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New Policy brief on Preventing Nutrient Loss and Waste Launched at NARO-Mak Conference

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A policy brief on preventing nutrient loss and waste across the food system was on Tuesday, 13th November, 2018 launched by the State Minister for Northern Uganda who is also Member of Parliament representing  Zombo District Women Constituency Hon. Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny, during the NARO–Makerere University (Mak) Conference at the Speke Resort Munyonyo.

The policy brief was developed by the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food System for Nutrition – an independent group of influential experts with a commitment to tackling global challenges in food and nutrition security.

The new policy brief shows that reduction in food loss and waste; particularly in high nutrient foods, has the potential to yield substantial nutritional benefits, contributing to achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Launching the brief, Hon. Kwiyucwiny emphasized the need to address loss and waste of nutritious foods as a specific new priority for improving nutrition.

The Minister said globally, US$940 billion is lost annually, expressing the need for all stakeholders to do agriculture as a business and to understand the value in the diets they consume.

“We want to strengthen the coordination of all stakeholders. I am also interested in getting out of here with action points as very critical. All have the responsibility to do more than they have been doing before”.

Hon. Kwiyucwiny applauded the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition for considering Uganda as the best place to launch the policy.

She said 29 % of the children in Uganda are stunted due to poor nutrition despite the fact that the country grows all foods important for growth.

“In Uganda 30-40% of the food is lost after harvesting and the most affected are fruits and vegetables which are very critical for good health.

This is why it is a very important and critical moment to discuss nutrition and launch the policy brief today”, The Minister said.

State Minister for Northern Uganda and Zombo District Women MP Hon. Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny delivers her remarks on Day2 of the NARO-Mak Conference

She challenged all researchers, policy makers and implementers and all stakeholders in agriculture to influence and put more energy in the policy to promote nutrition.

Panel Member and Former AU Commissioner H.E. Rhoda Peace Tumusiime said diet related factors now account for six of the top nine contributors to the global burden of disease.

"Globally, approximately 1.3 billion metric tons, or one third of food available for human consumption never reaches the consumer’s plate or bowl.

In Uganda the examples of loss and waste in cooking bananas (Matooke) from a recent article accounts for 15% that suffer post-harvest deterioration. This percentage deteriorates partially and is sold at discounted prices. 7% deteriorate completely and have no commercial while 30% of edible portion of maize is lost.”

Technical Adviser to the Global Panel Prof. Patrick Webb from the School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, USA defined Food waste as the discarding of food appropriate for human consumption downstream in the value-chain, particularly at the retail and consumer levels, due to aesthetic quality, spoilage (actual or perceived) and consumer waste.

While Food loss refers to a decrease in quantity or quality (appearance, flavour, texture and nutritional value) of food intended for human consumption, e.g. inefficiencies in agricultural production, harvesting, post-harvest handling, transportation and storage of crops (notably pathogenic microorganisms) or during food transformation.

Prof. Webb said loss and waste fundamentally affect the availability and affordability of foods which make up healthy diets, and represent a major food system dysfunction that can no longer be tolerated.

“Every year about 1.3 metric tons of food produced for human consumption – one third of the total never reaches the consumers plate translating to US$940 billion, yet 3 billion people today have poor or inadequate diets.

In the USA the average family of four wastes roughly US$1,500 worth of food annually, while in the UK, the average household with children discards approximately £700 of food each year.

The highest economic losses occur for cereals in post-harvest handling and storage; fruit and vegetables in transformation and packaging; and meat, seafood and milk, at the distribution and retail level”, the Professor explained.

Prof. Webb, pointed out that nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, dairy products, meats and seafood are particularly susceptible to losses throughout the food system adding that globally, more than half of all the fruit and vegetables produced are lost and wasted, rising to more than 70% in the case of North Africa, West and Central Asia, and Latin America.

R-L: Former NPA Chairperson-Dr. Wilberforce Kisamba Mugerwa, Former AU Commissioner-H.E. Rhoda Peace Tumusiime and Technical Advisor to the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, Tufts University's Prof. Patrick Webb during the panel discussion on Day2 of the NARO-Mak Conference
 
He explained that of the 263 million metric tons of meat produced globally each year, between 20-30% is lost or wasted. This is equivalent to the loss of approximately 75 million cows at the point of slaughter. In low-income regions, Webb said meat losses can be explained by high levels of animal mortality, caused by diseases (e.g. pneumonia, digestive diseases and parasites) while in high-income regions, wastage of meat and meat products is most significant at the retail and consumer levels.

“There are many drivers of food loss and waste that cover every part of the food system.

These also link to the wider global drivers, e.g. sustainability and climate change. For example: Many nutritious foods (e.g. fruits and vegetables) are also more water and heat sensitive than staple grains or tubers, making them particularly vulnerable to threats posed by climate change.

Dire Dawa, Ethiopia in 2011-2012 found that post-harvest losses of 20% to 40% in fruits and vegetables could be attributed to pollution from local cement factories, poor storage facilities, lack of know-how, poor management and weak marketing processes.

Farmers were sometimes forced to sell their products at very low prices at the earliest opportunity after harvest, because of the absence of proper storage and marketing facilities, and seasonal surpluses.

In Ghana, 69% of produce destroyed by stray animals, 58% of the remaining produce lost during grading and packing, Late arrival of buyers, poor handling of produce, destruction by containers and over-packing are also major factors”,  he reported.

He said, loss and waste of nutritious foods needs to be an urgent new priority for improving diets and nutrition.

He explained that the combined threats of micronutrient deficient, under nutrition and obesogenic diets pose a serious  challenge to  policy makers not only in terms of the health, learning capacity and productivity of their citizens but also in relation to mounting healthcare costs associated with  poor diet quality.

Hon. Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny (4th R) flanked by Dr. Wilberforce Kisamba Mugerwa (4th L), H.E. Rhoda Peace Tumusiime (3rd L), Prof. Patrick Webb (L), Director Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition-Prof. Sandy Thomas (2nd L), Mak PI INSBIZ-Dr. Dorothy Nakimbugwe (3rd R), FAO's Ms. Beatrice Okello (2nd R) and the Session Chair-Mr. Baguma T. Richard (R) launches the Policy Brief on Preventing Nutrient Loss and Waste Across the Food System on Day2 of the NARO-Mak Conference, 13th November 2018, Speke Resort Munyonyo, Kampala Uganda

The Professor noted that loss and waste in nutritious foods would yield substantial benefits far beyond addressing hunger and malnutrition – to encompass economies and natural environment. The gains made he said, would contribute to the efficiencies needed to address climate change.

Prof. Webb however noted that a wide range of evidence-based policy options are available at every level in the food system matched by a number of Technology innovations including Promethean Power Systems , ColdHubs – created as a 'plug and play' modular, solar-powered walk-in cold room for 24/7 off-grid storage and preservation of perishable foods in low-and-middle-income countries like Nigeria; Multi-flash – an innovative drying technology that has been developed in Brazil to obtain high-quality dried fruit and vegetables, reducing process time and operational costs; Solar drying technologies for drying fruits, vegetables, spices and fish; and Nanotechnology packaging and others.

A key aim of this policy brief according to Prof. Webb is to provide advice to policy makers on how to proceed. The brief analyses the levels of loss and waste in nutritious foods in different regions of the world and where those losses occur throughout food value chains.

It also presents important new analysis which looks into the future to identify supply gaps that could develop in key nutrients unless action is taken. The same analysis is extended to quantify the benefits that could result if policymakers were to act to substantially reduce losses and waste.

The brief also examines many ways in which food loss and waste occur across the food system-from agricultural production to processing and packaging, storage, transportation, retail, and through to people’s own kitchens.

Drawing on the evidence, the brief concludes by setting out six key priorities for action to reduce loss and waste. It also provides diverse example of existing initiatives and potential innovations to guide action in both the public and private sectors.

The key priority areas for action outlined in the new policy brief are:

1.    Educating all food systems stakeholders to prioritize the reduction of food loss and waste;
2.    Taking practical steps for nutrient retention within the food system;
3.    Improving public and private infrastructure for well- functioning and efficient food system;
4.    Encouraging innovative solutions to protect nutrients;
5.    Closing the data gap (improving data collection and analysis) and ;
6.    Closing the knowledge gap (on losses and waste).

This will contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly to SDG 2 which focuses on resolving hunger and malnutrition, as well as SDG 12 which specifically calls for a halving of food waste across the globe by 2030.

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

Follow #NAROMAK18 on Social Media for Live Updates

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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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