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Weekly newsletter of week of 17th March 2014

2014 March 17
by bvancampenhout

copyright Els Lecoutere

copyright Els Lecoutere

Welcome to the IFPRI Uganda Strategy Support Program’s weekly news digest.

This week’s news reports on Rice becomes preferred cash crop in Uganda. Under agricultural and food policy related research, we provide links to papers and publications on:

Thank you, and enjoy.

NEWS

Rice becomes preferred cash crop in Uganda
New Vision, March 16, 2014
Ten years ago rice was a preserve for the rich or a special cuisine spared for Christmas and ceremonies. But with the introduction of more than 16 species to farmers, the cereal is fast replacing some staple foods in part of the country and becoming a preferred cash crop in some circles.
“The land under upland rice shot up from 1500 hectares ten years ago to 220,000 hectares by 2011,” said the deputy director general of National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) Dr. Ambrose Agona.“Consequently, the volume of rice harvested shot up from 80,000 to 220,000 metric tons last year.” “Local production has saved the state more than $30m that it would have spent importing rice. It is now ideal for food security.” Adding that, “When cassava mosaic hit eastern Uganda and the central region was ravaged by banana wilt, rice had to take their place. The popularity of rice was boosted when maize prices plunged to their lowest in 2001. This coincided with the introduction of a rice species called Nerica 10/14 which were found suitable to suffice. This in addition to the political will and a 75 percent levy imposed on imported rice boosted its popularity.

Meeting market demand for graduates in Uganda
Office of International Research, Education, and Development (OIRED)- Virginia Tech 
In Uganda, the rapid increase in production of crops like coffee and maize is creating heightened demand for professionals all along the agricultural value chain. To meet this demand, Makerere University's Department of Agribusiness and Natural Resource Economics has been tasked with providing appropriate courses to ensure that graduates develop strong economic and analytical skills so that they can fill these roles. However, some of the programs are falling short.

Can big data crunching help feed the world?
BBC News, March 11, 2014
The world's population is projected to grow to 9 billion by 2050, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations believes that food production will have to increase by 70% in the next 35 years to prevent widespread hunger. Technology and data analysis could help improve the situation. For example, innovations in the way data can be collected from cattle have the potential to transform dairy and beef production. Vital Herd, a Texas-based start-up, has developed a device that can be swallowed by cows. The sensor, or e-Pill, sits in the cow's rumen and uses sonar technology - originally developed for military purposes - to collect information about the animal, including heart rate, temperature, rumination time, rumen acidity and oestrogen levels. The software will send out alerts by text message or email if it appears that individual animals have anything seriously wrong with them.
Big data analysis can also increase crop yields by helping famers make better decisions about when to plant, manage and harvest their crops. For example, the Climate Corporation, a company founded by two ex-Google employees and acquired by agriculture giant Monsanto in 2013, operates a cloud-based farming information system that takes account of weather measurements from 2.5 million locations every day. It processes that data, along with 150 billion soil observations, to generate 10 trillion weather simulation data points. Using this information, the company claims it can provide US farmers with temperature, rain and wind forecasts for areas as small as one-third of a square mile (about 200 acres), for the forthcoming 24-hour and seven-day periods.

Chronic poverty report 2014-2015: The road to zero extreme poverty
Chronic Poverty Advisory Network, 2014
Progress at reducing extreme poverty is likely to be much slower over the next two decades, concludes the Third Chronic Poverty Report, unless tougher action is taken to prevent set-backs and sustain progress. It demonstrates that escaping from poverty is not a one-way street – many families slide back below the poverty line because of factors such as ill-health, job loss and natural disasters. This is the case even in countries where the economies are growing. The authors of the report set out three policies for progress:
- Social assistance - to provide a safety net for the poor
- Huge investment in education - to improve the standard of living of the poorest
- Economic growth which benefits the poorest - national prosperity for all

Food system that fails poor countries needs urgent reform, says UN Expert
The Guardian, March 10, 2014
The existing food system has failed and needs urgent reform, according to a UN expert who argues there should be a greater emphasis on local food production and an overhaul of trade policies that have led to overproduction in rich countries while obliging poor countries - which are often dependent on agriculture - to import food. In his final report, Olivier De Schutter, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, offers a detailed critique of an industrial system of agriculture that has boosted food production over the past 50 years, yet still leaves 842 million - 12% of the world's population - hungry.

Latest impact findings on financing Africa's smallholder farms
John Magnay, Simona Haiduc and Genzo Yamamoto - Opportunity International, Feb 2014
John Magnay, head of Agricultural Finance, and Simona Haiduc, Vice President of International Business Development, presented the Latest Impact Findings on Financing Africa's Smallholder Farmers, a discussion on Opportunity International's rural finance model, impact assessment results and strategy for reaching more of Africa's smallholder farmers. Since 2009, Opportunity International has disbursed more than 164,000 agricultural loans and opened more than 618,000 rural savings accounts across Uganda, Malawi, Rwanda, Ghana, and Mozambique in collaboration with key partners, including The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The MasterCard Foundation, The Caterpillar Foundation and John Deere. Last year, Opportunity International conducted a rigorous impact study across three countries that demonstrated that rural finance initiatives can help support client farmers to increase their crop yields, improve their cash flow, and improve access to vital necessities including food, education, and health care.

Is Nutrition Losing Out in African Agricultural Policies? Evidence from Nigeria
IDS Policy Briefing, Feb 2014
Agricultural policies in many African countries focus on industrializing food value chains and substituting domestic products for imported ones. Yet experience in Nigeria shows that, by focusing on staple crops and neglecting vegetables, pulses and animal proteins, these policies are missing opportunities to address micronutrient undernutrition. By promoting import substitution, these policies also risk undermining gains made in food fortification. Before restricting imported foods, agricultural policies need to build the capacity of domestic value chains to provide high-quality produce, while also strengthening regulatory institutions. This will require long-term commitment, but failure to act could jeopardise progress on undernutrition.

RESEARCH

Exploring the impact of the 2008 global food crisis on food security among vulnerable households in rural South Africa
Raphael J. Nawrotzki, Kristin Robson, Margaret J. Gutilla, Lori M. Hunter, Wayne Twine, Petra Norlund – Food Security, 2014
Recurring food crises endanger the livelihoods of millions of households in developing countries around the globe. Owing to the importance of this issue, we explored recent changes in food security between the years 2004 and 2010 in a rural district in Northeastern South Africa. Our study window spans the time of the 2008 global food crisis and allows the investigation of its impacts on rural South African populations. Grounded in the sustainable livelihood frame-work, we examined differences in food security trajectories among vulnerable sub populations. A unique panel data set of 8,147 households, provided by the Agincourt Health and Demographic Surveillance System (Agincourt HDSS), allowed us to employ a longitudinal multilevel modeling approach to estimate adjusted growth curves for the differential changes in food security across time.

Determinants of referrals from paraprofessionals to veterinarians in Uganda and Kenya
John Ilukor, Thea Nielsen, Regina Birner – Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 2014
Referrals between paraprofessionals and veterinarians are seen as a solution for improving disease surveillance, detection, and reporting as well as ensuring prudent use of antimicrobial agents in animals. This paper used data collected from paraprofessionals in Kenya and Uganda to identify factors influencing referrals to veterinarians by paraprofessionals using a probit regression model. The results show that the determinants of paraprofessional referrals to veterinarians include the following: paraprofessional's mobile phone ownership, gender, and training, as well as attendance of short term trainings, annual assessments, and membership in paraprofessional associations. The paper argues that legislation or supervision of paraprofessionals as well as expansion of mobile phone ownership by paraprofessionals, supporting the formation of paraprofessional associations, and investing in short term training are important factors for strengthening referrals from paraprofessionals to veterinarians.

Network governance for service delivery: lessons from South Africa and Uganda
Mubangizi B.C, Nhlabathi Z.F, Namara. R - Journal of Public Administration, Dec 2013
All government spheres in multi-level governance systems face challenges of co-ordination and alignment of scarce resources for the common good - while retaining their distinctiveness and independence. Within a decentralised system, the challenges of poverty and inequality require a co-ordinated response by all spheres of government, and it is considered that network governance may provide a useful model for co-ordinating a joint response to such complexity. This article examines network governance using two case studies. The first is South Africa's KwaNaloga Games, an annual sporting event run under the aegis of KwaNaloga (the KwaZulu-Natal Local Government Association) and the second is Uganda's Nutritional and Early Childhood Development Project (NECDP), which aims to improve the quality of life of children below the age of six years.

2013 Global Food Policy Report
Fan, Shenggen, Polman, Paul, Kishore, Avinash, Joshi, Pramod Kumar, Hoddinott, John F., Ringler, Claudia, Cenacchi, Nicola, Koo, Jawoo, Robertson, Richard, Fisher, Myles, Cox, Cindy, Perez, Nicostrato, Garrett, Karen, Rosegrant, Mark W., Beintema, Nienke, Stads, Gert-Jan, Torero, Maximo, Gillespie, Stuart, Badiane, Ousmane, Makombe, Tsitsi, Collins, Julia, Breisinger, Clemens, Al-Riffai, Perrihan, Ecker, Olivier, Saade, Maurice, Akramov, Kamiljon, Cohen-Cline, Noah, Chen, Kevin, Timmer, Peter, Díaz-Bonilla, Eugenio - International Food Policy Research Institute, March 12, 2014
This 2013 global food policy report is the third in an annual series that provides an in depth look at major food policy developments and events. In 2013, staple food prices were relatively stable, lacking the spikes that often dominated headiness in the previous years but prices of important dietary components, such as vegetables and fruits and nutrient intensive crops increased and fluctuated in many countries, particularly China and India. In Africa, the year 2013 marked the tenth anniversary of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), endorsed by African leaders in July 2003, CAADP is an African-wide framework for guiding country actions in stimulating broad-based economic growth, poverty reduction, and food and nutrition security through an agriculture-led growth strategy. For Africa as a whole, progress has not been enough to achieve CAADP targets of both a 10 percent budget share and 6 percent annual growth for agriculture. However, a few countries – Angola, Ethiopia, Guinea, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Rwanda – have exceeded the growth target since 2003.

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