Eastern Africa

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Articles

Impact Stories

Championing women and organic coffee farming in Jamaica

Shari-Ann Palmer
by Shari-Ann Palmer

Vibrant reggae music, athletic prowess, flavoursome food and white sandy beaches are perhaps what Jamaica is best known for. Also coffee – but not so much the organic version. For over 20 years, Dorienne Rowan-Campbell has been working hard to change that.

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Impact story

On a windy day high up in the hilly country in Rwanda’s Northern Province, Paul Tuyisingize observes the rapid flight of a drone above his wheat fields with an expression of wonder and delight. “I’m very happy with this project,” he says as the drone’s multi-spectral sensor gathers information about the condition of his crop. “I think it will help me to increase my yields.”

Impact story

A project known as MUIIS (Market-led, User-owned ICT4Ag-enabled Information Services), led by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), links farmers to satellite-based services that help them to increase crop yields. Tips and instructions sent to mobile devices get as specific as ‘spread fertilizer between 5 pm and 7 pm’ or ‘winds expected at 3 pm’. Something farmers say have increased crop yields and contributed to food security.

Impact story

Smallholders in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific are seeing their horizons broaden, as access to technology brings digital applications to agriculture. In Uganda, a project supported by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), has forged a partnership with Igara Tea Factory (IGTF) to transform cultivation through digital innovation.

Blog articles

Enhancing access to information for women in pastoral areas – challenges and opportunities

Rupsha Banerjee
by Rupsha Banerjee

Knowledge can go a long way to ensure better livelihoods and food security for women in pastoral regions. Accurate and timely information can help facilitate access to services, and exert a positive influence on their participation in livelihood decision-making in households. As part of efforts to increase the uptake of index-based livestock insurance (IBLI) in East Africa, researchers at ILRI realised that one of the major factors constraining the quality of women’s lives is lack of information.

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The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation’s (CTA) joint project with the USTADI Foundation – Youth Economic Empowerment through Agribusiness in Kenya (Vijabiz) – has selected 166 youth groups to receive capacity building and financial support. The membership of the selected youth groups total 2,373 young farmers, who will be the beneficiaries of the project being implemented in Kilifi and Nakuru counties in Kenya between 2018 and 2020.

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When engaging with youth agripreneurs in Africa on the challenges they face, access to finance emerges as a key concern. Closer scrutiny of their business models generally reveals that young entrepreneurs are often not deemed creditworthy, or suitable for investment, primarily because they lack consistent and deep access to their perceived target markets. In short, their order books are lean and their access to markets is limited.

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Access to finance is a serious challenge for smallholder farmers worldwide, and the majority of them are still underfinanced. When loans are provided, farmers may often pass these loans on to other people in need of cash. This, as well as the absence of a credit score or collateral (like title deeds), create uncertainty and risk for financial institutions and increases the difficulty for farmers to obtain such loans or other forms of finance.

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Despite women’s role as key players in agriculture and the rural economy of developing countries, a great many barriers prevent them from making a more substantial contribution. Compared with men, women have less access to productive resources, such as affordable finance. In Uganda, an alternative financial service is helping women to save, borrow, increase productivity and strengthen their roles across the agricultural value chain.

Opinion articles

Background articles

Gender equality: Ag-tech’s potential to boost women’s empowerment

Tiana Cline
by Tiana Cline

Digital technologies are revolutionising agricultural value chains, providing improved access to inputs, finance, markets and weather information. With the right policies and programmes in place, agricultural digitalisation has the potential to facilitate women’s economic empowerment.

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in Spore Analysis

The new African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) is expected to be a game changer, boosting inter-African trade, spurring manufacturing, and creating economic opportunities. But for its benefits to be realised, the details need to be negotiated; and Africa's leaders need to commit to AfCFTA for the long haul.

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Agricultural innovations must have a more substantial impact to meet the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 – which call for a concerted effort from the public and private sectors, as well as farmers and processors. To meet the SDGs, impacts at all levels of the agricultural value chain will need to be increased, with the involvement of all stakeholders in the sector.

News articles

Protecting forest reserves restores Burundian livelihoods

Georgina Smith
by Georgina Smith

While Burundi’s agriculture is threatened by changing climatic patterns, a sustainable coffee project is helping farmers to restore landscapes and manage their own assets.

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Olawale Rotimi Opeyemi is the founder and CEO of JR Farms, an agribusiness working to transform Africa’s agriculture by providing more jobs in the sector, and creating value addition for the continent’s staple crops.

in A year in review 2018 News

Women play a vitally important role in a whole range of agricultural activities. According to the Pew Research Centre, women make up at least half the productive workforce in some African countries. In addition to their role as food producers, they are responsible for preparing food in the home and ensuring that their families have a nutritious diet. However, it tends to be men, rather than women, who undertake and mostly benefit from profitable activities along agricultural value chains.

in A year in review 2018 News

An increase in the frequency and severity of droughts, coupled with unpredictable weather patterns, is threatening the survival of some 20 million livestock keepers in Eastern Africa. Recent droughts have eroded pastoralists’ adaptive capacity to such an extent that almost every one results in a humanitarian crisis.

Interviews

“Every intervention I undertake is gender responsive”

Pius Sawa Murefu
by Pius Sawa Murefu

Faith Milkah Muniale discusses her involvement in the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) Fellowship, and her work with indigenous Kenyan communities.

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Executive Director of the Syngenta Foundation, Simon Winter, emphasises the benefits of both public and private sector actors for agricultural growth and development, as well as the need to develop localised solutions.

Data Reports

Uganda: Lawyers go digital to reach women farmers

Busani Bafana
by Busani Bafana

For less than €1, women farmers in Uganda are accessing legal advice via their mobile phones. The SMS service, driven by an all-female team under the leadership of Hellen Mukasa, helps women to realise and defend their rights, particularly in regards to land ownership.

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Scientific Articles

Digitalising East Africa’s border control

Stephanie Lynch
by Stephanie Lynch

Cross-border trade in East Africa has never been more efficient with the introduction of centralised digital systems that can be accessed by authorities across the region, to monitor the journey of goods and ensure all the necessary documentation is available.

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Communiques

Head of Finance

CTA seeks to recruit an highly motivated professional to manage the CTA’s financial services and the systems and processes related to the management of the Centre’s financial resources.

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Vacancy

CTA seeks to recruit a Finance Assistant for CTA's Corporate Services department, reporting to the Deputy Accounts & Budget.

Vacancy

CTA seeks to recruit a Financial Controller / Internal Audit to ensure that the expenditures or revenues are consistent with CTA's Financial Regulations & Budget and that the principles of sound financial management are applied.

Events

Promoting inclusive, sustainable and responsible fisheries value chains in Seychelles and the Indian Ocean region

The fisheries sector in the Indian Ocean is a major contributor to food security and nutrition, employment and income generation. The artisanal fisheries sector, in particular, plays a key role in the supply of fresh fish for the regional domestic market and directly employs more than 130,000 people...

Transforming Africa’s agriculture: Eyes in the sky, smart techs on the ground

Recognising the opportunities offered by the drone-based systems, in 2016 CTA partnered with leading private sector operators, and assisted African ICT start-ups in acquiring the capacity to deliver UAS services in the framework of this project known as 'Transforming Africa’s agriculture: Eyes in th...

VALUE4HER: Strengthening women’s agribusiness enterprises in ACP countries

Women are actors in numerous agricultural value chains, offering huge potential for their participation in markets, but very few are involved at the end of the chain. Promoting women’s agribusinesses is therefore a viable route to increasing livelihoods and prosperity for rural communities. However,...