More than 30 policy actors, researchers and journalists attended a special workshop hosted by PEP and the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) in Kampala, Uganda, on February 9, 2017, to discuss the theme of “Agricultural Productivity, Technology Adoption and Welfare in Uganda”.
The event provided a unique opportunity for early-career researchers to present and discuss their findings and policy recommendations regarding important agricultural issues in Uganda with key stakeholders.
The workshop marked the first collaboration of its kind between PEP and the EPRC - Uganda's leading think tank in economics and development policy oriented research and policy analysis – and was organized as part of the STAARS initiative.
The Structural Transformation of African Agriculture and Rural Spaces (STAARS) initiative is a major African initiative aimed at promoting high quality research and capacity building for agricultural transformation as a key pathway to reducing poverty, and promoting inclusive growth and sustainable development in the region. Find out more about STAARS.
During the event, Dr. Bethuel Kinyanjui Kinuthia, a STAARS fellow, and Dr. Francis Mwesigye, a researcher at EPRC, presented findings from their studies on the “Impact of Agriculture Technology Adoption on Farmers’ Welfare in Uganda” and “Technology Adoption and Irish Potato value chain in Uganda,” respectively.
Dr. Bethuel Kinyanjui Kinuthia discussed how new agricultural technology can improve the welfare of the rural poor in both Uganda and Tanzania. However, uptake among smallholder farmers remains low due to a lack of information and credit. He suggested that support be provided for smallholder farmers in terms of access to information and credit in order to encourage agricultural technology adoption. Find out more about the research findings and policy recommendations in PEP Policy Brief 163.
Manuel Paradis, representing PEP, presented the work of another STAARS fellow, Dr. Mulubrhan Amare, on “Agricultural Productivity and Rural Household Welfare in sub-Saharan Africa: Evidence from Nigeria and Uganda”. In this study, agricultural productivity was found to have a significant correlation with household consumption and asset wealth inequality in both Nigeria and Uganda. Additionally, current policies improve agricultural productivity for wealthier farms before supporting resource-poor, small-scale producers, which leads to greater inequality. Based on the findings of the study, smallholder famers can be supported by providing credit for agricultural technology and information on new production methods. Find out more about the research findings and policy recommendations in PEP Policy Brief 162.
Dr. Abubakar Muhammad Moki, Commissioner of Policy Development and Capacity Building at the Office of the President-Cabinet Secretariat gave the closing remarks. He thanked the participants and underlined the importance of holding such events, both as an opportunity for researchers to present their findings and for the networking opportunity provided.
The event highlighted the importance of initiatives aiming to address specific problems within local economies. The conclusions drawn from the workshop discussions on this topic were that it is vital to obtain as much information as possible about local contexts in order to provide useful recommendations. Additionally, this information must take multiple aspects (political, sociological, etc.) of the local context into account.
Many of the stakeholders present expressed their interest in the research findings presented during the workshop. The findings and discussions helped improve understanding of the structural changes in agriculture that are of particular importance to a number of the stakeholders who were in attendance.