AAAE News Brief

If you can't see this email click here.

August 25, 2021 | No. 30
How are farmers using digital services in low- and middle-income countries?

Whether we call it the fourth agricultural revolution, smart farming, precision agriculture or Agriculture 4.0, digital technologies are transforming farming. Mobile phones and other data-enabled services have increased access to information, knowledge, financial services, markets, and farm tools for millions of farmers worldwide. Small-scale producers use an array of digital tools, ranging from data-based crop management to mobile phone-based banking. These tools have successfully reached even the remotest populations and have attained some incredible achievements. Far from being passive consumers, the evidence shows that farmers are active agents who use, adapt and create information and services. In fact, nearly half of the studies that we assessed describe farmers transforming an existing service and making it more applicable for their own needs. Read more 

Centre for African Leaders in Agriculture Launches Inaugural Leadership Programme with Virtual Leadership Forum

With Africa’s food security and sustainability playing a central role in the continent’s economic growth and adaptation to climate change, the Centre for African Leaders in Agriculture (CALA), an initiative led by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), officially launched its first cohort of 80 leaders from eight focus countries across sub-Saharan Africa. To support agriculture leaders deliver on policy priorities across the continent, this week CALA’s inaugural Advanced Leadership Programme: Collaborative Leadership for Africa’s Food Security and Sustainability kicked off with individuals from the government, the private sector and civil society from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. Read more 

source: AGRA
A Drive to Improve the Quality of Liberian Cocoa

Liberian cocoa has a poor international reputation due to a history of inconsistent quality, leading to automatic price penalties on the global market. Almost all Liberian cocoa is sold on the bulk market for use in the cosmetics industry. The current market conditions give Liberian farmers little incentive to improve their post-harvest practices such as fermentation and drying of the beans – critical to quality and flavour – since their efforts do not reap better prices. With negligible national volumes, Liberia has been left trailing behind neighbouring Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, which together produce some two-thirds of the world’s cocoa. This is in spite of fertile soil and an optimal climate for growing the crop. A report published by the VOICE Network, which advocates reforming the cocoa sector to improve working conditions, states that the bulk cocoa market holds producers in a cycle of poverty, with less than 10% of farmers in Ghana – the world’s second-largest producer – on or above the living income line. A joint attempt by Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire to set a minimum price to improve farmers’ incomes has proven unsuccessful. Quality concerns aside, Liberian cocoa possesses many of the characteristics that appeal to speciality buyers and set it apart from the neighbouring global giants. Read more 

Leveraging livestock sector innovations for a resilient and sustainable food system in Africa

Animal husbandry plays a significant role in Africa’s food systems, supporting the livelihoods of an estimated 268 million people in 36 African countries and making an important contribution to food security and nutrition. However, to meet the increasing demand for animal-sourced products, more needs to be done to elevate the role of the livestock sector through context-specific technology development and adoption as well as targeted policy innovations for a sustainable increase in production and productivity.

This article by Dr Mahamadou Tankari and Dr Katrin Glatzel draws on the experiences of Senegal and Tunisia in elevating livestock to a sectoral policy priority, as well as concrete examples of technology development across the continent. These interventions could contribute significantly to Africa’s food systems transformation, create important employment opportunities in rural areas, and strengthen overall economic growth and development. Read more 

source: Mamo Panel
Pineapple Farming Boosts Ghana Exports

Africa's second-largest pineapple exporter is looking to grow the industry by increasing the production of value-added goods. In 2019 Ghana exported $10 million of pineapples to the worldwide market as global demand for the fruit was increasing. "We received a number of requests for fresh pineapples," said Stephen Mintah General Manager of Sea Freight Pineapple exporters of Ghana. "Because of our climatic conditions, we can grow fruit which is very sweet and acceptable for the global market. Demand is not a challenge, the only challenge is to get our act together and get capital, be competitively priced and be able to produce more." Learn more

source: CNN
The Pandemic Was a Severe Blow for World Hunger. The Recovery Needs to Start Soon

The number of hungry people in the world has increased in the last six years in a row. It increased by 10 million in 2019, and nearly 60 million in the 5 years before that. New figures estimate that up to 811 million people around the world faced hunger in 2020, as many as 161 million people more than in 2019. It is evident that our agricultural and food systems are failing us. If we continue as we are today around 660 million people may still face hunger in 2030, despite the global pledge to end hunger by that year, in part due to the lasting effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on global food security. Read more

source: Barron's
The Essential Guide to Local Food in Kenya

The East African country has 42 tribes calling the country home, and the cuisine is just as diverse as the populace. There are clear Indian and Arabic influences in dishes like samosas, bhajia, biryani, chapati, and pilau. And despite a love for roasted meats, the daily diet leans toward the vegetarian side with vegetables, maize, beans, and potatoes playing a prominent role in their meals. Ugali is a ubiquitous staple that might as well be the national dish. You’ll find it on the side of most stews. Also known as muthere or mutheri, githeri is a Kenyan meal consisting of boiled beans mixed with corn. Mukimo or Irio is a combination of mashed potatoes, green peas, and corn. It is commonly attributed to the Kikuyu people and is served with rich stews or nyama choma (roasted meat). Nyama choma is literally the Swahili term for grilled goat or beef, which are the most popular cuts, but chicken and fish are also options. Read more

source: Travel Noire
Zanzibari Women Take Advantage of a Changing Climate

Nasir Hassan Haji never thought of herself as a farmer or a swimmer, she realised she had surprised herself by becoming both. Alongside 12 other women in Jambiani village on the Indian Ocean coast, Haji has come to rely on the climate-resilient, natural sponges bobbing on thick ropes where they grow for months before the women harvest, clean and sell them to shops and tourists. Before farming sponges — which resemble a white, textured rock but are actually simple, multicellular animals — Haji cultivated seaweed, until rising ocean temperatures fuelled by global warming made it difficult to grow her cash crop. Haji and other women dependent on the ocean for their livelihoods — from seaweed farming to fishing and tourism — have seen warmer, rising seas threaten their work, but they are adapting by finding ways to diversify what they do to get by. Research by the State University of Zanzibar shows that more than 90% of seaweed farmers on the island are women, and that they have seen changing water temperatures, rainfall patterns and ocean salinity hit production in recent years.  Read more

source: Global Citizen
Brappid Apps: An idea that could revolutionize breeding informatics

As plant breeding – and agriculture in general ­– becomes digital and data-driven, a common problem emerges: How can breeders and biologists access and, more importantly, use this data with agility and efficiency to inform their decision making? The wealth of information currently being generated requires solutions that enable interoperability of data sources, connectivity and data reuse among the participating members of the community. The Breeding API (BrAPI) effort, whose main mission is to “enable interoperability among plant breeding databases,” is already making interoperability possible. But does it go far enough? Evidenced by the high level of interest in the most recent BrAPI-Hackathon, a growing number of developers are embracing the open standard for current and new breeding information management systems. An open standard alleviates the database interoperability problem, lowering the time to market for applications, as well as analytics engines, field data collection, and more. After database interconnectivity is accomplished, the next evolutionary step is to make these interconnected data sources easier to use by community members and stakeholders who might not have programming or informatics expertise. We feel that BrAPI can be utilized here as well. Read more

What the UN Climate Report Means for Food 

A new report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is direct and unequivocal. Humans are responsible for climate change across the atmosphere, oceans and land. The report found that each of the last four decades has been increasingly warmer than ever recorded and human activity has sped up things such as the rise in temperatures, melting of Arctic glaciers and rising sea levels. These changes to global temperatures have resulted in increasingly severe weather patterns, impacting large swaths of the planet. The report lists heatwaves, such as the recent heat pocket over the pacific northwest that resulted in the death of a farm worker in Oregon, along with droughts, flooding and tropical cyclones. Read more

African Association of Agricultural Economists
c/o University of Nairobi, C.A.V.S, Upper Kabete Campus
Loresho Ridge Road, Nairobi, Kenya


Powered by Glue Up
All-in-one CRM Software for Growing Communities