The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, CAES, in collaboration with Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) held a one day symposium on Agricultural transformation on 8th July 2014. The symposium, held at the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) Conference Hall-Makerere University, attracted a number of local and international delineates from the UK, USA, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Mali, Benin, Switzerland, Ghana and Japan. It was held under the theme, “Take it to the Farmer: The Relevance of Universities in Agricultural Transformation in Uganda.’ The symposium was as part of the events commemorating 100 years of Dr. Norman Borlaug, Nobel Laureate, who together with former US president Jimmy Carter and Japanese philanthropist; Ryoich Sasakawa founded the SAA/Sasakawa Global 2000.
It also attracted a number of dignitaries including the former President of Benin, H.E Nicéphore Soglo, Uganda’s High Commissioner to the UK, Prof. Joyce Kikafunda, MPs and members of staff, Makerere University.
While opening the symposium, theMakerere University Chancellor, Prof. George Mondo Kagonyera, decried the food security question in Africa. “Africa has a big challenge of food security. Taking Uganda as an example, I have seen the population grow from 5m to 35m yet food production has not grown to the same ratio. Food shortage has even reduced the stature of people in Kigezi, my home area,” he lamented.
Chancellor Kagonyera made reference to Uganda’s recently read budget for the financial year 2015/16, which indicated an increment in taxation on farm implements. “I talk in frustration. We do not seem to see things change significantly in agriculture the backbone of our economy. Agricultural projects like the Plan for Modernization of Agriculture and its offspring, NAADs, have all not achieved the desired impact. In the last budget speech, the Minister proposed tax increments on agricultural items. I do not know whether the farming community was consulted, but is not fair,” he asserted.
The Chancellor reminisced the good old days when Makerere University was consulted before such decisions would be taken, he emphasized that high taxation on the agricultural sector will further compound the high levels of malnutrition in Uganda, at a time Government is increasingly advocating for Universal Primary Education, UPE. “How do you expect to educate a malnourished child, whose brain has not fully developed and who is always dosing in class because of hunger?” he wondered.
The Principal, CAES, Prof. Bernard Bashaasha called for more engagements in agriculture. “Governments in Africa need to re-engage in agriculture so that the supply and demand are addressed simultaneously. It is also critical to enhance multi-disciplinarily approach to all initiatives so that agriculture works with other fields. You cannot do it alone,” he said.
High Commissioner H.E Prof. Joyce Kikafunda observed that the time is right for Africa to make her case to the rest of the world. “It is time for Africa to bring out her needs and challenges. The post 2015 development agenda looks at inclusive development. Uganda has the UN Presidency now and we should make the best of this opportunity. In relation to involvement of all stakeholders in such gatherings, especially the farmers, I propose Think-Tanks comprised of a cross sectional representation of farmers, academicians, policy makers and the like,” she advised amidst applause. Many were happy that Prof. Kikafunda, a former member of staff, CAES was back home, at least to attend the symposium.
In an exclusive interview with the Public Relations Office, the Benin former President, who is also a member of the Sasakawa Board- H.E Nicéphore Soglo, pointed out that it is necessary to show that good life can be obtained even in the villages without necessarily coming to town. He referred to a visit he had had to a one acre farm in Entebbe owned by Dr. Nyamutale Natalie – on which she carries out a variety of activities including fish farming, poultry rearing and cultivation. “It is good to show that in each village you can do this. It is not necessary to come to town to have a good life. You can have a good life even in the village. From what I saw on this farm, I want to go back and share the same with the people of Benin,” he said.
CAES has a long history of working with Sasakawa in capacity building, including opportunities extended to students and farmers. According to the CAES Principal, Prof. Bashasha, these engagements are good ground for addressing the rampant youth unemployment through skills enhancement.
In relation to youth unemployment, one of the panelists-Mr. Charles Ocici of Enterprise Uganda pointed out that the biggest deterrent is the mind set, focusing on white-collar jobs. “Agriculture is a low hanging sector for anyone to get into, with numerous opportunities right from production all the way to processing. Attitude is the challenge. The dogma that you go to school and get a job afterwards is so entrenched in our young generation and is a hindrance to entrepreneurship. Many think that agriculture is for those who have failed,” he emphasized. “The private sector will not buy from you because of your age, qualifications, tribe, or gender. We will buy from the best service provider. It is a brutal sector of choice, competition, continuous learning but is certainly very rewarding,” he added.
Sharing his experience on the same, Prof. Jacob Agea, a member of staff, CAES, Makerere University revealed that he is actively engaged in a private business of supplying pigeons to a top hotel in Kampala and that he has every reason to smile when his pay cheque jets in from the proceeds. He encouraged others to follow suit by actively engaging in agriculture.
Sharing about the international experience, Dr. David Norman of Winrock International advised that it is critical to engage all players in the value chain to provide information to and from the farmers as a way of addressing emerging issues.
Other panelists included Dr. Swaibu Mbowa, Br. Deola Naibakelao, Dr. Paul Kibwika, Dr. Tim Chancellor, Dr. Dorothy Masinde, Dr. Florence Lubwama, Prof. Jonny Mugisha and Hon. Prof. Ruth Oniang’o among others.
The first two symposiums of its kind were held in Mali to mark the 20th and the 25th anniversaries of Dr. Norman Borlaug. The next symposium will be agreed upon after a decision of the Sasakawa Board. After the engagement at Makerere University, the symposium delegates are set to travel to Jinja and share these deliberations with selected farmers.
By Marion Alina, Public Relations Office
4th Call For Applications: MURBS Departmental Ambassadors
In February 2018, the Makerere University Retirement Benefits Scheme (MURBS) launched the Departmental Ambassadors Programme. MURBS hopes to use this Ambassadors Programme to engage more directly with its membership and enhance member education. MURBS further perceives this Programme as a means to mitigate succession planning risks.
MURBS Fund Value continues to grow, and as at 31st March 2021, it stood at Ushs 235.5bn as compared to Ushs 209.6bn as at 30th June 2020. Given this growth, there is increased need for prospective Trustees, who are well equipped with relevant knowledge and skills, and with practical exposure to the management and governance of MURBS.
- Must be employed by the University on permanent terms
- Must be an Active Member of the Scheme (currently contributing to the Scheme) and appear on the Official Register of the MURBS Active Membership as at 30th April 2021.
- Must be willing to commit time to trainings and other ambassadorial activities organised by the Scheme.
Mode of training for 4th Cohort of Ambassadors
Training for this (4th) Cohort of Ambassadors is envisaged to be conducted over the zoom online platform only, due to Covid-19 restrictions. The Scheme does not envisage any face-to-face interactions.
Tenure of Office & Termination or Withdrawal
There is no tenure of office for the Departmental Ambassador. As long as a member is willing to continue serving as an Ambassador, and the Ambassador continues to satisfy the eligibility criteria above, she or he will remain a MURBS Ambassador.
How to Apply
Interested members should complete the MURBS Departmental Ambassador Application Form 01-0218. The completed Form together with the requested attachments should be sent to info[at]murbs.mak.ac.ug and copy to wilber.naigambi[at]mak.ac.ug no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, 14th June 2021. We discourage hand delivery of applications.
MURBS shall acknowledge receipt of each application received within 12 hours and will respond to the applicants to confirm the status of their application in writing (by e-mail). Upon approval of the application, the name of the approved Ambassador together with the Department and School/Unit will be updated on the list of the MURBS Departmental Ambassadors in the Group 4 category and published on the MURBS website.
NOTE: There is no limit as to the number of ambassadors that MURBS can have in a department.
Please see Downloads for the detailed call and application form.
Chair Council Communication on Closure of Makerere University
7th June 2021
All Members of Staff
All Students and Stakeholders
RE: CLOSURE OF MAKERERE UNIVERSITY
Following the address to the Nation by H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of Uganda, on 6th June 2021, this is to inform you that the University will be closed with effect from today 7th June 2021 for 42days.
During the closure, the University shall observe a 30% physical presence of staff while other faculty and administrative staff shall continue to work online.
Management will inform staff and students on the implementation of teaching, learning, and research activities online. Construction activities shall continue as per the President’s directives and with strict adherence to the COVID-19 SOPs.
Lorna Magara (Mrs.)
Chairperson, Makerere University Council
RUFORUM: Transforming Higher Education Videos and Links
Video Series developed by Julieta Mazzola, EARTH University.
- What is Community Engagement? Video 1 of 3. https://youtu.be/etv2-W1U3O0
- Different Forms of University Engagement with the Community. Video 2 of 3. https://youtu.be/73h2p8P0BLw
- Student learning through Community Engagement. Video 3 of 3. https://youtu.be/Ule3P1-tjC4