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NARO-Mak18 Ends by Tabling 15-point Conference Communique

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The 2nd NARO-Mak Joint Scientific Conference successfully ends with 15 point Conference Communique tabled before the Agricultural Minister for policy guidelines.

The 2nd Joint NARO-Mak Joint Scientific conference & 1st Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition Annual Scientific Symposium successfully ended on Thursday, 15th November 2018 at the Speke Resort Munyonyo.

The four day conference that started on 12th November 2018 under the theme “Research for Innovative Agri-Food Systems and Nutrition” was closed by the Minister of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries represented the state Minister for Agriculture Hon. Christopher Kibazanga.

Earlier, the conference Organising committee represented by Dr. Alice Turinawe from Makerere University’s Department of Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics tabled a summary  of the conference proceedings culminating in a 15 point Communique for policy guidelines. They include:

  • Integration of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in agricultural value chains for detection and management of pests and disease and assessment and manipulation of soil characteristics for appropriate crop management e.g. use of drones.
  • Policy and strategies for enhancing intake of quality and safe food, with emphasis on formulation and/or implementation of appropriate standards and regulations.
  • Supportive policy frameworks for comprehensive nutrition education of both the grassroots urban and rural consumers of agriculture-based and other foods and food products backed by market power.
  • Prioritise investments that improve quality of people through nutrition and healthy diets
  • Strengthen implementation of strategies for reducing post harvest losses and waste along the value chain
  • Need for embracing the spirit of multi-sectoral planning and implementation of government development programs along the value chain.
  • Provision of adequate and reliable funding to research for timely delivery of technological solutions for the continuously growing and dynamic society needs. Similarly, sustainable funding is required for science communication and user education so that results effectively get to the intended beneficiaries. There is need for a paradigm shift in methods of delivering information to farmers and related value chain actors.
  • Develop and enact programs for mind frame change for transformation of the youth to actively engage in agri-entrepreneurship.
  • Enabling policy and strategies for transiting agricultural research to industrial products via incubation and industrial parks.
  • Policy measures to encourage the agro-based private sector to support government in funding agricultural research to ensure the sustainability of research funding.
  • The need to reconstruct a national extension system that is organic, holistic, equitable and transformative.
  • Need for a model of agriculture that is sensitive to economics, food security, ecology and society issues. Not a one size fit all i.e. large scale farming may not be appropriate for everybody.
  • Need to identify and pick good practices from both the traditional and modern concepts of agriculture and develop a model suitable for African situation. Otherwise the binary concept of traditional vs. modern is misleading.
  • The need for leadership/governance in every relevant sector to keep an eye on the evolution of gender and extension concepts and provide for adjustments as society needs change.
  • Strengthen existing institutions to effectively protect the agricultural sector against counterfeits including inputs especially seeds.

Dr. Alice Turinawe from the Department of Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics tables a summary of the conference proceedings

In his remarks as State Minister, Hon. Kibazanga described as challenging, the evidence-based results indicating the levels stunted, underweight or obese children, as well as statistics of the population going hungry, despite the fact that Uganda is gifted by nature.

“I attended the side event and they told us that the level of stunted children is at 33%, Underweight children are at 14%, while obesity is at 28% and all this with 3billion people going hungry worldwide! As the Ministry of Agriculture, we are guilty”. The minister exclaimed.

The minister commended NARO, Makerere and collaborating institutions for not only organizing the conference but also discussing food and nutrition as an important aspect that directly and indirectly impacts on the development of the economy.

“I wish to commend NARO and Makerere University with their partners and the organizing committee for the job well done. Agriculture is one of the most diverse sectors in this country and as Minister, I have a great appreciation of the logistics and human resources required to pull off a conference of this magnitude. This is another step in the right direction for Agriculture in Uganda and I therefore congratulate all the stakeholders for the job well done”, the Minister said.

Hon. Christopher Kibazanga makes the closing remarks at the 2nd NARO-Mak Conference

Hon. Kibazanga said Agriculture is one of the opportunities identified by our Uganda Vision 2040 that needs to be strengthened in order to achieve faster socio-economic transformation.

In this regard, he said, Government set out to: invest in the development of all major irrigation schemes in the country; ensure continued investment in technology improvement through research for improved seeds, breeds and stocking materials; and invest in the development of the phosphates industry in Tororo so as to reduce the cost of fertilizers.

“Government has additionally set out to: reform the extension system in the country to increase information access, knowledge and technologies to the farmers; ensure that land fragmentation is reversed to secure land for mechanization; collect adequate agricultural statistics; improve weather information and its dissemination and intensify environmental control measures to halt the decline in soil fertility,” He said.

The minister pointed out 16 irrigation projects the Government has under construction in different parts of the country to fulfil its promises to the people. These included: Doho phase II in Butalejja district; Mubuku phase II in Kasese district; Wadelai in Nebbi district; Tochi and  Ngenge in Oyam district; Atari in Bulambuli and Kween districts and Katete in Kanungu district among others.

He expressed happiness that throughout the course of this joint scientific conference, researchers and participants were engaged in dissemination and discussion of findings that are in line with Government’s interventions to improve agricultural productivity across the value chain.

The Principal College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB)-Prof. John David Kabasa represented the Vice Chancellor at the closing ceremony

The Vice Chancellor Makerere University represented by Prof. John David Kabasa thanked researchers, students, agriculturalist, veterinarians and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector from Uganda and the Diaspora for coming together to exchange research findings and information on various aspects of agriculture production and productivity in a changing environment.

Prof. Nawangwe reaffirmed Makerere University’s and the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO)’s commitment to contribute to national development through advancement of agricultural research.

“As Makerere University, we are constantly challenged that it is not good enough to conduct cutting edge research but also equally important to find the most appropriate and beneficial ways to disseminate the findings thereof. This conference is the second effort to do just that in partnership with NARO”.  

Prof. Nawangwe expressed hope that the participants have had an opportunity to strengthen partnerships and collaborative networks with other key stakeholders so as to continue research and find lasting solutions to the challenges in the agricultural sector and its interfacing areas.

“I do therefore, expect that the outputs of this conference will cumulatively and going forward in a supportive environment enhance livelihoods as set out in the conference theme.

Chairman Board of Directors, NARO-Prof. Joseph Obua appreciated the partnerships between Makerere University and his Organisation

“In addition, the partners who participated in the parallel exhibition to sensitize the consumers about products that are presently being applied by primary producers in agriculture are expected in the future to outlet more of the products to a more informed clientele.

“I am sure participants have interested and fostered relationships with industrial partners that will last and contribute to the development of a vibrant agricultural sector.

“Let me also take this opportunity to commend the chairpersons, rapporteurs and the presenters of all sessions that covered the various subthemes. You did a wonderful job and the conference was indeed a success.

"I note the cross cutting contribution of the knowledge exchanged under each subtheme and I challenge NARO, Makerere, Tufts University and other research and educational institutions to increasingly undertake research and innovation initiatives in these sub-themes in line with their mandates”, Prof Nawangwe commended.

The Vice Chancellor also thanked the Principal College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) Prof. Bernard Bashaasha, the Deputy Director NARO Dr. Imelda Kashaija and other partners for organising this conference.

Agricultural Phytosanitary Inspector MAAIF and MSc. Student-Ms. Doreen Rukuba (Right) makes her poster presentation

Equally, Prof. Nawangwe extended his appreciation to USAID Feed the Future Innovation Lab, TUFTS University, Global Panel for Agriculture and Food System for Nutrition and NARO and other partners for supporting this conference and exhibition.

The Chairman Board of Directors, NARO, Prof. Joseph Obua appreciated the partnerships between Makerere University and his Research Organisation and the efforts to bring on board the international partners, expressing hope that more will be attracted in the 2020 conference, including the Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation.

Reflecting on the Minister opening remarks on day one and his emphasis for researchers to help the country realize its target of exporting 20million bags of coffee by 2025, Prof. Obua  advised government to think of exporting value added coffee rather that coffee beans, so as to create more jobs, income for farmers and earn more foreign exchange.

He also asked government to support the development of an Intellectual Property policy to protect technologies.

Prof. Obua identified other areas that require attention such as the weak research-farmers linkage curtailing uptake of research products, and the weak research-industry linkage.

Report compiled by;
Jane Anyango;
Principal Communication Officer CAES

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Rotary International President visits Mak

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The Chairperson of Council, Mrs Lorna Magara (L) presents a plaque to Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta in appreciation of his visit and invaluable service, 15th September 2021, CTF1, Makerere University.

By Hasifa Kabejja

Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta has appreciated Makerere University for supporting and carrying forward the newly introduced programme aimed at advancing peace on the African Continent. Launched in January 2020, the Rotary Peace Centre at Makerere University runs a postgraduate diploma programme in Peace-building and Conflict Transformation. The hands-on program entails coursework that addresses topics including human rights, governance, and the role of the media in conflict. Other studies focus on refugees and migration, as well as resource and identity-based conflicts.

At a high level meeting held with the University leadership on 15th September 2021 at CTF1, President Shekhar Mehta said Rotary International was proud to be partnering with Makerere to promote peace on the African Continent. “The mere absence of war does not translate into total peace. Besides war, there are many other factors undermining peaceful co-existence. It is our duty to address these issues so as to create harmony in our communities. Through the Rotary Peace Centres across the globe, we are undertaking a number of initiatives aimed at promoting peace. Since 2002, the Rotary Peace Centres have trained more than 1,300 fellows who are working to advance peace in more than 115 countries. We are happy to work with Makerere University to foster peace and development on the African Continent,” he noted.   President Shekhar Mehta, who was on a three-day tour of Rotary projects in Uganda, was visiting Makerere for the first time since the University won the bid to host the International Rotary Peace Centre, the first of its kind on the African Continent.

President Shekhar Mehta, who was in company of past and current Governors of Districts 9213 and 9214, said peace was a necessary catalyst for the progress of humanity and general development of nation states across the globe. Elected for the 2021-22 term, President Shekhar Mehta, through his year theme Serve to Change Lives, asks Rotarians to participate in service projects where they can make a difference in their communities and the people who live in them. Since he joined Rotary in 1984 as a member of the Rotary Club of Calcutta-Mahanagar, West Bengal, India, President Shekhar Mehta has led many major service initiatives in India and South Asia, including among others, constructing 500 homes for Tsunami survivors at Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and starting the Shelter Kit programme in India which has served about 20 disasters and benefited about 75,000 disaster victims. 

Delivering her remarks, the Chairperson Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara appreciated Rotary International for entrusting Makerere University with the mandate to host the first rotary peace centre on the African Continent. “Choosing to house the Centre at Makerere University shows Rotary International’s trust and confidence in Makerere and her vision for building for the future. We are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of Rotary International’s agenda. We also sincerely appreciate Rotarians all over the world who have committed funds to support the Rotary Peace Centre at Makerere University,” she noted. Similarly, she appreciated The Rotary Foundation (TRF) of Canada for setting up an endowment fund for the Peace Centre. “This will go a long way in ensuring the sustainability of the Peace Centre at Makerere University. The fund will help in the Capstone week where Fellows will present their social initiatives. These initiatives will showcase how the Rotary Peace Centre contributes to positive peace initiatives all over the world.”

In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe informed the President that the decision to establish the first Rotary Peace Centre in Africa at Makerere University was welcomed with ‘excitement and gratefulness’. “We consider this to be a vote of confidence in our efforts in the peace and conflict resolution agenda. We extend our appreciation to Rotarians in Uganda and beyond for selflessly supporting this noble cause.” The Vice Chancellor appreciated the leadership of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Makerere, and the Director of the Centre, Dr Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala for their tireless efforts in ensuring the centre achieves the intended objective.

By the end of this year, the Centre will have hosted two cohorts of peace fellows. The first cohort was at Makerere University between February and May, 2021. Currently, these Peace fellows are carrying out their peace initiatives in their communities. The second cohort will report on September 27, 2021. In both cohorts, Peace Fellows were chosen from 20 countries and by the end of the year, the Centre will have had a total of 36 Fellows.

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Intentionality Key to Nurturing More Women Leaders

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The "Enhancing Women’s Participation and Visibility in Leadership and Decision-Making Organs of Public Universities in Uganda through Action Research" Phase One Study dissemination poster for the event held on 14th September 2021, CTF1, Makerere University and Online.

The Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD), Makerere University on 14th September 2021 presented findings from phase one of the study on Enhancing Women’s Participation and Visibility in Leadership and Decision-Making Organs of Public Universities in Uganda through Action Research. The study team led by the Director GMD and Principal Investigator (PI), Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine also consists of Assoc. Prof. Consolata Kabonesa, Dr. Anna Ninsiima, Ms. Frances Nyachwo, Ms. Susan Mbabazi and Mr. Eric Tumwesigye.  

The team is also made of coordinators from participating Universities such as Busitema University-Ms. Elizabeth Birabwa, Kabale University-Sr. Dr. Eva Tumusiime, Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST)-Dr. Specioza Twinamasiko, Muni University-Ms. Amandru Stella Wawa, and Gulu Univeristy-Sr. Rosalba Aciro.

Funded by the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF), the study was inspired by the fact that women are persistently few in numbers as staff, more so in leadership and decision-making organs of Ugandan Public Universities. “This is despite all the various efforts at national and international levels; the numbers are not growing as fast as needed to meet development goals of the country” explained Dr. Euzobia.

Based on this background, the study team therefore sought to conduct a situational analysis of the gender terrain of the six public universities to obtain baseline information encompassing the composition of governance and leadership organs and senior staff by sex, as well as a needs assessment and profiles of potential mentors and mentees.

Furthermore, the team sought to explore the capacity to conduct gender-responsive research as well as the role of male staff engagement in gender equity interventions within the universities as the drivers of development.

Dr. Mugisha-Baine shared that results of the baseline would then be used to design participatory training manuals or guides on gender and leadership. The manuals would cover; Institutionalized mentorship, How to conduct gender-responsive research, gender and equity budgeting, among others.

The Director GMD, Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine
The Director GMD, Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine

 “Within these manuals, we shall have a male staff engagement strategy in gender equity interventions in universities” she explained.

The development of the aforementioned materials would then be followed by their adoption and use to build capacity for women not only in leadership of participating and other public university but also beyond. “We shall periodically evaluate whether the capacity we have built has influenced women’s participation in leadership and decision-making organs of the university” supplemented the PI.

The capacity building trainings for women, it is envisaged, will lay the foundation for the formation of a functional Uganda University Women’s Think Tank, starting with the six participating universities. Dr. Mugisha Baine added that through this Think Tank, a monitoring and tracking system for gender representation in recruitment, promotion, retention/turnover and leadership of public universities shall be established and maintained.  

At the conclusion of phase one, the study team had drafted participatory training manuals in gender and leadership with content on; gender specific critical analysis of the leadership spectrum of public universities, positioning of individual women within the institutional framework and strategies for their advancement, gender equity advocacy in the university setting, institutional mentorship, building capacity in conducting gender-responsive research, among others.

“This content will be validated by the participating universities before the actual research training is conducted” added the PI.

On behalf of the research team, Dr. Mugisha Baine thanked the Government of Uganda for providing the resources that facilitated phase one of the study and prayed that the Mak-RIF Grants Management Committee (GMC) would support the next phase of capacity building.

Speaking on behalf of the Mak-RIF GMC Chairperson, Prof. William Bazeyo, Dr. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala thanked and congratulated the team led by the Director GMD upon the milestones registered in the critical research.

“We are very proud of that work that is being done by all researchers in Mak-RIF and we would like to most sincerely thank Management for all the support throughout this process” she remarked.

Dr. Nkabala encouraged the research team to continue disseminating and using the findings for the furtherance of gender mainstreaming, particularly through the aspect of male staff engagement in gender equity interventions.  

The Executive Director, NCHE, Prof. Mary Okwakol. Courtesy Photo.
The Executive Director, NCHE, Prof. Mary Okwakol. Courtesy Photo.

Prior to delivering the keynote address of the day, the Executive Director National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) Prof. Mary Okwakol thanked the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe for inviting her to the important forum, noting that women’s participation in decision making and governance is a priority area of the Uganda Gender Policy 2007.  

She commended Makerere University for being at the forefront of gender mainstreaming in Uganda, noting that this prominence was one of the reasons why the Gender in Education Policy 2007 provides for replicating the institution’s strategy in all other Higher Education Institutions.   

Prof. Okwakol whose keynote address was punctuated incisive personal examples reaffirmed the statistics that women are generally not visible in leadership of Universities. That notwithstanding, in instances where they rise to leadership and decision-making positions, they are regularly subject to roles traditionally deemed as women’s inconsiderate of their managerial seniority and experience.

She nevertheless rallied the women to play their respective roles in enhancing participation and visibility at a personal level. The following were some of the strategies she proposed; work hard to acquire academic credentials so as to compete favourably with men, acquire necessary administrative training and experience, network among women, join professional networks as well as do research and publish.  

On joining professional networks, she shared her personal experience as a young zoologist who joined UNESCO’s Tropical Biology and Fertility Programme. “Within a short time I was appointed Coordinator for Africa and after two years, I was elected as a Member of the International Board of Management. After serving for two years, I became Vice Chairperson of that Board and finally I became Chairperson of that International Board.”

At the institutional level, Prof. Okwakol appealed to the Chairperson Council and Vice Chancellor to proactively recruit women who meet the requirements for leadership positions even if it means actively seeking out the reluctant ones. In this regard, she shared that it would be useful for the university to develop a database of women and their qualifications to ease this process.

She shared that NCHE has in recognition of female underrepresentation at every level in Higher Education approved the establishment of a Gender and Equity Unit with the aim of promoting inclusive gender participation in the sub-sector.

“This unit has been placed under the Directorate of Quality Assurance and Accreditation which implies that as we look out for and regulate quality, gender will be a very important aspect of that regulation” she reassured.

Prof. Okwakol concluded by urging participants to read the; Third National Development Plan (NDPIII), Uganda Vision 2040, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) noting that there is no way all three can be achieved while women are left behind because they each make a case for inclusion of the female gender.  

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe follows proceedings during the dissemination.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe follows proceedings during the dissemination.

“What we are addressing here are historical injustices” said Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe as he commenced his remarks, “And in the case of Makerere University, it is well known that the institution started as a male-only institution and we all know the original motto was ‘Let us be men’” he added.

Citing examples from history such as; Marie Curie – one of the smartest physicists, Hatshepsut, Nefertiti and Cleopatra – prominent Pharaohs of Egypt, George Eliot, Rosa Luxemburg and Hypatia – all great philosophers as well as Chancellor Angela Merkel – first female Chancellor of Germany, the Vice Chancellor said there is no plausible argument that there are things women cannot do as well as their male counterparts.

He said it was against this knowledge and in a bid to correct historical injustices that Makerere University pioneered initiatives such as putting in place affirmative action for girls, establishing a Gender Mainstreaming Directorate as well as a School of Women and Gender Studies. The Vice Chancellor nevertheless stressed the need to go beyond pioneering to protecting these gains through legislation. “Historically we have seen that discrimination can only be addressed by laws and policies.”

Prof. Nawangwe thanked the Government for providing funds to support Mak-RIF as well as the Funds GMC and Secretariat for ensuring that these funds are put to good use. He equally thanked the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara for her not only her support but also sparing time to attend a good number of the research dissemination events.

A screenshot of the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara delivering the concluding remarks.
A screenshot of the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara delivering the concluding remarks.

Delivering the concluding remarks, Mrs. Magara acknowledged that the study was timely and relevant the contemporary University, as one of the critical drivers of the national and international development agenda. She therefore reechoed the Vice Chancellor’s thanks to the Government of Uganda for generously supporting the University’s research through Mak-RIF.

Turning to the keynote speaker she said, “I thank Prof. Okwakol for ardently discussing the critical issues affecting the female gender, the strategies to overcome the challenges, including sharing her inspiring personal experiences.”

Mrs. Magara equally thanked Prof. Okwakol for her very instructional analysis, providing mentorship guidance with the resultant impact of enhancing the female gender in decision-making positions. In the same breath she congratulated the PI and her team upon successfully concluding phase one of the project.

“Phase one has generated insights in understanding the status of women in leadership in public universities, the legal and policy framework and its implications on women’s visibility, the institutional mentoring systems and the gaps therein” she observed.

The Chairperson of Council acknowledged that the challenge of underrepresentation of women in leadership roles cannot be resolved at an individual level. She therefore advocated for broad based strategies that can address deep-seated structural and cultural biases facing women. “These include developing mentorship networks, enacting laws and policies that address the imbalances and providing training programmes to address the leadership gaps.”

She therefore pledged the University Council’s unwavering support to the Gender Mainstreaming Programme by ensuring an enabling policy environment that facilitates gender-responsive teaching, learning, research innovation and community service.   

The research dissemination was moderated by the Principal Public Relations Officer (PRO), Ms. Ritah Namisango and the Director Communications, Learning and Knowledge Management, ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) and PRO Mak-RIF, Ms. Harriet Adong.

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Section Editors & Associate Editors Wanted-CABI Agriculture & Biosciences Journal

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The CABI Agriculture and Biosciences Journal (CABI A&B) is still in search of both Associate Editors to join the CABI A&B Editorial Board, as well as a Regional Editor-in-Chief to lead for Africa in addition to serving as a Section Editor in the area of either Environmental and SOIL SCIENCE, AGROECOLOGY, OR AQUACULTURE AND FISHERIES. Ideally CABI wants Section Editors (SE) who are prominent members of their research communities, with high-level established positions at a research institution, with a strong, current record of international collaborations and publication, with an H-index of at least 25.  For Associate Editors (AE) we hope for researchers who have with established positions at a research institution (e.g., not post-docs or Ph.D. candidates), with a strong growing record of international collaborations and publication (e.g., around 8 publications in the past two years), and have an H-index of at least 15.

Very importantly, CABI hopes for SEs and AEs who are good communicators and are passionate about serving and building the journal to be an outlet for both large and small steps of sound science that will improve the lives and livelihoods of people worldwide.

Please see Downloads for the CABI EDITORIAL DIRECTORY

Interested applicants should email PHILIPPA J. BENSON, PH.D. MANAGING EDITOR | _CABI A&B | P.BENSON[at]CABI.ORG

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