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September 15, 2021 | No. 31
Achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment in agriculture and food systems - A handbook for gender focal points

Gender focal points are part of the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAOs) institutional architecture for gender, and play a key role in supporting the delivery of gender-related work. This handbook is intended to support the gender focal points, at FAO headquarters and in the decentralized offices, in addressing gender issues in their work. More specifically, the purpose of the handbook is to serve as a comprehensive and practical reference tool for gender focal points to support their respective divisions and offices in complying with the requirements set by the corporate Policy on Gender Equality. It can also serve as a valuable resource for all FAO employees who are interested in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment, and to better understand the frameworks and institutional mechanisms that guide and sustain FAO’s work on gender. Read more

source: FAO
Africa Agriculture Status Report (AASR)

A Decade of Action – Building Sustainable and Resilient Food Systems in Africa
The United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) has thrust food systems transformation onto the main stage of international discourse in 2021. Concepts of resilience, sustainability, and “green growth” have also gained tremendous traction internationally. Consensus is emerging across the globe that our livelihoods, jobs, and indeed the health of the planet, are fundamentally dependent on developing resilient and sustainable economies. Food systems are a fundamental part of the global economic system – the world’s population depends on them for sustenance. As is the case elsewhere, in Africa, many people depend entirely on food systems for employment and incomes as well. For these reasons, building resilient and sustainable food systems is crucial to ensuring sustainable economies and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Agenda 2063 Goals. However, Africa remains food insecure, accounting for 256 million of the world’s 795 million people suffering from hunger. Against this challenge, this 2021 African Agriculture Status Report (AASR21) provides evidence and insights on the prospects of achieving resilience and sustainability in Africa’s food systems. Read more

source: AGRA
2021 Africa Agriculture Trade Monitor

African countries have diversified both their exports and trade partners over the last decade, African agricultural trade still suffers from structural problems as well as exogenous shocks. Against this backdrop, the 2021 Africa Agriculture Trade Monitor (AATM) analyzes continental and regional trends in African agricultural trade flows and policies. The report finds that many African countries continue to enjoy the most success in global markets with cash crops and niche products. At the intra-African level, countries are becoming more interconnected in trade of key commodities, but there remain many potential but unexploited trade relationships. The report examines the livestock sector in detail, finding that despite its important role in Africa, the sector is concentrated in low value- added products that are informally traded. The report also examines trade integration in the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU), which remains limited due to factors including tariffs, nontariff measures, poor transport infrastructure, and weak institutions. Finally, the report discusses the implications of two major events affecting African trade in 2020 and 2021: the COVID-19 pandemic and the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Read more 

source: Resakss
Digitizing SACCOs to Galvanize Smallholder Financial Inclusion

Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOs) are member-owned, democratically run, local financial service providers that play a critical role in the financial lives of farmers across sub-Saharan Africa. In Kenya, farmers comprise 52% of members among the 176 government-regulated, deposit-taking SACCOs (AFI, 2017). Many rural SACCOs started 
as farmer cooperatives or maintain close links with farmer groups that aggregate their produce for (usually cash-based) sales to agribusinesses. As such, SACCOs often have access to extensive data on their members’ agricultural production and sales. Most other financial service providers lack such community integration and remain reluctant to serve farmers—particularly geographically dispersed smallholders with limited or no land, collateral, formally documented income or credit history. As a result, millions of Kenyan farmers prefer to work with SACCOs and rely heavily on them for financial services that are key to their livelihoods. Read more

source: AGRA
Africa and COP26: What way forward?

On 9 September, Kenya’s government declared a state of national emergency due to the devastating drought conditions pushing once-prosperous cattle herders into poverty,breaking up communities and triggering new disputes over land rights. At the beginning of this month, the UN’s World Food Programme warned that four years of drought had laid the groundwork in southern Madagascar for the world’s first climate change-induced famine. And in the Sahel, security experts and agronomists explain how the quickening tempo of desertification and drought has been pushing cattle herders further south into the Savannah areas, where crop farmers had previously dominated. These crises, while scarcely new to Africa, are happening more frequently, and are now being complicated by the impact of the COVID pandemic which has severely impacted African economies. The social and economic pressures they cause risk exacerbating existing political tensions, precipitating new conflicts, driving some to support militant groups and others to flee. Read more

Potato variety "Victoria" adoption in Uganda generated gross benefits of USD 1.04 billion from the period 1991-2016 for potato farmers

Uganda has around 39,000 ha of potato (FAOSTAT), and the potato area in Uganda range from 0.24 ha/household (Mbowa et al. 2016) and 0.76 ha/household (Priegnitz et al., 2019). Victoria became the largest potato variety cultivated in Uganda, accounting for 53.6% of potato area in 2010. By extrapolating average potato area and adoption percentage, between 27,500 to 87,100 households cultivated Victoria. The estimated present value of the gross benefits from Victoria adoption is USD 1.04 billion from the period 1991-2016. Read more

source: Barron's
Declaration at the 11th African Green Revolution Forum

This year’s AGRF has underscored and reaffirmed our understanding of what food systems are, and the criticality of food and agriculture on this continent. Indeed, COVID-19 amplified our understanding of the weaknesses in our food systems. It underscored the deep-rooted threat posed by changes to our climate, exacerbated by other external shocks and pressures that influence the way we produce, process, trade, and consume food. The threat posed by climate change must be urgently addressed. We acknowledge that continuing with ‘business as usual’ will prevent achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, as well as Africa’s Agenda 2063 targets. We are resolute that Africa’s challenges be addressed directly, with solutions and pathways defined. Read more

source: AGRF
Potato Value Chain improves productivity of potato farming system by 49% for 20,500 farmers in Kenya

Farmers increased potato yields by 49% from 7.7 to 11.5 tons/ha by applying International Potato Center (CIP) technologies after receiving training on learning farms. During the baseline, men applied new technologies over much larger areas than women, but this difference vanished by the time of the follow-up survey. Potato sales contributed USD 4.9 million to the economies of the two intervention counties. Read more

source: CGIAR
Food systems: seven priorities to end hunger and protect the planet

The world’s food system is in disarray. One in ten people is undernourished. One in four is overweight. More than one-third of the world’s population cannot afford a healthy diet. Food supplies are disrupted by heatwaves, floods, droughts and wars. The number of people going hungry in 2020 was 15% higher than in 2019, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and armed conflicts1.Our planetary habitat suffers, too. The food sector emits about 30% of the world’s greenhouse gases. Expanding cropland, pastures and tree plantations drive two-thirds of the loss in forests (5.5 million hectares per year), mostly in the tropics2. Poor farming practices degrade soils, pollute and deplete water supplies and lower biodiversity. As these interlinkages become clear, approaches to food are shifting — away from production, consumption and value chains towards safety, networks and complexity. Recent crises around global warming and COVID-19 have compounded concerns. Policymakers have taken note. Read more

source: nature
How the South African government can boost its credibility in the agricultural sector

Governments can build credibility over time through consistent commitment to implementing policies efficiently and effectively. South Africa hasn’t done well on this score. As a result of the poor record of policy implementation, investors and the general public have become sceptical of government policy pronouncements. Recent examples of this credibility gap include its handling of two major policy initiatives. The first is the National Development Plan launched in 2012. The second is the National Treasury’s 2019 economic policy paper titled “Economic transformation, inclusive growth, and competitiveness: Towards an Economic Strategy for South Africa”. Neither was ever fully implemented. 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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