Makerere University Agricultural Engineering workshop at Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK) has been face lifted with funding from the Government of Uganda through the Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF).
The project titled, “Revamping and Commercialization of Agricultural Engineering Workshop at MUARIK”, is being spearheaded by Dr. Balimunsi Husein Kivumbi at a total cost of UGX 50million.
This project was supposed to start in November, 2019 but it kicked off in February 2020 then suffered a setback when the nation and the world was hit by COVID-19. Work resumed after the partial lifting of the lock down and the project has registered some milestones.
On 3rd February, 2021 representatives of the Mak-RIF Secretariat, Buganda Kingdom, District Agricultural Engineers and the private sector set out to the project site at MUARIK for the progress inspection tour in the first year.
The progress inspection tour was also aimed at getting suggestions from the technical persons on what they expected from this workshop to guide the process of budgeting for the second phase.
So far, the project has made structural and machine repairs, bought and fabricated some machines and tools. The project has also repaired and constructed a structure for making liquid organic bioferlizers from agricultural waste and opened up a demonstration field for the fertilizer application and irrigation technologies.
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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