Officials meet on food insecurity
Government has set up some recommendations to address high food prices that FAO says has reached its highest level in 30 years. Some of the recommendations include reducing taxes on fuel and value-added equipment, increasing taxes on imported foodstuffs and formulating food hygiene-related policies. The high-level government officials’ meeting with key national and international stakeholders in agriculture that closed in Entebbe last week, also recommended that various countries should improve information accessibility across regions and strengthen market and trade information systems.
Farmers query cotton stabilisation fund
Cotton farmers are questioning the feasibility of government’s proposed cotton price stabilisation fund meant to regulate fluctuating prices. Mr Matias Osege, a prominent cotton farmer in Sere village in Tororo district, said the ginners deducted Shs600 per Kilogramme from last season’s sales to raise funds that would cover them when prices drop. However, he alleged that officials from the Cotton Development Organisation (CDO) told them that the money was used to buy tractors, seeds and other inputs.“No funds were saved for topping up.”
EAC import tariffs on maize are hurting Kenya, says World Bank
Business Daily Africa
Kenya is hurting from the East African Community (EAC) common market policy that restricts importation of duty-free maize, the World Bank has said. “Kenya is a food deficit country even in a bumper harvest year, yet the country levies import duty on food grains that are only suspended on an ad hoc basis in times of crisis. The East African Community customs union partners also impose export bans on cereals when Kenya experiences a food crisis,” said the World Bank report.
African conference calls for new agricultural universities
East and Central African countries should establish a new generation of innovation-oriented agricultural universities that would help integrate research, training and extension services, a conference has agreed. The recommendation came at the close of the first General Assembly of the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), held in Uganda last month. The new universities, said the recommendation, should be anchored in ministries of agriculture but linked with other ministries such as education, environment and transport. That would eradicate the disconnection between National Agricultural Research Institutes (NARIs) and training in various faculties of agriculture at existing universities.
Poor losing out from large land deals – study
The global rush to acquire large amounts of land in developing countries has done more harm than good, especially to the poorest people who often lose access to land and resources essential to their livelihoods. The problem is fuelled by ineffective governance, corruption, a lack of transparency in decision-making and weak rights for local landholders, according to the study by the International Land Coalition (ILC). Scant economic protection for the rural poor compared with international investors, and the common belief that large-scale agriculture is the best way to achieve food security also contribute to the negative impacts, it added.
In Africa, using ants and termites to increase crop yields
Christian Science Monitor
Recent research conducted by scientists at the University of Sydney reveals that ants could also help farmers increase crop yields. The findings show that termites and ants improve soil fertility in dry lands by digging tunnels that allow plants greater access to water.
Agricultural and food policy research
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Uganda: Mapping the distribution of commercial goods to the last mile
J Durgavich, B Nabirumbi, & S Ochaka. 2008. USAID | DELIVER project.
This older but recently released study report examines how a sample of common household goods are distributed in villages along the north shore of Lake Kwania in the Apac district. The study identified goods that were available at the village level and traced them back through their supply chains to manufacturers or distributors. While tracing the goods, the study examined the levels of inventory and the transportation strategies employed by the commercial sector to assure the availability of goods to remote, rural areas.
Tools for women’s empowerment?: the case of the forage chopper for smallholder dairy farmers in Uganda
F Lubwama Kiyimba – 2011
Labour-saving tools have been advocated as an important means of increasing production and improving the quality of life of rural Africans. Women have been specifically targeted in the development and dissemination of such tools, with the aim of helping them reassign time from farming and domestic activities towards income generating activities. Engineers have always assumed that taking women into consideration in the development and dissemination processes of labour saving tools will guarantee their use and reduce women’s labour time in agriculture, but this has not been effectively achieved. The forage chopper is one such technology that was developed with the aim of reducing women’s labour burdens, and indeed empowering them, only to find out that realities of use are much more complex. With a technographic approach, focusing on a socially active labour saving tool, this research explored how technologies contribute to the empowerment of women.
Adoption and productivity impacts of biotechnology for orphan crops: The case of tissue culture bananas in Kenya
N Kabunga, T Dubois & M Qaim, Tropenag. 2011
The benefits of relatively knowledge-intensive technologies that require supplemental inputs are not well known in literature. Moreover, there are no known studies investigating technology impacts on perennial crops. Using the case of tissue culture (TC) bananas in Kenya, we assess whether there are differences in banana production functions between TC adopters and non-adopters using a simultaneous equations model with endogenous switching. We account for heterogeneity in adoption decisions and for unobservable characteristics of farmer households and their farms and then compare the expected banana yield under the actual and counterfactual scenarios. Because of banana’s perennial nature, we also assess technology impacts over time by considering plantation age characteristics, a method not used before. We find that adopters and non-adopters are systematically different with regard to personal and farming attributes. Agricultural information access matters for adoption but also for productivity benefits.
Status of biotechnology in Eastern and Central Africa
GYS Mtui – Biotechnology and Molecular Biology Reviews, 2011
This work examines trends of both conventional and modern biotechnologies in selected Eastern and Central African countries namely Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo, with the aim of giving an up-to-date assessment of their national policies, institutional capacities, and the activities being carried out. Agricultural biotechnology seems to take the lead while biotechnologies related to health, industries and environment are lagging behind. Kenya leads the region with its biotechnology policy framework in place and more on-going biotechnology related activities, followed by Uganda. Tanzania has already developed its biotechnology policy but is slower to translate it into practice especially on matters related to modern biotechnology. The rest of the countries are yet to formulate their biotechnology policies but efforts are underway to achieve that goal.
Agricultural productivity and policies in Sub-Saharan Africa
B Yu & A Nin-Pratt. IFPRI Discussion Paper. 2011
We analyze the evolution of Sub-Saharan Africa’s (SSA’s) agricultural total factor productivity (TFP) over the past 45 years, looking for evidence of recent changes in growth patterns using an improved nonparametric Malmquist index. Our TFP estimates show a remarkable recovery in the performance of SSA’s agriculture between 1984 and 2006 after a long period of poor performance and decline. That recovery is the consequence of improved efficiency in production, resulting from changes in the output structure and an adjustment in the use of inputs. Policy interventions, including fiscal, trade, and sector-specific policies, appear to have played an important role in improving agricultural performance.