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Newsletter week of november 25th

2013 December 2
by bvancampenhout


copyright Donald Kabuubi

copyright Donald Kabuubi/AP

IFPRI-Kampala weekly newsletter is out!!!

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

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, a new banana disease poses risk to Uganda. There are two articles (Is Africa ready for GM? and Uganda Debates the Introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms) on GMOs and one on climate change.

Under agricultural and food policy related research, we provide links to the following reports and papers:

Thank you, and enjoy.


New banana disease to Africa found in Mozambique


A destructive strain of a banana wilt disease has been discovered on Cavendish bananas in Mozambique. The disease, widely known as Foc TR4, is a form of Fusarium wilt or Panama disease, caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense Tropical Race 4. This fungus has devastated banana plantations in Asia over the past two decades. The African outbreak was discovered on a commercial farm in northern Mozambique earlier in 2013 with support from UEM (Universidade Eduardo Mondlane), and the responsible fungus subsequently identified at Stellenbosch University in South Africa.

Agriculture insurance making inroads in Uganda

Daily Monitor

INSURANCE products for the agricultural sector are on the rise as players seek to grow insurance coverage in the country.

Climate Change insecurity

The Independent

New report warns Uganda on dire effects, calls for immediate action

Is Africa ready for GM?

IRIN news

Even as food insecurity continues to afflict impoverished and disaster-affected populations around the continent, African policymakers and consumers remain deeply divided over the potential harms and benefits of genetically modified (GM) foods, which advocates say could greatly improve yields and nutrition.

Uganda Debates the Introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms


The Ugandan public is in the middle of a raucous debate over the introduction of genetically modified (GM) crops to guarantee food security.

Weaning Karamoja off food aid

IRIN news

Uganda's arid northeastern Karamoja region has been dependent on food aid for decades, but new programmes by the government and its partners aim to bring an end to the cycle of relief and see the traditionally nomadic Karimojong become more self-sufficient through more settled livelihoods.


ICT4D Effects: Youth, ICTs and Agriculture


This publication is informed by the findings from recent research focused on three projects under the Connect4Change (C4C) Economic Development programme located in western Kenya, which focus on enhancing agricultural productivity and access to markets. The research investigated the linkages between the introduction and the use of ICT in farming and the interest of youth in farming and value chain development.

Uganda Demographic and Health Survey

Uganda Bureau of Statistics

The Uganda Demographic and Health Survey (UDHS) 2011 main report was released late last month by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics.  It was was designed as a follow-up to the 1988/89, 1995, 2000-01, and 2006 UDHS surveys.  The main objective of the 2011 UDHS was to furnish policymakers and planners with detailed information on fertility and family planning; infant, child, adult, and maternal mortality; maternal and child health; nutrition; and knowledge of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections.

Facing the Food Crisis: How African Smallholders can Reduce Postharvest Cereal Losses by Supplying Better Quality Grain

Hodges, Rick J. and Stathers, Tanya E. - Outlooks on Pest Management 24(5): 217-221

In much of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) cereal grains such as maize, rice, sorghum and millet are the main food staples. While localised supply problems are a common occurrence, widespread food crises have been relatively rare. The food crisis initiated in 2006/2007 resulted in a change in development priorities, bringing an increased focus on agriculture and a renewed interest in the reduction of postharvest losses (PHLs) as a means of increasing food availability. In the case of smallholders, most cereals are stored by farming households after harvest until they are sold or consumed during the year, a key aspect of addressing postharvest losses is through encouraging smallholders to invest more of their resources in postharvest handling and storage to maintain the high quality of their cereals and reap the rewards of higher value markets. This article discusses the renewed interest in reducing postharvest cereal losses. It focuses particularly on recent developments in loss estimation and considers how grain quality improvement can contribute to loss reduction and the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Land Grabbing, Large- and Small-scale Farming: what can evidence and policy from 20th century Africa contribute to the debate?

Baglioni, E. & Gibbon, P. - Third World Quarterly 34(9): 1558-1581

This article examines the contemporary phenomenon of ‘land grabbing’ in relation to the history of plantation and large- and small-scale farming (pf, lsf and ssf) in sub-Saharan Africa. It looks at the extent of pf and lsf over the 20th century, as well as the policy narratives that have justified, supported or circumscribed their development. Many characteristics of the current land rush and its interpretation reveal elements of continuity with some of the general trends marking the history of pf and lsf up to recent years. In particular, the heterogeneity of pf and lsf, subsuming quite different relations to ssf, and the pivotal role played by the combination of private capital (whether foreign, domestic or combined) with the state represent organisational continuities. Meanwhile continuities in supporting narratives centre on the prevalence of generic prescriptions for either lsf/pf or ssf. Refuting these generic prescriptions is a precondition for more nuanced analysis and policy proposals.

Impact of metal silos on households’ maize storage, storage losses and food security: An application of a propensity score matching

Zachary M. Gitonga, Hugo De Groote, Menale Kassie, Tadele Tefera, Food Policy 43: 44-55

Maize is the most important food staple in Eastern and Southern Africa, with a highly seasonal production but relatively constant consumption over the year. Farmers have to store maize to bridge seasons, for food security and to protect against price fluctuations. However, the traditional storage methods do not protect grain well, resulting in large postharvest losses. Hermetically sealed metal silos kill storage pests by oxygen deprivation without pesticides. Popular in Central America, they are now being promoted in Africa, but their impact here has not yet been studied. This study used propensity score matching to evaluate the impact of metal silos on duration of maize storage, loss abatement, cost of storage, and household food security. Metal silo adopters (N = 116) were matched with non-adopting farmers from a representative sample of 1340 households covering the major maize-growing zones in Kenya. The major effect of the metal silos was an almost complete elimination of losses due to insect pests, saving farmers an average of 150–200 kg of grain, worth KSh9750 (US$130). Metal silo adopters also spent about KSh340 less on storage insecticides. Adopters were able to store their maize for 1.8–2.4 months longer, and to sell their surplus after five months at good prices, instead of having to sell right after the harvest. The period of inadequate food provision among adopters was reduced by more than one month. We conclude that metal silos are effective in reducing grain losses due to maize-storage insects, and that they have a large impact on the welfare and food security of farm households. The initial cost of metal silos is high (KSh20,000/1.8 ton) and therefore policies to increase access to credit, to reduce the cost of sheet metal, and to promote collective action can improve their uptake by smallholder farmers.

Explaining smallholder maize marketing in southern and eastern Africa: The roles of market access, technology and household resource endowments

David Mather, Duncan Boughton1, T.S. Jayne – Food Policy 43: 248–266

Research on household food grain sales behavior in developing countries has tended to focus on the roles of market access and prices to explain why many rural households do not sell staple crops, though recent literature suggests that low household asset endowments may also be key constraints. We use econometric analysis of panel data from smallholders in Kenya, Mozambique, and Zambia to inform the design of public investments that will enable smallholders to increase their maize sales. Results show that investments that raise farm-level productivity and land access are an essential complement to investments that improve market access.

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