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Uganda SSP Weekly Newsletter – week of Oct 14th

2013 October 16
by bvancampenhout
children_smallHello, and welcome to the IFPRI Uganda Strategy Support Program’s weekly news digest for the week of Oct 14th, 2013
This weekly collection of recent news articles related to agriculture in Uganda 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 that Uganda performs poorly on the Global Hunger Index and the new Geographical Indications Act seeks to protect vanilla, coffee, sesame, shea butter and cotton from commercial exploitation. Further, Coffee farmers demand policy and government support.
Under agricultural and food policy related research, we provide links to papers on:
Thank you, and enjoy.

Uganda performs poorly on GHIussp.ifpri.infoAccording to IFPRI's 2013 Global Hunger Index in partnership with Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide. According to this table, Uganda ranks in the lowest third, amongst countries like Bangladesh and Djibouti. Over time, progress has been slow. While Uganda had a value of 21.4 in 1990 (higher values means more hunger) this value currently stands at 19.2, a decline of only 10 percent in 23 years. Even more alarming is the fact that Uganda is one of the few countries where the Global Hunger Index has increased between 2005 and now.

Food output is more than just bumper harvests

daily monitor

How long does it take a food basket to turn into a basket case? It took Mubende District’s Kasambya area just two weeks. Until a few weeks ago, Mubende was “exporting” large quantities of maize to DR Congo, Rwanda and South Sudan.

Agricultural produce to get boost from new legislation

daily monitor

The new Geographical Indications Act seeks to protect vanilla, coffee, sesame, shea butter and cotton from commercial exploitation.

Sweet potato - an amazing tuber


Sweet potato is a major tuber crop throughout Africa and the Pacific region, yet it is one of the least marketed. This is a paradox since production of this food crop has been growing steadily over the last 40 years.

Banana: resisting disease


By transferring two different genes from green pepper (Capsicum annuum) to bananas, researchers at the Kawanda Agricultural Research Institute in Uganda have developed new transgenic banana varieties that are resistant to banana bacterial wilt disease. Eastern Africa has paid a heavy price for this disease which causes gradual yellowing and wilting of leaves, early fruit ripening and pulp discolouration. Losses due to the disease can amount to several million dollars each year in the region. Africans’ food security, income and health are at risk because of the rapid spread of Xanthomonas, the pathogen that causes this banana disease.

Coffee farmers demand policy, government support

daily monitor

Coffee farmers’ representatives from all over the country held a convention in Kampala last month under the National Union of Coffee Agribusiness Farmers and Enterprises (NUCAFE). It was the fourth such convention, the third one having been held in 2008.


Genetically Modified Crops in Africa: Economic and Policy Lessons from Countries South of the Sahara

Falck-Zepeda, Gruère, and Sithole-Niang – International Food Policy Research Institute

The publication investigates how GM crops as a tool can be effectively used by evaluating the benefits, costs, and risks for African countries of adopting GM crops. The authors gathered studies on GM crops' economic effects and impact on trade, how consumers view such crops, and other issues. They found that GM crops have had, on average, a positive economic effect in the nations where they were used and identified future steps for enhancing the positive effects of adopting GM crops.

Spatial Distribution of Underweight, Overweight and Obesity among Women and Children: Results from the 2011 Uganda Demographic and Health Survey

Kedir N. Turi , Mary J. Christoph and Diana S. Grigsby-Toussaint - International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health – 2013

While undernutrition and infectious diseases are still persistent in developing countries, overweight, obesity, and associated comorbidities have become more prevalent. Uganda, a developing sub-Saharan African country, is currently experiencing the public health paradox of undernutrition and overnutrition. We utilized the 2011 Uganda Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) to examine risk factors and hot spots for underweight, overweight, and obesity among adult females (N = 2,420) and their children (N = 1,099) using ordinary least squares and multinomial logit regression and the ArcGIS Getis-Ord Gi* statistic. Overweight and obese women were significantly more likely to have overweight children, and overweight was correlated with being in the highest wealth class (OR = 2.94, 95% CI = 1.99–4.35), and residing in an urban (OR = 1.76, 95% CI = 1.34–2.29) but not a conflict prone (OR = 0.48, 95% CI = 0.29–0.78) area. Underweight clustered significantly in the Northern and Northeastern regions, while overweight females and children clustered in the Southeast. We demonstrate that the DHS can be used to assess geographic clustering and burden of disease, thereby allowing for targeted programs and policies. Further, we pinpoint specific regions and population groups in Uganda for targeted preventive measures and treatment to reduce the burden of overweight and chronic diseases

Youth Engagement in Agriculture in Uganda: Challenges and Prospects

Ahaibwe, G., Mbowa, S and Lwanga, M.M. - Economic Policy Research Centre research series no. 106

The Ugandan population is to a large extent comprised of a high and increasing cohort of young people, close to 78 percent of the population is below the age of thirty. Evidence reveals that youth engagement in agriculture is declining amidst rising youth unemployment yet the services and industrial sectors despite growing at considerably faster rates have not created enough jobs for the burgeoning youthful labour force. This may have implications on food security, unemployment, and underemployment and may undermine the government efforts to drive economic growth through agriculture. Using data from the Uganda National Panel Survey data of 2005/6 and 2009/10, we examine youth employment dynamics across the different sectors and further provide insights into the determinants of youth participation in agriculture. Using the Uganda Census of Agriculture 2008/09, we further document the challenges and constraints inherent to the youth in agricultural production relative to adults.

The findings reveal that youthful farmers are concentrated more in agricultural production. Furthermore, a relatively lower percentage of youth use improved inputs (such as improved seeds, fertilizers, agricultural chemicals and veterinary drugs). With this poor rate of adoption of appropriate inputs, productivity is likely to remain low and constrain the youth to subsistence farming. Furthermore, the youth are disenfranchised in the ownership and management of critical assets in agricultural production, especially land. Land tenure issues continue to impede many youths from engaging in agriculture, with the majority of youth using land without exclusive ownership rights. In addition, the results point to the fact that the youth are less likely to access credit, extension services and social capital (farmer group membership), all key factors in agricultural transformation. The in-depth analysis results seem to suggest that the youth with at least secondary education, males (both married and unmarried) and those youth residing in households with a large share of adults are less likely to engage in agriculture.

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