Research Topics

EPAR Research Brief #84
Publication Date: 05/28/2010
Type: Research Brief
Abstract

This report provides an overview of poultry market trends in Burkina Faso as compared to the wider West African region. The main resources for this analysis are the FAO Pro-Poor Livestock Policy Initiative working paper Navigating the Livestock Sector: The Political Economy of Livestock Policy in Burkina Faso from 2005 and the FAO-ECTAD poultry sector review from 2007. We find that due in part to the country’s landlocked location, Burkina Faso’s poultry market is comprised almost entirely of domestic producers. Despite the poultry system’s performance and lack of direct competition, the system is not currently meeting market demand for poultry, particularly at holiday periods.  Opportunities exist to increase domestic production and potentially supply the regional market. In addition, the organizational environment is strengthening as the Maison De l’Aviculture (MDA) producer organization works to support poultry sector growth by importing production inputs, providing education, and engaging in policy advocacy.  

EPAR Research Brief #83
Publication Date: 05/28/2010
Type: Research Brief
Abstract

This report provides an overview of poultry market trends in Ghana as compared to the wider West African region. The primary source for this analysis is the 2006 FAO-Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) poultry sector review. We find that poultry production in Ghana takes place in rural areas throughout the country and in commercial operations near urban centers. However, many domestic producers have been unable to compete with frozen poultry imports, resulting in stagnant domestic per capita production and underutilization of production facilities. The country’s coastal ports provide an entry point for poultry imports, which may explain why imports have dominated the country’s market more than in land-locked countries such as Burkina Faso. Opportunities for poultry development in Ghana include expanding the role of domestic producers in supplying geographic and product niches.

EPAR Research Brief #85
Publication Date: 05/25/2010
Type: Research Brief
Abstract

This report provides an overview of poultry market trends in Mali as compared to the wider West African region. In the wake of the avian flu epidemic, the only poultry products currently legal to import are eggs for reproduction and day-old chicks. No poultry meat has been imported into Mali since March 2004. The main resource available for this analysis is the FAO-ECTAD poultry sector review from 2006.  In this report, we find that a majority of Malian families raise poultry and it is an important source of both nutrition and income.  Mali produces over 99 percent of its chicken meat and eggs for consumption domestically. Over 90 percent of production occurs in rural areas, mostly under traditional practices. However, to achieve self-sufficiency in chicken meat and hen eggs for consumption, Mali imports over 60 percent of the hatching eggs and day-old chicks required to replenish its poultry stocks. The policy and organizational environment appears favorable for expanding the sector. There is an ongoing government initiative to support the poultry sector and several producer organizations at all levels of the supply chain. We find that analyses of Mali’s poultry sector suggest that market opportunities exist to increase domestic poultry reproduction capacity, production of poultry products and poultry consumption.

EPAR Research Brief #74
Publication Date: 05/24/2010
Type: Research Brief
Abstract

This report presents data on selected agricultural commodities for the first quarter of 2010 (October through December), with summaries of the entire year where available. It provides a summary of recent changes and price trends, demand, supply, and market conditions for key agricultural commodities. We find that many changes in commodity prices over the course of the first quarter of 2010 were in response to revised supply estimates for the 2009/2010 agricultural season. Prices of staple food cereals in the first quarter of 2010 remained above their pre-crisis lows of early 2008, but we observed a downward trend in most prices from the high crisis prices of 2008. 

EPAR Research Brief #86
Publication Date: 05/24/2010
Type: Research Brief
Abstract

This report provides an overview of poultry market trends in Senegal as compared to the wider West African region. The primary sources for this analysis include the 2006 FAO-Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) poultry sector review and a 2004 report from the FAO Pro-Poor Livestock Policy Initiative. We find that poultry production in Senegal takes place in rural areas throughout the country and in commercial operations near urban centers. Senegal implemented a ban on all poultry imports in 2006 in response to avian influenza and pressure from domestic producers. The 2006 poultry import ban has stimulated new growth in domestic production, and the country now produces almost 100 percent of its consumption. Analysts predict that the potential of the domestic market to absorb increased poultry production is quite large.  If given support to overcome production constraints, smallholder poultry keepers and commercial operators have the potential to increase supply in response to growing domestic demand.

EPAR Technical Report #65
Publication Date: 03/17/2010
Type: Literature Review
Abstract

Ecosystem services are the benefits people obtain from ecosystems, such as provisioning of fresh water, food, feed, fiber, biodiversity, energy, and nutrient cycling. Agricultural production can substantially affect the functioning of ecosystems, both positively and negatively. The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of the impacts of agricultural technologies and practices on ecosystem services such as soil fertility, water, biodiversity, air, and climate. The report describes the environmental impacts of different aspects of intensive cropping practices and of inputs associated with intensification. We further explore these impacts by examining intensive rice systems and industrial crop processing. Although this report focuses on the impacts of agricultural practices on the environment, many of the practices also have implications for plant, animal, and human health. Farmers and others who come in contact with air, water, and soils polluted by chemical fertilizers and pesticides may face negative health consequences, for instance. By impacting components of the ecosystem, these practices affect the health of plants and animals living within the ecosystem. We find that the unintended environmental consequences of intensive agricultural practices and inputs are varied and potentially severe. In some cases, sustaining or increasing agricultural productivity depends upon reducing impacts to the environment, such as maintaining productive soils by avoiding salinization from irrigation water. However, in other cases, eliminating negative environmental impacts may involve unacceptable trade-offs with food provision or other development goals. Determining the appropriate balance of costs and benefits from intensive agricultural practices is a location-specific exercise requiring knowledge of natural, economic, and social conditions. 

EPAR Research Brief #67
Publication Date: 03/08/2010
Type: Literature Review
Abstract

Contract farming (CF) is an arrangement between farmers and a processing or marketing firm for the production and supply of agricultural products, often at predetermined prices. This literature review builds on EPAR's review of smallholder contract farming in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and South Asia (EPAR Technical Report #60)  by specifically examining the evidence on impacts and potential benefits of contract farming for women in SSA. Key takeaways suggest women’s direct participation in contract farming is limited, with limited access to land and control over the allocation of labor and cash resources key constraints hindering women’s ability to benefit from CF. Further, we find that the impact of contract farming on women is often mediated by their relative bargaining power within the household.  

EPAR Technical Report #60
Publication Date: 03/05/2010
Type: Literature Review
Abstract

In recent years, product supply chains for agricultural goods have become increasingly globalized. As a result, greater numbers of smallholder farmers in South Asia (SA) and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) participate in global supply chains, many of them through contract farming (CF). CF is an arrangement between a farmer and a processing or marketing firm for the production and supply of agricultural products, often at predetermined prices. This literature review finds empirical evidence that demonstrates that the economic and social benefits of CF for smallholder farmers are mixed. A number of studies suggest that CF may improve farmer productivity, reduce production risk and transaction costs, and increase farmer incomes. However, critics caution that CF may undermine farmers’ relative bargaining power and increase health, environmental, and financial risk through exposure to monopsonistic markets, weak contract environments, and unfamiliar agricultural technologies. There is consensus across the literature that CF has the best outcomes for farmers when farmers have more bargaining power to negotiate the terms of the contract. In reviewing the literature on CF, we find a number of challenges to comparing studies and evaluating outcomes across contracts. This literature review summarizes empirical findings and analyses regarding contract models and best practices to increase farmers’ bargaining power and decrease contract default.

EPAR Research Brief #64
Publication Date: 03/03/2010
Type: Research Brief
Abstract

Introducing technology that is designed to be physically appropriate and valuable to women farmers can increase yields and raise income. But gender issues for agricultural technology projects in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are extremely complex. The EPAR series on Gender and Cropping in SSA offers examples of how these issues can affect crop production and adoption of agricultural technologies at each point in the crop cycle for eight crops (cassava, cotton, maize, millet, rice, sorghum, wheat, and yam). This executive summary highlights innovative opportunities for interventions that consider these dimensions of gender. We encourage readers to consult the crop specific briefs for more details. We find that involving both men and women in the development, testing, and dissemination of agricultural technology has been shown to be successful in helping both benefit. Nevertheless, a consistent finding throughout the Gender and Cropping in SSA series is that maximum benefits from technological innovations cannot be realized when upstream factors like education, power, and land tenure heavily influence outcomes. Addressing these more basic upstream causes of gender inequality may be even more important in helping households increase productivity and maximize the benefits of technological interventions. 

EPAR Research Brief #66
Publication Date: 02/23/2010
Type: Research Brief
Abstract

This report presents data on selected agricultural commodities for the fourth quarter of 2009 (October through December 2009) and the months of January and February 2010, where available. More specifically, this report provides a summary of recent changes and trends in prices, demand, supply, and market conditions for key agricultural commodities. We find that agricultural commodity prices declined significantly in 2009 from peak 2008 levels. At the end of 2009, however, commodity prices began to rebound, which contributed to concerns over a possible return to high prices. In January and February, gains in the value of the U.S. Dollar helped keep agricultural commodity prices subdued.