IEE Newsletter No. 23

Urban FoodPlus: Entering Phase Two

Martina Shakya shares news about the second phase of the interdisciplinary African-German research project.

The project was met with some great news, shortly before Christmas: After successfully passing the interim evaluation in 2015, the BMBF-funded research project Urban FoodPlus (UFP) is being extended by another two years. The project, which is one of six African-German research consortia funded under the BMBF initiative GlobE—Global Food Security, was launched in the summer of 2013 and will now continue until July 2018.


The UFP project aims to enhance resource use efficiency and improve food security in urban and peri-urban agriculture of West African cities. The IEE's contribution to the project aims at evaluating the welfare implications of agricultural innovations that are being proposed by UFP, such as the use of biochar as a soil amendment and improved irrigation technology.
UFP Foto Vegetable cultivation Tamale
Urban farm in Tamale, Ghana (photo: private)

After completion of field work in Tamale (Ghana) and Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) last year, two PhD IDS candidates are now in the process of finalising their data analyses. The research project of Lesley Hope examines the welfare implications of biochar as a soil amendment from the perspective of urban farmers. The research project of IEE research fellow Marc Hansen investigates the effects of biochar application on urban vegetable markets, with potential impacts on the food security of urban consumers. Complementary studies have been conducted by Master's students. The master's thesis of RUB Economics student Carla Swertz looked into the "costs of illness" among urban farmers in Tamale and possible links to wastewater irrigation. The master's thesis of Bismark Amfo, student of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University for Development Studies (UDS) in Tamale explored urban consumers' willingness to pay (WTP) for certified vegetables and their trust in certification labels.

...And Outstanding Work in Ghana and Burkina Faso

UFP Foto Donkoh ShakyaIn the second phase of the UFP, the collaboration between the UDS and the RUB/IEE will be further intensified. Another six master's theses are planned this year to investigate the outstanding research questions in Tamale and Ouagadougou. Four Ghanaian master's students will write their theses under the supervision of Dr Samuel Donkoh, Head of Department, Agricultural and Resource Economics at UDS.

Photo on the right: Dr Samuel Donkoh (Head of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at UDS, Tamale) and Dr Martina Shakya (Postdoctoral Fellow, IEE) during the UFP Summer School in Bochum last October (photo: private).

Two RUB-based master's students will write their theses under the supervision of Prof Wilhelm Löwenstein, IEE and Chair for Development Research at the Faculty of Economics. A close cooperation between the African and German supervisors and their students is envisaged, not only to ensure the quality of generated data, but also to promote an intercultural research and mutual learning experience for the Ghanaian and German students.
UFP Foto backyard cultivation Tamale
Seasonal "backyard" cultivation in Tamale, Ghana (photo: private)

Expanding Activities to Mali and Cameroon

Apart from completing activities and publishing the research results from Ghana and Burkina Faso, the project's extension to two more West African cities (Bamako (Mali) and Bamenda (Cameroon)) is the main focus of the UFP's second phase. While we are observing the development of the security situation in Mali, the IEE's activities will initially start in Bamenda. A team of IEE researchers will soon be travelling to Cameroon along with other UFP colleagues to liaise with local partners, including the NGO Strategic Humanitarian Services in Cameroon (SHUMAS), and to complete some groundwork for the planned research activities in Bamenda. We will certainly keep you posted.

For more information:

ShakyaDr. Martina Shakya
Postdoctoral Fellow, Urban Food Plus
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: +49 (0)234 / 32-25149
Fax: +49 (0)234 / 32-14294

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