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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Uganda’s policymakers implored to address forest loss, plastic & water pollution
The Vice Chancellor Professor Barnabas Nawangwe on Thursday 22nd September, 2022 participated in the opening of the EfD Annual meeting hosted by Makerere University at Speke Resort Munyonyo where he appealed to government to implement the ban on kaveera and address other environmental issues.
The opening ceremony moderated by the EfD Global Hub Manager Gunnar Köhlin and was graced by Uganda’s Minister for Water and Environment represented by the Commissioner for Water, Mr. Julius Mafumbo and the Swedish Ambassador to Uganda, H.E. Maria Håkansson.
Prof. Nawangwe urges Makerere University community to support the Mastercard Foundation E-learning Initiative
By Bernard Buteera
Makerere University has launched a two million dollar E-learning Project, dubbed The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program E-learning initiative.
The launch was held on Tuesday 20th September 2022 at Makerere University, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility Auditorium. It attracted over 200 participants, who included members of University Management, College Principals, School Deans, Academic and Administrative staff, students and the general university community.
While addressing the gathering, the Chief Guest, Prof. Mary Okwakol, the Executive Director of National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), congratulated Makerere University for winning such a huge grant, which will go a long way in transforming the eLearning infrastructure at Makerere University.
“I am happy to be joining you in launching a project that is at the heart of National Council for Higher Education. Online learning is at the heart of the Council, not only because of the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, but also the world is now a digital world.” Prof. Okwakol remarked.
Prof. Okwakol thanked Mastercard Foundation and other development partners who have continued to support initiatives that help transform higher institutions of learning in Uganda.
“I sincerely thank the Mastercard Foundation and other partners who have continued to support higher education in Uganda, especially in the area of research and online learning. Globally, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, greatly disrupted education systems forcing learners and some schools to shift to virtual learning to curb the spread of the pandemic.” Prof. Okwakol pointed out.
On his part, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe urged the university community, especially the academic staff to take advantage of the Mastercard Foundation E-learning initiative to develop e-content across all Colleges of the University, to enhance capacity for eLearning at Makerere University.
”I appeal to the Colleges to embrace this project and have as many courses adopt this pedagogy development system, even though students will continue with face-to face and phyisical learning, they should be allowed the option of online learning. The platforms that are going to be built, will give our students an opportunity to interact with international students, scholars, teachers and with each other.” Prof. Nawangwe applealed.
The Vice Chancellor, further called upon all other development partners to emulate Mastercard Foundation in supporting Makerere University and other universities on the entire African continent in strengthening digital literacy, so that Africa is not left behind.
”In 2018 I attended a conference on E-learning in Beijing China, where a critical question was asked; Will Africa be left behind again? This was in reference to many advancements that were taking place in the western world, in which Africa had been left behind.” The Vice Chancellor reminded the audience.
Prof. Nawangwe further emphaised the importance of e-learning as one of the critical modes of teaching and learning in the 21st first century.
”Ladies and Gentlemen, I cannot over emphasise the importance we attach to e-learning the 21st Century, that is why we took a decision to elevate the Department of Open and Distance Learning into an Institute of Open and Distance E-learning with an intention of having e-learning extended to other Colleges of the university.” Prof. Nawangwe pointed out.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs, and Chairperson of the Steering Committee of the E-learning Initiative, Prof. Umar Kakumba, rallied the University community to support the implementation of the project in the University.
“The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program E-learning initiative could not have come in at a better time than post COVID19 era. A pandemic, which exposed our systems and methods of teaching and learning. You all recall, when were hit by the pandemic, with lockdowns and closures of institutions of learning, we all went into a panicky mode on how were going to cope with online learning. I therefore call upon every member of the university to give this project the support it deserves.
Prof. Kakumba reminded the audience the importance and relevancy of online learning at Makerere University and other universities in Uganda.
“The online method of learning is best suited for everyone. This digital revolution has led to remarkable changes in how the content is accessed, consumed, discussed, and shared. Office goers and stay home mothers can take up online educational courses too, at the time that suits them. Depending on their availability and comfort, many people choose to learn at weekends or evenings.” Prof. Kakumba remarked.
Prof. Paul Birevu Muyinda, the Coordinator of the Mastercard Foundation E-learning Initiative, informed the audience the importance of the project and the expected outcomes for the University.
“The Mastercard Foundation e- Learning Initiative is a Project funded by Mastercard Foundation aimed at addressing the negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic that constrained access and continuity of teaching, learning, research and community engagement activities at Makerere University” Prof. Muyinda pointed out.
Prof. Muyinda further thanked the team that he worked with in putting up the proposal in a very short time that yielded such an important grant for the University.
“I thank the team that spent sleepless nights putting together the proposal that resulted into this project. I must report that Makerere University is privileged to be having the most highly qualified persons in online instruction design and online pedagogy at the IODeL and beyond. It is now up to Makerere University in particular and the Country in general to make use of these persons to transform the terrain of online, blended distance and e-learning education.” Prof. Muyinda remarked.
Prof. Justine Namaalwa, the Program Coordinator for Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University, informed the audience, that the E-learning initiative was one of the many partnerships between Mastercard Foundation and Makerere University geared at supporting the young people to succeed on the African continent.
“The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program continues to recognize that in order to enable young people across Africa to succeed, there is need to; Address systemic barriers in Higher education, Strengthen the capacity of Institutions that serve the Young People, and Support innovative solutions across critical sectors.” Prof. Namaalwa remarked.
The colourful launch ended with a panel discussion in which panelists digested the importance and opportunities for open distance and eLearning in higher institutions of learning.
Bernard Buteera is the Communications Officer of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University.
Supplementary Admissions to Bachelor of Laws Under Private Sponsorship 2022/23
The Academic Registrar, Makerere University, informs applicants wishing to be admitted to Bachelor of Laws Private for 2022/2023 Academic year but failed to submit their application online to submit their applications from Friday 23rd to Friday 30th September, 2022 at a non-refundable fee of 50,000/= (Fifty thousand shillings only).
The applicants MUST have passed the Pre-entry Examinations for Bachelor of Laws.
Diploma/Degree holders should submit certified copies of their academic transcript to Room
315 Level 3, Senate Building.
Applicants who have already been admitted need not apply.
For any additional information, contact Undergraduate Admissions Offices 301/303 for A’Level Applicants and Office 315 for Diploma/Degree holders.
ALFRED MASIKYE NAMOAH
AG. ACADEMIC REGISTRAR
Date: 22nd September, 2022
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