Fertilizer Subsidies in Ghana

Subsidies to promote fertilizer use have become a popular policy in Africa south of the Sahara, aimed at increasing the region’s lagging agricultural production. However, new research from Ghana, published in Food Security, suggest that fertilizer subsidies alone may not be enough to encourage greater fertilizer application and increase farm productivity.

Farmer's Willingness to Pay for Drought-Tolerant Maize

Maize plays a vital role in food security in Africa south of the Sahara, providing an estimated 40-50 percent of the calories consumed by poor populations.[1] However, the crop is also very susceptible to climate-driven shocks, particularly variable rainfall and drought. While drought-tolerant maize varieties have become more widely available in recent years, the adoption of these new varieties depends on farmers’ perceptions of the crop’s benefits – and their willingness to pay for those benefits.

Pests Threatening Food Security

An emergency meeting this week in Harare, Zimbabwe will focus on the spread of the fall armyworm caterpillar throughout much of southern Africa. Experts from 13 countries will join FAO, the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI), the Southern African Development Committee (SADC), and the International Red Locust Control Organization for Central and Southern Africa (IRLCO-CSA) to discuss how the pest can be stopped in an environmentally sustainable way.

Food Safety and Food Price: Is There a Link?

Food safety remains a significant concern in many developing countries, thanks to a prevalence of decentralized, informal food markets and low enforcement of food safety standards. Formal markets and branded food products are starting to become more common, however, allowing firms to establish themselves in consumers’ minds as providers of safe, high quality food – and potentially to charge higher prices for that food.

Can Africa Feed Itself?

Demand for cereals in Africa south of the Sahara could triple by 2050, and increasing current yields on the region’s existing farmland alone may not be enough to meet that demand, according to a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Malawi's Food-Insecure Population Expected to Grow

For the second year in a row, Malawi is facing a national maize deficit. In the 2016-2017 marketing year, the maize supply gap is expected to be 953,000 MT, according to a new Food Security Outlook from FEWS Net.

GIEWS Country Briefs See Mixed Crop Production, High Food Insecurity

FAO’s Global Information and Early Warning Systems (GIEWS) has released several new country briefs for Africa south of the Sahara. This series of briefs provides an overview of the food security situation in prioritized countries, focusing on the current agricultural season, harvest prospects for staple food crops and livestock, estimates and forecasts of cereal production, and food price and food policy trends.

Increasing Fertilizer Use: Lessons from Kenya

While fertilizer use throughout Africa south of the Sahara remains low, Kenya has seen significant steady growth in fertilizer use in recent years. According to a paper published by Michigan State University, USAID, and the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), between the early 1990s and 2010, national fertilizer use doubled in Kenya. Importantly, this increase stemmed from smallholder farmers purchasing fertilizers at commercial prices rather than through input subsidy programs.

Maize Export Bans Harmful in Malawi

Trade restrictions such as export bans have been a popular way for governments to protect their countries’ domestic food supplies, but research suggests that such policies are largely ineffective and even detrimental.  A new policy note from the Malawi Strategy Support Program examines Malawi’s use of these policies and presents alternative policies that could help better meet the country’s f

Tanzania Food Security Improving, But Lean Season Still Poses Threat in Some Areas

A new report released by FEWS Net examines current food security conditions in Tanzania, finding that overall national food security prospects are favorable but local-level conditions remain mixed.


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