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IFPRI Kampala newsletter week of 20th Jan 2014

2014 January 20
by bvancampenhout

cows_mountThis 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 look back at a volatile year for farming in Uganda and look at the downside of the shea nut business we mentioned in the previous newsletter. There is also an article reporting on substantial post harvest losses.

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

Thank you, and enjoy.

News

Farmers bounce through 2013
East African Business Week

A cross-section of people in the agriculture sector told East African Business Week that 2013 was a relatively good year for farmers. This was especially true during the first season of planting compared to the same period the previous year.

Poor storage methods killing quality of grain
New Vision

Traders are losing 40% of what they would earn in international trade due to poor storage of produce, the Grain Council of Uganda has said.

Shea nut tree under threat in West Nile
Daily Monitor

Following-up last week's posting about a Shea Butter entrepreur in Lira, this news report explains how the Shea Nut tree which grows widely in northern Uganda, provides various opportunities for farmers if the potential could be tapped. But it could face extinction if its destruction is not checked

Scientists told to explain GMO technology
New Vision

THE African Union has called on scientists in Uganda to come out and explain the good and bad in Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) for Ugandans to make their decisions. At the moment, scientists have not yet come out with proper explanation regarding GMOs, which has created a gap between those who support and those against the bill. “The bill in itself is not bad because it is one of the technologies that has been embraced elsewhere and agricultural production. The problem is that scientists are not coming out to explain to the people what GMOs are and related side effects,” said the commissioner for Agriculture at the African Union, Rhoda Tumusiime.

Research:

Major economic models on climate change and agriculture point in same direction, but differ on magnitude of effects
IFPRI

Climate change will alter future weather and change crop and animal productivity. But economic models differ on the magnitude of these changes, according to the world’s lead economic modelers. Estimates on both the direction and magnitude are crucial to address world food security issues at global, regional, and national levels. Outputs from climate, crop and economic models are central to understanding the range of possible outcomes.

The Political Economy of Seed Reform in Uganda: Promoting a Regional Seed Trade Market
James Joughin - Africa Trade Practice Working Paper Series Number 3, The World Bank, 2014.

A critical element in achieving higher food production and realizing Uganda’s regional export potential is the increased use by farmers of key inputs, in particular of improved seed. Quality seed is the foundation stone of agricultural growth and, therefore, in Uganda, of broader economic growth. However, despite the apparent awareness of this and despite substantial donor assistance over many years, only 10–15 percent of farmers use improved seed and many of the seed companies find it difficult to turn a profit. The fundamental question is why, after so much effort and support, is the seed industry still struggling?

Factors Influencing the Choice of Inorganic contrasting to Organic Practices in Irish Potato Production and Viable Actions to Reverse the Trend: A Case Study of Kisoro District, South-Western Uganda
Joy Samantha Bongyereire - Science, Policy and Politics of Modern Agricultural System, 2014

The study hinged on the socio-economic analysis of inorganic versus organic practices in Irish potato production in Kisoro District, Uganda. The study comprised of field surveys and desk reviews using materials gathered from various departments at Kisoro District Local Government (KDLG), NGOs, agro inputs dealers, Key Informants (KI) and farming communities. Production per hectare was looked into since it gives a clue to the types of farming systems employed, which determines the use of inorganic amendments. The findings showed that the use of inorganic practices in Kisoro District is associated with immigrant farmers from Rwanda, NGOs and agricultural extension personnel. Actual adoption is determined by farmer income and type of farming—commercial farmers and farmer associations remained active because of financial capability. The high population pressure, the need for more output, intensive cultivation and reduced soil productivity per ha have led to the use of inorganic practices in Irish potato production. The practices face different challenges such as inability to continuous purchase and judicious use of inorganic fertilizers, threats to human and ecosystem (environmental) health that are paving way for traditional organic farming. The latter contains several benefits including good quality potatoes, low health risks to humans and ecosystems and sustained soil fertility.

Implementing the Right to Food in Uganda: Advances, Challenges and the Way Forward
Isabella Rae - Rethinking Food Systems, 2014

This chapter explores action taken at legal, policy and institutional levels to advance the right to food in Uganda. Particular emphasis is placed on the present draft Bill for a Food and Nutrition Act and the way in which this legal tool aims to assist in determining the dynamics of the food system in Uganda and in suggesting a possible replicable model for other African countries. In particular, the extent to which the Bill incorporates international human rights norms and the principles of respect, protect and fulfill is discussed. The role of law in promoting and protecting the right to food is explored within the broader framework of those structural, social and economic dynamics which influence and affect the creation of an enabling environment. Some suggestions are advanced in relation to possible ways to make legal mechanisms more effective in addressing current shortfalls in local food systems.

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