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Agriculture & Environment

EfD-Mak Masaka Policy Dialogue Discusses L. Victoria Rising Water Levels

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Masaka District Local Government officials including the Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Chief Administrative officer (CAO), Chairperson Local Council V (LCV), District Natural Resources’ , Forestry and Water  officers and  officials from the Environmental Police Protection  Unit on 24th September 2020 held a policy dialogue with environmental economist from Makerere University.

The dialogue organized by the Environment for Development Initiative Uganda (EfD-Mak Centre) was held at Hotel Brovad in Masaka and also attended by representatives from the Civil Society organizations and the Private sector.

The deliberations under the theme, “Lake Victoria’s Hydrology, Water Quality and Livelihoods”, focused on the status of the Environment and Natural Resources in the district more especially the rising water levels on Lake Victoria and the resultant impacts on the socio economic welfare on the people, challenges faced in the management of the natural resources and how to sustainably use the environment while realizing economic development.

The Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Ms.  Betty Tinka described the University initiative in the district as timely on grounds that the dialogue would provide an opportunity to share the district experiences in the management of natural resources and how to bridge the existing gaps.

“The environment especially the buffer zone has been destroyed. There is a problem of law enforcement. The population is very high, poverty levels are high and majority of our people depend on fishing with no other alternative livelihood options. People are not engaged in fish farming because of the lake”. The CAO stated.

The Town Clerk, Mr. George Behaingana said Lake Victoria buffer zone has been abused due to lack of an effective enforcement mechanism while the water has been polluted due to lack of the waste management plan for the fishing communities.

Mr. Behaingana thanked Makerere University for joining the efforts to bring the attention and importance of the lake to the major stakeholders and custodians of the environment in the district through the dialogue.

He implored university scientists to do more research on the issue and influence policy and emphasized the need for the university to be precise on the current and impending manifestation of environmental degradation and issues of enforcement.

In his opening remarks, Masaka LCV Chairman Mr. Jude Mbabali told participants that Masaka district lies on the shores of Lake Victoria and is endowed with expanses of swamps and other natural resources that provide both ecological and livelihoods functions.

Mr. Mbabali however decried the highest level of encroachment, destruction and acquisition of land titles in the swamps by the powerful rich claiming to be highly connected.

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Agriculture & Environment

Sasakawa Africa Association President Dr. Makoto Kitanaka visits Mak

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The President SAA-Dr. Makoto Kitanaka (3rd R) and the Principal CAES-Prof. Bernard Bashaasha (3rd L) with L-R: Prof. Nelson Turyahabwe, Prof. Johnny Mugisha, Dr. Roselline Nyamutale and an SAA official during the meeting at CAES, Makerere University on 4th June 2021.

By Jane Anyango

Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) President Dr. Makoto Kitanaka and several of his entourage from Tokyo, Japan on 4th June 2021  visited Makerere University’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES)  for a partnership meeting with the Department of Extension and Innovation Studies (DEIS). The meeting  was aimed at discussing modalities of enhancing the universities capacity  to engage with the community and also help women and youth to productively engage in Agriculture as a business.

The team also shared what SAA has in store for Makerere and their strategic direction. They emphasized the need to promote sustainable, resilient and regenerative agriculture looking at integrated soil fertility management, Nutrition sensitive agriculture promoting nutrient dense crops and skilling university and rural youth to engage in market-oriented agriculture and agribusiness.

The meeting held in the Conference Room, School of Agricultural Sciences was also graced by the Director SAA Regional Office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Dr. Mel Oluoch,  SAA Country Director Uganda Dr. Roselline Nyamutale and her team.

Also present was the representative of the Principal, Bukalasa Agricultural College. The university runs a program with Bukalasa to reach out to and certify farmers and agribusiness personnel. The outreach program gives farmers credentials recognizing what they are doing in terms of business and good farming practices.

The  team was received by the Principal CAES, Prof. Bernard Bashaasha, the Dean, School of Agricultural Sciences Prof. Johnny Mugisha and the Head DEIS, Prof. Nelson Turyahabwe. Also present were the Head Department of Agricultural Production (DAP), represented by Dr. Mildred Ochwo and DEIS staff led by Drs. Richard Miiro, Sarah Akello, Losira Nasirumbi, Boniface Orum, Prossy Isubikalu and Assoc. Prof. Paul Kibwika.   

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Agriculture & Environment

Mak GREAT & IRRI Train 30 Scientists from Asia on Gender Responsive Plant Breeding

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A screenshot of some of the GREAT-IRRI Course Participants and Trainers. Source: Padlet.com

By Jane Anyango

Makerere University’s Gender-responsive Researchers Equipped for Agricultural Transformation (GREAT) project in collaboration with International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has trained 30 plant breeders and social scientists from South Asia and South-East Asia on gender responsive rice breeding. The two weeks training was conducted via zoom from 17th-20th & 24th-27 May 2021

The purpose was to enhance the capacity of partners to develop gender responsive rice breeding strategies and products and understanding of gender responsive preference analysis to ensure the products address needs of men, women and the youth.

At the end of the training, participants virtually received certificates of participation from Makerere and Cornell University signed by the Vice Chancellor Makerere University Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe and the Director of International Programmes at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University Prof. Ronnie Coffman.

The training dubbed,  “GREAT-IRRI” adopted a  blended approach of  Self-study materials on Google classroom platform comprised of exercises, handouts and discussion activities, Online interaction among trainers and participants through forums and discussion boards and Live delivery/ Synchronous by Trainers through Zoom (3 hours a day).

The  course which  attracted   participants from the biophysical and social  Sciences (28 participants from South Asia and two  from South East  Asia) was  conducted  by  experts in gender and agriculture from Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), the School of Women and Gender Studies (SWGS), Cornell University and international experts.

The trainees  were drawn from various disciplines  including breeders, soil scientists. horticulturalists. plant pathologists, agronomist, seed system experts, agricultural economists, Social scientists , agricultural extensionists and project managers and evaluators among others.

Majority (50%) were from Nepal (15), Bangladesh (10) India (3) and  Philippines(2) representing different institutions including the International Rice Research Institute(CG) Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARs), Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture. Other institutions represented were Indira Gandhi Krishi Vishwavidyalaya, Ministry of Agriculture and Development Nepal and from the Prime Ministers Agriculture Modernization project, Nepal.

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Agriculture & Environment

Mak Launches Native Chicken Program & Incubator

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MUARIK Director-Dr. Okello Cyrus Ongom (6th R), Project leader-Dr. Donald Kugonza (6th L), Project Advisor-Prof. Maurice Agaba (5th L) with the research team and students after the launch of the native chicken incubator and pig AI semen lab on 26th May 2021 at MUARIK, CAES, Makerere University.

By Jane Anyango

Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) has launched a locally manufactured incubator with a capacity of 1000 eggs at the University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK ) for purposes of training, research and farmers capacity building.

The UGX 4.5 million incubator is made in Uganda by Butenga Farmers, a company based in Kiira. An imported incubator of the same capacity costs UGX 10 million. The incubator is to serve the university for teaching courses on poultry production, hatchery management and for people who want to conduct experiments.

The incubator was procured under the Native Chicken Project funded by the African Union (2019-2021). It is a collaboration between institutions from two countries Mozambique and Uganda with the project lead at Eduardo Mondlane University Mozambique.

At Makerere University, the project is spearheaded by Dr. Donald Rugira Kugonza from the Department of Agricultural Production, CAES.

The project objectives are to increase the number of eggs and meat produced by local chickens and to evaluate the effective models or processes of disseminating improved chicken technologies in Uganda and Mozambique.

One of the main challenges of producing native chicken is that a hen lays 10-15 eggs and takes a period of three weeks to incubate and hatch them. The hen takes an additional six weeks brooding the chicks, which translates into 10 weeks lost in terms of egg production. The same hen repeating the cycle three times a year implies that it has limited time laying eggs as it spends more time brooding.

The project researchers carried out surveys in 60 districts of Uganda, collected 2,000 eggs from 40 districts incubated, hatched and evaluated them for growth rate and egg production.

The project aims to breed native chicken that can produce 100 eggs per hen per year as opposed to the current production of 30-45 eggs. The project also aims to reduce the maturity period from the current six to three months.

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