The Inaugural International Conference on Geographical Science for Resilient Communities, Ecosystems and Livelihoods under Global Environmental Change (GORILLA) has been opened at Makerere University. This conference had earlier been planned for May, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The two-day GORILLA conference targets sharing knowledge and research on emerging science, technology, tools and innovations around resilient communities, ecosystems and livelihoods.
The conference brought together distinguished scholars, students from a range of geographically aligned disciplines and Community of Practice as well as policy and decision makers from across the World. 200 people from 43 countries worldwide submitted the abstracts organized around the topics which generally inform the global resilience and sustainability agenda.
The conference was officially opened by the Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe on 4th December, 2020 at Protea Hotel in Kampala. The function was also joined by the President International Geographical Union (IGU)- Prof. Michael Meadows and the Executive Director the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) Dr. Tom Okurut. It was graced by the Principal College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) Prof. Bernard Bashaasha and his Deputy Assoc. Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga and, the Dean, School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences, Assoc. Professor Fred Babweteera.
The conference was organised by the International Geographical Union (IGU), International Association of Landscape Ecology (IALE), IGU Commision on African Studies, IGU Commission on Bio geography and Biodiversity, IGU Commission on Geography of Future Earth and the Uganda Geographical Association (UGA).
It was sponsored by the Government of Uganda, Makerere University, the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), Africa IALE, Brac, ARUA Water for communities, the Embassy of Sweden and the UK Research and Innovation among others.
While officially opening the conference, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe welcomed participants to Makerere noting that this was the first international conference organized at the University after the outbreak of COVID-19. He congratulated the organizers upon being resilient and bold in organizing the conference. He also thanked the international delegates for being enthusiastic enough to come for this conference.
Sasakawa Africa Association President Dr. Makoto Kitanaka visits Mak
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.
Mak GREAT & IRRI Train 30 Scientists from Asia on Gender Responsive Plant Breeding
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.
Mak Launches Native Chicken Program & Incubator
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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