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Directors from USAID Feed the Future Innovation Labs visit Makerere University: impressed with the DANRE/KSU project’s progress

  • In General
  • 31 May 2018 - 2:16pm
  • By Proscovia Nabatte
  • 901
The Head of the Department of Agribusiness and Natural Resource Economics Dr. Gabriel Elepu presenting to the delegates.

On 23rd May 2018, 40 Directors from USAID Feed the Future Innovation Labs visited Makerere University Department of Agribusiness and Natural Resource Economics (DANRE). The remarkable visit aimed at assessing the progress of the DANRE/KSU project of Up-Grading and Enhancing the Institutional Capacity of the Department. 

The DANRE/KSU Project concept was developed in 2011. In 2014, Virginia Tech carried out the initial DANRE scoping study followed by the DANRE Capacity Building Proposal submitted to USAID in 2015. A four-year project was approved and Michigan State University and the Borlaug Higher Education for Agricultural Research and Development (BHEARD) program were brought on board in 2015. BHEARD released an RFA to network universities in 2016. Six applications were received and reviewed, and three applications were selected for further evaluation. Makerere University Department of Agribusiness and Natural Resource Economics (DANRE) partnered with Kansas State University (KSU) Department of Agricultural Economics to implement the objectives of the project.

The Dean, School of Agricultural Sciences Prof. John Mugisha addressing the delegates.

The specific objectives of the project are:

  1. To restructure and review the curricula structure of two postgraduate and undergraduate Programs including development of a taught PhD program
  2. To strengthen DANRE’s unit for agricultural research and analysis
  3. To Up-grade communication and instruction methods available to staff members 

According to Dr. Jackline Bonabana-Wabbi, a Senior Lecturer and Postgraduate Programmes Coordinator in the Department of Agribusiness and Natural Resource Economics, the project focused on Developing a strategic Plan to improve the educational program and teaching capacity of the department as well as enhancing its grantsmanship.

“Our approaches and strategies centred on quality enhancement and assurance in teaching, research & outreach. We also considered establishing a value system based on excellence, efficiency, empathy, integrity and accountability. The Project is ready to look at the Multidisciplinary approach of engaging persons from other academic disciplines and backgrounds to contribute towards its cause. We will also lobby the top university leadership to gain access to university resources and facilities as well as engaging in Networking and building strategic relationships and partnerships with industry and other relevant stakeholders,” she said.

In a presentation, the Head of the Department of Agribusiness and Natural Resource Economics Dr. Gabriel Elepu was optimistic that the project will meet its intended goals in the specified period of time.

“Three (3) PhD students have been placed at KSU and a strategic plan for DANRE was drafted and finalized. We also organised a successful Colloquium on Trading in Global Agricultural Economy (Coffee GVC). A Collaboration Draft taught PhD curriculum and other curricula (PGD, BSc. AAE, MSc NR&E) is ongoing, Call for small grants proposals has been done with the Exchange visits of administrators and faculty members taking  place. We therefore hope that by September 2021, we shall have reached our intended goals,” he remarked. 

The Delegates and some members of Department of Agribusiness and Natural Resource Economics.

He thanked the Dean, School of Agricultural Sciences Prof. John Mugisha and the Principal of College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Prof. Bernard Bashaasha for providing an apposite leadership that has enabled a successful implementation of the project. In the same spirit, Dr. Gabriel Elepu thanked the USAID Feed the Future Innovation Labs for funding DANRE/KSU Project at Makerere University. He applauded Kansas State University for accepting to partner with Makerere University Department of Agribusiness and Natural Resource Economics (DANRE).

The Dean, School of Agricultural Sciences Prof. John Mugisha welcomed the Directors at Makerere University; specifically to Department of Agribusiness and Natural Resource Economics (DANRE). He thanked the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), for supporting Makerere University to enhance its teaching and research capacity.  “We have so many research projects that are funded by USAID. We are really grateful for your support. Makerere University treasures partnerships and collaborations. This is because the more we partner the stronger we become,” he stated.

From the Department of Agribusiness and Natural Resource Economics (DANRE), the delegation visited the Incubation Centre at the School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio-Engineering. They also visited Makerere University Agricultural Research institute, Kabanyolo (MUARIK).


Article by Nabatte Proscovia, Mak Public Relations Office 
 

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