Uganda Agricultural News and Research Digest – July 10th
Uganda gets $8.2m grant from China
The Chinese Government has given Uganda a US$8.2m (sh21.1bn) grant for infrastructure development. Ambassador Zhao said that his country also is willing to help Uganda develop its agricultural potential and its skilled labour force. “The grant is there. The money is there, but we have to find good projects to which to put it.” According to him new technologies as well faster and better yielding crops will help Uganda’s agriculture. He said that Uganda has the conditions and is positioned to maintain itself as the regional food basket. He is due to meet with the Minister of Agriculture over assistance to the sector and possible introduction of faster yielding crops like the Chinese millet whose yields are three times more than those of the local millet.
The green gram (Vigna radiata), commonly known as Mungbean and Choroko, is cultivated in the eastern and northern parts of Uganda. However, while there are few local varieties of the crop, which originates from Asia, the few improved varieties such as K26 are imported. It is one of the legumes being bred at National Semi Arid Resources Research Institute (NaSARRI) in Serere to develop varieties adapted to the local situation, less prone to shuttering as well tolerant to drought. The scientists, who are also breeding the varieties for resistance against or tolerance to pest and diseases, are using cross pollination.
A regional Maize Lethal Necrosis (MLN) disease screening facility is to be set up in Kenya to help screen elite germplasm for the public and private sector in Eastern Africa. The MLN testing site will help evaluate promising materials from artificial inoculation trials. MLN disease is caused by a double infection of maize plants with Maize Chlorotic Mottle Virus (MCMV) and Sugarcane Mosaic Virus (SCMV). The attacked maize plant shows a yellowing leaves, reddening, dead hearts, mosaic, posts and streaks. Its attack has been reported in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.
Agricultural experts have called for more holistic agricultural innovation to achieve global food security. Their report, published by the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), highlights three obstacles preventing agriculture from "taking food security to the next level":
- 1. ineffective thematic focuses that fail to address individual countries' needs;
- 2. 'short-term' funding approaches; and
- 3. a shortage of practical policy options to help countries' agricultural sectors respond to chronic food insecurity and nutrition deficiency.
"Science research should start with the farmers and end with the farmers. Scientists have to go out from their research stations and labs and interact with the farmers and involve them at an early stage of technology development," says the ICARDA director-general.
Agricultural and food policy research
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EI Barugahara; J Kikafunda, & WM Gakenia – African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition, and Development, 2013
The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence, dietary and health risk factors of nutritional anaemia amongst 11-14 year old girls attending primary schools in Masindi district of western Uganda. Two schools, one urban and the other rural, were selected for this cross-sectional study. The overall prevalence of anaemia was 46%. It was twice as high in the urban school (61%) compared to the rural school (31%). Improper de-worming, malaria incidences and poor feeding were the risk factors of nutritional anaemia. There is, therefore, an urgent need for a national anaemia assessment among this age group and the strengthening of the current School Health Program to address aspects of health and feeding in schools in Masindi district and Uganda as a whole.
The Economist Intelligence Unit - 2013
Commissioned by the African Capacity Building Foundation, this report outlines the current state and management of natural resources in Uganda. Analysis is provided on agriculture, mining, economic growth, business environment, politics and institutions among other aspects supported by economic, demographic and social data with tables, graphs and illustrations.
A Tenkouano, G Rogers, B Dent, S Newman, C Ojiewo, V Afari-Sefa, & A Öberg – AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center, 2013
The study aimed to understand the characteristics of vegetable production systems in Eastern and Southern Africa in order to develop appropriate and effective technological interventions which can maximize returns, generate and increase income to reduce poverty, and contribute to greater food and nutritional security. The specific objectives were to:
- analyze the poverty and food insecurity reduction potential of vegetable production in urban, peri-urban and rural agriculture;
- identify action-research topics with high potential for providing practical and policy advice on to how to promote vegetable production as a poverty and food insecurity reduction strategy;
- identify research partners to implement these activities and establish the best combination of action-research topics and partners within a coherent research project.
R Sommer, D Bossio, L Desta, J Dimes, J Kihara, S Koala, N Mango, D Rodriguez, C Thierfelder, & L Winowiecki – CIAT, University of Queensland, & CIMMYT 2013
Improving soil fertility and crop management, and providing risk neutral incentives for farmers to invest in their farming systems are cornerstones for the sustainable economic growth in smallholder agriculture across eastern and southern Africa countries, and our best chance to significantly reduce food insecurities among some of the most vulnerable people in the world. Actions are needed
- to address the current and near term needs for food security and income, and
- to identify sustainable, resilient and profitable nutrient management systems that are better capable of responding to future challenges, i.e., biotic and abiotic stresses, and markets
This report contains an overview of the current understanding of nutrient management systems in eastern and southern Africa, the missing pieces and opportunities for investing in soil fertility and crop management, and providing low risk incentives for farmers.
S Muthayya; JH Rah; JD Sugimoto; FF Roos; K Kraemer; & RE Black – PLoS ONE, 2013
We developed indices and maps of the high burden of vitamin and mineral deficiency, known as hidden hunger, to help prioritize program assistance, and to serve as an evidence-based global advocacy tool. Two types of hidden hunger indices and maps were created based on i) national prevalence data on stunting, anemia due to iron deficiency, and low serum retinol levels among preschool-aged children in 149 countries; and ii) estimates of Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) attributed to micronutrient deficiencies in 136 countries. A number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as India and Afghanistan, had an alarmingly high level of hidden hunger, with stunting, iron deficiency anemia, and vitamin A deficiency all being highly prevalent.