The Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda Rt. Hon. Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda has emphasized the need to promote post-harvest handling and value addition to boost Uganda’s agri-business and nutritional sector.
This was at the official opening of the 2nd Joint National Agricultural Research Organisation and Makerere University (NARO-MAK) Scientific Conference and the 1st Feed for Future Innovation Lab Nutrition Annual Scientific Symposium on Monday, 12th November 2018. The event is set to run from 12th -15th November 2018 at the Speke Resort Munyonyo.
The Conference and Symposium brought together scientists, policy makers, private sector, innovators, technology developers, entrepreneurs and students to share recent advances in knowledge and technology in agriculture and related sectors Under the theme: “Research for Innovative Agri-Food Systems and Nutrition.”
“During the four days, we are expected to showcase our work and learn from the practical experiences of experts from the two great institutions especially in the field of science, technology and innovations for social economic transformation and national development,” said Dr. Imelda N. Kashaija, the Deputy Director General, In charge of Agricultural Technology Promotion; NARO. In a statement, Dr. Kashaija acknowledged the Chairperson of the Conference Organising Committee, Prof. Bernard Bashaasha-the Principal of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at Makerere University for providing excellent leadership.
The 2nd Joint NARO-MAK Scientific Conference and the 1st Feed for Future Innovation Lab Nutrition Annual Scientific Symposium was organised by National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) and Makerere University (MAK) in partnership with Tufts University.
In a speech read by the Cabinet Minister in Charge of General Duties in the Office of the Prime Minister Hon. Mary Karooro Okurut, the Prime Minister said that the agro-business products where value has been added not only enjoy a higher profit margin than basic commodities but also tend to exhibit long-term real-price stability on the market.
“Our sustained promotion of commercial agriculture will be a let-down to the farming community unless it goes hand in hand with the promotion of post-harvest handling and value addition. As His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni constantly states, unless we learn to add value to our produce, we are giving away the much-needed jobs of our young men and women,” he stated.
According to Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, value addition is the only answer to entrenching Uganda’s import-substitution drive and facilitating the attainment of middle-income status by retaining the much needed foreign currency spent on importation.
He therefore commended Makerere University for contributing to import substitution through the Food Technology and Business Incubation Centre (FTBIC). He equally commended National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) for scaling-up and scaling-out demonstrations of proven agricultural technologies to various districts of Uganda through its Research Institutes.
On science and knowledge economy as a critical point in sustainable livelihoods, Dr. Rugunda stressed the need to increase the utility of space science, earth observation and geospatial science and technology to detect the early warning signs of disaster to save lives and safeguard the environment for transformative benefits of society.
“Uganda has redirected its strategic position and has now created a full ministry of Science and Technology since July 2016 that will at policy level facilitate a heightened utility of geospatial technology for sustainability. Uganda also has plans to establish a National Remote Sensing Center. All these efforts are part of our strategic direction to transform Uganda into a middle-income country by the year 2021,” the Prime Minister mentioned.
The State Minister for Agriculture Hon. Christopher Kibazanga noted that adding value to coffee produce and branding the products can be the only way to save the slowly declining quantities of coffee products that are exported.
He cited the need to integrate ICTs into the Uganda’s agricultural sector. In reference to the conference concept that stated, “Africa’s potential to feed the world is enormous and is poised to drive the global agricultural revolution.” The Minister said that Uganda will not be able to match the trends of the global agricultural revolution unless the Agricultural sector continually integrates ICTs into all stages of value chains.
“Our colleagues in the Far East are already realizing the value of employing agricultural drones to spray their vast fields. Colleagues in Europe are utilizing satellite data to detect nutrient deficiency and therefore selectively apply fertilizer, while weather prediction applications are predicting the best times for farmers to plant their crops,” he said.
“ICTs are therefore helping to reduce labour costs, improve crop yields and mitigate climate change associated losses. In Africa, we therefore have the opportunity to leapfrog technology and learn from all our colleagues past experiments to apply the most effective ICTs to our Nation’s agriculture sector,” he added.
The Vice Chancellor of Makerere University Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe said that Africa’s potential to feed the world is enormous and is poised to drive the global agricultural revolution. He was however, concerned about the low productivity on the global market due to limited use of productivity-enhancing agricultural technologies and incomplete linkages in the food value chain particularly in the sub-Saharan Africa.
According to Prof. Nawangwe, with poor post-harvest management and health concerns, the question of food safety during post-production becomes pertinent, despite availability of ample quantities of food.
He also noted that Africa’s dire food situation is compounded by a fast growing population, youth unemployment, persistent gender biases, and the effects of a changing climate. In the face of climate change, increased use of agro-chemicals and a general rise in the risks associated with agriculture, institutions must progressively innovate in order to close the gaps in the agri-food system.
“Addressing the ever evolving agri-food systems challenges requires that multi-stakeholder platforms are utilized to channel novel research, technologies, and advocacy efforts to deal with old problems and emerging challenges. Policies and institutional innovations geared towards agricultural rural development and enhancing the efficiency of the agri-food value chain are urgently needed,” he noted.
The Director General of National Agricultural Research Organization Dr. Ambrose Agona said that the world is critically challenged now and in the future in ensuring food security, nutrition security and safety. This is exacerbated by the rapid population growth.
He encouraged the importance of reconciling the new technologies and concerns of the people when he said, “we need to take what is good about innovation and science in food production and put in the service of the society. Not for the profit of a few, but as a way to address the challenges that are ahead of us to feed more with the less, to reconcile increased production with environmental concerns.”
The first session of the 2nd Joint NARO-MAK Scientific Conference and the 1st Feed for Future Innovation Lab Nutrition Annual Scientific Symposium was chaired by Eng. Dr. Charles Wana-Etyem, the Chairperson of Makerere University Council. During the Opening Ceremony, Prof. Vincent Amanor-Boadu delivered a Keynote address on Agri-prenuership and Value Chains as Welfare Safety Nets for Improved Livelihoods in Africa. Discussed by Dr. Jackie Bonabana-Wabbi, the Keynote address stressed the need to profile African farmers as agribusiness people rather than dependants.
Other activities of the day included; Keynote addresses on the respective topics, plenary sessions and an exhibition.
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4th Call For Applications: MURBS Departmental Ambassadors
In February 2018, the Makerere University Retirement Benefits Scheme (MURBS) launched the Departmental Ambassadors Programme. MURBS hopes to use this Ambassadors Programme to engage more directly with its membership and enhance member education. MURBS further perceives this Programme as a means to mitigate succession planning risks.
MURBS Fund Value continues to grow, and as at 31st March 2021, it stood at Ushs 235.5bn as compared to Ushs 209.6bn as at 30th June 2020. Given this growth, there is increased need for prospective Trustees, who are well equipped with relevant knowledge and skills, and with practical exposure to the management and governance of MURBS.
- Must be employed by the University on permanent terms
- Must be an Active Member of the Scheme (currently contributing to the Scheme) and appear on the Official Register of the MURBS Active Membership as at 30th April 2021.
- Must be willing to commit time to trainings and other ambassadorial activities organised by the Scheme.
Mode of training for 4th Cohort of Ambassadors
Training for this (4th) Cohort of Ambassadors is envisaged to be conducted over the zoom online platform only, due to Covid-19 restrictions. The Scheme does not envisage any face-to-face interactions.
Tenure of Office & Termination or Withdrawal
There is no tenure of office for the Departmental Ambassador. As long as a member is willing to continue serving as an Ambassador, and the Ambassador continues to satisfy the eligibility criteria above, she or he will remain a MURBS Ambassador.
How to Apply
Interested members should complete the MURBS Departmental Ambassador Application Form 01-0218. The completed Form together with the requested attachments should be sent to info[at]murbs.mak.ac.ug and copy to wilber.naigambi[at]mak.ac.ug no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, 14th June 2021. We discourage hand delivery of applications.
MURBS shall acknowledge receipt of each application received within 12 hours and will respond to the applicants to confirm the status of their application in writing (by e-mail). Upon approval of the application, the name of the approved Ambassador together with the Department and School/Unit will be updated on the list of the MURBS Departmental Ambassadors in the Group 4 category and published on the MURBS website.
NOTE: There is no limit as to the number of ambassadors that MURBS can have in a department.
Please see Downloads for the detailed call and application form.
Chair Council Communication on Closure of Makerere University
7th June 2021
All Members of Staff
All Students and Stakeholders
RE: CLOSURE OF MAKERERE UNIVERSITY
Following the address to the Nation by H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of Uganda, on 6th June 2021, this is to inform you that the University will be closed with effect from today 7th June 2021 for 42days.
During the closure, the University shall observe a 30% physical presence of staff while other faculty and administrative staff shall continue to work online.
Management will inform staff and students on the implementation of teaching, learning, and research activities online. Construction activities shall continue as per the President’s directives and with strict adherence to the COVID-19 SOPs.
Lorna Magara (Mrs.)
Chairperson, Makerere University Council
RUFORUM: Transforming Higher Education Videos and Links
Video Series developed by Julieta Mazzola, EARTH University.
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- Different Forms of University Engagement with the Community. Video 2 of 3. https://youtu.be/73h2p8P0BLw
- Student learning through Community Engagement. Video 3 of 3. https://youtu.be/Ule3P1-tjC4
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