Monday, 17 November 2014

FW: Eldis Agriculture and Food Reporter

In this issue: Reseach resources that focus on data requirements for stakeholders in African agriculture; integrated planning in the rangelands of Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda; Impacts of climate change on Mali's livestock; China-Africa agricultural co-operation; Philippine fisheries trade with ASEAN; rice policy and food security, and more . . . .


Agriculture and Food

Highlighting research on the role of agricultural production and food policy in achieving development goals. Focusing on issues such as food security, land issues, food prices, gender and the role of technology and innovation.







Eldis Agriculture and Food Reporter

17 November 2014

This is our regular bulletin that highlights recent publications on agriculture and food issues.

The documents highlighted here are available to download online without charge. If you are unable to access any of these materials online and would like to receive a copy of a document as an email attachment, please contact our editor at the email address given below.

In this issue:

  1. A Survey and Analysis of the Data Requirements for Stakeholders in African Agriculture
  2. Plotting progress: integrated planning in the rangelands of Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda
  3. Climate change in Mali: expected impacts on pests and diseases afflicting livestock
  4. The challenge of establishing REDD+ on the ground: Insights from 23 subnational initiatives in six countries
  5. China-Africa agricultural co-operation Mutual benefits or self-interest?
  6. Promoting conservation in India by greening coffee
  7. Philippine fisheries trade with ASEAN: chokepoints to AEC 2015
  8. Putting rice on the table: rice policy, the WTO, and food security

A Survey and Analysis of the Data Requirements for Stakeholders in African Agriculture

Authors: Clapp,A.; DauSchmidt,N.; Millar,M.
Produced by: World Agroforestry Centre (2014)

As part of DFID's contribution to the G8 initiative on Open Data for Agriculture, a broad survey of key stakeholders in sustainable African agriculture was conducted to assess current and emerging trends related to data collection, processing, and dissemination. Stakeholders that promote and support sustainable intensification of agriculture in Africa require access to useful data upon which to base their decisions and evaluate current and future interventions amid limited resources. Information has value for supporting a decision only if it reduces the chance of being wrong and a cost of being wrong. Research across many fields has shown that quantitative decision analysis methods overwhelmingly outperform expert judgment in identifying the economic value of information and improving decisions. Therefore a key focus of the study was to assess the alignment of stakeholders' perceived data needs with areas of decision uncertainty. Based on the survey results and analysis, the authors provide recommendations for improving the collection and use of data in African agriculture.

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Plotting progress: integrated planning in the rangelands of Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda

Authors: Flintan,F.
Produced by: International Land Coalition (2014)

Planning for development in rangelands, including land use planning, holds particular challenges and can impose unusual constraints on routine activities. Rangeland planners must address a number of challenges: the sheer size of administrative units with sparsely distributed populations and variable, patchy resources; the independent nature of pastoral and huntergatherer cultures; high levels of environmental variability; and the complexities of managing semi-natural ecosystems. Planners must also confront the additional challenge of managing the interface between high- and low-potential areas that are functionally interdependent. On a temporal basis too, the seasonal and flexible dynamics of pastoral systems rarely fit with the more constrained and rigid administrative, government yearly cycles of planning or finances.In response to these issues and challenges, this paper draws together and reviews current and recent experience in planning processes in the rangelands of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda. Key lessons are drawn out from two types of intervention – those led by government and those led by NGOs. These form the basis of a set of recommendations for different actors. [Taken from Author]

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Climate change in Mali: expected impacts on pests and diseases afflicting livestock

Produced by: US Agency for International Development (2014)

This report presents a series of tables which analyse the potential impact of a changed climate on the most common diseases afflicting cattle, sheep, goats, camels, donkeys, pigs, and chickens in Mali. For each livestock disease identified, the disease status under current climate was assessed, including the geographical range of the endemic zone, the rate of disease outbreaks within endemic zones, the mode of pathogen transmission, and the relative economic importance to livestock owners. These served as the baseline for an assessment of the likely change in risk of infection under climate scenarios for the 2025 to 2050 period.

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The challenge of establishing REDD+ on the ground: Insights from 23 subnational initiatives in six countries

Authors: Sunderlin,W.Dd; Desita Ekaputri,A.; Sills,E.O.
Produced by: Center for International Forestry Research (2014)

Since 2007, it has been hoped that REDD+ would deliver on the 3E+ criteria (effectiveness, efficiency, equity, social and environmental co‑benefits) for strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This report highlights that the early enthusiasm for REDD+ has dissipated among some stakeholders – this is largely attributed to the failure to attain an international climate change agreement.

In its Global Comparative Study on REDD+ (GCS), CIFOR undertook a survey of 23 subnational REDD+ initiatives in six countries in order to examine their strategies and approaches, the nature of the challenges they faced, and how they intended to overcome them. The study found that the 23 initiatives were persisting in their efforts to reduce local deforestation and forest degradation, as well as deliver on a wide range of goals. However, questions remain about whether and how the REDD+ concept will persist and evolve.

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China-Africa agricultural co-operation Mutual benefits or self-interest?

Authors: Ukaejiofo,R.
Produced by: Centre for Chinese Studies, University of Stellenbosch (2014)

Agriculture is regarded as a critical tool to help alleviate poverty among African populations. Domestic and international investors have focused on ensuring domestic food security by harvesting untapped agricultural potential. This has led to growing concern as to whether or not international investments in African agriculture are solely for export, and how much they (directly or indirectly) benefit local population. China has become a leading international investor in African agriculture and has brought this concern into focus as China's involvement in African agriculture, similar to its general economic engagement in Africa, has surged in recent years.

This paper aims to contribute to the discourse on strategies, achievements and challenges of China and Africa agricultural cooperation while examining the relevance and implications of China's motives in Africa's food security concern.

The author argues that China's engagement with African agriculture represents an opportunity for African states to gain some form of partnership for development, an alternative that promises mutual benefit. Regional stakeholders interviewed in the course of this research believe and share the sentiment that China has done more to alleviate poverty in Africa than may have been attempted by traditional donors. They suggest that Chinese engagement might be more meaningful if they included a form of governance system which monitors these investments to enable Africans to measure the impact on rural development and livelihoods.

Regional stakeholders maintain that Chinese investments have the potential to change agriculture permanently on the continent; as investing in agriculture presents a more feasible path to reducing poverty and hunger in Africa. However, while Chinese companies' growing interest in the potential for profit in African agriculture is often welcomed by African governments, who see both public and private gains, there remains risk of increasing vulnerability of traditional subsistence farmers and smallholders.


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Promoting conservation in India by greening coffee

Authors: Rich,K.
Produced by: Norwegian Institute for International Affairs (2014)

The Indian coffee sector is at an important transition point, increasingly stuck in the middle between quality and value segments of the market. A potential niche for India is in the development of eco-friendly (green) coffees, leveraging the natural environment and biodiversity present in many regions. In this study, we conducted a value chain assessment of the coffee sector in Coorg, a major production area in India, to identify the potential entry points and constraints to a conservation-oriented strategy of upgrading. The results highlight that coffee value chains in Coorg are fragmented and largely uncoordinated, with innovative upgrading efforts largely individually motivated. This suggests that integrating conservation principles in a broad-based branding strategy could be difficult at the level of the chain without institutional support or the entry of chain champions. On the other hand, integrating conservation as a diversification activity e.g. through the development of butterfly gardens for tourism, could provide a low-cost way of adding value for farmers while promoting good environmental stewardship.

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Philippine fisheries trade with ASEAN: chokepoints to AEC 2015

Authors: Israel,D.C.
Produced by: Philippine Institute for Development Studies (2013)

The planned establishment of an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015 has induced member-countries to implement concrete measures to improve their readiness for it. The Philippine fisheries sector has undertaken some steps to enhance its competitiveness leading to the new ASEAN arrangement. Nevertheless, critical chokepoints in its supply chain remain, raising questions on its ability to adequately meet the AEC challenges.

This Policy Note provides a brief background of the sector, reviews Philippine fisheries trade with the ASEAN, summarises the critical chokepoints in the fisheries supply chain, and recommends measures for improvement. While fish trade between the Philippines and other ASEAN countries is low at present, there is hope that if and when the AEC materialises, the situation could significantly improve. Effectively addressing the different chokepoints will help promote the chance of success.

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Putting rice on the table: rice policy, the WTO, and food security

Authors: Briones,R.M.; Parel,D.K.C.
Produced by: Philippine Institute for Development Studies (2014)

The Philippines has been and shall continue to be a major rice importer. Rice is the country's major staple, accounting for nearly half of the calorie intake of the population. It is an important source of livelihood for millions of small farmers. Food security is conventionally equated with self-sufficiency in rice.

This Policy Note argues that the country's policies for rice self-sufficiency are obsolete and increasingly untenable. These policies have been entrenched for decades despite numerous calls for reform.

The authors recommend against negotiating a further extension of the special treatment for rice under the WTO and conclude that if the Philippines does opt to negotiate an extension, it would face opposition from WTO rice exporters. Ironically, the Philippines must confront other countries to defend a domestically indefensible policy. Such a pathetic exercise is completely avoidable.

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