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Mak Soybean Breeders Turn to Music as an Outreach Tool in Acholi & Lango sub-Regions

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•    Farmers  nickname Maksoy bean varieties “Somalia”
•    The song describes soybean as the “golden beans”
•    Song targets Luo speakers such as the Langi, Acholi, Alur and Kumam

Makerere University’s plant breeder Prof. Phinehas Tukamuhabwa and Associate Plant Breeder Mr. Tonny Obua have released the Soybean Production Guide in form of a song. The Soybean Production Guidebook was published by the duo from the Department of Agricultural Production, School of Agricultural Sciences, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) in 2015.

The song was produced by local musician Jesper Ewanyi in Lira also known by his stage name as Dealrafael JSP. It was released on 5th January 2019 during the participatory field day to evaluate the 35 Pan-African soybean varieties from six African countries under trial at the Ngetta Zonal Agricultural Research Development Institute (ZARDI) in Lira District.

Speaking during the function Associate Plant Breeder Mr. Tonny Obua said, as researchers they turned to music because it is easier for the locals to understand and share via social media, Bluetooth, radio and email unlike books and posters.

“We basically translated our Soybean Production Guide in Uganda into music for Acholi and Lango sub-regions targeting Luo speakers mainly the Langi, Acholi, Alur and Kumam.
This is because Northern Uganda is the leading producer of Maksoy bean varieties and has enormous untapped potential”, Obua said.

Maksoy varieties (1N-6N) have been nicknamed by farmers in Northern Uganda as “Somalia”. The Luo song describes the varieties as the “golden beans” in the chorus; describing soybean as a miracle crop and highlighting its importance, varieties and advantages.  It gives hope to farmers that they will become rich when they grow soybean, and advises them on the need to form farmer groups and adopt bulk selling, good agronomic and post-harvest handling practices as well as storage.

Associate Plant Breeder, Mr. Tonny Obua stoops to show farmers traits of one of the soybean varieties under trial at the Ngetta ZARDI in Lira District during the field day on 5th January 2019

Prof. Phinehas Tukamuhabwa has pioneered development of glyphosate tolerant soybeans in Africa, in containment, at Makerere University.  He has also spearheaded the development and release of soybean varieties (Nam2, Namsoy 3, Namsoy 4M, Maksoy 1N, Maksoy 2N, Maksoy 3N, Maksoy 4N, Maksoy 5N and Maksoy 6N) and the climbing bean varieties (Nabe 12C, Nabe 9C, Nabe 8C, Nabe 7C and Nabe 6C) all widely grown in Uganda and in the region at commercial level.

While addressing farmers, processors, seed companies, Local government officials and development partners at a similar field day held on 3rd January 2019 at Mubuku Irrigation scheme, Prof. Tukamuhabwa hailed youth and farmer groups in Northern Uganda for embracing the Maksoy varieties that have transformed many lives.

”Farmers in Northern Uganda call soybeans “Somalia’. They tell their youth that instead of going to Somalia or Arab countries to do odd jobs, plant soybean because they will become as rich as those who go abroad but they are safer.

The choice is in your hands because you have no reason why you should not grow soybean. The market is more than you can produce. So you have no excuse as to why you do not have money.” Prof. Tukamuhabwa stated.

Prof. Tukamuhabwa urged farmers to be proactive, produce quality seeds and sell in large quantities by working in groups, pledging that Makerere and other development partners were more than ready to work with the people of Kasese, Jinja and Lira to offer education and advice for the betterment of their lives.

The Gross Margin Analysis for soybean production with fertilizer and improved seed indicates that it’s a viable and profitable venture. The total Variation Cost is UGX480,000. The output per acre is 800 Kg; priced at UGX1,200 leading to total revenue of UGX960,000 with a Gross Margin of UGX480,000 per acre.

A participant in the field day takes time of to personally examine some of the traits of a soybean variety under trial at Ngetta ZARDI in Lira District, Northern Uganda

The demand for soybean seed and grain from seed companies is high. RECO; a company specializing in agro processing and agricultural development, for example has announced that it needs 120,000 tons of soybean grain for food processing. A kilogram of soybean grain costs between UGX800 and UGX2,200 while the seed goes for UGX4,000-6,000. This makes soybean one of the highly priced cereals in the country with ready market from local consumers, seed companies and food industries.

The Project Officer PASTTA Project Mr. Arnold Mbowa told participants that the mission of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) is to see small and medium holder farmers gain access to technology. He said the foundation core crops of prominence have been maize, beans and cassava but soybean has emerged as both a food and cash crop.

“We have turned our focus to uplift soybean because of its high potential. We have been to Kasese, Hoima and many other ecological zones but we have discovered that Lango and Acholi sub-regions are the leading producers of soybean in Uganda and there is still a lot of potential”, Mbowa noted.

Mbowa also observed that soybean, unlike other crops, has different uses as a source of income, human food and animal feed, and as a raw material for many industries.

“As farmers you are more important than any other personnel because you are the supporters of life. We would like to have a sustainable system and that’s why the PASTTA project under AATF is working with Makerere University, funded by USAID Feed the Future and Sygenta program to bring the seed technology to increase production and productivity.”

AATF works in six African Countries including Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, South Africa and Malawi where the 35 varieties under trial in Uganda originate.

Assistant Plant Breeder, Ms. Mercy Namara (Centre) tips a group of farmers on good field practices during the field day at the Ngetta ZARDI, Lira District, Northern Uganda

Assistant Plant Breeder Mercy Namara expressed the University’s commitment to develop new varieties and get them to the farmers.

She appreciated farmers, processors, seed companies, donors and Local governments for the different roles they play in the soybean value chain, adding that their participation in the field day would help researchers identify the best varieties for release so as to improve livelihoods.

“We would like to work together with you farmers as end users of the technologies to understand the specific traits that you are interested in as well as bridge the gap between researchers, farmers, processors, seed companies and other key players”.

Namara emphasized the need for farmers to practice good agricultural practices like weeding, early planting and proper spacing if they are to get good yields.

The Farm Manager, Ngetta Zonal Agricultural Research Development Institute, Mr. Apela Bushira described the field day as an important activity in the breeding program.

“It is from your vote that our breeders will select the best variety. So make sure your vote is representing the interests of people in the sub-region. The most important point is, when you start selecting take your time and wisely select a variety that will do well”, the manager advised.

Mr. Apela said their role as a ZARDI is to multiply the selected variety and release it to the farmers. He however advised farmers to form groups so as to benefit from such technologies and programs because the ZARDI cannot reach out to every individual farmer.

The song may be accessed on YouTube: https://youtu.be/jyu1XTQHkHI

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

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Government Sponsorship Admission Lists 2022/23 Verified by Districts

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Students hold a group discussion in the Arts Quadrangle, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda. Date taken: 13th April 2018.

The Office of the Academic Registrar Makerere University is pleased to announce that the following  candidates have been verified by their respective Districts for admission to the  programmes indicated against their names under the District Quota Scheme.

Follow the link below for the list:

Batch I

Students verified by Districts for the Programmes 2022/23 Academic Year

Batch II

Students verified by Districts for the Programmes 2022/23 Academic Year

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Student Registration for Semester I 2022/2023

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(a) First Years
Every new student admitted to a programme of study of Makerere University was issued a provisional admission letter with fees structure for payment of requisite fees. This enables privately sponsored first year students pay at least 60% tuition and all functional fees before issuance of original admission letters which should be collected from the respective Colleges/Schools.

For a candidate to qualify to be a bonafide student of the University, he/she MUST be
registered. Registration is a mandatory requirement of the University which must be
done within the specified time at the beginning of the semester. Failure to do so will
automatically lead to your place being forfeited to another candidate. Official
Registration/Verification of documents is on going using the Academic Information
Management System (ACMIS)
used by Makerere University.

Ensure that you complete all the required registration formalities within the prescribed
time as per the Fees Payment Policy and registration programmes provided by your
respective Colleges. The system cycle will be closed on 3Qth November, 2022.

Registration Requirements
For registration purposes all first year students MUST produce their Original documents
as indicated on their admission letters for validation and verification purposes. At the end
of the online registration exercise, new students will be required to submit 3 photocopies
of their academic documents which will be dully signed and stamped by their Registrars
for record purposes.

(b) Continuing Students
Continuing students also use the Academic Information Management System (ACMIS) for
registration for Academic Year 2022/2023. Continuing students should register online by
accessing the registration Menu in the Student Portal and selecting the first option labeled
“Self Registration” and click the REGISTRATION NOW option.

The Cycle for online registration for the Academic year 2022/2023, Semester One is open
for all continuing students. The system cycle will be closed on 30th November, 2023.

(c) Students who belong to the under listed categories are advised to contact their College/School Registrars before they can register.

(i) Retakes Cases
(ii) Stay Put Cases
(iii) Withdrawal cases
(iv) Audited Courses
(v) Extension Cases
N. B. Each student should pay National Council for Higher Education fee of 20,000/ = per year and UNSA Subscription of 2,000/= per year before registration.

(d) In case of any problem, consult your College/School Registrar. College Accountants are responsible for providing the financial status to all students and generating lists of paid up students to the Deans. They will also clear paid up students to be issued the examination permits before sitting University examinations for Semester One, 2022/2023 Academic year.

Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi
ACADEMIC REGISTRAR

Download the Communication from Academic Registrar here

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A Delegation from Netherlands Visits Makerere University

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On Monday 14th November 2022, a delegation from the Royal Kingdom of the Netherlands visited Makerere University to discuss capacity building, scholarships, research and approaches to developing the Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and Higher Education programme.

The visiting delegation consisted of Mr Siemen Tuinstra, Deputy Director, Department of Social Development; Mr Theodore Klouvasa, Coordination Policy Officer, Education & Youth Responsible for the development of the new TVET & Higher Education Programme; Ms Hilde de Bruijn – Senior Policy Officer and Ms Joy Acom-Okello, the Policy Officer Humanitarian Affairs and Migration at the Netherlands Embassy in Kampala.

Discussion with the Vice Chancellor

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe welcomed the visitors to Makerere University and briefed them about the history of the University that started as a technical college in 1922 with 14 students. In 1949, it became a University College affiliated to the University College of London, offering courses leading to the general degrees of its then mother institution. With the establishment of the University of East Africa in June 29, 1963, the special relationship with the University of London came to a close and degrees of the University of East Africa were instituted. On July 1, 1970, Makerere became an independent national university of the Republic of Uganda, offering undergraduate and postgraduate courses leading to its own awards. In 1990, there was liberalization of university education after the World Bank and IMF decided that there should be less spending on university education and introduced structural adjustment programmes. The Government pays a lump sum to the university to sponsor some students and the rest are private students.

The Coordination Policy Officer, Mr Theodore Klouvasa informed the Vice Chancellor about the new programme on TVET and Higher Education that their government was developing. The purpose of their visit was to consult other stakeholders in higher education such as universities, ministries of Education and Sports, Agriculture, Gender and Youth and technical institutions to learn more about the existing collaborations between them and see where the Netherlands government can assist in developing a beneficial programme. How exactly do universities relate with Vocational Institutes and what is the education system in Uganda ad how do donors communicate with the major actors in the education system? How do universities relate with the private sector? If government sponsors some students, how can the scholarships be more inclusive and target the marginalized? Research is very important for all universities. How can they bring more research in the university and what can they add on the PhD infrastructure? Makerere University is strategic partner with the Netherlands having trained many PhDs at Wageningen University, Maastricht University, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam; University of Groningen; Radboud University Nijmegen; Delft University of Technology.

Makerere University has many collaborations globally and has over the years increased partnerships with the government. The College of Health Sciences has done extensive research with the Military in the area of HIV/AIDS; with the Ministry of Water & Mineral Development in the area of water qualities and management; with UNRA with joint research and use of technologies for materials and road construction; with Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Industry and Fisheries in the area of cross boundary animal diseases; with Food processing industries with our School of Food Nutrition and Biotechnology; the Horticulture industries in controlling quality of products for export; the IT companies with our College of Computing and Information Sciences and also the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology. The University relates well with the Uganda Society of Architects and our architecture students are exposed to the new products on the market such as the new design of roofing tiles. The students share simple technologies learnt in class with the manufacturing companies which have helped in boosting production.

Uganda is affected by a high population growth and many graduates cannot find jobs. The education system needs to be geared towards problem solving techniques to be taught to learners/students at all levels. There is a need to change the mindset of the teachers/professors and the students as well. A mindset programme is to be introduced in the first year of studies for all programmes. Makerere University is also in the process of establishing an incubation hub where the good ideas of students can be developed to start a business. If you want to change the country, you engage the students to do more innovations and encourage production of their ideas.  He informed the delegation that during Covid-19, the government of Uganda provided funds to Makerere University, which were used to equip laboratories and do more research and produce a vaccine. The University also operationalized the online learning by use of technology to minimize the effects of the pandemic.  

The Vice Chancellor disclosed that there is an urgent need to re-tool the teachers in the Vocational institutes to upgrade their practical skills with the trends on the market. Therefore, the training and scholarship by Netherlands for vocational teachers to upgrade skills with latest technologies in universities would be appropriate.

Discussion with the College of Education and External Studies

The Deputy Principal, Dr. Ronald Bisaso received and welcomed the delegation. He represented the College Principal, Prof. Anthony Mugagga.  The Deputy Principal highlighted that regarding the education system in Uganda, some areas have changed and others improved.  He noted that many graduates lack the required skills for the job market. It would therefore be better if Makerere University also benefits from vocational studies and practice. Dr. Bisaso pointed out that the Department of Science, Technology and Vocation Education at the College of Education and External Studies offers a course on vocational studies and they expect to produce 1,500 graduates by 2025. The level of the vocational course offered is gauged by UBTEB (Uganda Business and Technical Examinations Board) that administers examinations and awards National Diplomas.  The investment in the education sector by government is quite minimal with just 11.5% (Higher education getting 6.4% and TVET getting 5.1%). Capacity of the sector needs to be enhanced through training. Professors must acquire entrepreneurial skills before they occupy leadership positions instead of doing so when they are already in the positions. At the College of Education and External Studies (CEES) with a population of 4,000 students, there only 30 doctoral students. CEES partners with the Ministry of Education and Sports through projects such as the Early childhood and development projects. Individual staff are seconded to projects to train and even share experiences.

The Deputy Principal called upon the Netherlands to support knowledge and capacity building of early career academics and partnering with the TVET ecosystem. This includes interventions, trainings and exchanges at various levels and cooperation with different stakeholders such as the government, the private sector, civil society and the Vocational institutes. He advocated for strengthening of existing vocational institutes, establishment of vocational institutes were they do not exist and development of research infrastructure and adoption of TVET across the education system.

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