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newsletter for the week of 19th May 2014

2014 May 21
by bvancampenhout

photo 009Hello, and welcome to the IFPRI Uganda Strategy Support Program’s weekly news digest.

This weekly collection of recent news articles related to agriculture 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 given sh48bn for climate change project. In addition, there is more news on the Government to promote use of fertilisers and Why farmers should apply technology in their business among others.

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

Also, the Journal of Development Studies just published a special issue on Agricultural Development. In it, there a few articles by members of the Kampala research community! We highlight some below.



Uganda given sh48bn for climate change project
New Vision


Government has hailed development partners for injecting 14 million Euros (about sh48.3 billion) for a Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) project intended to mitigate climate change in the country. The European Union (EU) has given 11 million Euros and Belgium three million Euros while Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) is the executing/implementing partner. The GCCA project is intended to contribute to sustainable improvement of livelihoods and food security of the rural population in Uganda. Its primary focus is to strengthen the resilience of rural populations and agricultural production systems covering 18 districts along the cattle corridor.


As CO2 levels rise, some crop nutrients will fall

News Bureau, Illinois

Researchers have some bad news for future farmers and eaters: as carbondioxide levels rise this century, some grains and legumes will become significantly less nutritious than they are today.  The researchers looked at multiple varieties of wheat, rice, field peas, soybeans, maize and sorghum grown in fields with atmospheric carbon dioxide levels like those expected in the middle of this century. (Atmospheric CO2 concentrations are currently approaching 400 parts per million, and are expected to rise to 550 ppm by 2050.) The experiments revealed that the nutritional quality of a number of the world’s most important crop plants dropped in response to elevated CO2.  Zinc and iron went down significantly in wheat, rice, field peas and soybeans. Wheat and rice also saw notable declines in protein content at higher CO2.
Grain, Fish, Money: Financing Africa's Green and Blue Revolutions
Africa Progress Panel

Africa is a rich continent. Some of those riches – especially oil, gas and minerals – have driven rapid economic growth over the past decade. The ultimate measure of progress, however, is the well-being of people – and Africa’s recent growth has not done nearly as much as it should to reduce poverty and hunger, or improve health and education. To sustain growth that improves the lives of all Africans, the continent needs an economic transformation that taps into Africa’s other riches: its fertile land, its extensive fisheries and forests, and the energy and ingenuity of its people.  The Africa Progress Report 2014 describes what such a transformation would look like, and how Africa can get there. Agriculture must be at the heart that transformation.


Uganda national climate change finance analysis


This 2013 study provides a first estimate of climate change relevant expenditures that appear in the national budget of Uganda over the period 2008/9 to 2011/12. The authors argue that national policy narratives on funding with regard to the volume, sources and the delivery mechanisms for climate finance have yet to mature. On-budget climate change relevant spending is approximately 0.2 per cent of GDP. This contrasts with that recommended in the draft Implementation Strategy of the Climate Change Policy, which estimated that around 1.6 per cent of GDP needs to be spent on climate change-relevant activities. Over the period studied, available evidence does not show significant levels of funding to have come from international climate funds. The report concludes that actions taken by the Government of Uganda, and in particular the ministry of finance, to address the current weaknesses in public finance management will be a key determinant of effective climate finance delivery.


Inclusive growth: an imperative for African agriculture
African Development Bank

This recent study from the African Development Bank explains how inclusive growth, which is defined as economic growth that results in a wider access to sustainable socio-economic opportunities for the majority, while protecting the vulnerable, all being done in an environment of fairness, equality and political plurality, can be achieved by transforming Africa’s Predominantly smallholder farmers into market-oriented value chain actors that provide goods and services to local, regional and global markets. The three inclusive growth components discussed in this paper (agriculture productivity, rural employment and welfare distribution/risk mitigation) can be considerably improved if six key drivers are promoted, namely: i) finance, investment and regional integration; ii) agro-industry and SMEs; iii) R&D and technology; iv) building institutions; v) social inclusion, food security and adaptation; and vi) land rights.


Why farmers should apply technology in their business
Daily Monitor


It is possible for farmers in Uganda to engage in modern farming using the available technologies on a small piece of land for better output and increased income. And this applies to any farmer as long as one has passion for what he or she is doing. Dr Emma Naluyima, a veterinary doctor, who has her farm at Bwerenga in Wakiso District, is of the view that Ugandan farmers must come out of peasantry method of farming to go commercial so as to compete with the farmers in other parts of the world.


Mitigating climate change in the tea sector


This is the first training guide that helps tea farmers and factories lower their emissions and reduce energy costs. It was created with the Ethical Tea Partnership, the Rainforest Alliance and FLOCERT using a Kenya Tea Development Agency factory as a pilot case.  Climate change is already having an impact on tea quantity and quality.  Exporters are also increasingly subject to requirements set by buyers and retailers to measure and reduce carbon emissions.  This step-by-step manual provides an overview of climate change in the tea sector; outlines options for tea factory managers and farm extension officers; and outlines carbon footprint measurement. It is felt that this guide is of direct relevance to Uganda's tea farmers and factories.


Government to promote use of fertilisers
Daily Monitor


Over time, Ugandan soils have continued to lose nutrients without them being replenished.  As a result, soil fertility is low and declining, the crop yields are at less than their potential.  This is coupled with the fact that Uganda has the lowest level of fertiliser use in the world, at less than two kilogrammes of nutrient per hectare per year, compared to Africa’s average of 89kg per hectare per year. Against this backdrop, the government has embarked on a campaign to promote
increased use of fertilisers among smallholder farmers to tackle the declining soil fertility that is affecting crop yields. These yields are at 30 per cent of the potential they could be.

East African prospects: an update on the political economy of Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda

This May 2014 report published by the Overseas Development Institute provides an update on the political economy of four East African countries: Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda.  Based on published research, media reports, the authors’ inside knowledge on certain topics and recent interviews with well-placed observers in the region, it is intended to provide guidance to any practical development organisation approaching a new phase of strategic planning in East African Community (EAC) member states. The report is not a comprehensive treatment of the many important and interesting things currently happening in East Africa.  The focus is on political economy and the implications, in particular, for modalities of support to the development of productive sectors in the four countries. In planning the work, the authors sought to address a number of themes of concern to practical development organisations across the region as well as topical issues concerning particular states.




Relative Undernourishment and Food Insecurity Associations with Plasmodium falciparum Among Batwa Pygmies in Uganda: Evidence from a Cross-Sectional Survey
Joseph A. Lewnard, Lea Berrang-Ford, Shuaib Lwasa, Didacus Bambaiha Namanya, Kaitlin A. Patterson, Blánaid Donnelly, Manisha A. Kulkarni, Sherilee L. Harper, Nicholas H. Ogden, and Cesar P. Carcamo – American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2014
Although malnutrition and malaria co-occur among individuals and populations globally, effects of nutritional status on risk for parasitemia and clinical illness remain poorly understood. We investigated associations between Plasmodium falciparum infection, nutrition, and food security in a cross-sectional survey of 365 Batwa pygmies in Kanungu District, Uganda in January of 2013. We identified 4.1% parasite prevalence among individuals over 5 years old. Severe food insecurity was associated with increased risk for positive rapid immunochromatographic test outcome (adjusted relative risk [ARR] = 13.09; 95% confidence interval [95% CI] = 2.23–76.79). High age/sex-adjusted mid-upper arm circumference was associated with decreased risk for positive test among individuals who were not severely food-insecure (ARR = 0.37; 95% CI = 0.19–0.69). Within Batwa pygmy communities, where malnutrition and food insecurity are common, individuals who are particularly undernourished or severely food-insecure may have elevated risk for P. falciparum parasitemia. This finding may motivate integrated control of malaria and malnutrition in low-transmission settings.


Taking Complexity in Food Systems Seriously: An Interdisciplinary Analysis
Tira Foran, James R.A. Butler, Liana J. Williams, Wolf J. Wanjura, Andy Hall, Lucy Carter, Peter S. Carberry – World Development, 2014
Motivated by donor interest in innovative thinking on food security, we conducted an interdisciplinary, triangulation analysis of four divergent conceptual frameworks, each relevant to diagnosing food insecurity in developing countries. We found notable tensions as well as synergistic interactions between agroecology, agricultural innovation systems, social–ecological systems, and political ecology. Cross-framework interactions enhance our understanding of how sectoral and macro-economic development strategies impact on livelihoods, availability, and access. Re-invigorated, more profound dialog between divergent conceptual frameworks enables diagnosis of complex food insecurity problems, and context-specific interventions and innovations. Informed use of divergent approaches constitutes a new ambition for research and practice.


Credit Constraints and Agricultural Productivity: Evidence from rural Rwanda
Daniel Ayalew Ali, Klaus Deininger & Marguerite Duponchel - Journal of Development Studies, 2014


While potentially negative impacts of credit constraints on economic development have long been discussed conceptually, empirical evidence for Africa remains limited. We use a direct elicitation approach on a national sample of Rwandan rural households to empirically assess the extent and nature of credit rationing in the semi-formal sector and its impact, using an endogenous switching model. Elimination of all constraints could increase output by some 17 per cent. Implications for policy and research are spelled out.


The Role of Farming Experience on the Adoption of Agricultural Technologies: Evidence from Smallholder Farmers in Uganda
John Herbert Ainembabazi & Johnny Mugisha - Journal of Development Studies, 2014


This article investigates the relationship between adoption of and experience with agricultural technologies. We use both non-parametric and parametric estimations on data from rural farmers in Uganda. We find an inverted-U relationship between adoption of and experience with agricultural technologies in banana, coffee and maize. This suggests that farming experience is useful in early stages of adoption of a given technology when farmers are still testing its potential benefits, which later determine its retention or disadoption over time. Thus, gradual advances in technology development and continuous retraining of farmers are essential for sustainable adoption of agricultural technologies for some crops.
Structural Transformation of Cereal Markets in Ethiopia
Bart Minten, David Stifel & Seneshaw Tamru - Journal of Development Studies, 2014
We study cereal markets in Ethiopia over the last decade, a period that has been characterised by important local changes, including strong economic growth, urbanisation, improved road and communication infrastructure, and higher adoption of modern inputs in agriculture. These changes are associated with better spatial price integration as well as with significant declines in real price differences between supplying and receiving markets and in cereal milling and retail margins. In short, important improvements have occurred in Ethiopia’s cereal marketing system. This is especially important because dysfunctional cereal markets were previously identified as an important cause of food insecurity in the country.


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