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newsletter week of 21 July 2014

2014 July 22
by bvancampenhout

Sweet PotatoIn news this week, we report on Women MPs want tax on inputs revoked. In addition, there is more news such as Food waste reduction could help feed world's starving and Fake seeds are keeping Uganda's farmers poor among others.

Under agricultural and food policy related research, we provide links to papers on:


Thank you and enjoy.



The challenge of Africa’s nitrogen drought: some indicators from the Malawian experience



This paper describes how years of continuous cultivation with little or no use of external inputs to restore soil nutrients has resulted in a situation in which crop production in a number of African countries is now limited by nutrient deficiencies – nitrogen, in particular, which is crucial to healthy plant growth. This widespread problem has been described as a “nitrogen drought”. Attempts to remedy this situation using only organic inputs have largely failed to keep up with the rate of nutrient loss.


Can Africa create a new green generation of food producers?


By 2040 Africa will be home to one in five of the planet’s young people. What kind of work can they expect to find? In Africa, three in five people in urban areas will be younger than 18. Should this huge and combustible population continue to lack employment, then civil unrest and crime are likely to rise. Meanwhile, alarm bells are already sounding about how the planet will feed 9.6 billion people by 2050 - especially as climate change impacts crop yields, changes weather patterns and makes water scarcer in many areas. Across all crops in sub-Saharan Africa, yields are expected to decline by 15 to 20 percent by 2050, according to forecasts from the World Bank.National investments can be made that will help Africa respond to the coming food insecurity and destabilisation made worse by climate change. First and foremost, the expected declines in crop yields must be reconciled with the predicted increase in population. This means crop yields must be at least stabilized, and ideally increased.


Tomato paste and noodles: Olam bullish about food processing in Africa



Africa, a continent with a wealth of natural resources and 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land, has historically exported much of its raw materials, with very little value added to them on the continent. While recent years have seen the growth of local food manufacturing, Africa still relies on large volumes of imported processed food to meet rising consumer demand. Olam is a global agribusiness and food conglomerate listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange. Established in 1989, the company has had an interest in Africa from day one, and began by exporting raw cashew nuts from Nigeria to India. Today Olam has operations throughout the world, including 25 African countries. The company no longer only exports raw commodities from Africa, but has ventured into the processing and packaging of branded food products on the continent, such as the Tasty Tom tomato paste and the Cherie brand of instant noodles in West Africa.


FAO projects to boost regional food security

East African


The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)-managed Africa Solidarity Trust Fund last week gave a green light to four new, continent-spanning projects at a ceremony during the African Union Summit. The projects, worth $16 million, will span 24 different countries in West, Central, East, and Southern Africa, focusing on youth employment and malnutrition, trans-boundary animal diseases and food safety and urban food security. They include a project promoting greater diversity in agricultural production and activities to improve nutrition and to offer better job prospects to young people in Eastern Africa. Recipient countries: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.


Malnutrition a threat with use of climate-resilient crops, scientists say

Thomson Reuters Foundation


As farmers move toward growing crops designed to meet growing world demand for food and stand up to tougher climate conditions, they may inadvertently be worsening Malnutrition, scientists say. Such "hidden hunger" stems from a lack of vitamins and minerals in some crops that replace staple favourites, and a narrowing of the range of foods eaten.


Which 7 countries are most committed to ending hunger?

The Guardian


Some of the world's poorest countries are taking significant strides in addressing under nutrition and hunger, according to new evidence from the recently-published hunger and nutrition commitment index (HANCI) 2013. The HANCI compares 45 developing countries for their performance on 22 indicators of political commitment to reduce hunger and under nutrition. All the countries compared in the index have high rates of hunger and under nutrition. The comparative approach of the index means that country scores are calculated in relation to the political commitment of the other countries in the index. Uganda is ranked 17th out of the 45 countries thus assessed.


Food waste reduction could help feed world's starving



"If food was as expensive as a Ferrari, we would polish it and look after it." Instead, we waste staggering amounts. So says Professor Per Pinstrup-Andersen, head of an independent panel of experts advising the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization on how to tackle the problem. Some 40% of all the food produced in the United States is never eaten. In Europe, we throw away 100 million tonnes of food every year. And yet there are one billion starving people in the world. The FAO's best guess is that one third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted before it is eaten.


Fake seeds are keeping Uganda's farmers poor

The Guardian


Despite its importance for food security and 10 years of donor funding, why is the seed industry in Uganda still struggling? Seeds are the most renewable agricultural resource. Quality seed is one of the determinants of farming success but high-yield seeds are expensive, and so place poor farmers at a disadvantage. As a result 90% of Uganda's crops are still produced using home-saved seed. Only 10–15% of farmers in Uganda use improved seed and many of the seed companies find it difficult to turn a profit. Why, after so much effort and support, is the seed industry still struggling? The reasons these problems persist are threefold. In research I carried out for the World Bank, they were listed.


Women MPs want tax on inputs revoked

Daily Monitor


Female legislators under their umbrella association Uganda Women’s Parliamentary Association (Uwopa) have vowed to take all measures to see that the proposed taxes by government on agricultural inputs do not come into force.

In the 2014/15 budget speech, the Minister of Finance, Maria Kiwanuka removed all tax exemptions for agriculture chain inputs and imposed an 18 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT). Amongi said things like hoes, pesticides, seeds, wheel barrows, milk cans, packaging material will not only increase prices of agricultural produce but will also hurt the development of commercial agriculture.


Advancing Global Food Security in the Face of a Changing Climate

Chicago Council on Global Affairs


The Chicago Council on Global Affairs report urges the US government to take action to curb the risks climate change poses to global food security. It explains how higher temperatures, changes in rainfall and natural disasters caused by climate change could undermine food production and put food supplies at risk. In total, climate change could reduce food production growth by 2 percent each decade for the rest of this century. The report calls on the US government to integrate climate change adaptation into its global food security strategy through different recommendations.


Spotlight on P4P in Uganda



In Uganda, the World Food Program's Purchase for Progress intervention has supported infrastructure improvements to facilitate smallholders’ aggregation of commodities and collective sales. Meanwhile, many challenges remain, especially related to crop quality and standards. In Uganda, P4P focuses on strengthening the capacity of farmers’ organizations to aggregate and sell commodities to quality buyers, such as WFP, local millers, traders for export and others. Through partnerships with the government, indigenous and international NGOs, and other partners, P4P has provided smallholder farmers with the necessary training and equipment to increase their production, improve crop quality and strengthen the marketing capacity of farmers’ organizations. P4P is promoting Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA) to facilitate credit access among P4P-supported farmers’ organizations.

P4P also seeks to connect farmers’ organizations with institutional and private sector buyers that can provide an assured source of demand beyond WFP. This approach has built on WFP Uganda’s Agriculture and Market Support (AMS) project to enhance prospects for sustainability.




Land pressures, the evolution of farming systems, and development strategies in Africa: A synthesis

T.S. Jayne, J. Chamberlin, D. Headey – Food Policy, 2014

Evidence assembled in this special issue of Food Policy shows that rising rural population densities in parts of Africa are profoundly affecting farming systems and the region’s economies in ways that are underappreciated in current discourse on African development issues. This study synthesizes how people, markets and governments are responding to rising land pressures in Africa, drawing on key findings from the various contributions in this special issue. The papers herein revisit the issue of Boserupian agricultural intensification as an important response to land constraints, but they also go further than Boserup and her followers to explore broader responses to land constraints, including non-farm diversification, migration, and reduced fertility rates.


The Ambiguity of Joint Asset Ownership: Cautionary Tales From Uganda and South Africa

Krista Jacobs, Aslihan Kes - Feminist Economics, 2014


This study uses individual-level survey data from women and men in Uganda and South Africa to examine coupled women's joint ownership of land and housing. It compares women's control over and benefits from jointly held land and housing with those of coupled women not owning land or housing at all and coupled women owning them solely. The lack of a clear and consistent advantage of joint ownership potentially arises from frequent disagreement within couples about whether the land or house is jointly owned. The study serves as a reminder of the complexities of joint ownership in practice, particularly within families, that need to be considered in order for coupled women to benefit from joint asset ownership. Efforts promoting joint ownership, for example, joint titling and marital property laws supporting joint ownership, should not only consider these complexities but also establish and communicate clear and enforceable rules for joint ownership.


The organization of urban agriculture: Farmer associations and urbanization in Tanzania

Stephan Schmidt, Wakuru Magigi, Boniphace Godfrey –Cities, 2014

This paper argues that the degree to which urban farming associations organize is related to the rate of urbanization, specifically demographic changes, the institutional landscape in which they operate, the environmental context, as well as underlying economic structure or local economic base. These structural conditions in turn impact the characteristics of urban agricultural associations; specifically their membership, how they relate to other institutions, the issues they face, and the economic and social roles they play. We utilize semi-structured interviews of farmer associations and interviews with government officials in Moshi and Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, two cities that differ in terms of their urbanization patterns and economic, environmental and institutional context, to better understand the nature of the relationship between urban agricultural organizations and the context in which they operate.


Drivers and risk factors for circulating African swine fever virus in Uganda, 2012-2013

T. Kabuuka, P.D. Kasaija, H. Mulindwa, A. Shittu, A.D.S. Bastos, F.O. Fasina - Research in Veterinary Science, 2014


We explored observed risk factors and drivers of infection possibly associated with African swine fever (ASF) epidemiology in Uganda. Representative sub-populations of pig farms and statistics were used in a case-control model. Indiscriminate disposal of pig visceral and waste materials after slaughter, including on open refuse dumps, farm-gate buyers collecting pigs and pig products from within a farm, and retention of survivor pigs were plausible risk factors. Wire mesh-protected windows in pig houses were found to be protective against ASF infection. Sighting engorged ticks on pigs, the presence of a lock for each pig pen and/or a gate at the farm entrance were significantly associated with infection/non-infection; possible explanations were offered. Strict adherence to planned within-farm and community-based biosecurity, and avoidance of identified risk factors is recommended to reduce infection. Training for small-scale and emerging farmers should involve multidimensional and multidisciplinary approaches to reduce human-related risky behaviours driving infection.


How Institutions Mediate the Impact of Cash Cropping on Food Crop Intensification: An Application to Cotton in Sub-Saharan Africa

Veronique Theriault, David L. Tschirley – World Development, 2014


It is widely agreed that smallholder-led agricultural growth would contribute most to improved food security and reduced poverty. Yet, how to achieve broader and more sustainable access by smallholder farmers to productivity-enhancing inputs for food crop production remains a largely unsolved riddle. In light of the great institutional diversity across cotton sectors in Sub-Saharan Africa, this study investigates whether cotton can be used to spur the intensification of smallholder food production. First, a conceptual framework linking cotton institutional structures to food crop intensification is developed. Then, predictions from the conceptual framework are compared with empirical evidence from different countries.


newsletter of week of July 13th 2014

2014 July 15
by bvancampenhout

14328235549_2646450d40_mHello, and welcome to the IFPRI Uganda Strategy Support Program’s weekly news digest.

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.

In news this week, we report on Make agriculture a sexy career choice for young Africans, urges AGRA head. In addition, there is more news such as Climate change threatens your cup of coffee as soon as 2020 and African seed companies meet in Uganda to review progress among others.

Under agricultural and food policy related research, we provide links to papers on:

Thank you and enjoy.


Make agriculture a sexy career choice for young Africans, urges AGRA head

Thomson Reuters Foundation

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), founded by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2006, focuses on getting better quality seeds to farmers, boosting their access to markets and finance, helping them band together to lobby for policy change, and revitalising degraded soils. Africa has almost 200 million people aged between 15 and 24, but more than 70 percent of young Africans live on less than $2 per day, and they are twice as likely to be unemployed as adults, the report said. Encouraging more young people into agriculture is a solution that can also prevent them migrating to city slums or being drawn into shady activities that pose a security risk.

Microsoft-backed VetAfrica app helps EA farmers in disease diagnosis


Microsoft has partnered Glasgow-based technology company, Cojengo, to develop software seeking to provide East African farmers with innovative diagnostic tools and disease surveillance data. The VetAfrica app aims to help farmers in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania by enabling vets, animal health workers and farmers quickly and accurately to diagnose livestock illness and identify which drugs are most effective to treat disease. East Africa has over 100 million farmers spread across thousands of square miles, a number Cojengo predicts will influence massive growth of mobile and cloud tech solutions in its African markets.

Climate change threatens your cup of coffee as soon as 2020

Thomson Reuters Foundation

A new report warns that areas suitable for coffee growing will decrease substantially by as soon as 2020 due to climate change impacts in major producing countries."The situation is alarming," said the Coffee Barometer 2014, produced by a group of environment and development organisations including Oxfam-Novib, Hivos and WWF. Severe droughts, like that in Brazil this year, warmer temperatures or heavy rains make the coffee harvest season increasingly unpredictable, it said. Erratic temperatures and rainfall can affect coffee plants directly, making it harder for them to grow, as well as indirectly by providing favourable conditions for pests and diseases such as the berry borer and coffee rust, which has hit Central America and Colombia hard in the past three years.

African seed companies meet in Uganda to review progress


A four day meeting has officially kicked off at the Lake Victoria Serena Hotel in Uganda to discuss issues that bedevil the seed sector in Africa. Over 52 seed companies fully African-owned and led are convening to recognize and learn from their peers who have attained the remarkable goal of producing and selling 10,000 metric tons of seed per year. African seed companies are key to food security because they have the local knowledge and capacity to meet the seed needs of African smallholder farmers. This meeting is dubbed the “10 K Seed Company convening.”

Coffee Barometer 2014


This year's publication which is supported by Hivos, IUCN Nederland, Oxfam Novib, Solidaridad and WWF, explores the global and local dimensions of the coffee production system, by observing how the social, economic and ecological aspects are intertwined. It examines recent developments in the coffee market to trace the main trends. It seeks to identify the consequences of climate change, the market development for sustainable coffee and its procurement by the world's top ten coffee roasters.

Coffee to rugs and farmers to factories: Fair Trade USA is in growth mode

The Guardian

Fair Trade USA is in fast-growth mode. This fall, Patagonia and PACT will begin selling Fairtrade apparel, made in factories that they say will meet strict environmental and social standards; a small company called Oliberté already sells Fairtrade shoes. Several years ago, Fair Trade USA formed a partnership with a nonprofit startup called Good World Solutions, which has developed mobile technology to connect big companies to the farmers and workers in their supply chains. Meantime, Fair Trade USA is working to certify a bell pepper farm in British Columbia, Canada, expanding the movement beyond its roots in the global south. This flurry of activity has brought Rice lots of attention, some of it unwelcome. His supporters say that he works tirelessly to expand the impact of fair trade. Critics accuse him of abandoning its principles.

The power of the state is needed to improve the nation's diet

The Guardian

Put a jug of water on the table. As a slogan, it has the beauty of simplicity. As a health message, it is clear, affordable and inoffensive. But as a symbol of the state's willingness to get to grips with the damage the food industry does to public health, it is redolent of defeatism. The battle to get us all to eat better, drink more healthily and live well takes more than a smart strap line and – in the same way that ending endemic tooth decay meant putting fluoride in the mains water supply – it takes more than self-help and individual effort.

We can prevent another food price crisis


Five years ago today, amidst a global economic recession and world food price crisis, world leaders gathered at the G-8 summit in L’Aquila, Italy, and made one of the largest financial commitments to fight hunger and poverty alleviation to date — $20 billion in aid to agriculture. At the time, price spikes had plunged millions of people into poverty and prompted riots in cities across the world. Donor support for agriculture was at its lowest point in 20 years. This lack of investment was alarming for many reasons. According to a 2008 report by the World Bank, growth in a country’s agricultural sector is twice as effective at reducing poverty as growth in any other sector. Coupled with the fact that the majority of the world’s poor and hungry are farmers, donors used this crisis moment to reverse course and begin again to invest in agriculture — both to prevent future global food crises and to fight hunger and poverty. We know that broadly if African farmers’ productivity continues to stagnate, then by 2030, Africa will only be able to meet 25 percent of its own demand for food.

Why growing coffee in northern Uganda may not be viable for now

Daily Monitor

The future of northern Uganda in coffee production has been promising following the introduction of coffee by the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA). However, the prospects of growing this key cash crop is likely to be ruined by preventable quality factors in the seedling multiplication and supply system in this part of the country. Currently, there are 16,000 coffee farmers in northern Uganda who have planted 10,045 hectares of coffee. In 2013, coffee output was 154 metric tons, and projected to increase to 16,323 metric tons by 2017, from the stock of coffee trees so far planted. However, there is an imminent setback to the success in the Robusta coffee growing drive in the mid-northern Uganda. This is mainly driven by the low capacity to produce the certified quality elite clonal robusta coffee seeds. There is only one scientifically recommended clonal coffee mother garden in mid-north sub-region stationed at the Ngetta - Zonal Agricultural Research Development Institute (ZARDI).

Africa finally has a continental agricultural strategy

The East African

Regional co-operation has been increased as a result of CAADP engagement. CAADP has also facilitated the establishment of mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation, review, dialogue and accountability. What is going to define the next decade will be the implementation of CAADP investment plans. There are a number of expectations for 2014, the AU Year of Agriculture and Food Security and for the next decade. Africans are fatigued by the numerous declarations and decisions that are not translated into action. This time around, the expectations are huge.


Synergies and tradeoffs between cash crop production and food security: a case study in rural Ghana

Tal Lee Anderman, Roseline Remans, Stephen A. Wood, Kyle DeRosa, Ruth S. DeFries – Food Security, 2014

Despite dramatic improvements in global crop yields over the past half-century, chronic food insecurity persists in many parts of the world. Farming crops for sale (cash cropping) has been recommended as a way to increase income that can, in turn, improve food security for smallholder farmers. Despite long-term efforts by development agencies and government to promote cash cropping, there is limited evidence documenting a relationship between these crops and the food security of households cultivating them. We used a mixed methods approach to build a case study to assess these relationships by collecting quantitative and qualitative data from cacao and oil palm farmers in the Ashanti region of Ghana. Three dimensions of food security were considered: food availability, measured by the months in a year households reported inadequate food; food access, indicated by the coping strategies they employed to secure sufficient food; and food utilization, gauged by the diversity of household diets and anthropometric measurements of child nutritional status. We found significant negative relationships between each of these pillars of food security and a household’s intensity of cash crop production, measured by both quantity and area. A qualitative assessment indicated community perception of these tradeoffs and identified potential mechanisms, including increasing food prices and competing activities for land use, as underlying causes. The adverse relationship between cash crop production and household food security observed in this paper calls for caution; results suggest that positive relationships cannot be assumed, and that further empirical evidence is needed to better understand these tradeoffs.

Challenges to Soya Export Promotion in Malawi: an Application of Net-Map in International Trade and Policy Reform

Noora-Lisa Aberman , Brent Edelman, 2014

Malawi soya exhibits strong export potential and could help Malawi’s economy address an acute balance of payments challenge, fiscal deficits, and pervasive rural poverty. However, farmers and traders attempting to export soya face a complicated set of procedures to carry out a formal export. In this study, we attempt to bring clarity to the export process and then lay the groundwork for trade policy reform to facilitate soya exports. First, we use Process Net-Map to track the steps required to export soya, quantify and time and cost requirements for each step of the process, and calculate the discretion with which official rules and regulations related to the export process are applied to exporters. We then re-employ Net-Map to study the landscape for trade policy reform to determine the policy network characteristics required for successful policy reform.

newsletter week of 7th of July!

2014 July 9
by bvancampenhout

14514840175_faf6c53c01_mHello, and welcome to the IFPRI Uganda Strategy Support Program’s weekly news digest.

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.

In news this week, we report on Law on biosecurity to regulate scientists’ work. In addition, there is more news such as UK Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs Committee Releases Food Security Report and Taxes on agro inputs a set back - experts among others.

Under agricultural and food policy related research, we provide links to papers on:

Thank you and enjoy.


newsletter of june 30th

2014 July 2
by bvancampenhout

20131120_134409Hello, and welcome to the IFPRI Uganda Strategy Support Program’s weekly news digest.

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.

In news this week, we report on Agro-Value Chain Finance and Climate Adaptation: The role of the banking sector. In addition, there is more news such as Are fortified foods poisoning our children? and Government issues new climate change guidelines among others.

Under agricultural and food policy related research, we provide links to papers on:



Thank you and enjoy


IFPRI Kampala Newsletter – week of June 23th

2014 June 25
by bvancampenhout

12209977313_4aec27a633_m(1)Hello, and welcome to the IFPRI Uganda Strategy Support Program’s weekly news digest.

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.

In news this week, we report on Africa's women entrepreneurs take the lead. In addition, there is more news on Hot and hungry: how to stop climate change derailing the fight against hunger and The ‘super’ banana that fights for truth, justice and healthy levels of vitamin A among others.

Under agricultural and food policy related research, we provide links to papers on:


Thank you and enjoy.


IFPRI Kampala Newsletter – week of june 16th

2014 June 18
by bvancampenhout

photo credit IFPRI

photo credit IFPRI

Hello, and welcome to the IFPRI Uganda Strategy Support Program’s weekly news digest.

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.

In news this week, we report on Why the north must grow coffee. In addition, there is more news such as How weeds could help feed billions and Genome breakthrough could help fight against sleeping sickness among others.

Under agricultural and food policy related research, we provide links to papers on:

Thank you and enjoy


Why the north must grow coffee

The Observer

For northern Uganda to climb out of poverty, the region must grow perennial crops like coffee and tea, a study by the Economic Policy Research Centre has recommended. Swaibu Mbowa, a senior research fellow at EPRC says that studies have long attributed the significant decline in poverty in central, western and eastern regions due to coffee growing.

The latest EPRC study, whose results were released last week, also showed a statistically significant reduction in poverty in coffee-growing families in the north, compared to the non-coffee growing households.

Genome breakthrough could help fight against sleeping sickness


Scientists have welcomed the development of genome sequence data on the tsetse fly, the vector responsible for the transmission of human African trypanosomiasis, commonly known as sleeping sickness. They say it could be instrumental in devising strategies to eradicate the fly and reduce deaths and the spread of other diseases associated with it.

GM crops: continuing controversy


In 2002, the international press was full of headlines such as 'Starving Zimbabwe Shuns GM Maize'. This was repeated again in 2010. The context was the refusal to import whole-grain GM maize from South Africa, as regulatory approval had not been granted, and there were fears that the food aid grain would be planted when GM crops had not been approved for release by the national regulatory authorities. The 2002 episode in particular caused a massive furore, with the governments of Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique cast as villains, at odds with the needs of their people. The debate has re-emerged recently with calls from a number of quarters, including the CZI and CFU, for Zimbabwe to accept the inevitable and formally approve the planting of GM crops. Of course GM crops, and especially maize, are planted widely as so much maize grain has been imported through informal routes from South Africa in recent years. An official acceptance of GM crops would, it is argued, increase productivity, reduce food aid dependence and tackle poverty. GM for some is the silver tech bullet that Zimbabwe urgently needs.

Beyond 20 percent: Why multisectoral approaches to improving nutrition matter


Undernutrition is the single biggest contributor to child mortality, and one of the world’s most serious health and human development challenges.  Although the overall trend for undernutrition is improving, there are still 162 million children under-five who are stunted, the vast majority of whom live in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Poor nutrition causes a range of serious and costly health problems, from impaired cognitive and physical development to illness, disease and death; nearly one-half of all child deaths are attributable to undernutrition. However the implications extend far beyond health outcomes, affecting educational attainment, workforce capacity and productivity, political stability, and economic progress. To achieve global targets for stunting reduction, it is necessary to both improve coverage of nutrition-specific interventions and massively scale up efforts towards putting nutrition-sensitive principles into practice.

GMO 2.0: genetically modified foods with added health benefits

The Guardian

The biotech industry has been slow to develop food that is healthier, better tasting or longer lasting – to its political detriment. That is about to change. Think of these new products as GMOs 2.0 – biotech foods designed not just for farmers but for consumers, too. But to no one’s surprise, GMO critics say the new foods haven’t been sufficiently tested by regulators.

Pioneer, the big seed company owned by DuPont, is bringing to the market a brand of genetically engineered soybean called Plenish that the company says will produce a healthier oil, free of transfats. Plenish oils have been designed to replace the unhealthy partially hydrogenated oils used to fry food and to keep cookies and crackers, crackers and chips from going stale.

How weeds could help feed billions

The Christian Science Monitor

Scientists in the US and elsewhere are conducting intensive experiments to cross hardy weeds with food crops such as rice and wheat – making them more resilient as drought, higher temperatures, and elevated CO2 levels pose new threats to food supplies. Weeds that resemble knee-high grass grow in planter pots in a small room at a U.S. Department of Agriculture lab just outside Washington, D.C. Light, heat, and carbon dioxide reach the plants at steady levels. For more than a month, the weeds have sustained the same conditions expected to be earth’s norm 35 years from now — carbon dioxide levels equivalent to an urban traffic jam, and temperatures tipping into the dangerous zone for the planet’s health. But rather than choking from such treatment, the weeds — a wild plant called red rice — are thriving. The test lab mimics conditions expected around the world by 2050, when an additional 2.6 billion people will be wondering what’s for dinner.

Shockwatch: food prices annual review


A new report from the Overseas Development Institute explains how since 2008, grain prices have been high and volatile but it now seems a new equilibrium has been reached. Prices are likely to settle, largely thanks to boosting production in developing countries. It also summarises two new impact studies which suggest that higher food prices may benefit some poor rural households.

Agriculture is the biggest contributor to Africa’s future economic growth


It is clear that in Africa, agriculture is the single largest contributor to future economic growth. To begin with, it is a well-known fact that growth in agricultural is sector is 2.5 times as effective at reducing poverty as growth in other sectors (statistics by the World Bank). It is estimated that with proper investment and management, agricultural output in Africa could increase from $280b per year to as much as $880b by 2030. This is hard to beat by other sources of prosperity. Moreover, with more than two-thirds of our citizens today dependent on farming for their livelihoods, increasing attention and investment in the sector and ensuring that investment well utilised is, therefore, one of the most effective ways to reduce poverty and get Sub-Saharan Africa per capita income to the first $1000.


Impact of households' membership of farmer groups on the adoption of agricultural technologies in Uganda: Evidence from the Uganda Census of Agriculture 2008/09

Annet Adong - Agrekon, 2014

This study examines the impact of the adoption of agricultural technologies by households that are members of farmers’ groups using the Uganda Census of Agriculture (UCA) of 2008/09. It employs the two-step control function approach to impact evaluation. Results show plausible evidence of the positive impact of households’ membership of farmers’ groups on the adoption of improved technologies, particularly in the adoption of techniques such as making use of improved seeds, organic fertilizer and improved livestock breeds. However, for farmers to start making use of inorganic fertilizer, the impact is insignificant unless the farmer decides to use both organic and inorganic fertilizers simultaneously. Farmer group participation and household retention in groups in Uganda should thus be encouraged and should be used as an avenue for the dissemination of agricultural technologies in Uganda.

Urban Governance and Service Delivery in African Cities: The Role of Politics and Policies

Danielle Resnick - Development Policy Review, 2014

This is an introduction to a special issue sponsored by UNU-WIDER focusing on key governance challenges related to addressing gaps in urban service delivery in sub-Saharan Africa. First, due to decentralisation policies in much of Africa, the provision of services is often transferred to sub-national authorities. But complex layers of administration and high levels of poverty deprive local governments of adequate resources. Secondly, opposition parties now control a number of African cities, a situation known as ‘vertically-divided authority’. Consequently, central governments do not always have an incentive to help municipal governments improve their performance. Case studies of Senegal, South Africa and Uganda highlight how and when such dynamics become problematic for the delivery of urban services, and offer important implications for the donor community.

Pesticide knowledge, practice and attitude and how it affects the health of small-scale farmers in Uganda: A cross-sectional study

AH Oesterlund, JF Thomsen, DK Sekimpi, J Maziina, A Racheal, E Jørs –African Health Sciences, 2014

Over the past years there has been an increase in the use of pesticides in developing countries. This study describes pesticide use among small-scale farmers in Uganda and analyses predictors of pesticide poisoning (intoxication) symptoms. A cross-sectional study was conducted using a standardized questionnaire. Some 317 small-scale farmers in two districts in Uganda were interviewed about pesticide use, knowledge and attitude, symptoms of intoxication, personal protective equipment (PPE) and hygiene. The risk of reporting symptoms was analysed using logistic regression analysis. The most frequently used pesticides belonged to WHO class II. The farmers had poor knowledge about pesticide toxicity, and the majority did not use appropriate PPE nor good hygiene when handling pesticides. There was no significant association between the number of times of spraying with pesticides and self-reported symptoms of pesticide poisoning. The only significant association was between blowing and sucking the nozzle of the knapsack sprayer and self-reported symptoms of pesticide intoxication (OR: 2.13. 95% CI: 1.09 – 4.18).

newsletter week of 9th June 2014

2014 June 11
by bvancampenhout

photo credit DFID

photo credit DFID

Hello, and welcome to the IFPRI Uganda Strategy Support Program’s weekly news digest. Do you want to get this newsletter delivered weekly in you inbox? Click here.

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.

In news this week, we report on WFP scaling-up a successful post-harvest programme for smallholder farmers. In addition, there is more news such as New maize varieties to boost yields and Why the salt miners of Uganda's lakes are dying for a deal on climate change among others.

Under agricultural and food policy related research, we provide links to papers on:


Thank you and enjoy.


WFP scaling-up a successful post-harvest programme for smallholder farmers


A recently completed trial reveals how P4P-supported smallholder farmers drastically reduced their post-harvest losses, losing less than two percent of their harvest over three months of storage. WFP is now planning to scale up the successful initiative with a project that aims to reach 41,000 farming households in Burkina Faso and Uganda. By receiving specialized training and investing in subsidised storage equipment, these farmers are expected to substantially reduce their post-harvest losses and thereby also increase their surplus and sales.

Standing on the sidelines: Why food and beverage companies must do more to tackle climate change


For the food and beverage industry, climate change is a major threat. For millions of people, it means more extreme weather and greater hunger. The Big 10 companies are significant contributors to this crisis, yet they are not doing nearly enough to help tackle it.

In this paper, Oxfam calls on the Big 10 to face up to the scale of greenhouse gas emissions produced through their supply chains, and address the deforestation and unsustainable land-use practices they allow to happen. The Big 10 must set new targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions throughout their supply chains. But they cannot tackle climate risk by acting alone.

They have a duty to step off the sidelines and use their influence to call for urgent climate action from other industries and governments.

African Economic Outlook 2014

African Development Bank

By participating more effectively in the global production of goods and services, Africa can transform its economy and achieve a development breakthrough, according to the latest African Economic Outlook. Produced annually by the African Development Bank, the OECD Development Centre and the United Nations Development Programme, this year’s report shows that Africa has weathered internal and external shocks and is poised to achieve healthy economic growth rates. The continent’s growth is projected to accelerate to 4.8 percent in 2014 and 5 to 6 percent in 2015, levels which have not been seen since the global economic crisis of 2009. Africa’s economic growth is more broad-based, argues the report, driven by domestic demand, infrastructure and increased continental trade in manufactured goods.

USAID launches nutrition strategy


The U.S. Agency for International Development has launched a multi-sector strategy to promote adequate nutrition and cut by 2 million over five years the number of chronically malnourished and “stunted” children worldwide and also to keep acute malnutrition below 15 percent in places experiencing humanitarian crisis. The strategy focuses on “the 1,000 days from pregnancy to a child’s second birthday” and seek to integrate that focus into USAID’s largest programming streams — health, agriculture and humanitarian assistance. Adequate nutrition during that 1,000-day time period is critical to a child’s development, and under-nutrition for mothers and children during that time can cause stunting, which has been linked to cognitive impairment and poor health outcomes.

Food prices and food riots

The World Bank

So-called "food riots" have got a lot of attention in recent years. But, what role do food and food prices actually play in violent demonstrations and conflicts? The May issue of the World Bank's Food Price Watch finds that the relationship between food and violence takes several forms, involving not only food prices but also food supplies and competition over agricultural and infrastructure resources. For this reason, monitoring food prices responds not only to food security and welfare interests, but also to political stability and security concerns. Proper monitoring constitutes a first step in addressing the complex interactions between food insecurity and conflict. This issue also presents global price trends; this month's report finds that international food prices increased by 4% between January and April 2014, with particularly sharp increases for wheat and maize.

Melding science and tradition to tackle climate change


In the latest of several partnerships between tradition and modern science aimed at improving resilience to climate change, pastoralists and meteorologists in Tanzania are working together to produce weather forecasts better suited to farmers. The hope is that by drawing from both indigenous knowledge and contemporary weather forecasting techniques, crop yields can be increased. Using traditional indicators such as the movement of red ants, the flowering of mango and other trees, the migration of termites and patterns and colours in the sky, farmers in Sakala village of Ngorongoro District compare their two-weekly forecasts with those released by the TMA.

New maize varieties to boost yields

Daily Monitor

Farmers in Uganda now have higher chances of increasing yields even in the light of predicted drought conditions, with the new drought-tolerant maize hybrids. The Ministry of Agriculture through its National Variety Release Committee has approved the release of four hybrids, WE2101, WE2103, WE2104 and WE2106. The hybrids were developed under the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (Wema) project, a public-private partnership dedicated to delivering drought-tolerant and insect-pest protected seed to smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Why the salt miners of Uganda's lakes are dying for a deal on climate change

The Observer

Didas Yuryahewa, bent double and waist-deep in water, holds his breath as he struggles to gouge out another shovel of stinking black mud. The air is thick with the bad-egg stench of hydrogen sulphide mixed with ammonia. The equatorial sun beats down on his naked back, leaving a salty sheen. In the good times, Yuryahewa – and hundreds of other salt miners at Lake Katwe in western Uganda – can make a reasonable living, but it is a casino existence. Salt production turns rapidly from boom to bust with the seasons, leaving the workers struggling to make ends meet, and climate change is starting to load the dice against them.

Food shock recovery suggests price spikes went against the grain

PovertyMatters Blog

After more than 30 years of generally falling grain prices, it came as a shock when the cost of cereals spiked between late 2007 and early 2008. The price of maize and wheat doubled, while rice trebled in cost. Though prices fell back, harvest shocks in 2010 (Black Sea countries) and 2012 (US mid-west) caused another, less dramatic increase. Unsurprisingly, some observers wondered if high and unstable cereals prices were the new norm. The system, it seemed, was broken. But it is increasingly clear that it is not. World cereals prices have fallen back again, and major price rises seem unlikely in the near future.


Adaptation to land constraints: Is Africa different?

Derek D. Headey, T.S. Jayne – Food Policy, 2014

Since the seminal works of Malthus and Boserup, scientists have long debated the impact of population growth and land constraints on the wellbeing of rural people. Today these concerns are particularly relevant to Africa, with its rapid population growth, very small farms, and chronic food insecurity. In this paper we examine adaptation to falling land-labor ratios using a comprehensive theoretical framework in which households faced with binding land constraints can respond in three ways: intensifying agricultural production, diversifying out of agriculture, and reducing fertility rates. Using cross-country data and drawing upon the existing literature, we reach three conclusions.

Land Access, Land Rental and Food Security: Evidence from Kenya

Rie Muraoka1, Songqing Jin1, Thomas S. Jayne1, 2014

Constrained access to land is increasingly recognized as a problem impeding rural household welfare in densely populated areas of Africa. This study utilizes household and plot level data from rural Kenya to explore the linkage between land access and food security. We find that a 10% increase in operated land size would increase total cereal consumption and home produced food consumption by 0.8% and 2.0%, respectively. We also find that land rental is the dominant mechanism that poor rural farmers use to access additional land for cultivation. However, the levels of long-term land investment (measured by applications of organic manure) and land productivity are significantly lower for rented plots than for own plots even after household fixed-effect and plot level observed characteristics are controlled for. Furthermore, land rental markets do not allow farmers to fully adjust their operated land size to their optimal level. These findings point to the existence of problems with land rental markets that impede their ability to fully contribute to national food security and poverty reduction goals.

Food Security for Whom? The Effectiveness of Food Reserves in Poor Developing Countries

Randall S, Romero-Aguilar, Mario J. Miranda, 2014

During the Global Food Price Crisis of 2007-2011, millions of people suffered from hunger because food had become expensive. To cope with this problem, the governments of several countries decided to establish public food reserves in order to stabilize domestic prices. In this paper we develop a model to evaluate the optimal grain storage policy for a poor grain-importing country. Households are heterogeneous in their income endowment, and those who cannot afford enough food suffer from hunger. The international price of grain follows a Markov process with two states (tranquil periods and food crises), and households are unable to self-insure against changes in this price. The objective of the reserve operation is to reduce hunger rates. The model captures the trade-off in implementing the policy: raising a stock to prevent hunger tomorrow requires resources that could be used to reduce hunger today. Parameters are calibrated to reflect food supply and demand in Haiti. Our results suggest that rather than storing food, a better approach for a poor country is to focus on fighting poverty directly, since the modest social protection provided by a storage policy could be also be obtained through relatively small improvements in income per capita and income distribution.

Urban Agriculture: A Response to the Food Supply Crisis in Kampala City, Uganda

E.N. Sabiiti, C. B. Katongole - The Security of Water, Food, Energy and Liveability of Cities Water Science and Technology Library, 2014

Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, has experienced increases in the prices of basic food commodities since 2002, with the sharpest increase noticed over the period 2007–2011. Major factors contributing to this trend include rapid growth in the demand for food due to the increase in population, urbanisation, drought (climate changes) impacts in the agricultural areas of Uganda and a sharp increase in the cost of living driven by inflation. The increase in food prices has made it difficult for many low income earners in Kampala to meet their daily food requirements. In response, urban and peri-urban agriculture is making a very important contribution to the general food supply of the city. Besides making a significant contribution to the food basket of Kampala city, urban and peri-urban agriculture represents an important economic activity within the city. Emerging policy and planning frameworks support the continued positive contribution of urban and peri-urban agriculture. To that effect Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) now recognizes urban agriculture as a land use system and a vital policy issue. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the development of urban and peri-urban agriculture and its contribution to the food supply crisis in Kampala city, as well as the process of developing policies to enable urban agriculture in Kampala city.

Land as fictitious commodity: the continuing evolution of women's land rights in Uganda

Deborah Naybor - Gender, Place & Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, 2014

In sub-Saharan Africa, colonial influences have altered traditional practices as a way to manage that which Polanyi labeled as ‘fictitious commodities’ of land, labor, and money. Land has now become a highly marketable commodity and an intrinsic part of the global economy. Over the past century, Uganda's land rights have evolved from communal rights to that of male-dominated, individual ownership practices that have excluded women. Despite constitutional provisions, which confer title of both a deceased husband's property rights and equal rights to property within a marriage to a wife, postcolonial patriarchal tradition prevails. This article examines historical changes in land rights in Uganda and discusses the impact of shifts in land rights from communal ownership to individual tenure, altering power structures and attempting to create marketable land title.

Decentralised innovation systems and poverty reduction: experimental evidence from Central Africa

Haki Pamuk, Erwin Bulte, Adewale Adekunle, Aliou Diagne – European Review of Agricultural Economics

We use experimental data to investigate whether a decentralised approach to promoting innovation in central African agriculture outperforms conventional extension approaches. Our main result is that this decentralised approach, based on so-called innovation platforms, is effective in reducing poverty – more effective than conventional extension approaches. However, we also document considerable heterogeneity in terms of platform performance.


newsletter weeks of 26/05 and 2/6

2014 June 2
by bvancampenhout

IFPRI IMAGESHello, and welcome to the IFPRI Uganda Strategy Support Program’s weekly news digest.

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. Want to get this newsletter weekly in your inbox? You can subscribe here.

In news this week, we report on Agriculture in Ethiopia and Uganda: Not so fair trade. In addition, there is more news such as To improve farming we don't need money and USAID launches '360-degree' nutrition strategy among others.

Under agricultural and food policy related research, we provide links to papers on:


newsletter for the week of 19th May 2014

2014 May 21
by bvancampenhout

photo 009Hello, and welcome to the IFPRI Uganda Strategy Support Program’s weekly news digest.

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.

In news this week, we report on Uganda given sh48bn for climate change project. In addition, there is more news on the Government to promote use of fertilisers and Why farmers should apply technology in their business among others.

Under agricultural and food policy related research, we provide links to papers on:

Also, the Journal of Development Studies just published a special issue on Agricultural Development. In it, there a few articles by members of the Kampala research community! We highlight some below.


newsletter out

2014 May 12
by bvancampenhout

photo credit CIAT

photo credit CIAT

Hello, and welcome to the IFPRI Uganda Strategy Support Program’s weekly news digest.

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.

In news this week, we report on walking the talk: why and how African governments should transform their agriculture spending. In addition, there is more news on the Bibliography of gender & agriculture resources and Supporting communities in building resilience through agro-pastoral field schools among others.

Under agricultural and food policy related research, we provide links to papers on:

Remember that if you want to get this newsletter weekly in your inbox, you can subscribe here.