Drylands Transform – Pathways and challenges toward a socio-ecological transformation of landscapes, livestock and livelihoods in the East African drylands, is a multidisciplinary research project (2020 – 2024) led by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). The geographical focus of Drylands Transform is the cross-boundary area between Kenya and Uganda, part of the Karamoja cluster. The project is funded by the Swedish research council FORMAS and involves scholars from seven different universities and organizations in Sweden and the East African region. Dryland Transform is part of the Triple L research initiative.
The project aims to investigate the links between land health, livestock-based livelihoods, human well-being, and land management and governance. We will contribute with new knowledge for transformative change and sustainable development of rangelands in the drylands of East Africa.
Through strong stakeholder engagement in interdisciplinary research, we set out to explore the challenges and pathways towards a social-ecological transformation in drylands that optimizes synergies among the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while minimizing the trade-offs. We will use innovative field research approaches focusing on livelihood improvement through rangeland restoration and governance interventions in four sites in the border region between Kenya and Uganda.
The entry point of Drylands Transform is the urgent need to identify and enhance synergies between food and nutrition security (SDG2), land and ecosystem health (SDG15) and governance and justice (SDG16) for sustainable dryland development, while minimizing trade-offs between agricultural productivity (SDG2), natural resources management (SDG15) and climate change (SDG13).
In Drylands Transform we will:
- Assess land health at the landscape scale and explore the links with human health and well-being.
- Co-develop sustainable rangeland management options with local communities, and set-up knowledge sharing hubs (‘livestock cafés’).
- Study impacts of seasonality and climate variability on food and livelihood strategies, well-being and resilience.
- Identify innovative land governance mechanisms and practices that effectively address livestock-keepers’ dependence on both flexible and secure rights to land.
- Co-design and evaluate alternative scenarios for sustainable dryland transformation in East Africa with local and regional stakeholder groups.
Description of the doctoral fellow position
Within the overall aim of the project to contribute to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in the East African drylands, the PhD research fellow isexpected to conduct research with a specific focus on Objective3–Study impacts of seasonality and climate variability on food and livelihood strategies, well-being and resilience. Under a “sandwich” degree arrangement, the PhD research fellow will be enrolled atMakerere University,Uganda, in the Department of Agribusiness and Natural Resource Economics, and will spend three months each year at Umeå University, Sweden. The PhD fellow will be jointly supervised by researchers fromthe Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Makerere University, Uganda, Umeå University and Linnaeus University, Sweden.
The selected PhD research fellow will study the topic:
Climate variability impact on diet diversity, hidden hunger, food security and stunting among children, including the effects of change in women labour time allocation due to climate variability on child nutrition and health. This topic will also include infant and young child feeding practices,as well as child and maternal health.
Responsibilities of the doctoral research fellow
In close multidisciplinary collaboration with other scholars within the Drylands Transform program, the doctoral fellow will:
- Contribute to the theoretical/conceptual framing of the subject area (as stated above)
- Assemble and review peer-reviewed and grey literature for adequate analysis of subject area
- Participate in design and implementation of qualitative and quantitative research at the four sites in Uganda and Kenya
- Author a thesis and joint publications.
The project includes funds for 36 months and covers travel costs and subsistence allowance, insurance while in Sweden, tuition, fieldwork as well as participation in project meetings, regional workshops and international academic conferences, and a monthly stipend.
Core eligibility criteria
The suitable candidate will fulfill majority of the following qualifications:
- Master’s degree in any of the following fields: Applied Human Nutrition or related fields; Public Health/Health Sciences or related fields, Agricultural Economics or related fields; Rangeland Management or related fields
- Master’s degree should not be older than 5years
- National of Uganda
- Prior experience of conducting qualitative and/or quantitative empirical research, preferably in the drylands
- At least one publication in peer-reviewed journals.
Other favorable skills and experience
- Use of basic MSOffice tools
- Data analytical skills using common programs (Excel, Stata, R, etc)
- Experience in qualitative data collection and analysis
- Language proficiency (English)
- Ability to work in an interdisciplinary and multiculturalteam
- Experience with project work and working with partners is ofadvantage.
How to apply:
Interested applicants should send applications to Dr. Alice Turinawe (alice.turinawe[at]mak.ac.ug) and copy to Dr. Kristina Lindvall(kristina.lindvall[at]umu.se) by end of day, August 30, 2021.
Applicants are required to submit the following documents:
- Motivation letter
- Current Curriculum Vitae, including at least two academic referees
- Copies (PDF format) of academic certificates and transcripts of degree and courses taken
- A short summary of master thesis (max. 3pages)
Dr. Robert Fungo Elected President, Federation of African Nutrition Societies (FANUS)
Dr. Robert Fungo was in November 2023 elected President of the Federation of African Nutrition Societies (FANUS).
Dr. Fungo is a Lecturer at the Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio-Engineering, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University. His Teaching, Research and Community Outreach is in the Field of Applied Human Nutrition, Food Science and Food Technology. As a Nutritionist and Food Technologist, he is interested in understanding the influence of agriculture and food systems on the nutrition and food security of women and children in low and middle-income African countries (LMIACs).
The Federation of African Nutrition Societies (FANUS) is a conglomeration of nutrition societies of the African nation with the vision to market and sustain nutrition security and national altogether country of Africa. The vision of the Federation is to enhance the visibility, relevance and functionality of FANUS and national nutrition societies, con-jointly to strengthen the functioning and property of national nutrition societies to realize goals, unite and influence nutrition in Africa.
Details about Dr. Robert Fungo please click on the link below:
Call for Papers – Makerere University Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (MUJAES)
The Editorial Board, Makerere University Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (MUJAES), College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) is receiving manuscripts for consideration for Volume 13, Issue 1 2024 that will come out in June 2024 and Issue 2 slated for December 2024. Manuscripts should be sent to email@example.com. For details on MUJAES and guidelines for submission of manuscripts, visit: https://mujaes.mak.ac.ug/. Manuscripts to be considered for publication in MUJAES should be based on original research findings.
For any inquiries, contact; Dr Jeninah Karungi-Tumutegyereize, Editor, MUJAES. Email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
New CAES Project Targets to close the Nutrition Gap of Cross-bred Dairy Cattle in Uganda
Status of Uganda’s Dairy Production
Dairy farming is a major activity in the southwestern, central, and northeastern parts of the country, with the sector contributing significantly to the economic, nutritional, and employment opportunities of the rural communities in those areas. The dairy industry contributes 9% to Agriculture GDP and about 4% of the total GDP. Dairy farming is a priority agricultural sector under NDP III (2020/2021 to 2024/2025), and a key driver of the agro-industrialisation agenda, Parish Development Model, and Uganda Vision 2040. According to expert reports, the dairy sector currently brings in the second-highest export earnings after coffee in the agricultural sector and is gradually paving its way to the number one position. The sector is currently valued at US$3.8 billion according to statistics. Production of milk increased from sh2.51b litres to approximately sh3.85b litres between 2018 and 2022, an average annual growth rate of 11%, which is among the highest of any sector in the Ugandan economy. However, the sector is undermined by a number of challenges including livestock diseases, low uptake of high grade exotic cattle, a high rate of failure for artificial insemination, limited access to extension services, and limited investments in feed resources. A report by the Economic Policy Research Centre, based on investigations into livestock production practices and milk productivity, reveals that Uganda could be making $300 million more but most farmers in western Uganda who initially embraced exotic breeds are reverting to local Ankole cattle. An exotic breed can produce up to 40 litres of milk per day compared with just three litres from local breeds.
Short Initiative to improve productivity of dairy cows
Dairy cattle in Uganda, in most cases, produce less milk than expected. This is mainly caused by improper feeding. It is therefore imperative that feed quantity and quality be improved for dairy cows in Uganda to increase milk production and subsequently household incomes. Makerere University through the Department of Agricultural Production at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), together with the National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI), Ento Organic Farm Ltd, and Ghent University in Belgium, are implementing a two-year project designed to harness circular and carbon-sequestering local feed resources to close the nutrition gap of cross-bred dairy cattle in Uganda.
The project is supported by Vliruos and led by Prof. Veerle Fievez from Ghent University, Belgium. In Uganda, the project is coordinated by Prof. Fred Kabi from the Department of Agricultural Production (DAP) at CAES, Makerere University. Other members on the project are; Mr. Pius Lutakome, a PhD student and Lecturer at DAP, Makerere University; Dr Susan Diana Kerfua and Mr. Denis Asizua from NaLIRRI, and Mr. Martin Tenywa from Ento Organic Farm Ltd. The project is intended to, among other objectives, i) share state-of-the-art scientific results on negative energy balance in transition crossbred dairy cows identified through metabolic biomarkers in blood spot samples, ii) Collaboratively co-create knowledge with stakeholders along the dairy value chain on circular feeds as well as shrub- and tree-based resources with carbon-sequestering capacity, and assess their potential to close the nutrient gap, iii) cooperatively develop a roadmap with stakeholders in modeling a home grown solution to eliminating extreme hunger and poverty through sustainable dairy cattle production practices, and to close the nutritional gaps during negative energy balance experienced at early lactation period of crossbred dairy cattle.
On 8th February 2024, the project team held an inception meeting to stimulate deep reflections on the contemporary global challenges on using circular feeds to close the nutritional gaps of dairy cows. The one-day meeting held at Grand Global Hotel in Kampala was also convened to develop a roadmap towards achieving the project goal, objectives and expected outcomes; to review implementation arrangements, and to confirm roles and responsibilities of the different stakeholders. It was attended by stakeholders along the dairy value chain, representatives from local government, and researchers from the Department of Agricultural Production at CAES, Makerere University. At the meeting, Prof. Veerle Fievez from Ghent University delivered a presentation on ways of harnessing circular and carbon-sequestering local feed resources to close the nutrition gap of cross-bred dairy cattle in Uganda, whereas Mr. Pius Lutakome shared part of his findings from his PhD research project. Mr. Lutakome is conducting research on crossbreed dairy cows in grazing systems of Western Uganda and measures that can be taken to improve nutritional management based on monitoring the metabolic status. Participants too engaged in focused group discussions on realities of feed and feeding practices of dairy cows in Uganda, with the aim of establishing the kind of feed given to dairy cows, source of feed, quantities given, and the frequency at which the cows are fed. This was intended to guide the way forward for successful implementation of the project. The meeting was moderated by Dr. Prossy Isubikalu from the Department of Extension and Innovation Studies at CAES, Makerere University.
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