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Newsletter for the week of Oct 20th

2014 October 22
by bvancampenhout

copyright Els Lecoutere

copyright Els Lecoutere

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 Food security brings economic growth — not the other way around. In addition, there is more news such as Agriculture still needs government support – experts and among others, Grow vegetables to make quick money. Under agricultural and food policy related research, we provide links to papers on:

Thank you and Enjoy


The state of world fisheries and aquaculture, 2014


The latest edition of FAO’s State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture reveals that more people than ever before are relying on fisheries and aquaculture for food as a source of income, but harmful practices and poor management are threatening the sector’s sustainability. The report states that fish farming households hold tremendous promise in responding to surging demand for food, but to continue to grow sustainably, aquaculture needs to become less dependent on wild fish for feeds and introduce greater diversity in farmed culture species and practices.

Indonesia enlists wasps in war on crop killer


They are the size of a pinhead and don't even pack a sting, but these tiny wasps are cold-blooded killers nonetheless. They work as nature's SWAT team, neutralizing a pest that threatens to destroy one of the developing world's most important staple foods: cassava.

On Wednesday, scientists put 3,000 wasps into a secure tent-like habitat in an affected field in Bogor. They will be monitored to see how well they handle local conditions as they multiply to an expected 450,000 within a month. Once a government permit is obtained, the wasps can be released into the wild to start their relentless killing spree.

Can coffee stimulate renewable energy in Central America?

The Guardian

Waste water generated from coffee wet-mill processing, which uses large amounts of water to remove the fruit of the seed, is often discharged untreated into the environment. This process pollutes ground water, basins and soils and affects rural communities’ drinking water, as well as local fauna and flora, and marine life in coastal areas. What’s more, it has also been discovered that coffee waste water generates a considerable amount of greenhouse gases, particularly methane. But coffee waste water is rich in organic matter, which can be used to generate energy via anaerobic decomposition.

Grow vegetables to make quick money

Daily Monitor

Policy makers and those in charge of agricultural production place emphasis on particular commodities they consider priority. These include rice, cassava, banana, beans, sweet potato, groundnuts, livestock and fisheries but not indigenous green vegetables. Now, the National Crop Resources Research Institute and Mukono Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute have initiated breeding programmes for indigenous vegetables and encouraging farmers to grow them.

Food security brings economic growth — not the other way around


On World Food Day, it’s time to remind ourselves that economic growth is only sustainable if all countries have food security. Without a country-owned and country-driven food security strategy, there will be obstacles and additional costs to global-, regional- and country-level economic growth. Countries with very high levels of poverty and chronic malnutrition face limitations in human capital development, which is required to achieve sustainable growth. High levels of poverty, inequality and chronic malnutrition force governments to invest significant chunks of their resources in short-term fixes like social safety net programs and conditional cash transfers. High rates of malnutrition can lead to a loss in gross domestic product of as much as 4 to 5 percent, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

Agriculture still needs government support – experts

Daily Monitor

The agricultural sector still needs government support and cannot be left in the hands of private investors, an agricultural activist said. Agnes Kirabo, coordinator, Food Rights Alliance, made the comment while speaking at a dialogue on the National Agricultural Policy (NAP) held in Kampala. “The way we are handling the agricultural sector is worrying. For instance, there are no statistics on the sector, we just use estimates to say milk production is more in a certain area. At this rate, the private sector cannot lead us, we still need the support of government,” Kirabo said.

The objective in NAP is to have an agricultural sector led by the private sector and supported by government focusing on provision of public goods. However, as Kirabo argues, it is not yet attractive enough for private investors to take interest.


Feeding unrest: Disentangling the causal relationship between food price shocks and sociopolitical conflict in urban Africa

Todd Graham Smith - Journal of Peace Research, 2014

While both academics and politicians have long acknowledged the connection between food price shocks and so-called ‘food riots’, this article asks whether rising domestic consumer food prices are a contributing cause of sociopolitical unrest, more broadly defined, in urban areas of Africa. In order to unravel the complex and circular relationship between rising food prices and unrest, an instrumental approach with country fixed effects is used to isolate causality at the country-month unit of analysis for the period 1990 through 2012. Two instrumental variables, changes in international grain commodity prices and local rainfall scarcity, are evaluated and used individually and jointly as instruments for changes in domestic food prices. The main finding is that a sudden increase in domestic food prices in a given month significantly increases the probability of urban unrest, especially spontaneous events and riots, in that month. Undeniably, more fundamental economic and political grievances are also drivers of such events and are likely to determine how the unrest ultimately manifests, even when triggered by rising food prices. Although more research is necessary to determine why people choose particular protest methods and targets, the findings of this research provide evidence that sociopolitical unrest of different types is driven, or at least triggered, by a consumer response to economic pressure from increasing food prices regardless of the cause of the increase.

A Measured Approach to Ending Poverty and Boosting Shared Prosperity: Concepts, Data, and the Twin Goals

World Bank, World Bank Group – 2014

Concerns around data and measurement are often overshadowed in debates about the fundamental determinants of development and the role of policy. This report argues for a different perspective—one that acknowledges the role evidence plays in understanding structural change and the design of policy and appreciates the importance of evidence in evaluating and improving policies over time. Economists rely on the availability of consistent and reliable data not only to motivate and assess economic theory, but also to monitor and evaluate economic policies in practice—and this is as important for poverty reduction as for other areas of economics.

Food as a human right during disasters in Uganda

Peter Milton Rukundo, Per Ole Iversen, Arne Oshaug, Lovise Ribe Omuajuanfo, Byaruhanga Rukooko, Joyce Kikafunda, Bård Anders Andreassen – Food Policy, 2014

Natural and human induced disasters are a threat to food security, economic progress and livelihoods in Uganda. However, we have limited knowledge regarding the putative role of the human rights dimension to the impact and management of such tragedies. In this article we assessed the present policies, legislation and institutional capabilities to ascertain whether they could assure the right to adequate food during disaster situations in Uganda.

Using purposive sampling, 52 duty bearers working in institutions deemed relevant to food security, nutrition and disaster management were interviewed using a semi-structured guide. Relevant provisions from policy, legislation, institutional budgets and records of Parliament provided the context for analysis.

Exploring Options for Improving Rice Production to Reduce Hunger and Poverty in Kenya

Amos Ouma Onyango - World Environment, 2014

This paper aims at finding possible ways of boosting rice production in Kenya. It reviews works from published peer review articles, agricultural research and development reports from national and international institutions. The introductory part has established that rice is increasingly becoming a food security crop for most of the developing countries.

According to the statistics available, the rate of rice consumption in Kenya is around 12% per year. The annual production is around 50,000 metric tons against an annual demand of about 300000 metric tons. This has necessitated the import dependency ratio to be very high (about 88% in the last decade). It has been observed that through investment in agricultural research and development, price stabilization and adoption of New Rice for Africa (NERICA), Kenya can be sufficient in food production.

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