Newsletter – week of november 6th
2015 November 12
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 Hunger forces Karimojong to sell animals_._ <http://www.monitor.co.ug/Magazines/Farming/Training-young-scientists-farmers/-/689860/2692624/-/nynpo6z/-/index.html> In addition, there is more news, such as Government rolls out drive against tsetse flies <http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Government-rolls-out-drive-against-tsetse-flies/-/688334/2922348/-/6ostjo/-/index.html> and World Bank says communal land costing govt billions <http://observer.ug/business/38-business/40046-wb-says-communal-land-costing-govt-billions>. There’s also news on, Coffee consumption in Africa still low, opportunities for growth <http://www.howwemadeitinafrica.com/coffee-consumption-in-africa-still-low-opportunities-for-growth/52321/?mc_cid=12ba62010f&mc_eid=74efb2d140>. And among others, Uganda's president calls for modern science thinking <http://www.isaaa.org/kc/cropbiotechupdate/article/default.asp?ID=13882>. Under agricultural and food policy related research, we provide links to papers on: * Unpacking Postharvest Losses in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Meta-Analysis <http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305750X14002307> * From Guesstimates to GPStimates: Land Area Measurement and Implications for Agricultural Analysis <http://jae.oxfordjournals.org/content/24/5/593.full.pdf+html> * Large-scale Agro-Industrial Investments and Rural Poverty: Evidence from Sugarcane in Malawi <http://jae.oxfordjournals.org/content/24/5/645.abstract> * The Structure of Indigenous Food Crop Markets in sub-Saharan Africa: The Rice Market in Uganda <http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00220388.2015.1098629?journalCode=fjds20> * Learning and power in international development partnerships: a case study of Iowan farmers in Uganda <http://cdj.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2015/10/23/cdj.bsv041.abstract#corresp-1> * Soil organic carbon stocks under coffee agroforestry systems and coffee monoculture in Uganda <http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167880915301031> * Household-specific food price differentials and high-value crop production in rural Ghana <http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S030691921500113X> * Human Capital and Industrialization: Evidence from the Age of Enlightenment <http://qje.oxfordjournals.org/content/130/4/1825.abstract?etoc> Thank you and enjoy! *News:* Government rolls out drive against tsetse flies <http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Government-rolls-out-drive-against-tsetse-flies/-/688334/2922348/-/6ostjo/-/index.html> 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 <http://www.monitor.co.ug/OpEd/Commentary/Support-rural-farmers-to-fight-hunger--increase-their-incomes/-/689364/2925786/-/qiari3z/-/index.html> 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 <http://observer.ug/business/38-business/40046-wb-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 <http://www.scidev.net/sub-saharan-africa/farming/news/drought-tolerant-maize-improves-yields-in-13-countries.html?mc_cid=12ba62010f&mc_eid=74efb2d140> SciDevNet 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 <http://africanfarming.net/technology/infrastructure/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 <http://www.howwemadeitinafrica.com/coffee-consumption-in-africa-still-low-opportunities-for-growth/52321/?mc_cid=12ba62010f&mc_eid=74efb2d140> HOW WE MADE IT IN AFRICA 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 <http://allafrica.com/stories/201510261295.html> allAfrica 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, floods <http://www.foodsecurityportal.org/el-nino-raises-concerns-about-food-security-millions-face-threat-drought-floods-1> 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 <http://qz.com/501379/reliable-data-is-the-answer-to-africas-1-trillion-agriculture-opportunity/> QUARTZ AFRICA 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 <http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21672342-fuel-price-shocks-have-big-influence-price-food-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 <http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/oct/16/malnutrition-food-systems-consumption-better-data> 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 <http://www.isaaa.org/kc/cropbiotechupdate/article/default.asp?ID=13832> CBU 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 <http://www.isaaa.org/kc/cropbiotechupdate/article/default.asp?ID=13882> CBU 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 <http://www.monitor.co.ug/Business/Commodities/Sugar-export-plans-hit-snag-as-Kakira-registers-shortfall/-/688610/2934974/-/18nmd7/-/index.html> 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 <http://www.monitor.co.ug/Magazines/Farming/Karimojong-avert-hunger-kitchen-gardens/-/689860/2932012/-/m8g4hyz/-/index.html> 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 <http://www.busiweek.com/index1.php?Ctp=2&pI=4367&pLv=3&srI=84&spI=463&cI=25> 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 <http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/674868-hunger-forces-karimojong-to-sell-animals.html> 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 <http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/publications/africas-smallholders-adapting-to-climate-change-the-need-for-national-governmen-579620?ecid=em_LKET_1015> OXFAM 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 <http://www.scidev.net/sub-saharan-africa/livestock/news/project-helping-women-gain-more-from-raising-chickens.html?mc_cid=c5aa744155&mc_eid=917c9fd355> SciDevNet 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 <http://www.foodsecurityportal.org/cost-effective-way-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 Uganda <http://africa.unwomen.org/en/digital-library/publications/2015/10/the-cost-of-the-gender-gap-in-agricultural-productivity-in-malawi-tanzania-and-uganda> 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 <http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/oct/21/worms-kitchen-food-waste-composting-organic-planting-soil?CMP=new_1194&CMP=> 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. *Research:* Unpacking Postharvest Losses in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Meta-Analysis <http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305750X14002307> 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 <http://jae.oxfordjournals.org/content/24/5/593.full.pdf+html> 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 <http://jae.oxfordjournals.org/content/24/5/645.abstract> 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 <http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00220388.2015.1098629?journalCode=fjds20> 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 <http://cdj.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2015/10/23/cdj.bsv041.abstract#corresp-1> 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 <http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167880915301031> 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 sequestration. Household-specific food price differentials and high-value crop production in rural Ghana <http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S030691921500113X> 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 <http://qje.oxfordjournals.org/content/130/4/1825.abstract?etoc> 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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