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/
Uganda to directly market its tea to achieve better prices
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
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
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
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
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
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
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)
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®
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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