AAAE News Brief

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January 26, 2022 | No. 36
Chocolate companies face deforestation risks from unknown cocoa supplies
Chocolate thrives on mystery – which flavours will you get in your Christmas selection box? What lies behind your advent calendar door? How much deforestation was caused by your chocolate bar? And how many children worked to produce it? These latter two mysteries are probably not what chocolate brands have in mind. Yet the reality in the west African country of Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), the source of more than 40% of the world’s cocoa beans , is that cocoa farmers do not earn a living income , more than three-quarters of a million children work on cocoa farms and one-fifth of cocoa is grown in ‘protected areas ’. Cocoa is also one of the largest causes of deforestation globally , as forests continue to be cleared to make space for new cocoa plantations. Read more

Adapting Asset-Based Finance to Meet the Promise of Inclusivity
Asset-based financing is often touted as a solution to enable resource-poor farmers, including women, to access productive assets. The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Small Scale Irrigation (ILSSI) is investigating the potential for asset-based finance to reach women with irrigation equipment, especially solar pumps. Research supported by ILSSI and related research points out that while there is a link between asset ownership and empowerment, women face considerable resource constraints that reduce their ability to get credit. Interventions that strengthen women’s access to finance are needed to break the multiple and reinforcing boundaries to asset ownership. But asset-based finance may not be living up to expectations. Through a literature review, financial tool analysis and action research, ILSSI’s interim findings suggest many off-the-shelf consumer finance products will have to be adapted to overcome the main constraints that limit women’s access to credit for assets. Read more

source: agrilinks
Cropland has gobbled up over 1 million square kilometers of Earth’s surface
Farmland is overtaking much of the planet. That’s the conclusion of a new satellite map, which finds that fields of corn, wheat, rice, and other crops have eaten up more than 1 million additional square kilometers of land over the past 2 decades. The study highlights how Earth’s land is becoming, in essence, a unified global farm, with wealthier countries increasingly outsourcing crop production to poorer regions. Half of the new fields have replaced forests and other natural ecosystems that stored large amounts of carbon, threatening efforts to conserve Earth’s increasingly precarious biodiversity and avert catastrophic climate change. “The inexorable march of the human footprint is just brutal,” says study author Matt Hansen, a geographer at the University of Maryland (UMD), College Park. Read more

source: science
Nominations Open for the Africa Food Prize 2022
The Africa Food Prize committee is pleased to announce the launch of the 2022 nominations for the Africa Food Prize. The Africa Food Prize is the preeminent award recognizing an outstanding individual or institution that is leading the effort to change the reality of farming in Africa—from a struggle to survive to a business that thrives. The funding partners AGRA and UPL are inviting nominations from organizations, institutions, and businesses that have created opportunities for Africa’s farmers to gain viable livelihoods from their trade. The nomination criteria, procedure, and online application are available at Nominations will close on Monday, May 16th 2022. The prestigious US $100,000 Prize puts a spotlight on bold initiatives and technical innovations that can be replicated across the continent to create a new era of food security and economic opportunity for all Africans. Read more 

World Food Prize Laureate Wants To Create A Nutrition-Climate Symphony
World Food Prize Laureate (2018) and Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Lawrence Haddad and I are sharing a coffee on alternate sides of a Zoom screen. Energized by the momentum of September’s Food Systems Summit, the first global summit to address food systems issues, November’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), and December’s Nutrition for Growth Summit (N4G), Haddad shares that he would like to see more convergence of food systems and climate agendas in the months and years to come. “Like a symphony,” he says, of the opportunities for harmonization. “Our strategy at GAIN is to improve the consumption of safe and nutritious food for all people as our contribution to ending the scandal of malnutrition. But we cannot divorce nutrition from the environment,” says Haddad. “The two are inextricably linked.” Read more

source: forbes
COVID-19 school closures and adolescent mental health: Evidence from Mozambique
Since March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to prolonged school closures around the world that have disrupted the educational progression of hundreds of millions of students. According to UNESCO, these closures peaked around June 2020, at which point 50% of all students worldwide—more than 800 million—were out of school. Particularly in developing countries, where schools are a crucial path out of poverty (and there is little technology for learning at a distance), the absence of formal education over a long period of time has strong implications for students’ learning, health, and well-being (Engzell et al, 2021). Moreover, during this same period children were potentially exposed to widespread household-level shocks linked to illness, disrupted livelihoods, and challenges in access to food and other subsistence goods. Read more

source: IFPRI 
Seed Systems And Markets: Reflection On Policy Progress And Political Economy
Over the past two decades, seed systems and markets in many sub-Saharan African countries have become a central topic in the public discourse around agricultural development. The issues are complex, and often shaped by the specific nature of the crop itself, the agroecology it is cultivated in, and the channels through which farmers obtain seed. What attracts less attention are the political economy factors that shape seed systems development. Not since an array of scholars working with the Institute of Development Studies published a deep and thoughtful volume on the Politics of Seed in Africa’s Green Revolution has the topic of political economy received such attention. Ten years after the publication of this volume, it is worth asking whether the public discourse on seed systems development has changed, whether the participation and power of actor coalitions has evolved in new or different directions, and whether policies and regulations governing seed markets have evolved. Read more

source: CGIAR
Working Group in African Political Economy
Call for Papers and Research Designs:2022 Meeting at Cornell University

WGAPE invites interested scholars to submit a paper to present at a meeting at Cornell University from April 28-30, 2022. Africa based scholars are additionally welcome to apply as a meeting participant, with or without a paper submission. With assistance from the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies at Cornell, WGAPE will provide funding for travel, accommodation, and related expenses for one author of each accepted paper. This is an excellent opportunity for junior researchers to network with more senior faculty from the US and Africa, engaging with new ideas on cutting edge research on African Political Economy. Read more

source: CEGA
AARES 2022 CONFERENCE: Resilience In A Time Of Uncertainty
An exciting opportunity – a virtual conference “Resilience in a time of uncertainty” organized by the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society (AARES) will take place virtually on 7-11 February 2022. The 2022 conference is being organised by the New England Branch in an online format. The Local Organising Committee (LOC) will run the conference from the University of New England (UNE) Armidale campus, but participants will join us from throughout the world. Our focus will be on providing the best online experience possible, with opportunities to mingle and interact with other participants. We have an impressive array of Keynote Speakers dealing with topical and important issues related to the theme of the conference. To learn more click here. Read more

source: AARES
5 Key Issues in Agriculture in 2021
As 2021 ends, we take a retrospective look at five topics that were covered in our analytical work this year. These issues represent just a fragment of the Bank's work, but they are key to reducing poverty and hunger while slowing climate change.

Food Security: Like the previous year, news in agriculture and food in 2021 was dominated by deteriorating food security. Approximately 30 percent of the world’s population lacked access to adequate food in 2020 and into 2021. The World Bank took action to fight food insecurity around the world, providing immediate aid to vulnerable households and more long-term support to farmers in the form of seeds, fertilizer, and other agricultural inputs. Read more

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


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