Uganda Agricultural News and Research Digest – Sept 19th
The National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) has organised a Scientific Conference to take place from 1st to 3rd October 2012. The conference is one of the activities to mark 50 years since Uganda became independent. The conference will bring together researchers, political leadership, farmers’ representatives, development partners and other key stakeholders in the Ugandan NARS. The purpose of this conference is for researchers to showcase their breakthroughs and success stories in agricultural research for development during the last 50 years. An announcement and registration from for the conference is available at the link above. Deadline for registration is tomorrow, 20th September 2012.
Agriculture ministry ordered to vacate Legacy Towers
Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee has ordered Ministry of Agriculture officials to vacate the new rented offices at Legacy Towers and return to the ministry headquarters in Entebbe. The decision by PAC last Thursday, would save the taxpayers more than Shs3 billion spent on renting the building each year. The ministry pays at least Shs50.5m per floor each month and about Shs253m for the five floors of Block A and about Shs3b every year.
The production, marketing, and trade conditions for maize in Uganda are reviewed in this article. In spite of all of the challenges faced by maize farmers and traders, Professor Zarubabel Mijumbi Nyiira, the Minister of State for Agriculture, asserts that the potential the cereal presents far outweighs its limitation. For that, government has named it among the nine crops it is banking on to help improve its balance of payments deficit—fetch more foreign exchange, going forward.
Food scarcity blamed on farmers' poor attitude
Said to be the backbone of Uganda’s economy, the agricultural sector is producing below capacity with some of the food being imported. Worse, despite involving 73% of the population, the sector contributes only 20% of the country’s GDP. The farmers cite a range of reasons for the dismal output, ranging from low budget financing, corruption and limited supply of farm tools. But the legislators and policymakers want the trend reversed. Meeting at the second edition of the National Farmers’ forum organised by the Food Rights Alliance in Kampala, participants decried the negative attitude from the sector players right from the policymakers, implementers, down to the farmer.
African farmers to access drought resistant maize varieties next year
Global Times, China
Maize farmers in Africa who have made perennial losses in the past from drought and pests are likely to start making profits, thanks to a research partnership that included national research institutes. Similarly, insects have proved a challenge for small scale maize farmers in Africa who have little to no resources to effectively manage them. But the good news is that the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) that was formed in 2008 to help address effects of drought and insect pest pressure in a cost effective way for African smallholder farmers is expected to bring to the market new resistant maize varieties next year.
Agricultural and food policy research
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ZR Jariseta; O Dary; JL Fiedler.; N Franklin – Food & Nutrition Bulletin, 2012
Individual dietary intake data are important for informing national nutrition policy but are rarely available. National Household Consumption and Expenditures Surveys (HCES) may be an alternative method, but there is no evidence to assess their relative performance. The objective of this study was to compare HCES-based estimates of the nutrient density of foods consumed by Ugandan women (15 to 49 years of age) and children (24 to 59 months of age) with estimates based on 24-hour recall. The analysis showed that HCES-based estimates are a relatively good proxy for 24-hour recall measures of nutrient density of the diet.
O Dary; ZR Jariseta – Food & Nutrition Bulletin, 2012
The benefits of food fortification depend on the proportion of the population that uses the fortified food (coverage), the amount of the food being consumed, and the additional content of micronutrients in the food. Coverage and amounts consumed can be determined by 24-hour recall or Food Frequency Questionnaires (FFQs). However, these methods are rarely applied. Secondary analysis of data from Household Consumption and Expenditures Surveys (HCES) can be used for these purposes; however, such data analysis has not been validated. The objective of this study was to compare the results of HCES and 24-hour recall for estimating the consumption profile of potential fortification vehicles in Uganda. The analysis shows that HCES data offer the basic information needed to provide a rationale for, and help design, food fortification programs. Individual intake surveys are still needed, however, to assess intrahousehold use of foods.
P Hamukwala, G Tembo, JM Erbaugh, WD Larson - African Journal of Agricultural research, 2012
Sorghum and millet are very important sources of food and farm income for smallholder farmers, which can be enhanced especially if linked to new markets. Though viewed as minor traditional crops in Zambia, sorghum and millet remain important food crops for semi-arid areas of the country. Production and productivity of these crops is low and has been stagnant for over 20 years. In recent years, there have been new market developments creating incentives for farmers to increase productivity. This study uses a value chain framework to examine the challenges and opportunities for sorghum, millet, and maize in Zambia.
K Palar, G Wagner, B Ghosh-Dastidar, and P Mugyenyi – AIDS, 2012
Although the physical health benefits of HIV antiretroviral therapy (ART) are well documented, the socioeconomic benefits are still being established. Few studies have examined the effects of ART on food insecurity, although studies suggest there may be a benefit via improved health and ability to work. Our study showed that food insecurity decreased significantly for both the ART and non-ART groups over time, with the ART group experiencing greater reductions by the end of the study. ART remained a significant predictor of reduction in food insecurity over time after controlling for baseline differences in the regression model. Improvements in work and mental health status were identified as potential pathways through which ART may improve food security. Our results suggest that a positive feedback loop of improved functioning and productivity could result from the interaction between food security and ART. Policy makers could leverage this positive cycle by strengthening mental health support and promoting sustainable food security interventions as part of HIV treatment programs.
PK Arthur – African Capacity Building Foundation Occasional Paper no. 17 – 2012
While many post-colonial African governments have widely recognized the role of agriculture in national development and capacity development efforts for education and skills have been ongoing for several years, progress to attain food security has been slow. This is partly due to the adoption of approaches which have not been long-term and institutions that do not have supporting mechanisms to use the capacities generated. This paper is therefore an examination of the causes of Africa's food insecurity, the consequences of food insecurity, the policy challenges, and the necessary interventions that can address the varying challenges that have contributed to this food insecurity. It is argued that putting in place appropriate capacity development initiatives can help alleviate the problem of food insecurity in Africa. In addition, food security efforts in African countries need to be complemented by food sovereignty principles that have at their core citizen participation, agrarian reforms, the promotion of property rights for local people, access by small-scale farmers to local and regional markets, and the putting of producers and consumers at the centre of decision-making process on food issues.