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Newsletter – week of november 6th

2015 November 12
by bvancampenhout
Hello, and welcome to the IFPRI Uganda Strategy Support Program’s weekly news 

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 Hunger forces Karimojong to sell animals_._ 
In addition, there is more news, such as Government rolls out drive against 
tsetse flies 
and World Bank says communal land costing govt billions 
There’s also news on, Coffee consumption in Africa still low, opportunities for 
And among others, Uganda's president calls for modern science thinking 

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

  * Unpacking Postharvest Losses in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Meta-Analysis
  *  From Guesstimates to GPStimates: Land Area Measurement and Implications for
    Agricultural Analysis
  * Large-scale Agro-Industrial Investments and Rural Poverty: Evidence from
    Sugarcane in Malawi <>
  * The Structure of Indigenous Food Crop Markets in sub-Saharan Africa: The
    Rice Market in Uganda
  * Learning and power in international development partnerships: a case study
    of Iowan farmers in Uganda
  * Soil organic carbon stocks under coffee agroforestry systems and coffee
    monoculture in Uganda
  * Household-specific food price differentials and high-value crop production
    in rural Ghana
  * Human Capital and Industrialization: Evidence from the Age of Enlightenment

Thank you and enjoy!


Government rolls out drive against tsetse flies 
Daily Monitor

The Government has launched a campaign against tsetse flies in Busoga region 
after several animals in Luuka District were found with nagana, a disease 
transmitted by the insects.  The campaign was launched last week in Luuka 
District following a survey which revealed that animals had been found to be 
affected since April.

Support rural farmers to fight hunger, increase their incomes 
Daily Monitor

Every October 16, the world marks World Food Day. This year’s theme - ‘social 
protection and agriculture, breaking the cycle for rural poverty’ - requires us 
to recognise the importance of food security and income enhancement. It means 
empowering rural-based farmers through strong social security systems and safety 
nets for sustainable food security. This should be our focus in eradicating 
hunger and poverty, providing food and nutrition security, wise use and 
effective (sustainable) management of natural resources, protecting our 
environment thus achieving sustainable development, particularly in rural areas.

World Bank says communal land costing govt billions 
The Observer

The system of communal ownership of land should be addressed to minimize losses 
that government incurs in terms of compensations, especially when it is 
implementing huge infrastructure projects whose construction has a specific 
timeframe, a senior economist with the World Bank has advised.  “The issues of 
land need to be addressed. Land disputes cause about 11 per cent losses in the 
agricultural sector. In other areas, it goes up to 25 per cent,” said Racheal 
Sebudde, a Word Bank economist.

Drought-tolerant maize improves yields in 13 countries 


A new project has begun following the end of a related initiative that has 
provided more than 200 improved maize varieties for farmers in 13 Sub-Saharan 
Africa countries.   The Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (DTMA) project 
launched eight years ago under the Global Maize Program of the International 
Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) has produced hybrids varieties which 
withstand drought and pests while boosting yields

Online trading platform for commodities in Ethiopia 

African Farming and Food Processing

The Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX) has inaugurated its online trading 
platform, simply called eTRADE Platform.  The new online trading platform has 
the capacity to trade nearly 5,000 times more transactions than ECX’s current 
‘pit trading’ platform. The new online trading platform has the capacity to 
trade nearly 5,000 times more transactions than ECX’s current ‘pit trading’ 
platform. The eTRADE platform was developed entirely by the Exchange over the 
past two years and is expected to dramatically increase trade efficiency, 
transparency and accessibility.

Coffee consumption in Africa still low, opportunities for growth 

Although sub-Saharan Africa produces some of the world’s finest coffee beans, 
Africans still consume very little of the beverage, with the bulk of coffee 
beans being grown as a cash crop for export.  However, a recent briefing note 
suggests domestic coffee consumption is set to rise, supported by an emerging 
urbanised middle class which is stimulating demand for consumer goods.

Agricultural keys to malaria in the African highlands 

Sixty-five years after a major international summit in Kampala on malaria, the 
mosquito-borne disease remains a scourge and its incidence may even be rising in 
parts of sub-Saharan Africa due to the combined effects of climate change, 
agricultural practices and population displacement.

El Niño raises concerns about food security as millions face threat of drought, 
Food Security Portal - IFPRI

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s National Centers 
for Environmental Information has predicted a 95 percent chance that the current 
El Niño cycle will continue through the winter in the Northern Hemisphere, only 
beginning to gradually weaken in spring 2016. According to NOAA, this El Niño is 
shaping up to be the strongest one on record since experts began tracking the 
phenomenon in 1950.

Reliable data is the answer to Africa’s $1 trillion agriculture opportunity 

Despite the huge potential for agriculture on the continent, the sector has not 
grown as fast. In the 1980s, agricultural GDP growth in sub-Saharan Africa was 
2.3% per year. Between 2000-2005 that only increased to 3.8% per year, the World 
Bank points out. Part of the reason for this is the market information available 
is too fragmented to provide a coherent sense of the state of the sector. “If 
you went to ministries of agriculture in Kenya, Brazil and the US everybody has 
their own way classifying data,”.

Oily food 
The Economist

The prices of staple crops, like those of other commodities, are falling fast. 
In August they reached their lowest level for eight years, down by over 41% from 
their peak in 2011. That is not because people are eating less, or because 
farmers have become much more productive. Nor is it because of a slowdown in 
Chinese growth, in contrast to many other commodities. Whether going down or up, 
food prices are largely driven by other factors, among them oil prices and 
government policy.

To end malnutrition, we must step up to the plate with data on what people eat 
The Guardian

Data collection must be expanded and improved to record what people in different 
places actually eat. Poor diets are now the number one risk factor for disease, 
according to the recent global burden of disease analysis published in the 
Lancet. Surely the world’s foremost risk factor should be measured and 
understood with greater precision and disaggregation? Good methodologies already 
exist for collecting food consumption data – from individual intake or using 
household food purchases.

Researchers develop bacon-flavored superfood seaweed 

Researchers at Oregon State University have developed a strain of dulse, a red 
seaweed, to taste like bacon. This new strain of dulse has twice the nutritional 
value of superfood kale. According to one of the researchers, aside from its 
nutritional value and favorable flavor, the new strain grows more rapidly than 
wild dulse.

Uganda's president calls for modern science thinking 

The President of Uganda, H.E. Yoweri Museveni, has asked Members of Uganda's 
Parliament to "modernize their thinking" towards new scientific innovations and 
technologies, including modern biotechnology. This statement was made during the 
World Food Day celebration at the National Agricultural Research Organization's 
Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute in Rwebitaba, Kabarole 
district on October 16.

Sugar export plans hit snag as Kakira registers shortfall 
Daily Monitor

Plans to export sugar to the Kenyan market have hit a snag following a 
production shortfall by Kakira Sugar Works. During his visit to Uganda in 
August, Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, and his Ugandan counterpart, Museveni, 
struck a deal under which Ugandan made sugar would be exported to Kenya.

Karimojong avert hunger with kitchen gardens 
Daily Monitor

Karamoja sub region in north eastern Uganda has been experiencing hunger. The 
current hunger is a result of prolonged dry spell and acute crop failure in the 
last rainy season. In the last one month, unspecified numbers of families in 
Kaabong and Moroto districts fled to Kenya looking for food.

Ugandan farmers to benefit in $4m euro project 
EA Business Week

The Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA) have launched a 
4.5 euro multi-year project in Uganda to benefit more than 350,000 smallholder 
farmers using satellite data to improve production and marketing of three value 
chains-maize, soya beans and simsim.

Hunger forces Karimojong to sell animals 
New Vision

Struck by hunger, the people of Kotido district have been forced to sell their 
cattle so as to survive death from starvation. The Karimojong treasure their 
cattle as A source of wealth and mostly used for marriage purposes. "It's hard 
time for us (the Karimojong) because there is scarcity of food and we don't have 
any other alternative apart from selling our cows," John Awoja, the LCI chairman 
of Kalele village in Nakapelimoru subcounty, Kotido district, said.

Africa’s smallholders adapting to climate change: the need for national 
governments and international climate finance to support women producers 

Climate change is undermining the ability of African nations to feed themselves. 
Women smallholder producers are on the front line of dealing with the impacts, 
but are not first in line for international climate finance. Wealthy countries 
have committed to helping countries in Africa to adapt to climate change, but 
few women producers are feeling the benefit.

Project helping women gain more from raising chickens 

A project aimed at improving smallholder chicken production could uplift the 
livelihoods of millions of poor rural and peri-urban households in Sub-Saharan 
Africa. The African Chicken Genetic Gains (ACGG) targets smallholder farmers, 
particularly women in Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tanzania by identifying and 
producing chickens from exotic and local breeds, according to a scientist 
leading the project.

A cost-effective way to combat micronutrient deficiency through agriculture 
Food Security Portal

Famine used to be the focus of efforts to combat hunger, but changes in policy, 
technology and aid have brought the developing world to the point where 
“calamitous famines” (with a death toll of one million or more) and even “great 
famines” (100,000 or more) are much more rare. Even so, publications such as the 
2015 Global Hunger Index make it clear that malnutrition is still a problem, 
with 52 out of 117 countries on the index ranking alarmingly poorly on 
indicators of chronic malnourishment. Additionally, the more research shows how 
nutrition impacts short-term health and long-term outcomes like adult 
productivity, the clearer it becomes that the issue is not just calorie intake 
but micronutrient intake as well.

The cost of the gender gap in agricultural productivity in Malawi, Tanzania and 
UN Women Africa

In an innovative study, UN Women and PEI Africa, together with the World Bank 
have undertaken an assessment of the cost of the gender gap in agriculture 
productivity in Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda. The study not only explains the 
various factors behind the gender gap, but also costs its impact in agricultural 
productivity in terms of foregone GDP and poverty reduction efforts. The study 
aims to inform agricultural policies and programmes to be more gender sensitive, 
thereby increasing agricultural productivity and related economic and social 
returns, such as poverty reduction and food security.

Worms in the kitchen: how food waste could be solved by the humble invertebrate 
The Guardian

The lowly worm is responsible for some good news. Recent research shows that 
worms can eat small quantities of styrofoam. Mealworms are able to live on a 
diet of styrofoam without any health implications, researchers found. 
Micro-organisms in their gut break down the plastic foam into carbon dioxide and 
excreted pellets (resembling rabbit droppings), which can potentially be reused 
as soil for crops.


Unpacking Postharvest Losses in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Meta-Analysis 
Hippolyte Affognon, Christopher Mutungi, Pascal Sanginga, Christian Borgemeister 
– World Development, 2015

Reducing postharvest losses (PHL) is a key pathway to food and nutrition 
security in sub-Saharan Africa. However, knowledge of PHL magnitudes is limited. 
A meta-analysis has been conducted to expose nature and magnitude of PHL, and 
the kinds of interventions that have been attempted to mitigate the losses. 
Findings reveal inadequacies of loss assessment methodologies that result in 
inaccurate PHL estimates. Moreover, losses are often economic rather than 
physical product losses. Overall, technologies for loss mitigation fail to 
address dynamics of supply chains. Consequently, rigorous PHL assessment using 
systematic methodologies, as well as holistic approaches for losses mitigation 
are in need.

 From Guesstimates to GPStimates: Land Area Measurement and Implications for 
Agricultural Analysis <>
Calogero Carletto, Sydney Gourlay, Paul Winters – Journal of African Economies, 2015

Development goals and poverty-reduction policies are often focused on raising 
agricultural productivity and dependent on farm household level data. 
Historically, household surveys commonly employed self-reported land area 
measurements for cost-effectiveness and convenience. However, as we illustrate 
here, these self-reported estimates may measure land with systematic error 
resulting in sizable biases. This has led to the increased use of Global 
Positioning Systems (GPS) and other modern technologies to measure land size. In 
this article, we compare self-reported (SR) and GPS land measurement to assess 
the differences between the measures, to identify the sources of differences, 
and to determine the implications of the different measures on agricultural 
analysis. The results from the analysis of data from four African countries 
indicate that SR land areas systematically differ from GPS land measures and 
that this difference leads to biased estimates of the relationship between land 
and productivity and consistently low estimates of land inequality. Through the 
evidence and analysis presented here, we conclude that the more systematic use 
of GPS-measured land area will result in improved agricultural statistics and 
more accurate analysis of agricultural relationships, which will better inform 
future policy.

Large-scale Agro-Industrial Investments and Rural Poverty: Evidence from 
Sugarcane in Malawi <>
Raoul Herrmann, Ulrike Grote – Journal of African Economies, 2015

This article investigates the potential household welfare implications of 
large-scale agro-industry investments in Sub-Saharan Africa. Specifically, it 
compares the income and poverty of households integrated into a Malawian sugar 
investment with those households not integrated. Two different supply-chain 
set-ups are studied: smallholder outgrower and vertically integrated 
estate-production systems. Potential selection bias is addressed using 
propensity score matching and a number of robustness checks. We find significant 
positive income differences between participants in either supply-chain set-up 
and the respective counterfactual. Overall, income poverty is significantly 
lower among outgrowers relative to the counterfactual, whereas in the case of 
estate workers these differences are only significant for the extreme poverty 
line. Qualitative interviews confirm these results, but they also allude to 
risks for the rural poor associated with social conflicts in the expansion of 
new outgrower schemes as well as a lack of transparency in the operation of 
existing schemes, which are likely to undermine the poverty-reducing potentials 
of such investments.

The Structure of Indigenous Food Crop Markets in sub-Saharan Africa: The Rice 
Market in Uganda 
Masao Kikuchi, Yusuke Haneishi, Kunihiro Tokida, Atsushi Maruyama, Godfrey 
Asea, Tatsushi Tsuboi – Journal of Development Studies, 2015

Using data obtained from a series of nation-wide market surveys in Uganda, this 
article attempts to document and assess the domestic rice market at all stages 
in the post-harvest marketing chain from the farm gate to metropolitan area 
retail outlets. The criteria used are quantities marketed, prices, marketing 
margins, marketing costs and net returns to traders. The results show that the 
regional rice markets are integrated into the national market and that on 
average little surplus is left for rice traders at all market stages if 
marketing costs are accounted for. The spontaneously developed indigenous crop 
market works reasonably well.

Learning and power in international development partnerships: a case study of 
Iowan farmers in Uganda 
Stephen Lauer, Francis Owusu – Community Development Journal, 2015

Mutual learning in international development partnerships, especially learning 
by the developed country, helping partners, is not well understood, despite 
convincing arguments supporting the possibility and desirability of such 
learning. This research explores the process of learning and its relationship to 
power in the ‘Bridging the Gap’ project, an international agricultural 
development partnership in which Iowan farmers were the helping partners and 
Ugandan farmers were the beneficiary partners. Data were collected through 
semi-structured interviews of twenty-eight Ugandan farmers, seven Iowan farmers, 
and four programme staff and were analysed using a grounded-theory based 
approach. The results showed that both Ugandan and Iowan farmers learned through 
the project. Learning by members of both groups included ordinary learning, 
which helped them achieve their pre-existing goals, and transformational 
learning, which shifted their frames of reference and the goals and power 
relations embedded therein. The greater power of the Iowan farmers however 
presented some cognitive barriers to their learning from the Ugandan farmers. 
These power differences reduced slightly over time as both groups of farmers 
learned from each other, particularly when both groups recognized that the Iowan 
farmers could and did learn from the Ugandan farmers. The experiences of farmers 
involved in this project are consistent with the arguments that power presents 
barriers to learning and that learning by the helping partner can reduce power 
differences in international development partnerships.

Soil organic carbon stocks under coffee agroforestry systems and coffee 
monoculture in Uganda 
Susan Balaba Tumwebaze, Patrick Byakagaba – Agriculture, Ecosystems and 
Environment, 2015

Coffee agroforestry systems (CAS) are considered as a climate change mitigation 
option through carbon sequestration. However, most studies on CAS have 
concentrated on management and productivity of the coffee plants with little 
known about the soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks. We conducted a study to 
quantify and compare the SOC stocks among Coffea arabica L. (Arabica 
coffee), Coffee canephora Pierre ex Froehn (Robusta coffee) agroforestry systems 
and Coffee monoculture (coffee monocrops) in Uganda. Soil samples were collected 
at 0–15 cm and 15–30 cm and tested using routine soil testing procedures. We 
found that there was higher SOC under CAS than coffee monocrops. When 
intercropped with non- fruit tree species, Robusta CAS produced higher SOC 
(57.564 tC/ha) compared to the Arabica CAS (54.543 tC/ha). In contrast, Arabica 
CAS stored more SOC (54.01 tC/ha) compared to Robusta CAS (49.635 tC/Kg) when 
intercropped with fruit trees like Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam. and Mangifera 
indica L. Under the coffee monocrop systems, Robusta coffee sequestered 
4.86 tC/ha more SOC than Arabica coffee. The study showed that a farmer growing 
Robusta coffee intercropped with non-fruit trees is likely to benefit more from 
soil carbon credits than a farmer growing Arabica coffee with the same trees. 
Farmers growing Arabica coffee would sequester more carbon if intercropped with 
fruit trees. There is need for policy incentives that encourage the planting and 
maintenance of shade trees in coffee plantations for the benefit of carbon 

Household-specific food price differentials and high-value crop production in 
rural Ghana <>
Fred M. Dzanku – Food Policy, 2015

Using panel data from Ghana we have examined the relationship between 
household-specific producer–consumer price differentials and rural household 
cropland allocation between food and high-value crops. We test the hypothesis 
that cereal price bands induce a shift of resources away from high-value crop 
production, making smallholders appear unresponsive to price incentives. Our 
results lend support to this hypothesis, implying that a policy aiming at 
increasing farmers’ income through high-value crop production may fail if hard 
and soft infrastructure does not improve in rural areas, and if staple crop 
productivity does not increase significantly.

Human Capital and Industrialization: Evidence from the Age of Enlightenment 
Mara P. Squicciarini, Nico Voigtländer – The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2015

While human capital is a strong predictor of economic development today, its 
importance for the Industrial Revolution has typically been assessed as minor. 
To resolve this puzzling contrast, we differentiate average human capital 
(literacy) from upper-tail knowledge. As a proxy for the historical presence of 
knowledge elites, we use city-level subscriptions to the famous Encyclopédie in 
mid-18th century France. We show that subscriber density is a strong predictor 
of city growth after the onset of French industrialization. Alternative measures 
of development such as soldier height, disposable income, and industrial 
activity confirm this pattern. Initial literacy levels, on the other hand, are 
associated with development in the cross-section, but they do not predict 
growth. Finally, by joining data on British patents with a large French firm 
survey from the 1840s, we shed light on the mechanism: upper-tail knowledge 
raised productivity in innovative industrial technology.

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