Eastern Africa

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Articles

Impact Stories

Climate-proofing pastoralism in Eastern Africa

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.

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Impact story

Exploring the transformative power of drones in Rwanda

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.”

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Impact story

Farming by Phone to keep up with the Climate

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.

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Impact story

All Eyes on the Sky

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.

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Impact story

Lovin Kobusingye, the accidental entrepreneur

Sharing actionable knowledge helps to turn ideas into reality. The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) has seen powerful returns from bringing together young entrepreneurial thinkers and doers from all over Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

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Blog articles

Agri-wallet, a wallet for smallholder farmers

 Jaclyn Bolt
by Jaclyn Bolt

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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in Blog Blog

Using fintech to drive financial inclusion for rural women

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.

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in Blog Blog

myAnga app, a game changer for pastoralist climate resilience

The extreme weather events that result from climate change can be devastating and often exacerbate the already severe climate in arid and semi-arid parts of the world. Climate change is stretching the livelihoods of households in such areas to the limit, particularly those who wholly depend on livestock and livestock products.

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in Blog Blog

Land LayBy: Using blockchain to improve landownership

Since 2014, a pioneering organisation called Land LayBy has been developing land acquisition solutions. After a successful pilot scheme in Kenya, Land LayBy has scaled up their services to Australia, Ghana, London and New York. We spoke with Raymond Kaniu, chief strategist at Land LayBy and main author of their white paper. He explains Land LayBy’s journey and their experiences of working with blockchain technology.

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in Blog Blog

Digital banking services for rural farmers – scaling up and scaling out

Launched in 2014 and winner of the first CTA Agrihack Championship, Ugandan start-up Ensibuuko is helping savings and loans cooperatives to become efficient and bankable by digitising how they manage customer data and transactions, and piloting their shift to a cashless and paperless system. Well on its way to scaling up the business within Uganda, the digital company is now looking further afield to extend its reach beyond national borders.

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Opinion articles

Farmers must be involved in the solutions offered by data sharing

 Jamila Abass
by Jamila Abass

Many governments and donor agencies, as well as the private sector work to solve the myriad of challenges smallholder farmers in Africa face every day, including, but not limited to, access to markets and agronomic support. More progress could be made, however, if the farmers themselves were invited to play a role in tackling their own problems – and mobile technology could be a way to make this happen.

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in Spore Opinion article

Non-tariff barriers are key to enabling trade

The Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) is widely seen as a potential stimulant for economic growth, industrialisation and sustainable development in Africa, despite some challenges which need to be addressed. Fears of significant tariff revenue losses and an uneven distribution of benefits are among the main obstacles to the continent's market integration.

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in Spore Opinion article

Technology is key to strengthening plant health systems

An estimated 40% of crops grown annually are lost to pests. Due to increased trade, swift international travel, tourism and climate change, pests spread more rapidly. This results in damage that reduces productivity and income, whilst also causing adverse effects on biodiversity, increasing farmers’ reliance on pesticides and vulnerability to climate damage.

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in Spore Opinion article

It’s not all about ‘high-tech’ solutions

If you were prepared to invest in a new smartphone, why would you buy a second-hand landline? Sounds an unlikely preference. But in another area of technology, it’s a regular reality. A farmer‘s single most important choice every season is what to plant. First, he or she has to decide on the crop itself – maize, for example, or potatoes, or vegetables. Then comes the seed.

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Background articles

Channeling Africa's water resources to build resilience

 Caspar Van Vark
by Caspar Van Vark

Relying solely on rain-fed agriculture limits farmers’ ability to improve yields and income. Irrigation can unlock their potential, but it requires a combination of technology, finance and support.

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in Spore Analysis

A promising new continent-wide trade agreement for Africa

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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in Spore Analysis

Climate resilience across the value chain

CSA is a now widely implemented approach to agriculture, which focuses on achieving three central goals: sustainably increasing productivity, adapting to adverse climate change, and mitigating the negative impacts of current agricultural practices on the environment.

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News articles

Kenyan mobile platform matches supply with demand

 Bob Koigi
by Bob Koigi

To reduce fragmentation in the produce market, a mobile-based platform is supplying vendors in Kenya with fresh fruit and vegetables and providing a steady market for smallholders.

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Interviews

Creating shared values for companies, society and the environment

Richard McNally highlights the role to be played by private sector investment in the growth of climate-smart value chain

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in Spore Interview

Wine makes profits go bananas

A glut of bananas during peak season in southwest Uganda led to plummeting prices and massive wastage due to poor post-harvest management. Elizabeth Nsimadala, publicity secretary of both the Tigebwa Rural Producer Organisation and Nyabubare Area Cooperative Enterprise, explains how the two organisations developed an innovative solution to the problem. This enterprising agricultural cooperative has embarked on banana wine production, helping members to process, bottle and market surplus produce – with substantial benefits to farmers.

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Data Reports

A people-centred approach to irrigation development

 Sophie Reeve
by Sophie Reeve

In four Ethiopian states, a participatory irrigation development project is underway to reduce small-scale farmers’ vulnerability to adverse weather conditions, to enhance productivity and food security.

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Scientific Articles

Cryptocurrency: more education, less hype

 John Weru
by John Weru

John Weru is a Kenya-born writer, blogger and co-founder of PayHub East Africa. In a conversation with ICT Update, John talked about the rise of cryptocurrency, the potential of the blockchain to improve efficiency in the agricultural value chain in Africa, and the urgent need to educate people about the technology itself and the economy that it is creating.

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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...