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Agriculture & Environment

FoodLAND Project Kick-off Meeting

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With funding of 7 million Euros, Makerere University, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO), Volunteer Efforts for Development Concerns (VEDCO) and Nutreal Ltd along with other African and European partners will be undertaking research to boost the nutrition performance of local food systems in Africa.

The FoodLAND (Food and Local, Agricultural and Nutritional Diversity) project is celebrating its kick-off meeting online from 30 September to 2 October, 2020

Twenty-eight interdisciplinary partners will be coming together on the aforementioned dates for the kick-off meeting of the FoodLAND project. Due to the current COVID-19 global health situation, it will take place online. The FoodLAND project, funded to the tune of 7 million euros by the European Commission within the Horizon 2020 programme, and led by Alma Mater Studiorum – University of Bologna (Italy), is committed to developing a range of innovations for local agriculture and aquaculture development, as well as to nudging consumers towards healthier eating behaviour in six African countries: Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The overall project is aiming to strengthen agro-biodiversity and food diversity, along with diversity of healthy diets to combat the major forms of malnutrition in Africa.

The project will create a network of 14 local Food Hubs—paired with 14 separate cities in these countries—that will mobilise relevant actors in rural, urban and peri-urban communities and serve as injection points for testing and introducing the innovations. Indeed, the 28 partners that comprise the FoodLAND consortium (18 of them are African institutions while the other 10 are European) will work together to develop, implement and validate 12 technological innovations; which include organizational and technological innovations for both vegetable and fish farming and food processing systems, together with 17 novel local food products, ranging from fresh, dried and processed vegetables and fish to composite flours and therapeutic foods.

FoodLAND is adopting a bottom-up approach by basing the initiatives on producers’ and consumers’ motivations, needs and choices. The project will draw a comprehensive picture of the nutritional needs of urban and rural populations, understanding the socio-economic, production conditions, and individual factors that determine the decisions of smallholder producers and processors. Smallholder farmers and food operators will then receive assistance to foster nutrition-responsive and sustainable agro-biodiversity, while consumers will participate in a specific awareness raising and communication campaign. By bridging the gap between food production and consumption, the project will reinforce the productivity and resilience of food supply chains, and will create new market opportunities on both the local and global scales.

Uganda’s project team includes Prof. John Muyonga, Prof. Noble Banadda and Prof. Johnny Mugisha from CAES; Dr. Cassius Aruho, Dr. Puline Nakyewa, Dr. Margaret Masette, Dr. Getrude Atukunda and Dr. Justus Rutaisire from NARO; Mr. Henry Nsereko from VEDCO; and Prof. Dorothy Nakimbugwe from Nutreal.

Media Contacts

Email: info@foodland-africa.eu
Website: www.foodland-africa.eu | Follow #FoodLANDAfrica
@FoodLANDafricaon Twitter and Facebook | FoodLAND-Africa on LinkedIn
Further information on CORDIS: https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/862802

The FoodLAND consortium

Research partners:

  • Alma Mater Studiorum – Università Di Bologna (Coordinator), Italy
  • Agroscope, Switzerland
  • The James Hutton Institute, UK
  • Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
  • Ecole Nationale d’Agriculture de Meknes, Morocco
  • Institut Supérieur Agronomique de Chott-Mariem, Tunisia
  • Institut National Agronomique de Tunisie, Tunisia
  • Mekelle University, Ethiopia
  • University of Nairobi, Kenya
  • Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania
  • Makerere University, Uganda
  • National Agricultural Research Organisation, Uganda

Partners for agriculture/aquaculture promotion and sustainable development in Africa

  • Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency Tigrai, Ethiopia
  • Ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries, Kenya
  • Comitato Europeo per la Formazione e l’Agricoltura, Italy
  • Relief Society of Tigray, Ethiopia
  • Volunteer Efforts for Development Concerns, Uganda
  • Farm Concern International, Kenya
  • Helvetas Tanzania, Switzerland
  • Groupement d’Intérêt Economique ZoyoutDir Béni Mellal, Morocco
  • Groupement de développement agricole HrayerGloubthiran, Tunisia

Small and medium-sized companies in the food sector

  • Kitui Enterprise Promotion Company Limited, Kenya
  • Tamarillo Kenya Limited, Kenya
  • Katundu Traders Limited, Tanzania
  • Nutreal Limited, Uganda
  • AquaBioTech Limited, Malta

Industrial partner

  • NovamontS.p.A, Italy

Communication and IPR management partners

  • ElhuyarFundazioa, Spain
  • EURICE, Germany

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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