Newsletter week of 1st Dec 2014
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 Top 7 books on feeding the world. In addition, there is more news such as Shs3b project to create youth employment and among others, Activists want agriculture budget raised to Shs1 trillion. Under agricultural and food policy related research, we provide links to papers on:
- Consumption bundle aggregation in poverty measurement: Implications for poverty and its dynamics in Uganda
- Promoting women's empowerment: What works?
Thank you and Enjoy
This briefing paper was prepared for IDS co-organised parliamentary event,
Good for business and poor people? The role of the private sector in tackling undernutrition. It is a look at what works and what doesn't in terms of interventions by governments, donors and businesses to tackle undernutrition.
The Ministry of Agriculture together with the Food and Agriculture Organisation have launched a Shs2.8 billion project to create employment for youth in rural areas and improve nutrition. The three-year project is funded through the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund (ASTP), under the slogan “Africa for Africans”. East Africa has received funds worth $4 million under the ASTP project. Beneficiaries include Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda. In Kenya and Uganda, the programme will focus on Aquaculture intensive production and marketing while the focus in Rwanda and Burundi will be on poultry value chain, according to the project.
Planning for development in rangelands, including land use planning, holds particular challenges and can impose unusual constraints on routine activities. Rangeland planners must address a number of challenges: the sheer size of administrative units with sparsely distributed populations and variable, patchy resources; the independent nature of pastoral and huntergatherer cultures; high levels of environmental variability; and the complexities of managing semi-natural ecosystems. In response to these and other issues and challenges, this paper draws together and reviews current and recent experience in planning processes in the rangelands of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda. Key lessons are drawn out from two types of intervention – those led by government and those led by NGOs. These form the basis of a set of recommendations for different actors.
Thomson Reuters Foundation
Give women the same access to land, credit, advice and markets as men, and they could increase yields on their farms by more than 20 percent, boosting total global agricultural output by up to four percent, a leading land rights researcher said. Women produce nearly half of the food grown in the developing world, yet women farmers receive only five percent of all agricultural extension services globally - including credit, training, marketing and research, according to the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organisation
Feeding our rapidly growing population – anticipated to reach 9.6 billion by 2050 – is one of the world’s biggest challenges. Pinpointing the cause is also complex: climate change, broken food systems and globalisation have all been named as culprits of food insecurity. So, what has hindered food security in the past, and what will change its future? From eco-friendly farming techniques to the history of food activism, we asked our community for books which highlight methods that are creating a better, more sustainable food system for the world. This article lists a selection of the best.
Business call to action
This report is based upon discussions that took place during the webinar “Farmer and finance: The widening gap”, which focused on the challenges and opportunities smallholder farmers face in accessing finance. The event was a virtual roundtable discussion with the participation of companies that work with smallholder farmers. Beyond financing, this report examines other challenges in working with smallholders who are part of large-scale agricultural value chains, based on the outcomes of the event and individual interviews with Business Call to Action member companies.
Mail & Guardian
Displacement, climate change and entrenched abuse block the support women need to enter the agriculture sector, and to be able own land. A call has been made to the 54 member countries of the African Union (AU) Commission to increase the number of women who own land to 30% by promoting land policies that would address this issue within the next 10 years.
The Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG), a coalition engaged in budget advocacy, wants the Ministry of Agriculture budget to be raised to Shs1 trillion on the grounds that it supports the livelihood of the majority of Ugandans. The group adds that if that is not done, then the budget should not fall below at least Shs800 billion.
If an in-the-flesh extension specialist isn’t available to provide training, is a video of the specialist’s presentation or a video of a new agricultural practice a good substitute? The answer, according to a University of Illinois study with farmers in rural Uganda, isn’t simple, particularly when gender is factored into the equation.
The song extols the nutritional benefits of new high-iron beans that are now available in Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda. Almost 40 percent of children in Rwanda do not get enough iron in their diets. In severe cases, this can lower their IQs and learning capacity, resistance to disease, and energy levels. Beans are a traditional staple food and eaten every day. These new iron beans contain 15 percent more iron than ordinary beans, and can provide women and children with almost half their daily iron needs. They also yield twice the harvest of ordinary beans, increasing incomes for farmers.
One of the biggest challenges for smallholder farmers is gaining access to finance that can help them grow their business. In fact, according to a recent report, local banks in developing countries currently supply just three percent of the total estimated financing demand for smallholder farmers—a huge gap in the market. TechnoServe has gained key insights into the ways that informal financial institutions operate most effectively with smallholders. In a program working with mango and passion fruit farmers in Kenya and Uganda, for example, it shifted its initial strategy from commercial banking solutions to supporting existing and new savings and credit cooperatives.
SAIS - CARI
How is Chinese agricultural investment progressing in Africa? Research reported at the SAIS-China-Africa Research Institute (CARI) conference in May 2014, suggests the topic is poorly understood and that investment is both far lower and far more problematic in implementation.
In its first policy brief, CARI's Josh Maiyo looks into Chinese private farming in Uganda. Media reports depict at least 12,000 hectares of private Chinese agricultural investment. Doing fieldwork in Uganda, Maiyo found only one farm, Hebei Hanhe, with 160 hectares. His story of the Hebei Hanhe Farm is a cautionary tale of a much more contentious, challenging investment environment than is often assumed.
Mayra Buvinić, Rebecca Furst-Nichols –World Bank Research Observer, 2014
A review of rigorous evaluations of interventions that seek to empower women economically shows that the same class of interventions has significantly different outcomes depending on the client. Capital alone, as a small cash loan or grant, is not sufficient to grow women-owned subsistence-level firms. However, it can work if it is delivered in-kind to more successful women micro-entrepreneurs, and it should boost the performance of women's larger-sized SMEs. Very poor women need a more intensive package of services than do less poor women to break out of subsistence production and grow their businesses. What works for young women does not necessarily work for adult women. Skills training, job search assistance, internships, and wage subsidies increase the employment levels of adult women but do not raise wages.
Consumption bundle aggregation in poverty measurement: Implications for poverty and its dynamics in Uganda
Bjorn Van Campenhout, Haruna Ssekabira, and Dede H. Aduayom - wider working paper, WP/2014/15
Official poverty figures in Uganda are flawed by the fact that the underlying poverty lines are based on a single national food basket that was constructed in the early 1990s. In this paper, we estimate a new set of poverty lines that accounts for the widely divergent diets throughout the country using the latest available household survey. Using these updated poverty lines, we then look at poverty dynamics using four waves of the Uganda National Panel Survey. We classify households into categories depending on their change in poverty status over time and relate this to characteristics that are likely to change only slowly. This enables us to explore the characteristics of households that, for instance, grow out of poverty and how they differ from households that appear to be trapped in poverty. Our approach generates poverty measures that are more credible from a theoretical point of view and are more in line with what other researchers find.
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