Eastern Africa

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Articles

Blog articles

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

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.

Impact Stories

Championing women and organic coffee farming in Jamaica

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.

Press release

Competition to promote agri-innovation and entrepreneurship in Ethiopia

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 8 August 2019. A Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) sponsored competition that will support Ethiopian agricultural entrepreneurs was launched yesterday with a prize fund of an estimated €35,000 (over 1 million Ethiopian birr).

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Press release

CTA together with Farm Africa has launched a new project to promote the resilience of smallholder farmers against climate change in Ethiopia’s Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR). The launch is the third and final of a CTA initiative that supports the scaling of proven climate smart agriculture technologies in Jamaica, Mali and now Ethiopia.

ICT Update

The potential of digital agriculture in Africa

ICT Update spoke with Ben Addom, Team Leader, ICT for Agriculture at CTA and one of the authors of the recent CTA/Dalberg report on D4Ag in Africa, about the key recommendations of the study and the future of the sector.

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Open data in the weather domain could address the information needs of agro-meteo farm advisory systems. However, is open data ‘fit-for-purpose’; does it match the needs of being reliable, relevant, timely and accessible? Some answers come from the CommonSense project targeting smallholder farmers in Ethiopia.

Spore

Kenya Taps into Technology to Attract Youth to Farm

Kenyan innovators are betting on digital technologies to attract young people to an agriculture industry that currently is dominated by an aging population. With a 98 percent mobile phone penetration, according to the latest data from the Communications Authority of Kenya, the cellphone is proving to be an important source of extension services in areas where such resources are not available.

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Publications

The next generation of farmers: successes and new opportunities

The global population is on track to surpass 9 billion by 2050 and exceed 11 billion by the end of the century. The world’s 500 million smallholder farms produce around 80% of our food and it is they who will have to carry the burden of increasing food production by over 70%. The information in this document was compiled as background reading material for the 53rd Brussels Briefing on The next generation of farmers: successes and opportunities.

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Food safety is linked, directly or indirectly, to the achievement of many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially those pertaining to ending hunger and poverty, and promoting good health and well-being. Food and nutritional security is realised only when essential elements of a healthy diet are safe to eat. The information in this document was compiled as background reading material for the 52nd Brussels Briefing on Food safety: a critical part of the food system in Africa.

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Increasing amounts of agricultural data are being produced at faster speeds, using a greater variety of technologies and innovations than ever before. But what is the value of information sharing for smallholders, and what are the risks?

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Towns and cities in the world’s developing countries are growing on an unprecedented scale. In 1960, the global urban population was 34% of the total; by 2014 54% of the total and growing. By 2050, the proportion living in urban areas is expected to reach 66% (UNDESA). Sub-Saharan Africa’s annual urban growth rate is 3.6%, almost double the world average. The information in this document was compiled as background reading material for the 50th Brussels Development Briefing on Growing food in the cities: Successes and new opportunities.

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Information and communication technologies (ICTs) offer unprecedented opportunities to transform agriculture in Africa. ICT innovations are opening up exciting opportunities for young entrepreneurs to engage at various stages of the agricultural value chain, from developing solutions that make the agri-food sector more productive to setting up services that facilitate market access for smallholder producers.

Events

  • Jun 25

    Workshop

    IBLI policy workshop for the Horn of Africa

    ILRI, in collaboration with CTA, is organising a workshop on "IBLI sustainable scaling", targeting IGAD countries' policy makers, private industry actors and representatives of international organisations involved in disaster risk financing initiatives.

    Location:
    Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

  • May 20

    Workshop

    Promoting climate finance for agriculture in Tanzania

    Agriculture is central to any debate on climate change given the enormous responsibility placed on the sector to produce 60% more food by 2050 despite changing climatic uncertainties. The case for increased investment in climate-smart agriculture has been articulated in different forums as a way to promote agricultural transformation and chart a path to scale up climate actions in agri…
    Location:
    Dodoma, Tanzania

  • Apr 18

    Conference

    NDC and climate financing options for agriculture in Ethiopia

    Agriculture is central to any debate on climate change given the enormous responsibility placed on the sector to produce 60% more food by 2050 despite changing climatic uncertainties. The case for increased investment in climate-smart agriculture has been articulated in different forums as a way to promote agricultural transformation and chart a path to scale up climate actions in agriculture.…
    Location:
    Bishoftu, Ethiopia

  • Apr 5

    Conference

    Disruptive Agricultural Technology Challenge and Conference

    The Disruptive Agricultural Technology (DAT) Challenge and Conference aims to provide a forum to discuss the opportunities offered by disruptive digital technologies to increase productivity, and access to services and markets in the agricultural sector. Several promising digital technology innovators in agriculture…
    Location:
    Chiromo Rd, Nairobi, Kenya