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newsletter of june 30th

2014 July 2
by bvancampenhout

20131120_134409Hello, 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 Agro-Value Chain Finance and Climate Adaptation: The role of the banking sector. In addition, there is more news such as Are fortified foods poisoning our children? and Government issues new climate change guidelines among others.

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

 

 

Thank you and enjoy

NEWS

 

Agro-Value Chain Finance and Climate Adaptation: The role of the banking sector

Julie Dekens, Susan Bingi – International Institute for sustainable development, 2014

 

Risk management is a core element of any business and this is no exception for the financial services industry, but the new risks and potential opportunities from climate change in particular are not typically taken into account. The current lack of access to finance along agro-value chains constrains productivity and quality, resulting in limited economic returns and re-investment for all value chain actors, limited capacity for value addition and decreased ability to repay loans. However, awareness about climate risks is growing among financial institutions specifically, particularly in the insurance sector, and in the private sector more generally.

While the provision of agricultural finance that supports climate adaptation remains low, some successful models are emerging. For example, Centenary Rural Development Bank Ltd, one of the leading microfinance commercial banks in Uganda, is currently piloting a coffee credit scheme in Uganda. 

 

Farming system evolution and adaptive capacity: insights for adaptation support

Resources, 2014

 

Studies of climate impacts on agriculture and adaptation often provide current or future assessments, ignoring the historical contexts farming systems are situated within. We investigate how historical trends have influenced farming system adaptive capacity in Uganda using data from household surveys, semi-structured interviews, focus-group discussions and observations. By comparing two farming systems, we note three major findings: (1) similar trends in farming system evolution have had differential impacts on the diversity of farming systems; (2) trends have contributed to the erosion of informal social and cultural institutions and an increasing dependence on formal institutions; and (3) trade-offs between components of adaptive capacity are made at the farm-scale, thus influencing farming system adaptive capacity.

 

Are fortified foods poisoning our children?

The Guardian

 

Most of us assume that when it comes to vitamins in food, more is better. But a recent study has found that eating too much food fortified with additional vitamins and nutrients can actually harm our health. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) released a report that cautions against the purchase of fortified foods, particularly for parents feeding such foods to children under the age of eight.

 

Government issues new climate change guidelines

New Vision

 

The Government has issued a set of guidelines that requires all districts and sectors to incorporate climate change impact mitigation and adaptation in their plans and budgets, as part of plans to increase effectiveness of intervention. The guidelines will also require every government institution to allocate funds for climate change activities in their budgets and programmes. The procedures are meant to operationalize the national policy on climate change and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, to which Uganda is signatory.

 

Tanzanian farmers call on government to improve access to markets to sell produce

allAfrica

 

Tanzanian smallholder farmers are asking for more support to help them sell their produce. Through an innovative poll, led by Farm Radio International, 8,891 farmers nationwide were consulted on their access to reliable, local markets. It was the first time that so many Tanzanian farmers were given a chance to express their opinions through a simple, free mobile phone poll. The poll - which was conducted over a two-week period and broadcast by farmer radio stations - reveals that 65% of farmers do not feel that they have access to good markets for their harvested crops. One million Africans have already put their name to a petition, standing behind Tanzanian farmers, to call on leaders to do more to support agriculture and smallholders.

 

How climate change can be utilised by farmers to earn from carbon credit

Daily Monitor

 

It has always been thought that climate change is only a challenge to farmers but there is the opportunity to utilise its effects to generate income. Farmers in Uganda can now use finished farm products to trade in carbon credits.

Ritah Rukundo, a research associate at Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), says the organisation has signed the Kyoto Protocol to monitor carbon emission reduction in various countries, including Uganda, where farmers could be beneficiaries. Such projects can earn certified emission reduction (CER) credits, each equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide, which can be counted towards meeting targets set in Kyoto Protocol. The price varies from country to country.

The next generation of GM crops has arrived—and so has the controversy

WIRED

 

The first of a new generation of genetically modified crops is poised to win government approval in the United States, igniting a controversy that may continue for years, and foreshadowing the future of genetically modified crops. The agribusiness industry says the plants—soy and corn engineered to tolerate two herbicides, rather than one—are a safe, necessary tool to help farmers fight so-called superweeds. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Agriculture appear to agree. However, many health and environmental groups say the crops represent yet another step on what they call a pesticide treadmill: an approach to farming that relies on ever-larger amounts of chemical use, threatening to create even more superweeds and flood America’s landscapes with potentially harmful compounds.

 

An African outlook on improving nutrition on the continent

The Guardian

 

Africa faces myriad challenges, including extreme poverty, limited infrastructure, chronic food shortages and an exploding population (among others). However, nutrition is seldom considered an important component of national development and few steps have been taken to tackle the problem directly.

 

As African leaders met at a summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea last week, one of the key agenda items was to review progress made on their commitments since Maputo and come up with new declarations for the next 10 years. It was vital for leaders attending the summit to consider a declaration that promises to bring down the rates of under nutrition on the continent.

 

RESEARCH

 

Drivers and triggers of international food price spikes and volatility 

Getaw Tadesse, Bernardina Algier,, Matthias Kalkuhl, Joachim von Braun – Food Policy, 2014
The objective of this study is to explore empirical evidence on the quantitative importance of supply, demand, and market shocks for price changes in international food commodity markets. To this end, it distinguishes between root, conditional, and internal drivers of price changes using three empirical models: (1) a price spike model where monthly food price returns (spikes) are estimated against oil prices, supply and demand shocks, and excessive speculative activity; (2) a volatility model where annualized monthly variability of food prices is estimated against the same set of variables plus a financial crises index; and (3) a trigger model that estimates extreme values of price spikes and volatility using quantile regressions. The results point to the increasing linkages among food, energy, and financial markets, which explain much of the observed food price spikes and volatility. While financial speculation amplifies short-term price spikes, oil price volatility intensifies medium-term price volatility.

 

How do indicators of household food insecurity measure up? An empirical comparison from Ethiopia

Daniel Maxwell, Bapu Vaitla, Jennifer Coates – Food Policy, 2014

 

Renewed emphasis on programs and policies aimed at enhancing food security has intensified the search for accurate, rapid, and consistent indicators. Measures of food security are urgently required for purposes of early warning, assessment of current and prospective status of at-risk populations, and monitoring and evaluation of specific programs and policies. Different measures are often used interchangeably, without a good idea of which dimensions of food security are captured by which measures, resulting in potentially significant misclassification of food insecure populations. The objective of this paper is to compare how the most frequently used indicators of food security portray static and dynamic food security among the same sample of rural households in two districts of Tigray State, Northern Ethiopia. Seven food security indicators were assessed: the Coping Strategies Index (CSI); the Reduced Coping Strategies Index (rCSI); the Household Food Insecurity and Access Scale (HFIAS); the Household Hunger Scale (HHS); Food Consumption Score (FCS); the Household Dietary Diversity Scale (HDDS); and a self-assessed measure of food security (SAFS).

 

Nutrition, agriculture and the global food system in low and middle income countries

Barry M. Popkin – Food Policy, 2014

 

The entire food value chain and diet of low and middle income countries (LMICs) are rapidly shifting. Many of the issues addressed by the nutrition community ignore some of the major underlying shifts in purchases of consumer packaged foods and beverages. At the same time, the drivers of the food system at the farm level might be changing. There is a need for the agriculture and nutrition communities to understand these changes and focus on some of their implications for health. This rapid growth of the retail sector will change the diets of the food insecure as much as that of the food secure across rural and urban LMIC’s. This short commentary contents that current research, programs and policies are ignoring these rapid dynamic shifts.

 

Irrigation potential and investment return in Kenya

Liangzhi You, H. Xie, U. Wood-Sichra, Z. Guo, Lina Wang – Food Policy, 2014

 

The potential for irrigation investments in Kenya is highly dependent upon geographical, agronomic and economic factors that need to be taken into account when assessing the long-term viability and sustainability of planned projects. This study analyzed large dam-based and small-scale irrigation potential and investment needs for Kenya based on agronomic, hydrological, and economic factors. The analysis of small-scale irrigation expansion shows that the potential for investment in small-scale projects in Kenya ranges from 54,000 ha to 241,000 hectares, with an internal rate of return from 17% to 32%. For the dam-based investment analysis, under low-cost assumption, 58 dams of 73 are profitable (IRR > 0). At high cost level, the number is 52. If we raise the IRR cut off value to 12%, 32 dams are economically feasible. We showed that there is considerable scope for the expansion of both dam-based and small-scale irrigation in Kenya, and we also provided a strategic prioritization for investments in irrigation schemes and projects.

 

 

Does social network capital buy higher agricultural prices? A case of coffee in Masaka district, Uganda

Joseph Mawejje, Stein Terje Holden - International Journal of Social Economics, 2014

 

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how social network capital may facilitate agricultural household market access in Uganda. Specifically, we investigate if social network capital has significant positive effects on the ability of households to receive higher prices for coffee. In this paper, social network capital is modelled using a household utility maximization problem that is dependent on consumption and social interactions. We assume that social network capital mediates economic benefits through its effect on information flow, market intelligence and collective bargaining. We use two-stage least square (2SLS) econometric methods to investigate whether group involvement at the household level helps farmers to access markets with higher prices. The findings indicate that social network capital, measured in form of density of participation and attendance score, and multiplicative and additive indices of these, have significant positive effects on the ability to receive higher prices for coffee.

Hello, 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 Agro-Value Chain Finance and Climate Adaptation: The role of the banking sector. In addition, there is more news such as Are fortified foods poisoning our children? and Government issues new climate change guidelines among others.

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

Thank you and enjoy

NEWS

Agro-Value Chain Finance and Climate Adaptation: The role of the banking sector

Julie Dekens, Susan Bingi – International Institute for sustainable development, 2014

Risk management is a core element of any business and this is no exception for the financial services industry, but the new risks and potential opportunities from climate change in particular are not typically taken into account. The current lack of access to finance along agro-value chains constrains productivity and quality, resulting in limited economic returns and re-investment for all value chain actors, limited capacity for value addition and decreased ability to repay loans. However, awareness about climate risks is growing among financial institutions specifically, particularly in the insurance sector, and in the private sector more generally.

While the provision of agricultural finance that supports climate adaptation remains low, some successful models are emerging. For example, Centenary Rural Development Bank Ltd, one of the leading microfinance commercial banks in Uganda, is currently piloting a coffee credit scheme in Uganda. 

Farming system evolution and adaptive capacity: insights for adaptation support

Resources, 2014

Studies of climate impacts on agriculture and adaptation often provide current or future assessments, ignoring the historical contexts farming systems are situated within. We investigate how historical trends have influenced farming system adaptive capacity in Uganda using data from household surveys, semi-structured interviews, focus-group discussions and observations. By comparing two farming systems, we note three major findings: (1) similar trends in farming system evolution have had differential impacts on the diversity of farming systems; (2) trends have contributed to the erosion of informal social and cultural institutions and an increasing dependence on formal institutions; and (3) trade-offs between components of adaptive capacity are made at the farm-scale, thus influencing farming system adaptive capacity.

Are fortified foods poisoning our children?

The Guardian

Most of us assume that when it comes to vitamins in food, more is better. But a recent study has found that eating too much food fortified with additional vitamins and nutrients can actually harm our health. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) released a report that cautions against the purchase of fortified foods, particularly for parents feeding such foods to children under the age of eight.

Government issues new climate change guidelines

New Vision

The Government has issued a set of guidelines that requires all districts and sectors to incorporate climate change impact mitigation and adaptation in their plans and budgets, as part of plans to increase effectiveness of intervention. The guidelines will also require every government institution to allocate funds for climate change activities in their budgets and programmes. The procedures are meant to operationalize the national policy on climate change and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, to which Uganda is signatory.

Tanzanian farmers call on government to improve access to markets to sell produce

allAfrica

Tanzanian smallholder farmers are asking for more support to help them sell their produce. Through an innovative poll, led by Farm Radio International, 8,891 farmers nationwide were consulted on their access to reliable, local markets. It was the first time that so many Tanzanian farmers were given a chance to express their opinions through a simple, free mobile phone poll. The poll - which was conducted over a two-week period and broadcast by farmer radio stations - reveals that 65% of farmers do not feel that they have access to good markets for their harvested crops. One million Africans have already put their name to a petition, standing behind Tanzanian farmers, to call on leaders to do more to support agriculture and smallholders.

How climate change can be utilised by farmers to earn from carbon credit

Daily Monitor

It has always been thought that climate change is only a challenge to farmers but there is the opportunity to utilise its effects to generate income. Farmers in Uganda can now use finished farm products to trade in carbon credits.

Ritah Rukundo, a research associate at Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), says the organisation has signed the Kyoto Protocol to monitor carbon emission reduction in various countries, including Uganda, where farmers could be beneficiaries. Such projects can earn certified emission reduction (CER) credits, each equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide, which can be counted towards meeting targets set in Kyoto Protocol. The price varies from country to country.

The next generation of GM crops has arrived—and so has the controversy

WIRED

The first of a new generation of genetically modified crops is poised to win government approval in the United States, igniting a controversy that may continue for years, and foreshadowing the future of genetically modified crops. The agribusiness industry says the plants—soy and corn engineered to tolerate two herbicides, rather than one—are a safe, necessary tool to help farmers fight so-called superweeds. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Agriculture appear to agree. However, many health and environmental groups say the crops represent yet another step on what they call a pesticide treadmill: an approach to farming that relies on ever-larger amounts of chemical use, threatening to create even more superweeds and flood America’s landscapes with potentially harmful compounds.

An African outlook on improving nutrition on the continent

The Guardian

Africa faces myriad challenges, including extreme poverty, limited infrastructure, chronic food shortages and an exploding population (among others). However, nutrition is seldom considered an important component of national development and few steps have been taken to tackle the problem directly.

As African leaders met at a summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea last week, one of the key agenda items was to review progress made on their commitments since Maputo and come up with new declarations for the next 10 years. It was vital for leaders attending the summit to consider a declaration that promises to bring down the rates of under nutrition on the continent.

RESEARCH

Drivers and triggers of international food price spikes and volatility 

Getaw Tadesse, Bernardina Algier,, Matthias Kalkuhl, Joachim von Braun – Food Policy, 2014

The objective of this study is to explore empirical evidence on the quantitative importance of supply, demand, and market shocks for price changes in international food commodity markets. To this end, it distinguishes between root, conditional, and internal drivers of price changes using three empirical models: (1) a price spike model where monthly food price returns (spikes) are estimated against oil prices, supply and demand shocks, and excessive speculative activity; (2) a volatility model where annualized monthly variability of food prices is estimated against the same set of variables plus a financial crises index; and (3) a trigger model that estimates extreme values of price spikes and volatility using quantile regressions. The results point to the increasing linkages among food, energy, and financial markets, which explain much of the observed food price spikes and volatility. While financial speculation amplifies short-term price spikes, oil price volatility intensifies medium-term price volatility.

How do indicators of household food insecurity measure up? An empirical comparison from Ethiopia

Daniel Maxwell, Bapu Vaitla, Jennifer Coates – Food Policy, 2014

Renewed emphasis on programs and policies aimed at enhancing food security has intensified the search for accurate, rapid, and consistent indicators. Measures of food security are urgently required for purposes of early warning, assessment of current and prospective status of at-risk populations, and monitoring and evaluation of specific programs and policies. Different measures are often used interchangeably, without a good idea of which dimensions of food security are captured by which measures, resulting in potentially significant misclassification of food insecure populations. The objective of this paper is to compare how the most frequently used indicators of food security portray static and dynamic food security among the same sample of rural households in two districts of Tigray State, Northern Ethiopia. Seven food security indicators were assessed: the Coping Strategies Index (CSI); the Reduced Coping Strategies Index (rCSI); the Household Food Insecurity and Access Scale (HFIAS); the Household Hunger Scale (HHS); Food Consumption Score (FCS); the Household Dietary Diversity Scale (HDDS); and a self-assessed measure of food security (SAFS).

Nutrition, agriculture and the global food system in low and middle income countries

Barry M. Popkin – Food Policy, 2014

The entire food value chain and diet of low and middle income countries (LMICs) are rapidly shifting. Many of the issues addressed by the nutrition community ignore some of the major underlying shifts in purchases of consumer packaged foods and beverages. At the same time, the drivers of the food system at the farm level might be changing. There is a need for the agriculture and nutrition communities to understand these changes and focus on some of their implications for health. This rapid growth of the retail sector will change the diets of the food insecure as much as that of the food secure across rural and urban LMIC’s. This short commentary contents that current research, programs and policies are ignoring these rapid dynamic shifts.

Irrigation potential and investment return in Kenya

Liangzhi You, H. Xie, U. Wood-Sichra, Z. Guo, Lina Wang – Food Policy, 2014

The potential for irrigation investments in Kenya is highly dependent upon geographical, agronomic and economic factors that need to be taken into account when assessing the long-term viability and sustainability of planned projects. This study analyzed large dam-based and small-scale irrigation potential and investment needs for Kenya based on agronomic, hydrological, and economic factors. The analysis of small-scale irrigation expansion shows that the potential for investment in small-scale projects in Kenya ranges from 54,000 ha to 241,000 hectares, with an internal rate of return from 17% to 32%. For the dam-based investment analysis, under low-cost assumption, 58 dams of 73 are profitable (IRR > 0). At high cost level, the number is 52. If we raise the IRR cut off value to 12%, 32 dams are economically feasible. We showed that there is considerable scope for the expansion of both dam-based and small-scale irrigation in Kenya, and we also provided a strategic prioritization for investments in irrigation schemes and projects.

Does social network capital buy higher agricultural prices? A case of coffee in Masaka district, Uganda

Joseph Mawejje, Stein Terje Holden - International Journal of Social Economics, 2014

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how social network capital may facilitate agricultural household market access in Uganda. Specifically, we investigate if social network capital has significant positive effects on the ability of households to receive higher prices for coffee. In this paper, social network capital is modelled using a household utility maximization problem that is dependent on consumption and social interactions. We assume that social network capital mediates economic benefits through its effect on information flow, market intelligence and collective bargaining. We use two-stage least square (2SLS) econometric methods to investigate whether group involvement at the household level helps farmers to access markets with higher prices. The findings indicate that social network capital, measured in form of density of participation and attendance score, and multiplicative and additive indices of these, have significant positive effects on the ability to receive higher prices for coffee.

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