Targeting gaps in the food supply Chain

Agricultural production is only the first step in moving the world’s food from farm to fork, according to Nourishing the Planet, a project of the Worldwatch Institute. The other links in the food chain: harvesting, packaging, storing, transporting, marketing, and selling ensure that food actually reaches consumers. Inefficiencies in these activities, rather than just low yields or poor farming techniques, are often to blame for food shortages and low prices for growers. For instance, In Uganda, the organization Technoserve works with farmers to improve market conditions for sales of bananas. Technoserve helps individuals form business groups that receive technical advice and enter into sales collectively. Such coordinating businesses can decrease transaction costs, and helps farmers to market their crops. Read more here.
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Farmers decry low budget

Small-scale farmers have blamed their inability to prosper in agriculture on inadequate funding and poor co-ordination among actors. According to farmers, poor co-ordination has led to low capacity to effectively participate in the chain. Despite individual efforts to convince government about the importance of investment in agriculture to growth and poverty reduction, Uganda’s agricultural sector budget has not exceeded 4% since 2000. Read more here.

Ask Your Government Initiative

The Ask Your Government Initiative aims to reveal the extent to which governments are actually fulfilling their commitments in the areas critical to development, such as, maternal health, aid effectiveness, and environmental protection.  As part of the initiative, five partners of the International Budget Project (IBP) in Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia recorded audio diaries of their efforts to request and obtain budget information from their governments on these issues.  Based on the audio diaries, the IBP produced a five-part series of radio programs.  Meet the researchers in these countries as they tell their stories, find out if their governments answered their questions, and talk about what you think about access to public budget information practices in your country. Idasa’s Thembinkosi Dlamini participated in the Ask Your Government Initiative. Listen to them here.

Devastating new maize disease spotted in Uganda

A new maize disease has emerged in Uganda, threatening the food security and livelihoods of millions of people. The Rough Dwarf maize disease, which experts say has not been reported anywhere else in Africa, was first spotted early this year in the western and central parts of Uganda. Initial indications show that the infected maize crop displays wrinkled leaves and has stunted growth, which includes lacking cobs. It seems that the only line of defense is to sensitize farmers on how to contain the spread of the disease, which can be to keep uprooting and burning the infected crop. Read more here.

Understanding gender differences in agricultural productivity in Uganda and Nigeria

Results indicate that lower productivity is persistent from female-owned plots and female-headed household, accounting for a range of socioeconomic variables, agricultural inputs, and crop choices. Productivity differences depend on the type of gender indicator used, crop specific samples, agro-ecological region, and inclusion of biophysical characteristics. This paper investigates gender differences in agricultural productivity using data collected in 2005 from Nigeria and in 2003 from Uganda. Read more here.

Idasa working with AIDS groups in five African countries

Democracy institute Idasa will be working in Burundi, Cameroon, Ghana, Uganda and Zambia focusing on HIV and AIDS and human rights. Idasa’s Governance and AIDS Programme (GAP) has already held meetings with government officials from various ministries and members from groups like the Alliance of Mayors Initiative for Community Action on AIDS at the Local Level (AMICAALL), UNAIDS and UNDP. Memoranda of Understandings have been (MOU) signed with the African Association of AIDS Service Organizations (AFRICASO), and the East African Association of AIDS Service Organizations (EANNASO) and GAP is also participating in the Legislative Assembles with EANNASO.

EAC to approve 11 cassava, potato standards

Kampala: Standards for cassava and potato products in the five East African Community (EAC) countries have been recommended for approval for implementation. The process towards regional root crops standards, focusing on cassava and sweet potato, was spearheaded by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) in 2006. Read more here.