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

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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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Veteran Professor changed Makerere and Higher Education

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Professor Pancras John Mukasa Ssebuwufu (L) receives a plaque and citation from RUFORUM Board Member and Vice Chancellor Ndejje University-Professor Eriabu Lugujjo (Right) on 6th May 2021 at the RUFORUM Secretariat, Plot 155 Garden Hill, Makerere University Main Campus,

When Professor John Ssebuwufu ambled up to receive a certificate of recognition for his ‘exceptional’ contribution to higher education from the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) at Makerere University (MU), he was thinking of many things, such as rewarding staff, that he could have done differently to impact university education more.

But he did what he could have done, under the circumstances.

He presided over MU (in 1993) when student enrolment was 5,000 and left in 2004 when the population was surging to more than 15,000.

He emphasised the use of information communication technologies in almost all the institutions he had been involved in and sent many academic staff on exchanges to boost research and innovation. Now, more African universities engage in ground-breaking research.

So, he proceeded to accept his recognition and make his acceptance speech, which was mostly about gratitude.

Ssebuwufu, 74, who is currently the chancellor at Kyambogo University and the vice-chancellor of the University of Kisubi, is credited for his exemplary leadership and pragmatic methods that have shaped higher education in Uganda and Africa as a whole.

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Japan Africa Dream Scholarship (JADS) Program 2021/2022

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Japan Africa Dream Scholarship (JADS) Program 2021/2022. Photo credit: AfDB

The Japan Africa Dream Scholarship (JADS) Program is a capacity building project by the AfDB and Japan which was initiated in 2017 with the aim of providing two-year scholarship awards to highly achieving African graduate students to enable them to undergo post-graduate studies (i.e. a two-year Master’s degree program) in selected priority development areas on the continent and Japan. The overarching goal the AfDB and the Government of Japan seek to attain is to enhance skills and human resources development in Africa in under the Bank’s High 5s agenda (i.e. “Feed Africa”, “Light up Africa”, “Industrialize Africa”, “Integrate Africa” and “Improve the quality of life of the people of Africa”) and key Japanese development assistance initiatives. JADS core areas of study focus include energy, agriculture, health, environmental sustainability, and engineering. The program also seeks to promote inter-university collaboration and university-industry partnerships between Japan and Africa. Upon completion of their studies, the JADS scholars are expected to return to their home countries to apply and disseminate their newly acquired knowledge and skills in the public and private sectors, and contribute to national and continental socio-economic development.

About the JADS program

The JADS Program is open to applicants from AfDB member countries with relevant professional experience and a history of supporting their countries’ development efforts who are applying to a graduate degree program in energy development and related discipline.  The program does not provide scholarships to any other graduate degree program.

The scholarship program provides tuition, a monthly living stipend, round-trip airfare, health insurance, and travel allowance.

Upon completion of their studies, the beneficiary scholars are expected to return to their home countries to apply and disseminate their newly acquired knowledge and skills, and contribute to the promotion of sustainable development of their countries.

Who is Eligible to Apply?

The program is open to those who have gained admission to an approved Masters degree course at a Japanese partner university. Candidates should be 35 years old or younger; in good health; with a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in the energy area or related area; and have a superior academic record. Upon completion of their study programs, scholars are expected to return to their home country to contribute to its economic and social development.

Application Procedures

  1. Applicant requests for information and application forms and procedures from the chosen JADS partner university. For any inquiries, please contact JADS@AFDB.ORG
  2. Applicant completes required documents and sends them to the university.
  3. University evaluates and selects applicants.
  4. University sends selected candidates to the AfDB.
  5. AfDB reviews submissions from universities, prepares and approves the final list.
  6. AfDB contacts selected awardees, and informs the universities.

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WHS Regional Meeting Africa 2021: Finance Chairperson’s Update

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Prof. Tonny J. Oyana, Finance Chairperson, World Health Summit Regional Meeting Africa, June 2021.

SOPs: Our plan is to have 200 sets of people in different spacious rooms…

Prof. Tonny j. oyana, finance chairperson whs regional meeting africa

We are sincerely grateful to our sponsors…

Over 15 core sponsors…

Sessions: 60% Virtual, 40% Onsite…

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