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Newsletter week of Aug 25th 2014

2014 August 26
by bvancampenhout




copyright PASIC

copyright PASIC

Hello, and welcome to the IFPRI Uganda Strategy Support Program’s weekly news digest. We have taken some time off, so this week is a long one!

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 Building Uganda’s next generation of nutrition leaders. In addition, there is more news such as How a Kenyan TV series is helping farmers improve productivity, increase income and Tackling the food waste challenge with technology among others.

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

Thank you and Enjoy


The next Green Revolution


The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report and the U.S. National Climate Assessment have drawn attention to the connection between climate change and food security, pointing out the former’s net negative impact on global yields for wheat and corn, which are already beginning to decline. Crop yields, as well as fish catches and other food production, could drop off dramatically. Yet to feed 9.6 billion people by mid-century, we have to increase food productivity in a way that sustains the planet as well as people. This will require what’s often called a new “Green Revolution.”

P4P promoting increased access to micronutrient-rich crops


In Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia, WFP's Purchase for Progress programme, P4P is collaborating with HarvestPlus and national governments to increase the availability of micronutrient-rich staple foods. In these countries, P4P-supported smallholders have begun to cultivate Iron Beans, Vitamin A Maize and Vitamin A Sweet Potato, benefiting from improved nutrition and increased incomes from selling their produce, which is then used as seed or in school meals programmes. HarvestPlus works to reduce micronutrient deficiencies worldwide by developing and disseminating high yielding staple crops rich in vitamins and minerals. These crops are bred conventionally through a process called bio-fortification.

How a Kenyan TV series is helping farmers improve productivity, increase income

The Christian Science Monitor

Shamba Shape Up (Shamba) is a television series in Kenya helping small-scale farmers give their farms a make-over. It has an estimated audience of more than 11 million people, and is Kenya’s most watched agricultural television show. The series has a format similar to that of other home renovation shows—Shamba visits a new farm each week and helps give both farmers and the television audience the tools they need to improve productivity and increase income on their farms.

Shamba (Swahili for farm) is the first television program of its kind in Africa—and perhaps the world—dedicated to helping small-scale farmers learn about a variety of issues including: irrigation; animal husbandry; pest control; and, financial management. The Shamba team is made up of veterinarians, agronomists, and crop specialists—from partner organizations including the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF). The partners change each week depending on the theme of the show.

Tackling the food waste challenge with technology

The Guardian

The challenges of the 21st century will stretch our collective capacity for innovation like never before. The problem of 1.3bn tonnes of food wasted every year – roughly a third of all food produced for human consumption, represents an enormous challenge. Fortunately, this is an area where technology can play a strong role, and where the economic, human and environmental benefits are compelling. An assessment of resource productivity opportunities between now and 2030 suggests that reducing food waste could return $252bn (£148bn) in savings, the third largest of all resource efficiency opportunities identified by a McKinsey study.

Are crickets the next foodie trend?

The Guardian

Coming to a grocery shelf near you: US startups' insect-based energy bars, baked goods and barbecue-flavored "Chirps". To produce the same amount of protein, crickets consume 12 times less feed than cattle, four times less than sheep, and half as much as pigs and broiler chickens. This relative ease of bringing insects to market is one reason they are popular in developing countries. But Western countries have been slow to adopt this trend, with television shows triggering disgust in viewers by feeding squirming creepy crawlers live to contestants.

10 things you need to know about sustainable agriculture

The Guardian

In a recent live chat, a panel of experts joined readers online to discuss the future of sustainable agriculture in the face of changing weather driven by climate change and increasing competition for food. 10 things we learned are presented.  Among these was the fact that ‘We shouldn't just "accept" climate change’

Once upon a map: the African atlas of smallholder agriculture


The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) recently published The Atlas of African Agriculture Research & Development, which brings together a range of maps and analyses of the continent that show where different challenges and opportunities lie to improve the productivity of African agriculture. The maps used in the Atlas cover a broad set of interdependent issues related to African smallholder agriculture via seven key themes: political, demographic, and institutional classifications; footprint of agriculture; growing conditions; role of water; drivers of change; access to trade; and, human welfare.

Serving smallholder farmers: recent developments in digital finance


This Focus Note introduces some recent developments in digital financial services (DFS) for smallholder farmers. The featured case studies: (i) identify traditional "pain points" in serving smallholder farmers (such as the cost and risk of making payments to farmers and delivering subsidised credit); (ii) discuss how DFS are being used to overcome these pain points; and (iii) highlight some initial obstacles and successes. Given the embryonic and rapidly developing state of DFS for smallholders, it is too early to draw clear conclusions from the examples to date. Initial evidence suggests, however, that while DFS via mobile channels offer great promise for improving the lives of smallholders and their families, significant challenges remain.

Study highlights new agricultural methods and technologies that can save governments millions and conserve vital natural resources


Experts and policy-makers meet to share key findings from Ugandan and Indian national planning and food security study A shift in agricultural policy to encourage crop diversification and use of new water and energy saving technologies could save millions of hectare-metres (ha m) of water annually, as well as millions of dollars in energy costs, finds a new United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and partner food security study.

The findings from the project titled Capacity-building in national planning for food security, examined three different scenarios in the Punjab state in India and Hoima District in Uganda to analyse the implications of the trade-off and synergies between ecosystem inputs and agricultural yields and farm incomes.

Experts estimate major slowdown in global crop yields because of climate change


New research finds that the world faces a small but substantial increased risk over the next two decades of a major slowdown in the growth of global crop yields because of climate change. Authors David Lobell of Stanford University and Claudia Tebaldi from the

National Center for Atmospheric Research say that the odds of a major production slowdown of wheat and corn, even in a warming climate, are not very high, but the risk is about 20 times more significant than it would be without global warming. They added that it may need planning by organizations that are affected by international food availability and price.

Building Uganda’s next generation of nutrition leaders

Feed the Future

Every year, Uganda’s universities graduate more than 60 students with degrees in nutrition and high hopes of helping their local communities tackle challenges such as under nutrition, micronutrient deficiencies and over nutrition. Although the universities’ curricula provide graduates with a solid theoretical grounding in nutrition, it hasn’t always been easy to put classroom learning into practice. Universities in Uganda rarely provide training on practical implementation skills such as leadership, work planning, project management and monitoring, all of which are essential for reaching nutrition objectives on time and on budget in the field. Now, an innovative nutrition fellowship program is strengthening graduates’ abilities to put their knowledge to work and building the capacity of the next generation of Ugandan nutrition leaders.

Can the US Farm Bill and EU Common Agricultural Policy address 21st century global food security?

Food Security Portal

This is the report of a recent policy seminar, 21st Century Agricultural Policies: The 2013 EU CAP and 2014 US Farm Bill, at which a panel of experts outlined the respective agricultural policies of the EU and US. IFPRI’s director general, Shenggen Fan, concluded the panel with some eye-opening comparisons: European farmers receive €40 billion in subsidies annually and American farmers could receive up to $30 billion per year in support. Meanwhile, the totality of the G8’s commitment for food security in developing countries comes in at $23 billion over a three year period, and international donors at last year’s Nutrition for Growth summit in London pledged $4.3 billion to support food and nutrition security programs through 2020. Fan then implored the audience to reflect on those relative numbers as well as the opportunity costs of investing resources this way. “If we have a commitment to solve global hunger and malnutrition problems,” he said, “can we reallocate some of this support to help these poor and hungry people?”

Uganda’s bean exports grow as markets expand

Daily Monitor

Bean exports to different destinations have experienced a tremendous growth of 148 per cent, a scenario projected to boost local production according to experts. Between 2012 and 2013, revenue collected from the beans exports to the DRC according to market information from the Uganda Export Promotion Board earned the country $1.15 million (Shs3 billion) out of the total $1.42 million (Shs3.7 billion) exports.


Kakira sugar works plans to produce ethanol fuel by 2016

Daily Monitor

Kakira Sugar Works Ltd., Uganda’s biggest processor of the sweetener, plans to build an ethanol plant by the end of 2016 after it spent $75 million (Shs197 billion) expanding cane-crushing and power operations over the past two years. The ethanol from the facility that will have capacity to produce 20 million liters (5.3 million gallons) annually will be distilled from 85,000 metric tons of molasses, the result of processing 2 million tons of cane, Kenneth Musinga Barungi, an assistant to the company’s general manager, said by e-mail yesterday.

Linking smallholder farmers to markets and the implications for extension and advisory services


The Modernizing Extension and Advisory Services (MEAS) Discussion Paper series, of which this paper is Number 4, is designed to further the comparative analysis and learning from international extension efforts. The papers contain a review of extension and advisory service best practices drawn from the global body of experience in successfully reaching resource-limited farmers.

This paper explores the changing role of agricultural extension services and the growing focus on the marketing and business needs of smallholder farmers. Key issues in this debate include finding better means of coordinating and sustaining services, and generating policies that build the capabilities of farmers to raise incomes by linking to various types of markets — including informal domestic and regional markets, traditional cash crop markets, formal and higher value markets, and emerging food aid and structured public markets.

Economic Development in Africa Report 2014


UNCTAD's new report subtitled Catalysing Investment for Transformative Growth in Africa, seeks to address the issue of how African government can catalyse investment for sustained and transformative growth. It underscores the need to enhance the contribution of investment to growth through boosting investment rates, improving the productivity of existing and new investments, and ensuring that investment goes to strategic and priority sectors deemed crucial for economic transformation. It also stresses the importance of strengthening linkages between local and foreign enterprises, stemming capital flight to release more resources for investment, using aid to stimulate investment and fostering international trade to boost investment. In each of these areas, the report emphasizes the need for policy coherence at the national and international levels.

A bigger rice bowl: another green revolution is stirring in the world’s paddy fields

The Economist

A seed of rice that could transform the developing world saved Asha Ram Pal’s farm in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh in the summer of 2008. Mr Pal had planted rice on his small plot, not much bigger than a football field. Floods are an ever-present threat in the state, making it one of the poorest places in the world. And that year the monsoon was particularly heavy, remembers Bob Zeigler, director of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). Mr Pal’s fields flooded for two weeks after he planted the rice seedlings; a few weeks later, they were inundated again. He thought his crop was lost. His neighbours advised him to do what they have always done when the floods come: prepare for hunger. But this time Mr Pal had planted an experimental seed developed by scientists from IRRI in the Philippines. The seed has a genetic sequence bred into it which puts it into a sort of suspended animation when submerged. Instead of drowning, Mr Pal’s rice sprang back when the water receded. In a normal year he gets a tonne or so from his 1-hectare (2.5-acre) plot; in a bad year nothing. In that terrible flooded season, he harvested 4.5 tonnes—as good a yield as on any rain-fed paddy in the world.

AGRA integrates ICT into agriculture to spur productivity


The Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) in partnership with Image-Ad, has introduced an Information Communication Technology (ICT) services into agriculture to spur growth and productivity of smallholder farmers in six African countries. The technology uses mobile phones and software that could send SMS and voice messages to farmers about extension services, marketing and all other important messages relating to agriculture to ensure that smallholder farmers achieved increased productivity across the value chain.

Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda use science and technology to boost agricultural productivity

The World Bank

In a new and concerted push, four countries in eastern Africa – Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda – are, together, taking steps to marshal the power of science, boost food and dairy production, put more money into farmers’ pockets, help send and keep children in school, allow them to eat more nutritious meals, and reduce agriculture’s environmental footprint. This is being done through the East African Agricultural Productivity Program (EAAPP) financed by the World Bank and partners. The overarching goal of the EAAPP is to increase agricultural productivity and growth in eastern Africa, focusing on priority commodities, namely: cassava, rice, wheat and smallholder dairy.

Tanzania: Central banks in Africa urged to finance agriculture


A conference on revolutionising finance for agriculture value chains was held recently in Nairobi. Providing finance in agriculture was described as "putting the flesh on the skeleton." Deputy Governor, Bank of Ghana, Mr Millison Narh said that the conference made it clear that Central Banks needed to promote agriculture and increase institutional development. Mr Narh said that other suggestions that were directed to the Central Banks and governments is the establishment of collateral registries, credit bureaus and commodity exchanges. "In order to accrue this desired revolution, there is a need for robust farmer organisations but these need capacity building such that they operate as businesses and therefore can sue and be sued," he cited

If GM is the answer, it is only the answer partly, sometimes, maybe

Think Africa Press

In 2002, the international press was full of headlines such as ‘Starving Zimbabwe Shuns GM Maize’. This was repeated again in 2010. The context was that country's refusal to import genetically-modified (GM) maize from South Africa as regulatory approval had not been granted and because there were fears that the food aid grain would be planted, despite the fact that GM crops had not been approved for release by the national regulatory authorities. The 2002 episode in particular caused a massive furore, with the governments of Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique cast as villains, at odds with the needs of their people. The debate has re-emerged recently in Zimbabwe with calls from a number of quarters for the country to accept the inevitable and formally approve the planting of GM crops. Much of the simplistic advocacy of GM crops as the tech solution to ‘feed the world’, as illustrated by the recent flurry of reports and media articles in the UK, fails to take account of the political and social contexts in which such technologies (if they existed – remember most useful ones are ‘in the pipeline’) are used. It really does matter who owns, controls and oversees access. And when one technological track is favoured over others, then a whole raft of much more suitable and sustainable alternatives may be missed.

New analysis suggests gender differences in how farmers adapt to climate-smart agriculture


A recent gender-focused study conducted in 3 baseline sites in East Africa reveals some
interesting results related to how men and women farmers access climate-information and are adopting climate-smart practices and strategies. The farm based studies were conducted in three of our baseline CCAFS sites, mainly in Nyando and Wote in Kenya, and Rakai in Uganda. In each site, an intra-household survey was conducted whereby men and women were interviewed separately. In total 200 households were visited. The study, which will be released later this year, revealed that more male farmers in Nyando and Rakai had adapted to climate change through changes in agriculture practices, as compared to women in these two sites. Joash mentioned that “men are planting trees on their farms, while practicing mixed farming.”

'Akoro' no more: cassava multiplication techniques help Ugandan farmers achieve a food secure future


In Napak district, farmers are facing a more food secure tomorrow thanks to cassava multiplication techniques. This item showcases some of the successful farmers that have been supported by a few NGOs in promoting cassava growing. Cassava, the crop the Karimojong once referred to as “eloma bon” (grows alone) has brought hope to end hunger in some parts of the region. This story showcases a few of the successful farmers that have been supported by a few NGOs in promoting cassava growing.

Mama Pig's lessons for Ugandan farmers


The Ugandan government is encouraging its urban population to take up small-scale farming in order to reduce poverty levels. A lady who has come to be known as Mama Pig shows how it can be done. When Naluyima resigned from a well-paid job to try her hand at farming, some of her relatives thought she had gone out of her mind. But to their surprise the venture paid off and Naluyima has become a model farmer who is today consulted by both experts and individuals. She runs a variety of projects on the one acre (0.4 hectares) plot of land which she purchased herself. She has a piggery, fish ponds, a banana platation and vegetable gardens. She also rears poultry, produces biogas and runs a vetinerary clinic. In an interview with DW, she explained why she opted for the Camborough breed of pigs. "This pig has a thin layer of fat, it grows very fast and has very good mothering abilities. Basically, once you've gotten this pig it will give you more than ten piglets," she said.


Smallholder Farmers’ Decision and Level of Participation in the Potato Market in Uganda

Christopher Sebatta, Johnny Mugisha, Enid Katungi, Apolo Kashaaru, Harriet Kyomugisha – Modern Economy, 2014

Smallholder potato farmers in Uganda face many production and marketing challenges including limited access to markets and low surpluses for sale into the market. This study sought to underscore the factors that influence smallholder farmers’ decision to participate in the potato market and level of participation in such markets. Data were collected from 200 smallholder potato farmers in Kabale and Mbale districts. Descriptive statistics and a two-stage Heckman model were used to analyse the data. Results indicated that proximity to a village market positively and significantly (p ≤ 0.05) influenced decision to participate in the potato market. Results of the second stage of the model indicated that non-farm income earned negatively and significantly (p ≤ 0.01) affected the potato farmer’s level of market participation.

Are there systematic gender differences in the adoption of sustainable intensification practices? Evidence from Kenya

S. Wagura Ndiritu, Menale Kassie, Bekele Shiferaw – Food Security, 2014

This paper uses sex-disaggregated survey data at the plot level to test whether there are systematic gender differences in the adoption of multiple sustainable intensification practices (SIPs) in Kenya. We analyze plot level adoption decisions of SIPs by male, female or joint plot managers within the household, controlling for household characteristics, asset wealth and land quality factors that condition investments in intensification options. Using a multivariate probit model, we find gender differences in the adoption pattern for some SIPs. Compared to male plot mangers, female managers are less likely to adopt minimum tillage and animal manure in crop production, indicating the existence of certain socioeconomic inequalities and barriers for female farmers. However, we find no gender differences in the adoption of soil and water conservation measures, improved seed varieties, chemical fertilizers, maize-legume intercropping, and maize-legume rotations.

Resettlement and Gender Dimensions of Land Rights in Post-Conflict Northern Uganda

Sarah Adelman, Amber Peterman – World Development, 2014

Evidence shows even low levels of land conflict may undermine land governance and management, constrain agricultural productivity, and serve to perpetuate civil violence. This study estimates the effect of conflict-related displacement experiences on gender-differentiated land outcomes in Northern Uganda. We exploit exogenous variation in displacement to identify impacts on land among returning households. Results indicate that although female-headed households are disadvantaged in land outcomes, and land outcomes are affected by displacement experience, there is no joint effect in determining post-conflict land outcomes. Policy and programmatic attention to gender in land governance in Uganda should continue to be emphasized.

Agricultural intensification in Ethiopia: Review of recent research

Logan Cochrane – African Journal of Agricultural Research, 2014

This review of research presents recent agricultural studies conducted in Ethiopia. After a briefcontextualization of the discourse regarding agricultural research globally, material specific to Ethiopiais discussed in themes, synthesizing the types of findings, summarizing the trends and highlightingknowledge gaps. A review of this nature makes diverse research results available and accessible,facilitates knowledge translation and enables researchers to identify areas for future research.

Using Participatory Risk Mapping (PRM) to Identify and Understand People's Perceptions of Crop Loss to Animals in Uganda

Amanda D. Webber mail, Catherine M. Hill – PlosOne, 2014

Considering how people perceive risks to their livelihoods from local wildlife is central to (i) understanding the impact of crop damage by animals on local people and (ii) recognising how this influences their interactions with, and attitudes towards, wildlife. Participatory risk mapping (PRM) is a simple, analytical tool that can be used to identify and classify risk within communities. Here we use it to explore local people's perceptions of crop damage by wildlife and the animal species involved. Interviews (n = 93, n = 76) and seven focus groups were conducted in four villages around Budongo Forest Reserve, Uganda during 2004 and 2005. Farms (N = 129) were simultaneously monitored for crop loss. Farmers identified damage by wildlife as the most significant risk to their crops; risk maps highlighted its anomalous status compared to other anticipated challenges to agricultural production. PRM was further used to explore farmers' perceptions of animal species causing crop damage and the results of this analysis compared with measured crop losses.

Shocks in economic growth= shocking effects for food security?

Aikaterini Kavallari, Thomas Fellmann, S. Hubertus Gay – Food Security, 2014

The recent economic and financial turmoil raises the question on how global economic growth affects agricultural commodity markets and, hence, food security. To addressthis question, this paper assesses the potential impacts of faster economic growth in developed and emerging economies on the one hand and a replication of the recent economic downturn on the other hand. The empirical analysis uses AGLINKCOSIMO, a recursive-dynamic, partial equilibrium, supply demand model. Simulation results demonstrate that higher economic growth influences demand more than supply, resulting in higher world market prices for agricultural commodities. Emerging economies tend to import more and to stock less in order to cover their demand needs, while the rest of the world increases its exports.

Effects of water stress on the development of banana xanthomonas wilt disease

D. Ochola, W. Ocimati, W. Tinzaara, E.B. Karamura - Plant Pathology, 2014

Water quantity and distribution plays a significant role in determining the productivity of crops and the outcome of many host–pathogen interactions in natural plant populations. In the present study, tissue culture plants of the East African highland banana cultivar Mbwazirume were established in a screen house to mimic drought conditions in the field and so investigate the effects of water stress on the development of banana xanthomonas wilt (BXW) caused by the bacterium Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum (Xcm). In the absence of host resistance, all inoculated banana plants succumbed to Xcm infection and symptoms were expressed, on average, 14 days post-inoculation (dpi). Water stress effects were significant (P < 0.05) for disease incubation period, and significant (P < 0.001) for incidence and severity. Data revealed that BXW development is hastened by the combined effect of water stress before and after inoculation compared to when plants are stressed only before inoculation or maintained stress-free (SF).

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