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.
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. 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 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.
“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.
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;
Principal Communication Officer CAES
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The 19th RUFORUM AGM in Yaoundé calls for consolidated efforts towards transforming higher agricultural & tertiary education to contribute to sustainable development & food security in Africa
The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), a consortium of 163 universities in 40 African countries held its 19th Annual General Meeting at the Palais De Congres in Yaoundé, Cameroon from 28th October to 2nd November 2023. The first of its kind in West and Central Africa, the RUFORUM AGM 2023 provided an opportunity for over 600 delegates from Africa and beyond including; Ministers, Development Partners, University leaders, students, private sector leaders; farmers and farmer representatives; emerging and early career researchers as well as other key stakeholders in agriculture and higher education to share experiences and chart a way forward for transforming higher agricultural and tertiary education to contribute to sustainable development in Africa under the theme: Transforming Higher Education to Sustainably Feed and Create Prosperity for Africa.
Officially opened by His Excellency Paul Biya, President of the Republic of Cameroon, represented by Professor Jacques Fame Ndongo, Cameroon’s Minister of State, Minister of Higher Education, the 19th RUFORUM Annual General Meeting in Yaoundé provided a platform for participants to deliberate on key strategies for transforming higher agricultural and tertiary education to contribute to national, continental and global development as well as building consensus among key stakeholders in agriculture and higher education on the actions required to strengthen the role and/or integration of universities in agricultural and national development processes in line with the aspirations of the African Union Agenda 2063 ‘The Africa We Want’.
In a speech presented by Professor Jacques Fame Ndongo at the official opening ceremony, His Excellency Paul Biya, President of the Republic of Cameroon stressed RUFORUM’s significant efforts to support the African Union Agenda 2063 when he said, “RUFORUM’s vision 2030, makes the body a significant contributor to transformation of Africa and vehemently seeks to harness the discovery, engagements and learning of vibrant transformative universities to catalyze sustainable, inclusive agricultural development to feed and create prosperity for Africa.”
According to him, it is worth indicating that agriculture in Africa should be understood in its broadest sense to include but not limited to animal and crop production, livestock, wild life, fisheries and forestry. Hence RUFORUM’s mission since its inception in 2004, of strengthening the capacities of universities to foster innovation responsive to demands of small holder farmers through the training of higher quality researchers, the output of impact-oriented research and maintenance of collaborative working relations among researchers, farmers, national agricultural research institutions, the Private sector and government is worthy prioritizing.
He called upon participants to use the meeting forum to change the face and image of the African continent through constructive and fruitful deliberations on agricultural production, food safety research and better health food security. To him the RUFORUM AGM is a bigger opportunity to think and act, make proposals, formulate recommendations and necessary resolutions which if acted on can change the face of the African continent.
“This is the turning point for the African continent to think big and have the courage to dream big. This is our opportunity to make a difference in our world. This is the opportunity Africa needed to change the target of its demand of action. We have to mutualize and federate our actions and voices in the interest of a united, strong and prosperous Africa,” he said.
The 19th RUFORUM Annual General Meeting carried a unique vibrant turn as being the first to be held in West and Central Africa. The weeklong event broke the record as the most and well attended ever with over 600 participants across the region as well as international delegates. The colorful event was embroiled with informative, constructive, edutainment activities in form of pre-AGM events, side events, Business Meetings, capacity building and mentoring sessions, scientific conferences, poster sessions and exhibitions well aligned to key thematic areas as well as the AGM theme: Transforming Higher Education to Sustainably Feed and Create Prosperity for Africa.
Additionally, high-level policy dialogues with Ministers, Senior Government Leaders and Development Partners were held to review the finance and other resource mobilization strategies as well as following up on the actualization of the available national, regional and global policies geared towards higher education transformation and ensuring of food security in Africa.
Speaking at the Opening Ceremony, Prof. Theresia Nkuo-Akenji, the RUFORUM Board Chair and Vice Chancellor University of Bamenda thanked His Excellence Paul Biya and the Government of Cameroon for accepting to host the 19th RUFORUM Annual General Meeting and equally appreciated the financial support towards the same cause.
In a special way, Prof. Theresia Nkuo-Akenji thanked the Ministry of State for Higher education and all the sister ministries of Government of Cameroon that worked hard to see to it that the 19th RUFORUM AGM is a success. Equally, the Board Chair, extended her sincere gratitude to the people of Cameroon for the warm reception and support.
“My special tribute goes to the members of AGM 2023 Sub committees. You have indeed done a great job throughout the ten months of organizing this significant event. On behalf of RUFORUM Network, I thank you. To the RUFORUM Secretariat under the dynamic leadership of Prof. Patrick Okwori, accept our immense gratitude for your strong determination and dedication,” she gratefully said.
She recognized the tremendous achievements and developments aligned to RUFORUM’s nineteen years (19) of existence noting that the strong network has wisely selected its priority areas of focus to transform higher education and agricultural sector in Africa as;
- Reform the training agenda for Africa to meet the development needs
- Entrepreneurship and business incubation for wealth creation
- Research for Development and wealth creation
- Partnerships for scale and impact
“As African people, permit me to use the adage of a broom; it is easy to break a single broom piece but when you combine several small brooms together they then make a broom stack that will not be easy to break. The collective power that RUFORUM has put together through 163 universities from across 40 countries bears such strength. The Vice Chancellors gathered here today remain committed to the core values and foundations of the network. To illustrate this Your Excellency, each of the Vice Chancellors meet their own costs of participation.” She happy said.
In the same spirit the RUFORUM Executive Secretary Prof. Patrick Okori deeply thanked the host Universities that is, University of Bamenda, University of Ngaoundere, University of Dschang, University of Buea and University of Maroua under the strong and able leadership of the RUFORUM Board Chair, Prof. Theresia Nkuo-Akenji for successfully hosting the 19th RUFORUM Annual General Meeting.
He also recognized the Former Vice Chancellor of University of Ngaoundere Prof. Florence Uphie Chinje Melo who heavily supported the AGM preparations. He was astonished with the presence of the Africa Development Bank, MasterCard Foundation, research international communities, RUFORUM for Agricultural Research in Africa, the Africa Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services, sub regional Agricultural organizations such as the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), the Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA) and the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF).
“You have all provided support for this engagement, thank you very much. Together we will continue this journey of transforming Africa’s Agricultural and higher education to produce human resources and development solutions that Africa and indeed the world needs,” he said.
Reflecting on the AGM’s theme, Prof. Okori emphasized the need for Africa to become food secure when he said, “Africa must be an equal opportunity creator for the young generation, it must create wealth for its people and provide opportunities for the present and future and these are well summarized in agenda 2063. It is our collective duty therefore to turn these opportunities and actions into investment.”
According to him, the RUFORUM Network remains strong in building capacity and providing the necessary development solutions and opportunities. He noted that Africa generates about 10-12 million job entrants annually but the continent’s economy in its current configuration can only produce 3 million jobs. To him, for Africa to therefore reap from its demographic dividends, there is need to strengthen the paths to demographic transition of keeping young girls in school.
Prof. Okori also mentioned that RUFORUM is currently intensifying its inclusion and diversity targets. From 45%, the network has an ambitious target of at least 70%. “We must slow the rate at which girls give birth when young. It is the only way we are going to benefit from our population dividend,” he said.
According to him, the higher degree needs for Africa is pretty dire. The World Bank recommends 10,000 PhDs to Africa. This can be compared to India whose signal population of 1. 4 billion registers 24000 PhDs a year. The pressure therefore on Africa’s side to intensify graduate training is real.
“Our graduate training in sciences therefore is one of the drivers to achieve this and it is the immense reason as to why in this meeting we have social and development partners. We are launching a journey with the Africa Development Bank that will bring us together as apex organizations in Africa to work together and solve our own challenges. However, as we do all these, we need to celebrate Africa. We should be recognizing and celebrating people who made what Africa is today,” he said.
Africa is informed by a number of important mutually interacting factors that collectively, are affecting the growth and progress of the continent. The economic outlook of the African continent in 2023 by the African Development Bank and other global apex development financial institutions was positive. However, Africa’s economic growth has since then decelerated, and is now projected to be lower than the previously projected rate of 4.1%.
Agriculture a key sector, continues to be affected by both natural and human induced factors. It continues to face serious threats from climate. Studies by the United Nation’s Convention to Combat Desertification show that Africa accounts for 44% of severe droughts recorded globally in the last 50 years, causing economic losses of more than USD 70 billion. In 2022, an estimated loss of US$ 8.5 billion in economic damages was experienced due to climate change. Clearly, climate change and weather variability, remains one of the grand challenges of the 21st century for Africa and the World, because it affects key livelihood and strategic areas of emerging economies.
Unemployment facing Africa’s dominant demographic-the youth, raises questions about education, skilling and jobs creation while inclusion and diversity, the underpinning for an equal society, remains challenging. The question then to academia, researchers, development practitioners and policymakers is, “what step must we take right now to address the challenges to our current and future generations?”
“Our resounding response as RUFORUM is in line with what Malcolm X said many years ago, “Education and research for development are the passports to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today,” said Prof. Partick Okori.
According to the Deputy Minister for Education in Malawi, Her Excellence Mdooko Nancy Chawola who represented the visiting ministers of RUFORUM partner countries, African countries should put in place vibrant resource mobilization mechanisms to collectively finance Africa’s education and support governments that are battling with competitive budgetary demands.
“For the universities to offer solutions for the challenges the continent is facing, there is need to rebuild the curriculum that responds to our current needs and not what we needed yesterday. Our respective countries are grappling with higher levels of unemployment, can investors assist by producing graduates with entrepreneurial skills so that they are able to employ themselves and others. Of course there will be need to put in place support mechanism for such graduates to take over,” she said.
She equally acknowledged the national regulatory frameworks such as the Malawi Regulation Framework 2063 developed inline with the African Union Agenda 2063 the Africa we want, in which the continent aspires to be prosperous by 2063 through various means such as modernizing agricultural for increased production and productivity there by making people food secure.
She applauded RUFORUM’s efforts towards zero hunger in Africa through its vision 2030. According to Mdooko Nancy Chawola, food security is supposed be prerogative as well highlighted in the Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG 2) that is geared towards ending hunger, attaining food security, improving nutrition and promoting sustainable development.
In Cameroon, Agriculture and Education have been prioritized as drivers for economic growth and transformation. Through an agricultural flagship program initiated by His Excellence Paul Biya, science programmes and financial services as well as favorable ways of accessing market have been introduced in the country with the aim of transforming agricultural sector into a value added industrialized and integrated system engine of economic growth.
According to Prof. Ngomo Horace Manga- Vice Chancellor, University Buea, the government of Cameroon has resolved to grant its people with education that can help them manage their personal, national and Africa’s present and future economic destiny. In 2022, His excellence Paul Biya endorsed the recruitment process of 2000 lecturers in universities to ensure the quality of higher education in Cameroon.
“Collectively these education reforms and investment actions affordably can transform the people of Cameroon into a strong emerging market. Cameroon carries the highest science female adoptive rate in sub-Saharan Africa at 73%. This is a strong result of government delivery of United Nations SDG 5 of achieving education and build human capital for the country,” he noted.
The Opening Ceremony for the 19th RUFORUM Annual General Meeting unlocked the floor for critical discussions and meetings throughout the week. At the same function, RUFORUM presented a contemporary painting to His Excellence Paul Biya, President of the United Republic of Cameroon in recognition of his outstanding, selfless and patriotic services s to the people of Cameroon and Africa at large.
On 25th October 2023, the RUFORUM Network equally participated in the Cameroon Higher Education Day, the first of its kind in the country.
2nd Issue of Mak-Research & Innovations Fund Bulletin
Welcome to the 2nd Issue of the Mak-RIF Bulletin. Makerere University has continued to receive funding from the Government of the Republic of Uganda, earmarked to support faculty members to conduct high impact Research and Innovations that contribute to national development.
In this issue of our Bulletin, we share about how the Mak- RIF Research Agenda and themes highlighted there in are guiding and contributing to our operations, awards made in the past financial years, a highlight of the research achievements, impact to-date, and a flash back to some of the fund activities among others.
Dates for 74th Graduation Ceremony
The Academic Registrar wishes to inform the public that the 74th Graduation ceremony will be held from Monday 22nd to Friday 26th January 2024.
DATES FOR THE DIFFERENT COLLEGES/SCHOOLS
DATE: MONDAY, 22nd JANUARY, 2024
- College of Natural Sciences (CONAS)
- College of Health Sciences (CHS)
- School of Law (SOL)
DATE: TUESDAY, 23rd JANUARY, 2024
- College of Education and External Studies (CEES)
- College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES)
DATE: WEDNESDAY, 24th JANUARY, 2024
- College of Business and Management Sciences (COBAMS)
- College of Computing and Information Sciences (COCIS)
- College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Bio-Security (COVAB)
DATE: THURSDAY, 25th JANUARY, 2024
- Makerere University Business School (MUBS)
DATE: FRIDAY, 26th JANUARY, 2024
- College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT)
- College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS)
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