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Uganda Strategy Support Program’s weekly newsletter

2014 September 22
by bvancampenhout

copyright IFPRI

copyright IFPRI

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 Coffee Faces Bleak Future. In addition, there is more news such as Bill Gates's epic project transforms farming in Africa and Africa Agriculture Status Report 2014: Climate Change and Small Holder Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa among others.

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

Also, note that there is a special issue out of the Development Policy Review on The Political Economy of Agricultural Policy in Africa with case studies from countries in the region. And they are all open access!


Coffee Faces Bleak Future

The Independent

Uganda is still Africa’s second largest coffee producer after Ethiopia, but might not be for much longer. While it is the only country where coffee production has risen among the top producers in the last coffee year, the International Coffee Organisation (ICO) has warned that more needs to be done in order to save the livelihoods of millions of small-holder farmers of the crop and the country’s foreign exchange revenues. The ICO is now calling on the public and private sectors to set up and invest in robust scientific research and extension services to farmers. It says if nothing is done to mitigate the effects that climate change will continue to have on coffee production, everyone along the supply chain would suffer but farmers would be hit the hardest.

Africa Agriculture Status Report 2014: Climate Change and Small Holder Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa


Humanity is at an environmental crossroads, and the long-term welfare of literally billions of people is at stake. Climate change has been sneaking up on us for many decades.

Fortunately, as this publication attests, there are many adaptation and mitigation options at our disposal. We need to be moving towards the widespread adoption of 'climate-smart' agricultural technologies and practices - not just in Africa, but globally. If we fail to do so, we risk greater food insecurity, higher food prices and rising poverty, as well as continued ecosystem degradation.

Bill Gates's epic project transforms farming in Africa

New Scientist

Farmers' groups, agriculture ministers, scientists and financiers met this week at the African Green Revolution Forum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Expanding the AGRA scheme was set to be high on the agenda, Jama says. New Scientist went to press before the meeting finished. Africa's farmers have a lot of problems, but one of the biggest is poor soil. Cost and bad infrastructure have long prevented farmers from fertilising their fields, so many African countries have been losing nutrients from their soils. The AGRA project is the most concerted effort yet to fix the problem. Its soil health programme has set up 9000 dealers within 5 kilometres of farmers to sell them the supplies they need.

The first necessity is fertiliser. Thanks to the dealers, AGRA farmers now use 10 to 50 kilograms of fertiliser per hectare, and though this is just a tenth to a quarter of what farmers use in rich countries, it is still a big improvement.


Reliability and validity of an individually focused food insecurity access scale for assessing inadequate access to food among pregnant Ugandan women of mixed HIV status.

Natamba BK, Kilama H, Arbach A, Achan J, Griffiths JK, Young SL - Public Health Nutrition, 2014

The objective was to determine the reliability, validity and correlates of measures of food insecurity (FI) obtained using an individually focused food insecurity access scale (IFIAS) among pregnant women of mixed HIV status in northern Uganda. A mixed-methods study involving cognitive interviews nested within a cross-sectional survey was used at the antenatal care clinic of Gulu Regional Referral Hospital. Survey respondents included 403 pregnant women, recruited in a ratio of one HIV-infected to two HIV-uninfected respondents, twenty-six (nine of them HIV-infected) of whom were asked to participate in the cognitive interviews. The IFIAS showed strong reliability, validity and contextual relevance among women attending antenatal care in northern Uganda.

Narrowing the rice yield gap in East and Southern Africa: Using and adapting existing technologies

Nhamo Nhamo , Jonne Rodenburg , Negussie Zenna , Godswill Makombe , Ashura Luzi-Kihupi – Agricultural Systems, 2014

The importance of rice production in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has significantly increased over the past decades. Currently, rice plays a pivotal role in improving household food security and national economies in SSA. However, current rice productivity of smallholder farms is low due to a myriad of production constraints and suboptimal production methods, while future productivity is threatened by climate change, water shortage and soil degradation. Improved rice cultivars and agronomic management techniques, to enhance nutrient and water availability and use efficiencies and to control weeds, have the potential to increase yields. The aim of this study was to assess the relative contribution of such technologies to enhanced rice productivity. Relative yield gains emanating from nutrient, water and weed management were surveyed and calculated from literature. Partial budgeting was used to evaluate viability of fertilizer technology under GAP.

The Transition to Modern Agriculture: Contract Farming in Developing Economies

H. Holly Wang, Yanbing Wang, Michael S. Delgado – American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 2014

Recent years have seen considerable interest in the impact of contract farming on farmers in developing countries, motivated out of belief that contract farming spurs transition to modern agriculture. In this article, we provide a thorough review of the empirical literature on contract farming in both developed and developing countries, using China as a special case of the latter. We pay careful attention to broad implications of this research for economic development. We first find empirical studies consistently support the positive contribution of contract farming to production and supply chain efficiency. We also find that most empirical studies identify a positive and significant effect of contract farming on farmer welfare, yet are often unable to reach consistent conclusions as to significant correlates of contract participation.

Information, Mobile Telephony, and Traders' Search Behavior in Niger

Jesse Tack, Jenny C. Aker - American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 2014

Information and communications technologies have spread rapidly in developing countries. We investigate the impact of mobile phones on traders' search behavior in Niger by constructing a theoretical model of search in which traders engage in sequential search for the optimal sales price. Using a trader panel dataset spanning 2005–2007, we find empirical support for the model in that the duration of mobile phone coverage is associated with increased search activity. This effect evolves dynamically over time and is stronger for larger traders, who engage in arbitrage over longer distances. Results provide empirical evidence for the observed linkages between mobile telephony and price dispersion.


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