Posts Tagged ‘Africa’

Improving the Use of Experimental Auctions in Africa: Theory and Evidence

Posted by on , in Journal Articles

Published in Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics (36)2: 263-279, 2011

Improving the Use of Experimental Auctions in Africa: Theory and Evidence

Morawetz, Ulrich B.; de Groote, Hugo; Kimenju, Simon Chege

Experimental auctions have not been widely used in Africa. However, auctions are important tools for evaluating new products and technologies. To increase the quality of these experiments, we explore an alternative first-price bidding mechanism that is more similar to African market exchanges and we analyze factors likely to affect bidding. Experiments with African consumers show that the proposed first-price mechanism has no advantage over conventional second-price mechanisms. Results show high and significant cash-in-hand, experimenter, and time of day effects in main rounds, and significant ordering effects in test rounds. These effects need to be carefully considered when applying the Becker-DeGroot-Marschak mechanism in Africa.

Improving the Use of Experimental Auctions in Africa: Theory and Evidence

Posted by on , in Journal Articles

Published in Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics 36(2): 263-279, 2011

Improving the Use of Experimental Auctions in Africa: Theory and Evidence

Morawetz, Ulrich B.; De Groote, Hugo; Kimenju, Simon Chege

Experimental auctions have not been widely used in Africa. However, auctions are important tools for evaluating new products and technologies. To increase the quality of these experiments, we explore an alternative first-price bidding mechanism that is more similar to African market exchanges and we analyze factors likely to affect bidding. Experiments with African consumers show that the proposed first-price mechanism has no advantage over conventional second-price mechanisms. Results show high and significant cash-in-hand, experimenter, and time of day effects in main rounds, and significant ordering effects in test rounds. These effects need to be carefully considered when applying the Becker-DeGroot-Marschak mechanism in Africa.

New Book in the Library: Insect-resistant maize – a case study of fighting the african stem borer

Posted by Jose Juan Caballero on , in New Acquisitions

Many farmers in sub-Saharan Africa suffer heavily from crop losses due to stem borer pests. Insecticides are often unaffordable; therefore, maize plants must be made resistant to pests. The ‘Insect Resistant Maize for Africa’ (IRMA) project in Kenya was aimed at developing new maize varieties both by conventional methods and by biotechnologically incorporating the endotoxin produced by the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis.

The author gives an impartial and chronological account of this exemplary project between 1999 and 2008, supplemented by discussions of agricultural development policy and descriptions of Kenyan smallholders and the project team. He also takes critical and rational positions on the use of modern plant breeding techniques, biotechnology and development policy.

Assessing the effectiveness of a technical assistance program: The case of maize seed relief to vulnerable households in Zimbabwe

Posted by on , in Journal Articles

Published in Food Policy 34(4):  377-387, 2009

Assessing the effectiveness of a technical assistance program: The case of maize seed relief to vulnerable households in Zimbabwe

Augustine S. Langyintuo and Peter Setimela

The recent economic downturn in Zimbabwe impoverished the majority of households. To assist vulnerable rural households improve their food security, the British Department for International Development implemented a seed relief program from 2003/2004 to 2005/2006 that emphasized recycling of maize open pollinated varieties (OPV). Using data collected from 597 households in six districts in 2006, this study assesses the effectiveness of the program in terms of its targeting of beneficiaries, the flow of information from participating NGOs to beneficiaries on the need to recycle the seeds, and the level of recycling done at the end of the program. The empirical results suggest that the targeting method participating NGOs use inadvertently excludes relatively vulnerable households while including large proportions of relatively well-endowed households in the program. The choice of varieties to distribute is guided more by the ecological adaptability of available commercial seeds and less by preferences of beneficiaries. Notwithstanding the fact that seed selection information is critical in encouraging beneficiaries to recycle distributed seed, not all of them received it. In conclusion, it may be stated that the program undoubtedly contributed to increased food productivity by vulnerable households but its overall effectiveness could have been enhanced through (i) the involvement of the beneficiaries in the choice of types of seed to be distributed, (ii) better targeting of beneficiaries, and (iii) improved information flow between NGOs and beneficiaries.

New book in the library: Maize and Grace: Africa’s Encounter with a New World Crop, 1500-2000

Posted by on , in New Acquisitions

MCCMAISometime around 1500 A.D., an African farmer planted a maize seed imported from the New World. That act set in motion the remarkable saga of one of the world’s most influential crops–one that would transform the future of Africa and of the Atlantic world. Africa’s experience with maize is distinctive but also instructive from a global perspective: experts predict that by 2020 maize will become the world’s most cultivated crop.

James McCann moves easily from the village level to the continental scale, from the medieval to the modern, as he explains the science of maize production and explores how the crop has imprinted itself on Africa’s agrarian and urban landscapes. Today, maize accounts for more than half the calories people consume in many African countries. During the twentieth century, a tidal wave of maize engulfed the continent, and supplanted Africa’s own historical grain crops–sorghum, millet, and rice. In the metamorphosis of maize from an exotic visitor into a quintessentially African crop, in its transformation from vegetable to grain, and from curiosity to staple, lies a revealing story of cultural adaptation. As it unfolds, we see how this sixteenth-century stranger has become indispensable to Africa’s fields, storehouses, and diets, and has embedded itself in Africa’s political, economic, and social relations.

The recent spread of maize has been alarmingly fast, with implications largely overlooked by the media and policymakers. McCann’s compelling history offers insight into the profound influence of a single crop on African culture, health, technological innovation, and the future of the world’s food supply.

Available in Google Books

New CIMMYT publication: An analysis of the bottlenecks affecting the production and deployment of maize seed in eastern and southern Africa.

Posted by Petr Kosina on , in CIMMYT Publications

 

Langyintuo, A.S.,W. Mwangi, A.O. Diallo, J.MacRobert, J. Dixon, and M. Bänziger. 2008. An analysis of the bottlenecks affecting the production and deployment of maize seed in eastern and southern Africa. Harare, Zimbabwe, CIMMYT.

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Abstract: The publication describes outcomes of a study conducted in 2007/08 to analyze the bottlenecks affecting the production and deployment of maize seed in eastern and southern Africa. The objectives of the study were to provide a better understanding of the factors limiting the production and deployment of improved maize seed in Africa, and to contribute to increasing the efficiency of variety release, seed production and seed dissemination for new drought tolerant maize varieties. The study identified a number of institutional bottlenecks affecting the maize seed value chain, in particular in the area of policy, credit availability, seed production, germplasm and marketing. To address these bottlenecks and improve the efficiency of seed production and deployment to African farmers, the authors recommended a coordinated effort from policy makers, private and public organizations and farmers. The study was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.

Download:

http://www.cimmyt.org/english/docs/eco_paper/ssanalysisAfrica.pdf