promotions Board include pure shea nut butter cosmetics, lip balm; lip shine and after- shave, plus the already developed shea nut butter food products standards.

Fourteen youths profit from fish exports
Monitor

Masese youth earn a living through farming fish in four cages, with a capacity of 5,000 each. Through the whole exercise, the boys jointly clear the water, clean the boats, harvest the fish from the cages while the girl does all the record keeping.   Youth have always been criticised for seeking quick money from their jobs. But this is not the case with the Masese youth. They have to wait nine months until they can harvest the 20,000 fingerlings they put in the water.

Maize prices drop miserably: implications and the need for price stabilisers
EPRC

Maize prices have in the recent past dropped miserably to as low as 200/= per kilo of grain. The reality is, farmers are disheartened.  While commodity price fluctuations are normal, this drop is too significant to be ignored because it carries heavy implications

Increasing coffee production and market is a realisable commitment
New Vision

A lot has been happening in the coffee sector since the establishment of Operation Wealth Creation by President Yoweri Museveni in 2013. To start with, coffee seedlings planted have since increased from 19.3 million at the commencement of the initiative five years ago to the current 172.77 million.

Innovative aproaches to boosting financing of African agro-industry
Initiative for Global Development

Agro-industry offers enormous potential in advancing sustainable economic growth and job creation for African economies. Yet, African agribusinesses receive less than 3% of financing from the traditional banking and finance sector to power agro-industrialization across  the continent.

Growth in agricultural mechanization
Food Security Portal

The recent meeting of the Malabo Montpellier Forum focused on mechanization along the agricultural value chain and launched the Malabo Montpellier Panel’s new report,  Mechanized – Transforming Africa’s Agriculture Value Chains. This report provides best practices and lessons learned from several African countries that have achieved significant agricultural growth and economic development through systematic mechanization efforts.

How can digital technology help transform Africa’s food system?
World Bank IC4D blog

Clearly, business as usual approaches to agriculture in Africa aren’t fit for transforming the sector to meet its full potential. Digital technology could be part of the solution. But how can digital technology help transform Africa’s food system?

Iron-biofortified pearl millet consumption improves cognitive outcomes in Indian adolescents
HarvestPlus

This is the second study which demonstrates that iron biofortification, which uses conventional crop breeding to increase micronutrient levels, results in functional cognitive improvements that could profoundly impact women and teen’s daily lives, including their ability to succeed at school and work.

Forced labour report draws attention to ongoing issues in cocoa and tea
Global Business of Forced Labour

The Global Business of Forced Labour project is an international research study investigating the business models of forced labour in global agricultural supply chains. The project has systematically mapped the business of forced labour, focusing on case studies of cocoa and tea supply chains.  It found that there is a coherent pattern of labour exploitation including forced labour at the base of global tea and cocoa supply chains.

Supporting healthy digital platform competition in the Georgian agriculture market
ICT Works

Instead of choosing a single “winner,” the project has chosen to support multiple actors, each with their own approach to revenue generation. As a result, the project has established a viable market that has potential for continuous improvement and buy-in from farmers, customers, government stakeholders, and others in Georgia and beyond.

The wonder plant that could slash fertilizer use
The Atlantic

For thousands of years, people from Sierra Mixe, a mountainous region in southern Mexico, have been cultivating an unusual variety of giant corn. A team of researchers has shown that the secret of the corn’s success lies in its aerial roots. These roots drip with a thick, clear, glistening mucus that’s loaded with bacteria. Thanks to these microbes, the corn can fertilize itself by pulling nitrogen directly from the surrounding air….”a thing I’d have called a little far-fetched if I saw it on an episode of Star Trek”.

Aroma of coffee could boost cognitive performance
Coffee and Cocoa

Research suggests that the aroma of coffee – which has no caffeine in it – can help people perform analytical tasks. The work suggests that the aroma of coffee helped students undertaking a Graduate Management Aptitude Test, or GMAT, a computer adaptive test required by many business schools.

GE unveils methodology to accelerate gender equity in coffee
Coffee and Cocoa

The Partnership for Gender Equity has launched its third tool designed to enable the coffee industry to more effectively engage in gender equity. Presented to industry at World of Coffee 2018 in Amsterdam in June, the Project Methodology provides partners with the ability to implement a field-level project within their own value chain.

Policy Briefs, Research Reports and Discussion papers:

Building resilience of livelihoods in Karamoja, Uganda
FAO

This policy brief has been published by FAO as part of the policy brief series of its Agricultural Development Economics division.  It summarises the main findings and policy recommendations first presented in the 2018 Resilience Analysis in Karamoja report.

What are we getting from voluntary sustainability standards for coffee?
Center for Global Development

The available research suggests that certification schemes can be beneficial, but context matters, and the poorest, most vulnerable smallholder producers are able to comply with sustainability standards only with substantial external help.

Research:

Participation without Negotiating: Influence of Stakeholder Power Imbalances and Engagement Models on Agricultural Policy Development in Uganda
Mastewal Yami, Piet van Asten, Michael Hauser, Marc Schut, Pamela Pali, Rural Sociology, 2018

Although the political context in Uganda exhibits democratic deficit and patronage, research and development actors have given little attention to the possible negative impact these may have on agricultural policymaking and implementation processes. This article examines the influence of power in perpetuating prevailing narratives around public participation in agricultural policymaking processes. The analysis is based on qualitative data collected between September 2014 and May 2015 using 86 in‐depth interviews, 18 focus group discussions, and recorded observations in stakeholder consultations. Results indicate that while the political setting provides space for uncensored debates, the policymaking process remains under close control of political leaders, technical personnel, and high‐level officers in the government. Policy negotiation remains limited to actors who are knowledgeable about the technical issues and those who have the financial resources and political power to influence decisions, such as international donors. There is limited space for negotiation of competing claims and interests in the processes by public and private actors actively engaged in agricultural development, production, processing, and trade. Thus, efforts to achieve good governance in policy processes fall short due to lack of approaches that promote co‐design and co‐ownership of the policies

Opportunities and pitfalls for researchers to contribute to the design of evidence-based agricultural policies: lessons from Uganda
P. N. Pali, M. Schut, P. Kibwika, L. Wairegi, M. Yami, P. J. A. van Asten & V. M. Manyong – International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, 2018

Agricultural policies in sub-Saharan Africa have paid insufficient attention to sustainable intensification. In Uganda, agricultural productivity has stagnated with aggregate increases in crop production being attributed to expansion of cultivated land area. To enhance sustainable crop intensification, the Ugandan Government collaborated with stakeholders to develop agricultural policies using an evidence-based approach. Previously, evidence-based decision-making tended to focus on the evidence base rather than evidence and its interactions within the broader policy context. We identify opportunities and pitfalls to strengthen science engagement in agricultural policy design by analysing the types of evidence required, and how it was shared and used during policy development. Qualitative tools captured stakeholders’ perspectives of agricultural policies and their status in the policy cycle. Subsequent multi-level studies identified crop growth constraints and quantified yield gaps which were used to compute the economic analyses of policy options that subsequently contributed to sub-national program planning. The study identified a need to generate relevant evidence within a short time ‘window’ to influence policy design, power influence by different stakeholders and quality of stakeholder interaction. Opportunities for evidence integration surfaced at random phases of policy development due to researchers’ ’embededness’ within co-management and coordination structures.

Ex-post economic analysis of push-pull technology in Eastern Uganda
Ruth T. Chepchirchir, Ibrahim Macharia, Alice W. Murage, Charles A.O. Midega, Zeyaur R. Khan – Crop Protection, 2018.

Push–pull technology (PPT) simultaneously reduces the impact of three major production constraints, pests, weeds and poor soil, to cereal–livestock farming in Africa. In order to ascertain the social value of the technology and to make decisions about the trade-offs in the allocation of scarce resources in research, gross margin analysis and the Dynamic Research for Evaluation Management economic surplus model were applied to calculate and analyze the benefits of PPT for 568 households located in four districts in eastern Uganda. The results showed that with PPT the economy of these districts would derive an overall net gain of 3.8 million USD. At a discount rate of 12% for a period of 20 years (2015–2035), Net Present Value was about 1.6 million USD, the internal rate of return 51%, and the Benefit to Cost Ratio 1.54. This implies that PPT is economically viable and profitable. Hence the technology should be further up-scaled and disseminated to other regions to reduce poverty and increase household food security.

Fertilizer and sustainable intensification in Sub-Saharan Africa
Stein T Holden – Global Food Security, 2018

The paper investigates the important role of fertilizer to enhance sustainable intensification and food security in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) based on a multi-disciplinary literature review. The review starts with a macro-perspective taking population growth, economic development and climate change into account. This is complemented with a micro-perspective summarizing findings from comprehensive micro-data in selected African countries. Agronomic, environmental and economic profitability implications of fertilizer use are reviewed. The poor but efficient hypothesis is assessed in light of recent evidence in behavioral economics. Is low fertilizer use due to hard constraints farmers face or partly due to irrational behavior, and what are the policy implications? Two policy approaches, input subsidy and productive safety net programs, are reviewed and their potential roles to enhance sustainable intensification and nutrient use efficiency in SSA agriculture are discussed before I conclude.

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.

IFPRI Kampala Newsletter – week of June 25th

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 Calls for modern farming in north and on
The perks of sustainable coffee, for Ugandan farmers. We also have an article on Malawi’s  new seed policy and on Agricultural advisory services at a global scale.

Under research, we provide links to:

Finally, we also highlight a new World Bank report on Uganda’s tepid agricultural sector performance.

News

Calls for modern farming in north
Observer

Northern Uganda Transforming the Economy (NU-TEC MD), a project funded by the UK Department for International Development, has called upon agribusinesses to seize existing to invest in mechanized agriculture in region.  Collins Apuoyo, the team leader NU-TEC market development programme, said recently that studies have shown that 99 per cent smallholder farmers in Uganda use traditional, undeveloped, obsolete technologies for post-harvest handling which retards development.

Fast-tracking policy development for a food secure future: Uganda’s National Extension Policy
Agrilinks

Efforts by the government of Uganda and development partners to advance policy instruments have historically had mixed success due to limited involvement of political leaders, exclusion of private sector actors and the slow pace at which the process progressed.

The perks of sustainable coffee, for Ugandan farmers
Rain forest Alliance

Volcafé’s Kyagalanyi Coffee Ltd. has been working closely with the UTZ certification program (UTZ has since merged with the Rainforest Alliance) to equip smallholder farmers in West Nile and Mt. Elgon with tools to increase their yields through sustainable farming methods.

Agriculture contribution to GDP falling
Monitor

Uganda loses between 4 and 12 per cent of GDP due to inefficiencies in the agricultural sector, according to the World Bank report.  The report provides an unprecedented review of the structural context of Ugandan agriculture, its main actors and the trends, opportunities and challenges of the sector.

EAC tea consumption to increase in the next decade
East African

East African countries could lead the world in growth in consumption of tea during the next decade, even as they occupy top positions in exports of the commodity.  Estimates show that Rwanda will lead in growth at nine per cent followed by Uganda at five per cent and Kenya at 4.4 per cent.

Caffeine highh? Ethiopia shifts coffee fields uphill over climate change
Reuters

Few countries take coffee as seriously as Ethiopia – and that’s not only because it prides itself as being the source of the prized Arabica bean.  But rising temperatures and worsening drought linked to climate change are now hitting production – and fixing that may require moving many Ethiopian coffee fields uphill, experts say.  Aside from its cultural value, coffee is Ethiopia’s single largest source of export revenue, worth more than $860-million in the 2016-2017 production year.

Malawi releases new seed policy
International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications

Malawi launched a new national seed policy which includes farmers’ rights and other emerging issues in the sector, replacing the 1993 seed policy. The Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development mentioned that the new policy is vital for the growth of the seed industry.  He emphasized that as an agro economy, Malawi needed a seed policy that aligns with the regional frameworks to satisfy the growing demand for quality and high yield.

Ethiopia approves environmental release of Bt cotton and grants special permit for GM maize
International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications

The Government of Ethiopia is the latest African country to authorize cultivation of biotech crops by granting two landmark approvals for environmental release of Bt cottonand research trials on biotech maize.

Farmers need long-term and short-term solutions to combat Fall Armyworm in Kenya
Farming First

Fall Armyworm has arrived in Kenya to stay, but while the government develops a long-term strategy, farmers need ready and accessible solutions, now.

Success with electronic vouchers for farmers in Mozambique
ICT works

In 2014, the Government of Mozambique and FAO agreed that targeted “smart subsidies” using e-vouchers coupled with a participatory agricultural extension approach (Farmer Field Schools), could be a powerful tool to facilitate farmers’ access to seeds, fertilizers and other inputs needed to increase production and productivity.

America is still fighting a war on marijuana – in Congo
Columbia Global Reports

Little attention is paid to Congo’s agriculture, which generates 42 percent of its GDP and involves the majority of the Congolese population. Only recently have researchers become aware of the extent to which some of eastern Congo’s small-scale farmers are benefiting from a surprising—and illegal—crop.

Why African cocoa growers are having an OPEC moment
Bloomberg

The world’s top cocoa producers have long been at the mercy of traders who set cocoa prices thousands of miles away in London and New York. Now the producers are trying to do something about it. West African neighbors Ivory Coast and Ghana, which grow about 60 percent of the world’s cocoa, have outlined wide-ranging plans to cooperate on production and marketing in hopes of gaining more influence over global prices. But some industry analysts remain sceptical.

Agricultural advisory services at a global scale
CCAFS

In just over a decade—or to put it bluntly, in many cases only 11 growing seasons—we have to reach 500 million farmers, potentially expanding to 750 million by 2030. These farmers need advisories to help them adapt to climate variability, improve their farming operations and enhance their livelihood. How do we move forward?

FAO lists 20 tools for transforming food and agriculture to achieve SDGs
FAO

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has released a set of 20 inter-connected actions designed to show the impact that sustainable agriculture can have on tackling the world’s greatest challenges.

Cocoa and the global goals: accelerating women’s empowerment
World Cocoa Foundation

To foster more transformational change and empower women in cocoa producing communities we need to bring together government, industry and civil society to work together on the systemic barriers to gender equality. This includes addressing: (i) the fact that women often lack available time as they usually juggle multiple responsibilities; (ii) the very weak representation of women in available data and in formal agricultural institutions; and (iii) the barriers women face gaining access to resources and finance.

Biofortification’s growing global reach
HarvestPlus

The diets of more than two billion people lack essential vitamins and minerals, making them vulnerable to disease and disability. But as our latest crop map shows, the global effort to end this hidden hunger is gaining momentum, thanks to hundreds of partners around the world.

Making buildings, cars and planes from materials based on plant fibres
The Economist

Using carrots to create concrete, turning wood into plastic, or even compressing it into a “super wood” that is as light and strong as titanium might sound like a series of almost Frankensteinish experiments. Yet all three are among the latest examples of employing natural fibres from plants as eco-friendly additives or alternatives to man-made materials.
Reports, Policy Briefs and Discussion Papers:

Closing the potential-performance divide in Ugandan agriculture
World Bank

Agriculture accounts for 70 percent of employment, overwhelmingly on small farms; occupies half of all land area, and provides half of all exports and one-quarter of GDP in Uganda. It is considered a leading sector for future economic growth and economic inclusion in the current National Development Plan. Yet despite having very favorable natural resource and climate conditions for production of a wide variety of crops and livestock, average Total Factor Productivity (TFP) growth–the difference between aggregate output growth and the growth of all inputs and factors of production that produced it–in Ugandan agriculture has been negative for the last two decades. This suggests that on balance the country is now getting less for equal or greater effort. While drought and pest issues likely have played a harmful role, other plausible explanations are a combination of the following: weakening over time of the public institutional base for promoting agricultural productivity at the level of small farms, inefficiencies in agricultural public expenditures, inadequate agricultural regulation and policies, and a lack of collateralizable farm assets. National agricultural output has grown at only 2 percent per annum over the last five years, compared to agricultural output growth of 3 to 5 percent in other EAC members and 3.3 percent per annum growth in Uganda’s population over the same period.

Research

Key factors influencing food security of smallholder farmers in Tanzania and the role of cassava as a strategic crop
K Reincke, E Vilvert, A Fasse, F Graef, S Sieber… – Food Security, 2018

Due to beneficial characteristics of cassava such as robustness and versatility for multiple uses, it can have a major role in contributing to local food security. The objective of this study was to find out whether and how the cultivation of cassava benefits smallholder farmers in the regions of Dodoma and Morogoro, Tanzania. In addition, the study assessed the main factors that support or threaten food security of smallholder farmer households in the survey region and analysed whether cassava cultivation could counteract them. We applied a mixed methods approach. Quantitative data were provided by a comprehensive household survey of the Trans-SEC project, and qualitative data were collected by conducting semi-structured interviews. To approach the complexity of our chosen food security definition, three approaches for household food security measurement were applied. These covered the components of food availability, food access, and food utilization. Additionally, dependent variables for regression models were constructed and a multivariate analysis was run. The results show that cassava contributes to food security in the households, but achieving food security through cassava cultivation was constrained by several factors, including pests, missing markets, poor processing, social perception and lack of knowledge. Besides these, other factors affecting food security in the study area were found, uncovering some roots of local food insecurity and serving as a basis for further research and action on how to enhance food security.

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.

Discipline, Governmentality and ‘Developmental Patrimonialism’: Insights from Rwanda’s Pyrethrum Sector
Chris Huggins – Journal of Agrarian Change, 2016

An ongoing academic debate examines the implications of ‘developmental patrimonialism’ for African citizens. Rwanda is a key case study in this debate, with proponents of developmental patrimonialism and ‘party capitalism’ arguing that companies owned by the ruling party or the military play positive roles in economic development. This debate often focuses on macro-level, elite politics. This paper instead uses a Foucauldian lens to examine the micro-level politics of pyrethrum production in Rwanda, which is managed by a military-owned company. The company utilizes incentive-based governmental strategies, in line with state discourses, in addition to punitive, disciplinary regimes. The paper demonstrates that state agricultural strategies depend on multiple factors, including multi-scale political tensions between the ruling party’s desire for control and its discourse of ‘entrepreneurship’.

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.

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:

 

News:

How Kampala livestock thieves operate
Monitor

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
CTA

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.

Research:

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.

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.

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/

News

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
Monitor

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
EPRC

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
Monitor

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

Reuters

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
Monitor

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?
Pastres

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

BBC

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
IFPRI

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
Agrilinks

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.

Research

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.

IFPRI-Kampala newsletter – week of April 30th, 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 Sesaco gets Shs1.6b to boost expansion and on EU to subject Ugandan agro-products to rigorous checks over fall armyworms. We also have an article on how Uganda loses EA fish market to China and on the fact that Ethical cocoa schemes seem no panacea for struggling farmers.

Under research, we provide links to:

Note that newsletters are archived on http://bjornvancampenhout.com/newsletter/

Sesaco gets Shs1.6b to boost expansion
Monitor

Sesaco Soya, a Ugandan processing firm has been named as the first beneficiary of the EU Yield Uganda Investment Fund to improve its production in preparation for expansion and business growth.  The Fund, set up with support from the EU and managed by Pearl Capital Partners, will, in its maiden investment in Uganda commit Shs1.6b to Sesaco to enhance technical and governance aspects of the business.

EU to subject Ugandan agro-products to rigorous checks over fall armyworms
Xinhua Net

The European Union (EU) will start this June subject Uganda’s agro-products to rigorous checks due to the fall armyworm, a senior government official has said.  Steven Byantwale, Commissioner for Crop Protection told a farmers’ meeting that the EU’s intention is to scrutinize Ugandan exports for the worms that are decimating crops.

EU injects Shs67b in revamping beef industry
Monitor

The European Union in partnership with government has injected Shs67.7b in the beef industry with the desire to improve quality in the meat value chain.  The money will help to create a market oriented and environmentally sustainable beef industry in Uganda.

Uganda loses EA fish market to China
Monitor

Kenya requires one million tonnes of fish annually but only produces 200,000 tonnes domestically, which leaves a deficit of 800,000 tonnes. Much of the deficit was imported from Uganda, Tanzania and India but China has since taken over. This has been occasioned by a near depletion of Uganda’s fish stocks as the country continues to grapple with bad fishing methods.

US envoy on a mission to market Uganda’s specialty coffee
Monitor

US ambassador to Uganda, Deborah R. Malac, recently led a reverse trade mission to the Specialty Coffee Expo in Seattle. This was part of the US government’s ongoing commitment to building trade and investment opportunities in Uganda.

Kenyan maize farmers threaten demos over Sh2.5 billion Ruto promised
The Star

Farmers have blamed the government for allowing maize imports that have caused price drops.  Traders and some farmers bought the maize for Sh1,800 per bag in Uganda and sold much of it to the NCPB for Sh3,200 per bag.  More than 300 lorries, some suspected to have imported maize, are still lining up to deliver maize at depots in the North Rift, which have been closed for lack of space.

Agricultural change in Africa: How cookbooks and recipes got a bum rap
Future Agricultures

For at least three decades, agricultural research and extension in Africa has been castigated for being top-down and non-participatory and burdened by an overly simplistic, linear, research-centric model of change. This critique is encapsulated in the suggestion that research and extension are so far removed from rural reality that they take a “cookbook approach”, promoting rigid recipes.

Ethical cocoa schemes no panacea for struggling farmers
Reuters

Global chocolate makers are buying more cocoa sourced through schemes aimed at stamping out poverty as they rush to make their supply chains more ethical ahead of self-imposed 2020 deadlines.The trouble for cocoa farmers is the premiums they receive for beans sold under the biggest and most popular of these ethical sustainability schemes are falling.

Plant-killing pests and diseases have an ally in climate change
Reuters

In the United States, it is a wood-borer beetle that arrived in packaging and which has indirectly caused an estimated 21,000 premature human deaths. In South Korea, it is a worm that forced the government to cut down 10 million pine trees.  And in Africa, it is a maize-munching pest from the Americas that has infested millions of hectares of crops, and threatens the food supply and income of more than 300 million people.  What do they have in common? All three crossed continents to cause havoc on plants.

Consumers’ role in deforestation addressed by EU study
Coffee and Cocoa International

The European Union which is is one of the largest drivers of tropical deforestation, has produced a long-awaited study* on what steps can be taken to reduce the loss of trees caused by demand for agricultural commodities consumed by its citizens.

Seed vaults protect the world from the apocalypse – but what if Doomsday is already here?
Independent

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault was built to help us through the end of the world. But nobody expected that hints of doomsday would arrive quite so soon.  The seed bank stores the crops and plants from around the world on a frozen island in Norway, protecting biodiversity. At least it was frozen until recently – when the permafrost that was thought to be a reliable blanket around it started to melt.

Research

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

Local and regional drivers of the African coffee white stem borer (Monochamus leuconotus) in Uganda
T Liebig, R Babin, F Ribeyre, P Läderach, P van Asten… – Agricultural and Forest Entomology 2018

The African coffee white stem borer (CWSB) Monochamus leuconotus is a destructive pest of Arabica coffee in Africa. Documentation on outbreaks, spatiotemporal development and the relationship with different environmental conditions and coffee production system is limited. To underpin effective control measures, we studied aspects of local and regional pest drivers in Eastern Uganda. At the local scale, we (i) characterized the temporal development of CWSB and explored associations with environmental and shade‐related indicators. During two growing seasons and on 84 coffee plots, we recorded CWSB incidence/infestation and microclimate on an altitudinal gradient and different shading systems. The bimodal rainfall, altitude and shade affected CWSB development through their effect on minimum temperature. At the landscape level, we (ii) analyzed the spatial pattern of CWSB. Data on CWSB were collected on 180 plots. Pest incidence showed a spatial arrangement varying by districts. A possible relationship with human movement and the landscape context contributing to pest spread is suggested. CWSB control measures should be synchronized with the bimodal rainfall patterns and an emphasis should be given to identifying and limiting pathways of pest spread from highly infested to new areas.

Do Beliefs About Herbicide Quality Correspond with Actual Quality in Local Markets? Evidence from Uganda
Maha Ashour, Daniel Orth Gilligan, Jessica Blumer Hoel & Naureen Iqbal Karachiwalla

Adoption of modern agricultural inputs in Africa remains low, restraining agricultural productivity and poverty reduction. Low quality agricultural inputs may in part explain low adoption rates, but only if farmers are aware that some inputs are low quality. We report the results of laboratory tests of the quality of glyphosate herbicide in Uganda and investigate whether farmers’ beliefs about the prevalence of counterfeiting and adulteration are consistent with the prevalence of low quality in their local market. We find that the average bottle in our sample is missing 15 per cent of the active ingredient and 31 per cent of samples contain less than 75 per cent of the ingredient advertised. Farmers believe 41 per cent of herbicide is counterfeit or adulterated. Beliefs are significantly correlated with quality at the local market level, but beliefs remain inaccurate, adjusting for only a fraction of actual differences in quality. Price is also significantly correlated with quality in local markets, but prices also adjust for only a fraction of quality differences. Although, like fertiliser and hybrid maize seed, herbicide in Uganda is low quality, herbicide use is substantially higher.

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.

IFPRI Kampala newsletter – week of April 9th

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 Researchers Make Breakthrough in Grasshopper Farming and on Bringing Blockchain to the Coffee Cup. We also have an article on how Fake processed food is becoming an epidemic in African urban life and on A very black market: how illegal charcoal fuels war and harms the environment.

Under research, we provide links to:

Note that newsletters are archived on http://bjornvancampenhout.com/newsletter/

News:

Researchers Make Breakthrough in Grasshopper Farming
Uganda Radio Network

People who sell grasshoppers as a business may soon start breeding and supplying the delicacy throughout the year, thanks to researchers from Makerere University and the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology in Kenya. The researchers today launched a project will ensure that support is provided to business enterprises for rearing, and processing quality insect food products.

Bringing Blockchain to the Coffee Cup
Wall Street Journal

Denver’s Coda Coffee Co. this week is offering what it calls “the world’s first blockchain-traced coffee,” giving customers access to a cloud-based ledger that tracks every stop along their coffee’s supply chain. By scanning a QR code associated with the batch of coffee they bought, customers can see the date and location of every transaction—from collection at the farm to washing and drying, milling, export, roasting and retail.

Cotton by-products to turn around Uganda’s economy
The Exchange

Cotton by-products have been termed as the new hot property to turnaround the economy of struggling Uganda into a new direction. The product had been experiencing a change since last year, following its downfall from glory in the 1970s. The Government has not let the dream go to revive the former glory, and the farmers seem to cooperate with the new strategy.

Improve output, quality to benefit from Africa’s free trade area, farmers told
New Times

Grain sector stakeholders especially farmers, have been urged to improve productivity and enhance grain standards to take advantage of the huge market opportunities presented by the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) agreement. A total of 44 countries signed the CFTA deal in Kigali on March 21, while 30 signed the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, and 47 supported the creation of Africa’s one market by signing the Kigali Declaration.

Fake processed food is becoming an epidemic in African urban life
Quartz Africa

Recent research by the Confederation of Tanzania Industries estimates that over 50% of all goods, including food, drugs and construction materials, imported into Tanzania are fake. Anecdotal evidence suggests that rates could be between 10% and 50%, depending on the food category and the country.

A very black market: how illegal charcoal fuels war and harms the environment
The Economist

Charcoal is one of the biggest informal businesses in Africa. It is the fuel of choice for the continent’s fast-growing urban poor, who, in the absence of electricity or gas, use it to cook and heat water. According to the UN, Africa accounted for three-fifths of the world’s production in 2012-and this is the only region where the business is growing. It is, however, a slow-burning environmental disaster.

Research:

Participation in the market chain and food security: The case of the Ugandan maize farmers
P Montalbano, R Pietrelli, L Salvatici – Food Policy, 2018

Empirical assessment of the links between market chain participation and food security is characterized by conflicting evidence. Our goal is to deal with this issue at different points of the commercialization chain by providing a sound identification strategy using the Uganda World Bank Living Standards Measurement Study-Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA) panel data. By looking at the dynamics of farmers’ consumption over time and controlling for a variety of household and production characteristics as well as possible confounding factors, our results show that farmers’ food security is positively affected by participation in the market chain, irrespective of the choice of outlet. This provides two key messages for policymaking: farmers selling to the market are better off and intermediaries do not hamper food security.

The dynamics of smallholder farmers’ acquisition and distribution of sweetpotato vines in the Lake Victoria Zone Region, Tanzania
RI Adam, L Badstue, K Sindi – Food Security, 2018

This paper offers new insights into smallholder farmer’s practices regarding acquisition and distribution of sweetpotato planting material in the Mwanza and Mara regions of Tanzania by examining three specific issues: (i) farmers’ sources of planting material; (ii) factors that influence farmers’ sourcing of planting materials outside their own farms and (iii) the types of transactions and social relations involved in farmers’ acquisition and distribution of sweetpotato planting material. Data were collected using mixed methods, including a survey of 621 households across nine districts, semi-structured key informant interviews with 28 women sweetpotato farmers, and six focus group discussions. Findings show that farmers in the study area rely almost exclusively on informal seed systems, and that the majority (> 56%) produce their own planting material. Individual, household and community level factors influence farmers’ acquisition of planting materials outside their own farms. The sources and mode of transaction related to acquisition/distribution of planting material are strongly influenced by the type of social relationship between the parties involved. Strong social ties facilitate the majority of local planting material acquisitions/distributions, and favor provision of locally available planting material as a gift/without payment. Weak social ties are primarily associated with the transaction modality of purchase/sale, and frequently help facilitate acquisition of new or exotic planting material. The findings provide entry points both for entities that seek to enhance small-scale farmers’ access to improved, high quality sweetpotato germplasm, as well as broader efforts to strengthen research and development strategies for integrating formal and informal seed systems.

Big cities, small towns, and poor farmers: Evidence from Ethiopia
J Vandercasteelen, ST Beyene, B Minten, J Swinnen – World Development, 2018

Urbanization is happening fast in the developing world and especially so in sub-Saharan Africa where growth rates of cities are among the highest in the world. While cities and, in particular, secondary towns, where most of the urban population in sub-Saharan Africa resides, affect agricultural practices in their rural hinterlands, this relationship is not well understood. To fill this gap, we develop a conceptual model to analyze how farmers’ proximity to cities of different sizes affects agricultural prices and intensification of farming. We then test these predictions using large-scale survey data from producers of teff, a major staple crop in Ethiopia, relying on unique data on transport costs and road networks and implementing an array of econometric models. We find that agricultural price behavior and intensification is determined by proximity to a city and the type of city. While proximity to cities has a strong positive effect on agricultural output prices and on uptake of modern inputs and yields on farms, the effects on prices and intensification measures are lower for farmers in the rural hinterlands of secondary towns compared to primate cities.

Organic Agriculture, Food Security, and the Environment
EM Meemken, M Qaim – Annual Review of Resource Economics, 2018

Organic agriculture is often perceived as more sustainable than conventional farming. We review the literature on this topic from a global perspective. In terms of environmental and climate change effects, organic farming is less polluting than conventional farming when measured per unit of land but not when measured per unit of output. Organic farming, which currently accounts for only1%of global agricultural land, is lower yielding on average. Due to higher knowledge requirements, observed yield gaps might further increase if a larger number of farmers would switch to organic practices. Widespread upscaling of organic agriculture would cause additional loss of natural habitats and also entail output price increases, making food less affordable for poor consumers in developing countries. Organic farming is not the paradigm for sustainable agriculture and food security, but smart combinations of organic and conventional methods could contribute toward sustainable productivity increases in global agriculture.

Assessing farm performance by size in Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda
JC Julien, BE Bravo-Ureta, NE Rada – Food Policy, 2018

Many Sub-Sahara African countries have long endured sluggish agricultural productivity growth and a farm structure dominated by smallholders. This prevailing structure has led to public policies focusing on access to land and its distribution as ways to boost agricultural supply. Drawing on data from the Living Standards Measurement Study–Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA) for three East African countries (Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda), our purpose is to: test whether smaller farms in these countries are more productive than larger ones; examine how managerial performance varies with farm size; and assess how public policy may improve farm performance. We adopt the Random Parameters Stochastic Production Frontier model to estimate and then decompose Total Factor Productivity (TFP) across different farm size classes. In doing so, we test for possible measurement errors of farmer self-reported land area using Global Positioning System (GPS) data, and explore the imperfect factor markets hypothesis. The results show that across the three countries TFP is higher for smaller farms than for larger ones. Overall, managerial performance is low suggesting that programs designed to enhance managerial capacity would promote farm productivity across all sizes. Other policies are size specific. Access to agricultural input markets improves the productivity of the small farms, while greater spending on transportation infrastructure and extension services enhances the productivity of the large.

Who benefits from which agricultural research-for-development technologies? Evidence from farm household poverty analysis in Central Africa
JH Ainembabazi, T Abdoulaye, S Feleke, A Alene… – World Development, 2018

It remains a challenge for agricultural research-for-development (AR4D) institutions to demonstrate to donors which technologies contribute significantly to poverty reduction due to a multitude of impact pathways. We attempt to overcome this challenge by utilizing the potential outcomes framework and quantile treatment effects analytical approaches applied on panel household data collected from Central Africa. Our findings show that adoption of AR4D technologies reduced the probability of being poor by 13 percentage points. A large share of this poverty reduction is causally attributable to adoption of improved crop varieties (32%) followed by adoption of post-harvest technologies (28%) and crop and natural resource management (26%), with the rest 14% attributable to unidentified and/or unmeasured intermediate outcomes or factors. The findings further indicate that relatively poor farm households benefit from adopting improved crop varieties more than the relatively better-off households. Correspondingly, the relatively better off households benefit from adopting post-harvest technologies enhancing crop commercialization much more than the relatively poor households. The findings reveal interesting policy implications for successful targeting of agricultural interventions aimed at reducing rural poverty.

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.

IFPRI Kampala newsletter – week of march 12th, 2018

Hello, and welcome come a new edition of the IFPR-Kampala’s USSP weekly news and research digest!

As usual, this weekly 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 to directly market its tea to achieve better prices and on the fact that Tanzania gets 80bn/- cassava boost. We also have an article on how Illegal gold mining boom threatens cocoa farmers (and your chocolate) and on South Africa’s land expropriation debate.

Under research, we provide links to:

We also want to draw your attention to a new special issue of the Journal of Development Studies on Economic Transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa
Note that newsletters are archived on http://bjornvancampenhout.com/newsletter/

Happy reading!
News:
Uganda to directly market its tea to achieve better prices
Monitor

Uganda is seeking avenues through which it can directly market its tea to large consumers such as Russia, United Arab Emirates and Iran to earn a large premium, according to Uganda Export Promotion Board.

Kenya lifts Uganda poultry ban after 15 months
East African

The Kenyan government will lift the ban on poultry products from Uganda in totality after a 15-month embargo that saw chicken and eggs prohibited from accessing Kenya’s Ksh500 million ($5 million) market after outbreak of a viral disease.

Okello farms his way through retirement
Monitor

For years, Mr Okello’s father had taken the cattle rearing path. His family opted out of the business after their cows were stolen and he figured they needed to start afresh with new ideas. He invested Shs12m in agroforestry.  More than a decade after venturing into the tree farming business, Mr Okello has diversified into bee keeping and growing orange trees.

Tanzania gets 80bn/- cassava boost
Daily News

Tanzania’s efforts in increasing food security by having improved varieties of cassava have received a major boost of 35 million US dollars in new funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UK Aid.

Without city jobs, tech-savvy Kenyan youth head back to the farm
Reuters

Kenya has the highest rate of youth joblessness in East Africa, according to the World Bank, with nearly one in five young people who are eligible for work not finding jobs.  Poor job prospects and low pay in cities are pushing thousands of unemployed young people to return home and take up farming

The strategic grain reserve for your living room
WFP

The majority of spoilage happens before food makes it to consumers and long before it rots in the back of a fridge. Across Sub-Saharan Africa and the rest of the developing world, grain is still stored by individual families in traditional woven baskets or hardened mud silos. Insects, moisture, rodents and mold can easily destroy a crop when it is not kept in airtight storage or moved quickly to market. The consequences can be dire.

Panic, privilege and politics: South Africa’s land expropriation debate
Future Agricultures

South Africa’s land reform policy is a mess. A combination of incompetence, poor policy and scandal have meant that there has been little progress in years. The parliamentary High Level Panel report effectively dissects the problems. But in recent days, the land issue, always bubbling under the surface in South Africa’s unresolved post-apartheid settlement, has burst into the limelight.

Illegal gold mining boom threatens cocoa farmers (and your chocolate)
National Geographic

Ghana, one of the world’s biggest producers of cocoa beans, is facing a crisis around dangerous and dirty galamsey, or informal, mining—which experts warn could derail its agriculture sector.

Enhancing Africa’s incomes, trade, and health with Aflasafe®
Agrilinks

Aflasafe®, an innocuous blue ball, is an all-natural deterrent to the toxic strains of aspergillus flavus, the fungi that produces aflatoxin.  Aflasafe® uses a “thief to catch a thief” by using four benign strains of fungi to out-compete its toxic cousins.

African seed companies encouraged to invest in biotechnology
International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications

Seed companies in Africa have been challenged to explore ways of developing their own biotech products to meet the rising needs of food in the continent amid devastating effects of climate change and emerging pests. Addressing more than 450 delegates from 50 countries at the African Seed Trade Association Annual Congress held on February 26-March 1, 2018 in Cairo, Egypt, the Executive Manager of Biosafety South Africa, Dr. Hennie Groenewald, expressed his concern that Africa has not taken advantage of the benefits accrued from use of biotechnology.

Food and Agriculture Organization launches guide to tackle Fall Armyworm head-on
FAO

Faced with the infestation of millions of hectares of maize, most in the hands of smallholder farmers, and the relentless spread of Fall Armyworm (FAW) across most of Africa, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization has launched a comprehensive guide on the integrated management of FAW on maize.

Fall Armyworm : a threat to Africa’s food security
Food Tank

Fall Armyworm , or Spodoptera frugiperda, is an insect pest which can cause significant crop yield losses if not properly managed. It is indigenous to the American tropical and subtropical regions, but was recently introduced into Africa and has spread rapidly, posing a threat to food security. While it is unclear how it was introduced into Africa, it was likely through commercial air transport from the Americas. Once introduced into an area, the pest is nearly impossible to eradicate due to a number of reasons

Fake processed food is becoming an epidemic in African urban life
Quartz

Recent research estimates that over 50% of all goods, including food, drugs and construction materials, imported into Tanzania are fake. Anecdotal evidence suggests that rates could be between 10% and 50%, depending on the food category and the country.

Results-based incentive structures for agricultural development
AgResults

Results-based incentive structures can offer donors an opportunity to enter into higher-risk markets that, if successful, could lead to significant development impact and more efficient use of donor funds. However, given that these mechanisms are relatively new, development practitioners are eager to understand how they can be applied to their own projects and what are best practices for designing and implementing them.

Millions of Chinese farmers reap benefits of huge crop experiment
Nature

As part of a decade-long study, scientists analysed vast amounts of agricultural data to develop improved practices, which they then passed on to smallholders. Through a national campaign, about 20.9 million farmers adopted the recommendations, which increased productivity and reduced environmental impacts. As a result of the evidence-based intervention, the farmers involved were US$12.2 billion better off.

Chocolate chain: from farmer to consumer
Croplife

Have you wondered how the chocolate we know and love gets from the tree to our hands?  This infographic reproduced from the World Cocoa Foundation shows the process of growing the cocoa trees to the chocolate making and all the steps in between.

To fight malnutrition, we need to understand agri-food value chains
Institute for Development Studies

There is a role here for everyone to play from the private sector, to government. Understanding and working with key actors in the agri-food value chain is a vital way to get nutritious food to people, and to buck the current horrendous malnutrition trends.

Research Reports, Policy Briefs and Discussion Papers

Global report on food crises 2018
European Union

This report provides a comprehensive picture of the severity and magnitude of acute food insecurity and malnutrition in 2017 in 51 countries and territories, with in-depth analysis of the 26 crises with the largest populations in need of urgent action.

Agriculture, food security, and nutrition in Malawi: Leveraging the links
NL Aberman, J Meerman, T Benson – 2018

Although the Malawian food supply is shaped largely by trends in smallholder food crop production, Ma­lawi’s decades-long focus on improving smallholder productivity has only moderately improved food secu­rity and nutrition outcomes. Country statistics indicate an estimated 36.7 percent of rural Malawian house­holds failed to access sufficient calories between 2010 and 2011. During the same period, 47 percent of children under the age of five years were esti­mated to be stunted in their growth. These indicators imply that some Malawian diets are lacking in terms of quantity (total calories consumed), and most are lacking in terms of quality (sufficient calories derived from nutrient-dense foods, such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy, legumes, fruits, and vegetables). Good nutrition requires both enough total calories (quantity) and enough vitamins and minerals per calorie (quality). How can Malawi better leverage its smallholder agriculture sector to improve nutrition? This report provides a series of primary and secondary data anal­yses that examine different aspects of this question.

Research:

Implementing A Cold-chain System For Nutritional Assessment in Rural Uganda; Field Experiences From Ftf Nutrition Innovation Lab Cohort Study
Edgar Agaba, Robin Shrestha, Shibani Ghosh, Jeffrey K. Griffiths, Bernard Bashaasha – Journal of Nutrition, 2018

To elaborate on the procedures undertaken to establish blood draws and cold chain for nutrition assessments. A total of 5,044 birth cohort households were enrolled and assessed using household questionnaires, anthropometry, and blood sampling to assess nutritional issues and exposures to environmental contaminants. The challenge was to obtain, transport, process, store, and analyze tens of thousands of serum samples obtained in sites that were often difficult to reach. Before enrollment began, 24 healthcare facilities in the North and Southwest of Uganda were assessed for suitability as local nodes for processing and storage. Equipment needs included functional centrifuges, refrigeration, ice machines, and -20oC freezers. Other important physical infrastructure included the presence of backup power (generator or solar generated) in the event of electricity failure. Once samples were obtained, they were transported within 5 hours to the facility laboratories, where serum was separated and aliquoted into properly labelled storage tubes and then frozen. At community level, our team visited households or small group of household members close to their homes to reduce on travel time hence contributed to high retention rates. Our immediate testing for anemia and malaria results benefited enrollees and enhanced community acceptance. By using Village Health Teams (VHTs), we could accommodate household preferences for the timing of sample collection. Our engagement with phlebotomists transformed their role from a simple service into active team members. Our first lesson was that in our setting, the success of this nutrition biological sampling system required community engagement and acceptance. By combining an immediately actionable set of tests (for anemia and malaria), and visiting cohort households, we greatly enhanced the success of the system.

Rapid transformation of food systems in developing regions: Highlighting the role of agricultural research & innovations
Thomas Reardon, Ruben Echeverria, Julio Berdegué, Bart Minten, Saweda Liverpool-Tasie, David Tschirley, David Zilberman – Agricultural Systems, 2018

Developing regions’ food system has transformed rapidly in the past several decades. The food system is the dendritic cluster of R&D value chains, and the value chains linking input suppliers to farmers, and farmers upstream to wholesalers and processors midstream, to retailers then consumers downstream. We analyze the transformation in terms of these value chains’ structure and conduct, and the effects of changes in those on its performance in terms of impacts on consumers and farmers, as well as the efficiency of and waste in the overall chain. We highlight the role of, and implications for agricultural research, viewed broadly as farm technology as well as research pertaining to all aspects of input and output value chains.

Formal and Informal Seed Systems in Kenya: Supporting Indigenous Vegetable Seed Quality
Marcia M. Croft, Maria I. Marshall, Martins Odendo, Christine Ndinya, Naman N. Ondego, Pamela Obura & Steven G. Hallett – Journal of Development Studies, 2018.

Indigenous vegetables play an important role in Kenyan food security, but production is limited by poor seed quality. Traditionally, seeds have been traded through informal networks, but a new formal seed sector is emerging. This study assessed the relative potential for formal or informal seed systems to meet the need for high-quality indigenous vegetable seed. By evaluating determinants of farmers’ seed purchasing behaviour, we conclude that informal seed systems have greater potential to meet this need and should be strengthened. This study suggests that policy-makers should use context-specific data to guide decisions on seed policy.

The Effect of Food Price Changes on Child Labour: Evidence from Uganda
Raymond Boadi Frempong & David Stadelmann – Journal of Development Studies, 2018.

Most people in developing countries spend up to 60 per cent of their income on food, even though the majority of them are farmers. Hence, a change in food prices affects both their revenue as well as expenditure, and it may thereby affect their labour market decisions. Using the Uganda National Panel Survey and monthly regional food prices, this paper examines the effect of changes in food prices on child labour. The empirical evidence shows that an increase in food prices is linked to an increase in the probability and the intensity of child labour. We find the effect of food price increases to be smaller among landowning households, which is consistent with the view that landowning households can better compensate for price shocks. The empirical results suggest that periodic shocks in food prices may have longer lasting effects on economic development in developing countries through the channel of child labour.

Maize lethal necrosis disease: Evaluating agronomic and genetic control strategies for Ethiopia and Kenya
Paswel P. Marenya, Olaf Erenstein, Boddupalli Prasanna, Dan Makumbi, MacDonald Jumbo, Yoseph Beyene – Agricultural Systems, 2018.

Maize lethal necrosis disease (MLN) was first diagnosed in eastern Africa in the 2010’s and is a big threat to their maize-based agri-food systems with estimated losses amounting to US$261 million in Ethiopia and US$198 million in Kenya. This paper reviews the agronomic and policy options to contain MLN and comparatively analyzes the feasibility of using maize-bean rotations and MLN-tolerant germplasm as key alternative strategies for managing MLN. Results from crop simulation and economic surplus models are used to make assessments on what strategy offers the most realistic MLN control approach given the circumstances of smallholder production in Kenya and Ethiopia. The paper finds that although maize-legume rotations are sound agronomic recommendations and are crucial for long term maize production system viability, their widespread application over large geographic areas for MLN control is economically challenging given that maize is a preferred staple. We conclude that scaling MLN-tolerant germplasm proves highly viable with estimated multiplier benefits of US$245-756 million in Ethiopia and US$195-678 million in Kenya, and benefiting up to 2.1 million people in Ethiopia and 1.2 million in Kenya. Given that the threat of MLN is present and ongoing, the food and economic security of maize-based agrarian economies in eastern Africa will critically depend on the successful mainstreaming of MLN tolerance in their maize seed systems.

The impacts of postharvest storage innovations on food security and welfare in Ethiopia Wondimagegn Tesfaye, Nyasha Tirivayi – Food Policy, 2018.

Postharvest loss exacerbates the food insecurity and welfare loss of farming households in developing countries. This paper analyzes the impact of improved storage technologies on food and nutrition security and welfare using nationally representative data from Ethiopia. Endogenous switching regression models are employed to control for unobserved heterogeneity. The study finds that the use of improved storage technologies increases dietary diversity and reduces child malnutrition and self-reported food insecurity. We also find that non-user households would have experienced these benefits had they used improved storage technologies. Overall, the study suggests that improved storage technologies can enhance food and nutrition security, and could play a key role in alleviating the challenges of feeding a growing population.

Review: Taking stock of Africa’s second-generation agricultural input subsidy programs
Thomas S. Jayne, Nicole M. Mason, William J. Burke, Joshua Ariga – Food Policy, 2018.

Input subsidy programs (ISPs) remain one of the most contentiously debated development issues in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). After ISPs were phased out during the 1980s and 1990s, the landscape has changed profoundly since the early 2000s. By 2010, at least 10 African governments initiated a new wave of subsidy programs that were designed to overcome past performance challenges. This study provides the most comprehensive review of recent evidence to date regarding the performance of these second generation ISPs, synthesizing nearly 80 ISP-related studies from seven countries (Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, and Ethiopia). We specifically evaluate ISP impacts on total fertilizer use, food production, commercial input distribution systems, food prices, wages, and poverty. We also consider measures that could enable ISPs to more cost-effectively achieve their objectives. We find that ISPs can quickly raise national food production, and that receiving subsidized inputs raises beneficiary households’ grain yields and production levels at least in the short-term. However, the overall production and welfare effects of subsidy programs tend to be smaller than expected. Two characteristics of program implementation consistently mitigate the intended effects of ISPs: (1) subsidy programs partially crowd out commercial fertilizer demand due to difficulties associated with targeting and sale of inputs by program implementers, and (2) lower than expected crop yield response to fertilizer on smallholder-managed fields. If these challenges could be addressed, ISPs could more effectively mitigate the concurrent challenges of rapid population growth and climate change in SSA.

Climate event consequences on food insecurity and child stunting among smallholder farmers in Uganda: a cross-sectional study
S Ly, PO Okello, R Mpiira, Z Ali – The Lancet Global Health, 2018

Climate fluctuations and crop loss are predicted for Uganda. The rural poor rely on subsistence farming, and the consequences of climate events including droughts, floods, and pests have a considerable impact on food security and health. Nationally, 29% of Ugandan children are stunted or below expected height. In this study, we investigated farmers’ experiences of climate events with household food insecurity and child stunting. BRAC Uganda did a cross-sectional study with random sampling across 210 villages in four districts in southwestern Uganda between October and December 2015. Questionnaires on socioeconomics, nutrition, and farming were administered to 7787 smallholder farmers. Anthropometry measurements were taken from the youngest child under 2 years in each household. Stunting, defined as a height-for-age Z-score below −2, was analysed using logistic regression. Food insecurity, self-reported as the number of months without enough food to meet needs, was analysed using multivariate linear regression. Most adults had received only primary-level education and mean monthly income was 332 274 Ugandan Shillings (US$92). In the past 12 months, 6815 (87·8%) farmers experienced a major loss of crops due to drought, 1595 (20·6%) due to flooding, and 7754 (39·1%) due to pests and disease. Food insecurity was reported in 7269 (93·3%) households, for a mean of 4·53 (SD 2·84) out of 12 months. Anthropometric data were collected from 2177 children with a mean age of 11·6 months. 899 were stunted (41·3%). Households with drought-related crop loss had higher odds of child stunting (OR 1·38, 95% CI 1·01–1·89) than households with no crop loss, after controlling for food insecurity, income, education, the child’s sex, and age. Food insecurity was significantly associated with crop loss due to drought (p<0·001) and pests (p<0·001), after controlling for covariates. Interestingly, household coping behaviours after pest-related crop loss changed the pest loss effects, which suggests farmers could influence food insecurity. As climate patterns shift in Uganda, smallholder farmers will continue to experience events like drought, flooding, and pests. In our study, most farmers’ food security was affected by drought and pests, and droughts were linked to child stunting. These findings have implications in building resiliency in crops and farmer techniques to mitigate climate shocks.

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.

IFPRI Kampala newsletter – week of march 26th 2018.

Hello, and welcome come a new edition of the IFPR-Kampala’s USSP weekly news and research digest!

Please note that you can subscribe to get it delivered in your inbox here: http://bjornvancampenhout.com/newsletter/subscribe/

As usual, this weekly 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 fish maw wars and on the fact that Coffee’s future may be in dilemma. We also have an article on how Kenyans import $31.2m maize from the region to meet demand and on Knowing “WhatsApp” with food security.

Under research, we highlight:

Note that newsletters are archived on http://bjornvancampenhout.com/newsletter/

Happy reading,

News:
Fish maw wars
Independent

A row has developed between the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) and fish exporters on one side and fish traders on the other over the sale of fish maws.  “What we get from the sale of a fish maw is double or three times what we get from the fish itself,” an executive member of the Uganda Fishmaws Traders Association explained.

Women urged to engage in silk production to fight poverty
New Vision

Women have been urged to engage in silk production to fight poverty. According to the principal entomologist at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Christine Asaba, silk is a high value commodity for export. She said her department of entomology at the agriculture ministry is positioned to promote silk industry in the country.

Coffee’s future in dilemma
Independent

Uganda is currently implementing an ambitious plan  the coffee road map to increase coffee output from the current 4.5 million bags to 20 million bags by 2025.   But can the target be met at the time some farmers are reducing their land under coffee as a result of low coffee prices?  This, among other issues, was discussed during the 16th African Fine Coffee Conference and Exhibition.

Forests fall, animals die, desert looms: Uganda’s burning problem – in pictures
The Guardian

Charcoal is an integral part of everyday life in Uganda, where most people rely on some form of wood fuel to cook or boil water. For many, the sale of trees also provides a valuable income. Yet this levelling of the landscape, which causes loss of habitat for wildlife and leads to climate change, is unsustainable

East Africa smells the coffee and moves to expand market
East African

Increased yield from the newly planted coffee, containing the coffee wilt disease and mitigating the effects of climate change – which are some of the measures to increase output to an ambitious 20 million bags by 2025 – Uganda could inch closer to the share of powerhouses like Vietnam, Colombia and Honduras on the global export market.

Kenyans import $31.2m maize from the region to meet demand
East African

Kenyan traders have taken advantage of the low prices in Uganda’s Tororo, Gulu, Masindi and Lira regions to ship in the produce, buying a tonne for as low as $180 per tonne.
Sesame Market Blossoms in Face of Global Demand

Sesame market blossoms in face of global demand
Addis Fortune

After a study by the Ministry that found lack of finance, traceability and updated market information were hampering the sesame market, a regulation was drafted by the Ministry of Trade  to allow farmers to trade sesame outside the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) trading floor, which has been mandatory.  The effort was a bid to mimic the performance of coffee. Just months after another amendment allowed coffee to be traded outside of the ECX floor, it fetched 215 million dollars in the first quarter of the current fiscal year.

Land rights are the key to climate adaptation strategies for smallholder farmers
Devex

This underlines the important role of land rights in climate adaptation and resiliency. Without tenure security, the women, men, and communities who increasingly depend on adaptation strategies for their survival may face additional obstacles.

Knowing “WhatsApp” with food security
Agrilinks

Fred, who had received training on e-extension by the Kenyan government in 2012, created a plan to use ICT apps, not only to tell people about the work he was doing, but to improve farmer-to-farmer learning and increase the number of farmers he could reach. Fred first created a chat group of just the farmers he worked with. As it became more popular, he coordinated with his extension colleagues and they decided to form a county wide group called “Real Farmers”. The result has been game changing.

Dutch cow poo overload causes an environmental stink
The Guardian

Dairy farms in the Netherlands are producing so much dung they can’t get rid of it safely. Now the WWF is calling for a 40% cut in herd numbers to protect the environment.  But there’s a catch: the nation’s 1.8 million cows are producing so much manure that there isn’t enough space to get rid of it safely.

Plants feel the heat
Sainsbury Laboratory
Scientists at the UK’s Sainsbury Laboratory have discovered how plants vary their response to heat stress depending on the time of day, solving a 79-year-old mystery.

Research:

Does coffee production reduce poverty? Evidence from Uganda
Swaibu Mbowa, Tonny Odokonyero, Tony Muhumuza, Ezra Munyambonera, Journal of Agribusiness in Developing and Emerging Economies, 2017.

The results reveal a significant effect of coffee production on poverty reduction, through incremental household consumption expenditure. Households engaged in coffee production are associated with a lower incidence of poverty. The interesting evidence suggests that coffee production is a pro-poor intervention. These findings are confirmed by qualitative assessment that reveals farmers’ welfare improved to greater extent to satisfactory levels from coffee income.

Micro-Level Welfare Impacts of Agricultural Productivity: Evidence from Rural Malawi
Francis Addeah Darko, Amparo Palacios-Lopez, Talip Kilic & Jacob Ricker-Gilbert – Journal of Development Studies, 2018

This article analyses the micro-level welfare impacts of agricultural productivity using a two-wave nationally representative, panel data from rural Malawi. Welfare is measured by various dimensions of poverty and food insecurity; and agricultural productivity is measured by maize yield and value of crop output per hectare. The poverty measures included per capita consumption expenditure, relative deprivation in terms of per capita consumption expenditure, poverty gap and severity of poverty; and the measures of food insecurity included caloric intake and relative deprivation in terms of caloric intake. Depending on the measure of welfare, the impact of agricultural productivity was estimated with a household fixed effects estimator, a two-part estimator or a correlated-random effect ordered probit estimator. The results indicate that growth in agricultural productivity has the expected welfare-improving effect. In terms of economic magnitude, however, both the direct effect and economy-wide spillover effect (in the non-farm sector) of a percentage increase in agricultural productivity on the poverty and food security measures are small. Efforts to effectively improve the welfare of rural agricultural households should therefore go beyond merely increasing agricultural (land) productivity.

Youth Migration and Labour Constraints in African Agrarian Households
Valerie Mueller, Cheryl Doss & Agnes Quisumbing – Journal of Development Studies, 2018

Using panel data from Ethiopia and Malawi, we investigate how youth migration affects household labour, hired labour demand, and income, and whether these effects vary by migrant sex and destination. Labour shortages arise from the migration of a head’s child. However, the migration of the head’s sons produces a greater burden, particularly on female heads/spouses (in Ethiopia) and brothers (in Malawi). Gains from migration in the form of increased total net income justify the increased labour efforts in Ethiopia. Weaker evidence suggests households in Malawi substitute hired for migrant family labour at the expense of total household net income.

Labour, profitability and gender impacts of adopting row planting in Ethiopia
Joachim Vandercasteelen Mekdim Dereje Bart Minten Alemayehu Seyoum Taffesse – European Review of Agricultural Economics, 2018.

Improved technologies are increasingly promoted to farmers in sub-Saharan Africa to address low agricultural productivity. There is, however, a lack of evidence on how adoption affects farmers’ labour use, gender roles and profitability. This paper analyses the farm level impacts of the recently introduced row planting technology in teff production in Ethiopia. Using a randomised controlled trial, we show that row planting significantly increases the total labour requirement and allocation but not teff yields, resulting in a substantial drop in labour productivity. There is no significant profitability effect at the farm level, seemingly explaining the limited success in upscaling the programme.

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.

IFPRI Kampala newsletter – week of Feb 19th

Hello, and welcome come a new edition of the IFPR-Kampala’s USSP weekly news and research digest!

As usual, this weekly 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.

Important notice: The law is changing and we need your help. In order to keep receiving the newsletter, we need you to confirm your membership at the following web address:

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This week, we report on the fact that coffee farmers are trained to boost exports and on the fact that government suspends harvesting, trade of Shea nut trees. We also have an article on how increasing agricultural technology adoption through information and on Understanding GMOs.

In the section discussion papers, policy briefs and research reports, we refer to the following publications:

Under research, we highlight:

Note that newsletters are archived on http://bjornvancampenhout.com/newsletter/

Happy reading,

News:

Coffee farmers trained to boost exports
Observer

At least 45 coffee farmers from across the country have received training on how to market and export their products.  The Agribusiness Development Center with support from the Rabobank Foundation and DFCU bank targeted mainly farmers who are also leaders of cooperatives on how to handle coffee fit for export, how to negotiate a contacts, and skills on how to get information for better prices.

Government suspends harvesting, trade of Shea nut trees
Monitor

The Ministry of Water and Environment has with immediate effect suspended any cutting, transportation and sale of Shea nut and Afzella Africana tree logs and their products saying they are endangered.

Maize everywhere, but no store anywhere
Independent

There is good news on Uganda’s food security front. The agriculture ministry estimates that Uganda has harvested about 5.5 million metric tonnes from the last planting season; which is a 38% increase from the usual harvest of about 4 million metric tonnes.  But the bumper harvest of maize – and beans – has exposed another problem smallholder farmers face; a lack of storage facilities.

Red cherries and coffee farmers who do it right, in Rwanda
Agrilinks

One farmer brings a bag full of well picked cherry, the next one has only 75 percent well-picked and 25 percent black, underripe stems and other debris. Sadly, in many cases they are paid the same. The farmer “doing the right thing” is essentially cheated, because her cherry is immediately mixed with that of the farmers bringing a low quality mix. The price the cooperative (or private washing station) receives in the end is therefore “diluted” by the degraded quality of the raw material.

NCPB buys 2.7m bags of maize, the highest ever in one season
Business Daily Africa

The Kenyan government is buying the grain to replenish the strategic food reserve which is required to have a minimum of three million bags at any given time.

Kenya bets on ancient form of preservation to cut food losses
Daily Nation

Kenya is placing a big bet on hermetic storage bags, one of the oldest forms of food preservation in the world, to reduce post-harvest losses which claim up to 30 per cent of annual maize production.  Hermetic bags are designed to insulate cereals from heat, air and moisture.

Rwandan scientists debate potential pros and cons of allowing farmers to grow GMO crops
Genetic Literacy Project

Rwanda is one of the latest countries that made actions towards legalizing GM crops. According to an official at the Rwanda Environment Management Authority, they have drafted a law regulating GM crops.

EAC agricultural food systems increase youth opportunities
Daily News

Agriculture is widely perceived by youth as an unappealing, traditional, labour intensive farm activity not as a potentially high-profit business activity. However, according to African Economic Outlook, agriculture sector currently involves a spectrum of new opportunities on and off the farm connected to marketing, processing, packaging and food service, in addition to on-farm production.

Zimbabwe gets £21.5m grant as millions in southern Africa face hunger
Fin24

A prolonged dry spell and an invasive crop-eating worm are set to sharply curtail harvests across the southern African region, which could result in severe hunger for millions of people.

Seeding success: Increasing agricultural technology adoption through information
International Growth Centre

Modern agricultural technologies have enormous potential to drive poverty reduction and economic growth, but adoption remains low in many countries. New models of information sharing could help resolve this.

Understanding GMOs: genetic engineering and the future of coffee
Daily Coffee news

Presently, coffee is grown in a region within 25 degrees latitude north to 30 degrees latitude south of the equator, colloquially referred to as the coffee belt. Within this belt, approximately 25 million people are involved in the production of coffee, all of whom are vulnerable to the consequences of climate change.

Experts fear the world could run out of chocolate in 30 years because of climate change
The West Australian

Chocolate could run out in the next thirty years because the crop will be harder to grow in a warming climate, experts have warned.  The cocoa tree is under threat from diseases and a changing climate that will suck moisture from the soil and make it impossible to produce a good crop in many regions around the world by 2050.

A-peeling? Japanese farmers invent edible banana skin
The Guardian

First there were avocados with no stones; now we have bananas with edible skin.  A Japanese farm uses what it calls the “freeze thaw awakening method” to grow bananas that have a softer, digestible peel.

Reports, Policy Briefs and Discussion Papers:

TechnoServe initiative for inclusive agricultural business models
TechnoServe

This case study documents TechnoServe’s experience in identifying ways of enhancing commercial and social value through local sourcing in Africa for SABMiller and AB InBev.

Successful models to empower women in outgrower schemes
Ag Dev Co

This study showcases best practices to promote women’s economic empowerment in outgrower schemes. It derives practical lessons from outgrower schemes, and links these to ten underlying principles of success.

FDI and supply chains in horticulture: diversifying exports and reducing poverty in Africa, Latin America, and other developing economies
Moran, TH, CGD Working Paper, 2018.

How have some developing countries managed to break into the ranks of horticultural exporters, while others have not? What are the obstacles to entering international supply chains for horticultural exports? How can emerging market economies maximize positive impacts on rural employment, on gender employment, and on externalities for local communities?

Research:

Nutrition-sensitive agriculture: What have we learned so far?
MT Ruel, AR Quisumbing, M Balagamwala – Global Food Security, 2018

A growing number of governments, donor agencies, and development organizations are committed to supporting nutrition-sensitive agriculture (NSA) to achieve their development goals. While consensus exists on pathways through which agriculture may influence nutrition-related outcomes, empirical evidence on agriculture’s contribution to nutrition and how it can be enhanced is still weak. This paper reviews recent empirical evidence (since 2014), including findings from impact evaluations of a variety of NSA programs using experimental designs as well as observational studies that document linkages between agriculture, women’s empowerment, and nutrition linkages. The paper summarizes existing knowledge regarding impacts, but also pathways, mechanisms, and contextual factors that affect where and how agriculture may improve nutrition outcomes. The paper concludes with reflections on implications for agricultural programs, policies, and investments, and highlights future research priorities.

Do development projects crowd-out private sector activities? Evidence from contract farming participation in Northern Ghana
Isabel Brigitte Lambrecht, Catherine Ragasa, Food Policy, 2018.

Contract farming (CF) is attractive as a possible private sector-led strategy for improving market coordination and smallholder farmers’ welfare. At the same time, governmental and non-governmental development projects aimed at improving farmers’ welfare continue to be organized. It is not uncommon for CF activities and development projects to take place in the same communities. Yet so far there is no evidence on how development projects affect CF activities. We examine factors affecting entry in and exit from different maize CF schemes in Northern Ghana, and focus specifically on the role of development projects. We find that the presence of agricultural development projects in the community is associated with lower scheme entry, but this not the case for non-agricultural projects. CF exit is more strongly associated with maize projects, but not significantly with non-maize or non-agricultural projects. Thus, our findings do not support concerns of a general moral hazard problem arising from the presence of any development project, but indicate possible negative associations of more closely related agricultural or maize projects with maize CF participation.

The heterogeneous effect of shocks on agricultural innovations adoption: Microeconometric evidence from rural Ethiopia
Gebrelibanos Gebremariam, Wondimagegn Tesfaye, Food Policy, 2018.

Theoretically, the relationship between shocks and agricultural innovation adoption could be ambiguous. While shocks could lower the competence and capacity of households to adopt new agricultural innovations, households can also take-up agricultural innovations as a coping mechanism against the different shocks they face. Using a nationally representative household data from Ethiopia of the Living Standards Measurement Study-Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA) of the World Bank, this paper analyzes the effect of idiosyncratic and covariate shocks on adoption of different agricultural innovations, assuming interdependence among the innovations. We find shocks to have heterogeneous effects on the adoption of agricultural innovations. Specifically, production and health shocks have negative effects on the adoption of high-cost innovations such as improved seeds, chemical fertilizer, and irrigation. However, production shocks are positively associated with low-cost innovations such as organic fertilizer. To enhance farmers’ adoption of agricultural innovations, especially high-cost innovations, there is a greater need towards the design of policies and interventions that would reduce household’s exposure to production and health shocks.

Maize lethal necrosis disease: Evaluating agronomic and genetic control strategies for Ethiopia and Kenya
PP Marenya, O Erenstein, B Prasanna, D Makumbi et al- Agricultural Systems, 2018

Maize lethal necrosis disease (MLN) was first diagnosed in eastern Africa in the 2010’s and is a big threat to their maize-based agri-food systems with estimated losses amounting to US$261 million in Ethiopia and US$198 million in Kenya. This paper reviews the agronomic and policy options to contain MLN and comparatively analyzes the feasibility of using maize-bean rotations and MLN-tolerant germplasm as key alternative strategies for managing MLN. Results from crop simulation and economic surplus models are used to make assessments on what strategy offers the most realistic MLN control approach given the circumstances of smallholder production in Kenya and Ethiopia. The paper finds that although maize-legume rotations are sound agronomic recommendations and are crucial for long term maize production system viability, their widespread application over large geographic areas for MLN control is economically challenging given that maize is a preferred staple. We conclude that scaling MLN-tolerant germplasm proves highly viable with estimated multiplier benefits of US$245-756 million in Ethiopia and US$195-678 million in Kenya, and benefiting up to 2.1 million people in Ethiopia and 1.2 million in Kenya. Given that the threat of MLN is present and ongoing, the food and economic security of maize-based agrarian economies in eastern Africa will critically depend on the successful mainstreaming of MLN tolerance in their maize seed systems.

Gendered Incidence and Impacts of Tenure Insecurity on Agricultural Performance in Malawi’s Customary Tenure System
Klaus Deininger, Fang Xia & Stein Holden – Journal of Development Studies, 2018.

Malawi’s recent passage of Land Acts provide an opportunity to clarify different aspects of the country’s land tenure in an integrated way. To assess whether doing so might be economically justified, we explore incidence and impact of tenure insecurity among smallholders. Insecurity is not only widespread, with 22 per cent of land users being concerned about losing their land, but is also associated with a productivity loss of 9 per cent for female operators, equivalent to US$ 11 million per year at the national level, enough to pay for a nation-wide tenure regularisation programme in two to three years.

Cash Crops and Food Security: Evidence from Ethiopian Smallholder Coffee Producers
Tadesse Kuma, Mekdim Dereje, Kalle Hirvonen & Bart Minten – Journal of Development Studies, 2018.

One of the central questions in food policy debates has been the role of cash cropping for achieving food security in low-income countries. We revisit this question in the context of smallholder coffee production in Ethiopia. Using data collected by the authors on about 1600 coffee farmers in the country, we find that coffee income is associated with improved food security, even after controlling for total income and other factors. Further analysis suggests that one possible pathway is linked to being better able to smooth consumption across agricultural seasons.

Does Intensive Tillage Enhance Productivity and Reduce Risk Exposure? Panel Data Evidence from Smallholders’ Agriculture in Ethiopia
ZA Abro, M Jaleta, H Teklewold – Journal of Agricultural Economics, 2018

We analyse the impact of intensity of tillage on wheat productivity and risk exposure using panel household-plot level data from Ethiopia. In order to control for selection bias, we estimate a flexible moment-based production function using an endogenous switching regression treatment effects model. We find that tillage has a complementary impact on productivity and risk exposure. As the intensity of tillage increases, productivity increases and farmers’ exposure to risk declines. Our results suggest that smallholder farmers use tillage as an ex-ante risk management strategy. The main policy implication of this study is that the opportunity cost of switching to reduced tillage in wheat production seem rather high unless farmers are supported by appropriate incentive schemes.