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weekly newsletter for week of April 7th and 14th

2014 April 16
by bvancampenhout, 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, we report on Uganda's Coffee Sector Works Towards a Climate Resilient Value Chain. There’s also news on Fake seeds force Ugandan farmers to resort to 'bronze age' agriculture and Questions over Karamoja food security plan among others.

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

Thank you, and enjoy.


Africa’s youth key to strengthening agricultural economy
Food and Agriculture Organisation
FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, at the Regional Conference for Africa held in Tunis, Tunisia on March 24-28, 2014 said that getting more African youth involved in agriculture and boosting support for the region's vulnerable family farmers will be pivotal to improving food security and economic well-being in the years to come. Speaking to ministers of agriculture and funding partners at the event, Da Silva said, "The region's economic growth rate is above the global average and most of the world's fastest-growing economies are in Africa. The challenge is to translate this growth into social inclusion. Agriculture, rural development, and youth can make this happen." A paper for the conference points out that impressive growth in some African countries over the past decade has not translated into widespread employment or income for young people. FAO is calling for greater public and private investment in agribusiness, agro-industry and market-related services to attract and keep young workers, encourage job creation, and spur new development in the agricultural sector.

Generate decent jobs or a billion people will remain in extreme poverty
Chronic Poverty Advisory Network
Poverty reduction initiatives worldwide are having insufficient impact on the chronically poor. Up to a billion people will remain in extreme poverty by 2030 unless countries focus on inequalities and confront social, economic and cultural forces that block their escape or pull them back into impoverishment, a major new report warns. The report by the Chronic Poverty Advisory Network asserts that many people may rise above the poverty line of $1.25 a day, only to tumble back when they are hit by a combination or sequence of shocks such as drought, illness and insecurity or conflict.

Mutant wheat fungus alarms food experts
Outbreaks of a deadly fungal disease in wheat crops in Germany and Ethiopia in 2013 have had the scientific community buzzing over the threat posed to global food security. Wheat stem rust, also known as wheat black rust, is often referred to as the "polio of agriculture": The rapidly mutating fungal disease can travel thousands of kilometres and wipe out crops. Wheat farmers and scientists at a recent summit hosted by the Mexico-based International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT ) have been examining outbreaks of different strains of wheat stem rust in the two countries to identify any similarities.

Farmers Need To Get 'Climate Smart' To Prepare For What's Ahead
The salt
The planet's top experts on global warming released their latest predictions this week for how rising temperatures will change our lives, and in particular, what they mean for the production of food. The report's bottom line: climate change probably will hurt food production, raise food prices and increase hunger, especially in the tropics. At the same time, those calamities may not be inevitable. According to CGIAR, "Adaptation will be key." Adaptation is climate-change jargon for everything that people can do to avoid the effects of rising temperatures, from building higher seawalls to installing air conditioning.

Uganda's Coffee Sector Works Towards a Climate Resilient Value Chain
An innovative new pilot initiative demonstrates how to take a more integrated approach to climate adaptation in Uganda's coffee value chain where farmers and processors are the most vulnerable to climate change. The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) (, along with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives (MoTIC) (, Makerere University (MAK), and the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) ( worked together during a six-month period in 2013 to provide a platform for dialogue on climate risk management among actors along the coffee value chain--from producers to exporters.

Fake seeds force Ugandan farmers to resort to 'bronze age' agriculture
The guardian
Of the many factors that keep small-scale Ugandan farmers poor, seed counterfeiting may be the least understood. Passing under the radar of the international development sector, a whole illegal industry has developed in Uganda, cheating farmers by selling them seeds that promise high yields but fail to germinate at all – with results that can be disastrous. Counterfeiting gangs have learned to dye regular maize with the characteristic pinkish orange colour of industrially processed maize seed, duping farmers into paying good money for seed that just won't grow. The result is a crisis of confidence in commercially available high-yield seed.

Questions over Karamoja food security plan
Aid agencies are giving out food relief in Uganda's arid northeastern Karamoja region earlier than usual due to greater food insecurity, which locals and experts blame on the failures of a key government food security plan launched five years ago. “WFP began food distributions among the most vulnerable households earlier than usual, in February. WFP is providing assistance through programmes that reinforce each other in addressing food and nutrition security in Karamoja,” Alice Martin-Dairoun, the WFP country representative, told IRIN. The lean season normally lasts from April to September.

Kenya's Sharia-friendly livestock insurance
A mutual insurance scheme based on Islamic Sharia law has been launched to reduce the impact of extreme weather events on pastoral livelihoods in Kenya's arid northern regions where perennial drought often decimates thousands of livestock. The initiative "marks the first time in Africa that an insurance policy, which combines an Islamic-compliant financial instrument with innovative use of satellite imagery, compensated pastoralists for drought induced losses."

Stakeholders wary about extension service reforms
Daily Monitor
Agricultural extension in Uganda has undergone a number of transformations since 2001. The government has set up a committee to review agriculture extension services to reach farmers better after identifying various contradictions in the Naads programme. The process is at consultation level. Mr Patience Rwamigisha, an official from the Ministry, presented the proposed reforms to a consultative stakeholders' meeting which was held in Kampala, April 3. Rwamigisha and his committee are of the view that since extension service has been reaching few farmers under the umbrella of Naads due to lack of financial accountability and service delivery, it is necessary to transfer this service to the management of the ministry. According to the review team, for the service to be effectively implemented, it will be group based with recommended number of workers who should be well motivated.


The roles of land tenure reforms and land markets in the context of population growth and land use intensification in Africa
Stein T. Holden, Keijiro Otsuka – Food Policy, 2014

This article reviews the past and potential future roles of land tenure reforms and land markets in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) as responses to population growth in the process of land use intensification and livelihood transformation. The farm size distribution and the existence of an inverse relationship (IR) between farm size and land productivity in SSA and the implications of this relationship for efficiency and equity are investigated. More secure property rights and removal of restrictions on land markets have the potential to create both efficiency and equity benefits, but there are high risks of elite capture of large land areas with inefficient and inequitable outcomes. This situation is the case not only in land-abundant areas but also in urban and peri-urban areas where increasingly larger proportions of people will make their living.
Increasing population pressure in densely populated rural areas contributes to more rapid rural–urban migration, and creating alternative livelihood opportunities for the migrating youth population is essential to achieving economic development with social stability.

Including conflict-affected youth in agri-food chains: agribusiness in northern Uganda
Sarah Drosta, Jeroen van Wijkb, Diederik de Boerc – Conflict, Security and Development, 2014

Farming and agribusiness could help employ and reintegrate conflict-affected youth in regions recovering from civil conflict. This study addresses the constraints for youth to engage themselves in agribusiness in the worst conflict-affected regions of northern Uganda. Specifically, it explores to what extent beekeeping and honey business offer viable socio-economic opportunities to formerly displaced youth. Using a value chain approach, the study draws on in-depth interviews with 23 (young) key stakeholders in the honey value chain, document analysis and focus group discussions. The results suggest that apiculture business can create employment for conflict-affected youth in northern Uganda due to the relatively low entry barriers, a young enthused vanguard and higher returns per unit input compared to other agricultural sectors in the region. However in order to succeed, this group requires support from community elders, government and business facilitators, because, due to their age and war background, these youngsters face the common constraints to farming and agribusiness, but at higher degrees of severity.

Differential returns from globalization to women smallholder coffee and food producers in rural Uganda
JM Kanyamurwa, S Wamala, R Baryamutuma, E Kabwama, R Loewenson – African Health Sciences, 2013

Globalization-related measures to liberalize trade and stimulate export production were applied in Uganda in the late 1980s, including in the coffee production sector, to revitalize agricultural production, increase incomes to farmers and improve rural food security. This paper’s objective was to explore the different effects of such measures on the health and dietary outcomes of female coffee and food small holder farmers in Uganda.
The small-scale women farmers who are producing food cannot rely on the economic infrastructure to give them support for meaningful levels of production. However, despite having higher incomes than their food producing counterparts, the evidence showed that women who are producing coffee in Uganda as an export commodity cannot rely on the income from their crops to guarantee their health and nutritional wellbeing, and that the income advantage gained in coffee-producing households has not translated into consistently better health or food security outcomes. Both groups have limited levels of autonomy and control to address these problems.

An analysis of the costs of Uganda's Child Days Plus: Do low costs reveal an efficient program or an underfinanced one?

Fiedler John L,  Semakula Richard – Food & Nutrition Bulletin, 2014

Twice annually, Uganda implements Child Days Plus (CDP), a month-long outreach activity that distributes vitamin A capsules to preschool children and deworms children 6 months to 14 years old. Introduced initially as a temporary, interim strategy, CDP is now a decade old. The objective of this paper was to assess how well CDP is implemented using an activity-based cost analysis.
Only one-third of the facilities implemented all 11 CDP core activities. The survey revealed that Ministry of Health staff and volunteers are frequently paid substantially less in allowances than they are entitled to for their CDP outreach activities. Viewing these two practices—nonimplementation and less-than-full-reimbursement—as indicators of CDP's underfinancing, we estimate the program is underfinanced by the equivalent of 37% of its “full implementation” costs.

Post-Harvest Loss in Sub-Saharan Africa - What Do Farmers Say?

Jonathan Kaminski, Luc Christiaensen – The World Bank, 2014

The 2007–2008 global food crisis has renewed interest in post-harvest loss, but estimates remain scarce, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. This paper uses self-reported measures from nationally representative household surveys in Malawi, Uganda, and Tanzania. Overall, on-farm post-harvest loss adds to 1.4–5.9 percent of the national maize harvest, substantially lower than the Food and Agriculture Organization’s post-harvest handling and storage loss estimate for cereals, which is 8 percent. Post-harvest loss is concentrated among less than a fifth of households. It increases with humidity and temperature and declines with better market access, post-primary education, higher seasonal price differences, and possibly improved storage practices. Wider use of nationally representative surveys in studying post-harvest loss is called for.

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