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MaRCCI Embarks on Cowpea and Sorghum Research for Disease, Drought and Other Tolerances



Makerere University’s Regional Centre for Crop Improvement (MaRCCI) has initiated two breeding programmes on cowpea and sorghum not only for research but also to address the issue of nutritional security and increasing income for farmers.

A seven (7) acre cowpea research and demonstration field under MaRCCI has been established at the Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK) where most students admitted on the cowpea breeding programme are based.
Dr. Dramatri Onziga explained that MaRCCI’s breeding program is focusing mainly on cowpea and sorghum because they are drought-tolerant semi-arid crops that can be bred for Northern Uganda and other areas prone to drought.

The Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (Green Cap & Tie) examines a sample of cowpeas during a tour of one of the demonstration plots under MaRCCI at MUARIK

“We are also filling a gap in the National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS). We are trying to complement and be part of NARS to make it more collaborative,” he said.

A global collection of 360 different cowpea lines referred to as “a Minicore” and the Multi-parent Advanced Generation InterCross (MAGIC) population of 260 cowpea traits and 250 Ugandan collections and crosses are being evaluated on this site.

The cowpea project is addressing the issues of cowpea pests and diseases like thrips and scab, fusarium virus, cerospora, leafspot, bacterial blight, pod borer, pod sucking bugs and others.

“We are evaluating a lot of materials for different traits. The Minicore and the MAGIC populations were obtained from University of Riverside Califonia, some came from IITA, and we also have 250 Ugandan collections and crosses.

Two of the students (Left) explain to Dr. Edema (in red) and other officials during a tour of one of the sorghum demonstration plots

“From all those unique crosses; 1000 lines, the one of California are all genotyped (have molecular data) available” Dr. Patrick Ongom said.

Several similar cowpea experiments are being conducted in Serere, Arua and Ngetta. Another 8 acre cowpea site is located at Kyentume, Kabanyolo.

Another research and demonstration field on Sorghum has been established on 5 acres of land at MUARIK where the MAGIC population of sorghum obtained from Perdue University USA and the cold-tolerant populations are under evaluation.

In addition, the program is testing potential sorghum hybrids for the commercial beer production industry and other high yielding sorghum lines that can tolerate cold in mountainous areas like Kisoro and Elgon.

Visitors tour one of the cowpea demonstration plots in MUARIK

“The idea is that we want to see if sorghum adopted to cold can be grown in the cold areas of Uganda like Kisoro, Mt. Elgon area etc. So we are testing lines that can tolerate cold and give high yields. The programme is also testing the potential of hybrids which are popular in maize, targeting the beer industry” explained Dr. Onziga.

Value Addition

The programme is also looking at value added products from leaves and seeds of cowpea. The cowpea flour can be used for making porridge which is highly nutritious and this is the centre’s future prospect. The programme intends to work with the School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bioengineering to come up with these complementary products.

The programme’s focus on sorghum is in line with the beer industry’s high demand for the raw material. Besides food, the sorghum can be processed into local bushera for commercial household income.

“We are trying value addition potential for better products and how to combine sorghum and cowpea with other crop products.” Dr. Dramatri said.

Report compiled by;
Jane Anyango,
Principal Communication Officer, CAES

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Launch of Mak-RIF Round 4 Awards & PhD Call for Proposals



Mak-RIF 4 Awards and PhD Call For Proposals, 29th September 2022, 9:00 to 10:00 AM EAT.

Makerere University received funding from the Government of the Republic of Uganda, earmarked to support high impact Research and Innovations. This unique initiative arose after engagements between the top University Management and the Government of Uganda. This fund illustrates the increasing importance that the Government attaches to Research and Innovation as a driver of development and transformation. The objective of the fund is to increase the local generation of translatable research and scalable innovations that address key gaps required to drive Uganda’s development agenda. 

In the Financial years 2019/2020, 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 the Government of the Republic of Uganda through Mak-RIF has funded implementation of over 750 multidisciplinary research and innovations within the various Colleges, while engaging multiple stakeholders within and outside Makerere University. The Grants Management Committee (GMC) has finalized the award process for the Mak-RIF round 4 call for funding for this Financial Year 2022/2023.

The Grants Management Committee (GMC) hereby invites you to the Launch of the Mak-RIF Round 4 awards and PhD Call for Proposals scheduled to take place tomorrow Thursday 29th September 2022 from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. EAT. 

Please use the following details to join the launch.

Register in advance for this meeting: 
Meeting ID: 884 5662 9992
Password: 292624

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Notice: Makerere Disability Scheme 2022/23 Medical Review Exercise



One of the PWD graduands at the 69th Graduation during the Session held on 17th January 2019.

The Academic Registrar, Makerere University invites persons with disability who applied for admission to public universities under the disability entry scheme for 2022/2023 Academic Year to appear for medical/review exercise at Makerere Unive, Senate Building, Level Two (2) in the Telepresence Centre.

NOTE: Only those who have the minimum entry requirements of at least two principal passes at A’ Level or its equivalent and at least five (5) passes at O’ Level or its equivalent will be interviewed.

 Only candidates who sat ‘a’ level in 2020, 2019 and 2018 are eligible for admission.

THE EXERCISE WILL BE CONDUCTED ON 3rd, 4th and 5th October, 2022 respectively from 9.00 A.M – 1.00 P.M each day.


(i) If you fail to appear on any of the given days above, there will be no other chance for you.

(ii) Applicants with Government Scholarship for the previous years are not eligible for admission



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Uganda’s policymakers implored to address forest loss, plastic & water pollution



Left to Right: Prof. Gunnar Köhlin, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Amb. Maria Håkansson, Commissioner Julius Mafumbo and Prof. Edward Bbaale posing for a group photo before the opening ceremony on 22nd September 2022: Photo by EfD-Mak Centre.

The Vice Chancellor Professor Barnabas Nawangwe on Thursday 22nd September, 2022 participated in the opening of the EfD Annual meeting hosted by Makerere University at Speke Resort Munyonyo where he appealed to government to implement the ban on kaveera and address other environmental issues.

The opening ceremony moderated by the EfD Global Hub Manager Gunnar Köhlin and was graced by Uganda’s Minister for Water and Environment represented by the Commissioner for Water, Mr. Julius Mafumbo and the Swedish Ambassador to Uganda, H.E. Maria Håkansson.

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