By Jane Anyango
Makerere University Researchers under the Drylands Transform Project are engaging communities and local government in Karamoja sub-region to establish livestock Cafes.
This was revealed during the inception workshop held in Napak District on 22nd October 2021. The research team met with Local Government Technical and Administrative units seeking permission and support to implement the project in the area and also offer land for demonstration sites that will be handed over to the districts after the five-year project period for sustainability.
Livestock cafes will be the experimental sites to study forage productivity, establish novel co-learning and knowledge exchange centers and create opportunities for milk and fodder value chains.
During the deliberations, the district officials expressed concern over low animal productivity mainly caused by ticks, requesting the research team to attach the tick control demo on the livestock cafes. The university team agreed to consider including a spray race to demonstrate the benefits of tick control to pastoralists for improved animal health and productivity.
Speaking during the inception workshop at Napak district Farmers Hall, Makerere University Principal Investigator Prof. Denis Mpairwe from the Department of Agricultural Production said the livestock cafes will engage with local communities to test novel land restoration and management options in grazing areas for enhanced forage, food and income.
These experimental plots according to the PI are managed for forage production and can be utilized for controlled grazing by local communities.
“At the livestock cafes, the project will pilot value chain improvement activities towards value addition. Groups of local women, men and youth will be trained and familiarized with livestock products like milk, and their value chains. This will prepare them to take over the operations by the end of the project”, the Principal Investigator said.
Prof. Mpairwe added that the geographical focus of the Drylands Transform will be the Karamoja cluster, in the cross-boundary area between Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan.
The field studies according to Prof. Mpairwe will take place in four sites providing variation in livelihood strategies, land management and climate. The sites include; Chepareria (Kenya) and Matany (Uganda) in the south dominated by agro-pastoralist communities as well as Lokiriama-Lorengippi (Kenya) and Rupa (Uganda) in the north dominated by pastoralists.
The District Speaker Mr. Angillu J Bosco welcomed the project to Napak, assuring the researchers of security to enable them carry out the activities. Angillu also assured the research team of the availability and readiness of the local people to give land and work with the project.
“We are welcoming you to work and I want to assure you that the team you are seeing here is a very vibrant team, I trust them, they can do the work a PhD or masters person can do but nevertheless they need to work with you, they need your guidance and will be consulting you.
For us in Napak we like giving land and we can give you to use as many acres as you can and one thing I have learnt from this project is that the more land you have the more activities you undertake there. As a district we shall discuss to allocate you the land you need”, Mr. Angillu assured.
He told the communities that the research team had not come to take their land but utilize it for their own benefit and hand it back to them at the conclusion of the project.
The LCV chairperson represented by Mr. Louch Andrew the District Secretary for Works described the Drylands Transform project as a good one for the Karamojong community.
He welcomed the idea of setting up tick control demonstration sites in Matany Sub-County saying, this will boost animal health and livestock production in general.
“This project has come to improve the livelihoods of the Karamojongs on cereal and animal industry. Our animals in Karamoja are suffering from tick-borne diseases which I know that this project is going to handle by introducing a spray race for animals to clean the animals and this has not been our way of living in Karamoja and the animals are not doing very well”, Mr. Louch said.
Mr. Luoch also welcomed the idea of establishing the livestock cafes as a brilliant one that will help diversify the incomes and improve on nutrition of the communities.
“Napak produces cereals like sunflower, green gram that have become commercial crops for oil production in Uganda. We ask the project to assist us to add value to these crops and package them for better marketing. We want something commercial not subsistence” added the District Secretary.
He pledged the District’s commitment to support the project activities imploring the research team to involve the local people to do the work so that they get the skills.
Napak District Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) represented by the Principal Assistant Secretary Mr. Koryang Timothy said, it was a blessing that Napak was selected as the project site for the demonstrations.
He said the Dryland Transform project was going to build on what other partners had been doing to transform the livestock sector within the Karamoja cluster.
The CAO observed that implementing a livestock project for agro-pastoralist and pastoralist communities will spillover benefits that will be shared by other communities.
“Animal products are a perfect source of nutrition from ghee, milk and meat. So in totality when you talk about a project on livestock development, you are at the centre of improving the livelihoods of the agro-pastoralist communities. So these are the kinds of projects I would wish our District leadership continue lobbying for because they are a foundation of the livelihoods of our people”, the CAO said.
He thanked the research team for choosing Napak and Moroto districts as well as Matany Sub-County to host the project saying, Matany is the heart of Napak whose benefits will spill over to the entire district.
He expressed confidence that the project will progress and go a long way to improve the livestock industry in the District as well as other aspects of productivity such as the crop sector because of the linkage between the agro-pastoralists and pure pastoralists.
He said the project can start while other formalities like signing of agreements and integrating the budget in the district planning and budget awaits on grounds that from all indicators, the project will build on the district performance in the livestock sector.
“The project will build on the overall performance of the district in the production section by way of improving the lives of pastoral communities, provision of training for farmers and livestock spraying because Local Governments are assessed annually by the center”, Mr. Koryang noted.
The CAO also said with the support of the Local Government and Matany Sub-County, they will ensure that the project survives its five-year implementation plan and even beyond.
About Drylands Transform Project
The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences is leading a multidisciplinary team of researchers from Umea University, Gothenburg University, University of Nairobi, Makerere University, World Agroforestry (ICRAF) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to implement the; “Achieving the SDGs in East African drylands: Pathways and challenges towards a transformation of landscapes, livestock and livelihoods in the East African drylands (Drylands Transform)” project, in the greater Karamoja cluster of Uganda and Kenya.
The Karamoja cluster of drylands covers Western Pokot, Kenya, Turkana region, the South Western and Eastern part of Ethiopia, the South Eastern part of South Sudan and the whole Karamoja region of Uganda.
It is a five year project funded by the Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development, Formas, within their call for “Realizing the global Sustainable Development Goals”. It aims to address complex challenges in the East African dylands such as climate change, food insecurity, land and ecosystem degradation and weak institutions.
The project investigates the interlinkages between land health, livestock based livelihoods, human wellbeing and land governance mechanisms in order to contribute to transformative change and sustainable development of the social ecological system in the drylands of East Africa.
The overall goal is to contribute knowledge for the implementation and achievement of the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while optimizing synergies and minimizing trade-offs between SDGs in the East African drylands by developing transformative pathways through policy and practice.
Jane Anyango is the Principal Communication Officer, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES)
IGE Cross-country National Policy Review & Training Workshop opens in Uganda
The three-day Inclusive Green Economy (IGE) cross-country National Policy Review and Training Workshop was on 23rd November 2021 opened at the Speke Resort Hotel Munyonyo in Uganda attracting over forty members of academia and policy makers from the Swedish Environment for Development (EfD) Global hub and the East African countries including Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Ethiopia.
The function running 23rd -25th November, 2021 was organized by the EfD-Mak Centre, Uganda in collaboration with University of Gothenburg, as part of the activities of the Inclusive Green Economy (IGE) capacity building programme for senior civil servants and policy makers sponsored by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).
The purpose of the National Policy Review (NPR) training is to strengthen cross-country peer learning by conducting an analytical review of their neighboring country’s NPR, and strengthen networks on Inclusive Green Economy in the region.
The workshop was opened by the Swedish Ambassador to Uganda H.E. Maria Håkansson. The function was also graced by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development, the Vice Chancellor Makerere University Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe and the Principal College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS) Assoc. Prof. Eria Hisali.
Focus is to keep track towards Agenda 2030 and Paris Agreement for a green transition
Ambassador Håkansson said the workshop comes at a right time as the world experiences the effects of climate change.
“We are living in the mix of climate change. It is no longer a distant problem for the future generation. It affects all of us living now and climate and biodiversity is top priority of my government and we see it clearly linked to poverty reduction and economic development”, She said.
She noted that although a lot of focus today is on COVID-19 pandemic, there is need to start tracking the way out of the crisis towards recovery.
“Recovery strategies need to be developed to promote inclusive growth, employment and competitiveness. Identifying such strategies will depend on how deep and long lasting the economic recession becomes and should also include structural elements that can be used as opportunities to undertake important reforms for the future.
And in doing so, we must endure the approach of the UN Secretary General. We must ensure that the recovery strategies keep us on track towards Agenda 2030 and those of the Paris Agreement of building a sustainable inclusive economy that is a recovery base for a green transition”, the Ambassador emphasized.
She reported that Sweden was the first country to pass an environmental protection act in 1967 and has continued to take a leading role in tackling climate change to government action and set a goal for carbon neutrality that is more ambitious to the Paris Agreement.
In addition the Ambassador said, the Swedish government has successfully decoupled carbon dioxide emissions from growth since 1997 without compromising public welfare while increasing prosperity for its inhabitants.
By adopting ambitious climate policies, Sweden also wants to set a good example for others to follow and in doing so, it is one of the world largest providers of climate financing and sharing knowledge and incorporating various programmes such as the Inclusive Green Economy in practice
Uganda’s progress towards inclusive green economy implementation
Representing the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Ms. Maris Wanyera said, for years, Uganda has experienced a positive trend in population growth which is associated with increased unemployment and environmental destruction.
“The country is still challenged with the continuous abuse of natural resources especially forests and wetlands. Relatedly, this has raised concerns on whether the attained economic growth has not been achieved at the expense of the environment and natural resources”. Ms. Wanyera said
As the 2030 Agenda took effect globally, Wanyera said, Government took steps to implement principles such as green growth that are embodied in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Uganda was among the first countries to mainstream SDGs into its development plan, although a strategy that unpacks green growth into sectoral interventions that can be implemented had not yet been devised.
In response, Government developed the Uganda Green Growth Development Strategy (UGGDS) as the blue print to operationalize green growth principles and accelerate the implementation of global development goals, Uganda Vision 2040 and the National Development Plans 2 and 3”, Ms. Wanyera said.
The goal of the UGGDS according to Wanyera is to achieve an inclusive low emissions economic growth process that emphasizes effective and efficient use of natural, human and physical capital while ensuring that natural assets continue to provide for present and future generations.
For purposes of achieving the objectives of the UGGDS, Ms. Wanyera said, Government requires that all new projects across all sectors include aspects of sustainable green growth largely emphasized in implementation of the National Development Plan II (2015 – 2020) and currently in NDP III (2021 – 2026).
Accordingly, the NDP III (2021-2026) has a fully-fledged program on climate change in addition to mainstreaming it in all other programmes.
“Uganda has just recently passed the National Climate Change Act 2021 and to further augment the Green Growth Development Strategy and to address the post COVID 19 recovery, the country is working on integrating climate-resilient and low carbon emission measures into Government’s stimulus and recovery packages. The priority areas are: climate finance, ICT (Digitalization of sectors), resilient transport, urban and built environment, energy, human capital development and public procurement”, Wanyera said.
Environmental degradation a matter of urgency for Uganda’s academia
The Vice Chancellor Makerere University Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe said it is extremely urgent for Uganda to think of addressing the issue of environmental depletion.
“There is massive use of firewood as the major source of cooking fuel, cutting down trees for charcoal for home use and export to countries like South Africa. It may be fetching us some little money but we need to think of our future generation.
As a country we need to sit and think seriously about alternative energy sources and reduce the destruction of the environment, otherwise we are heading for real trouble and we are going to leave our children in difficult situations”, Prof. Nawangwe said.
The Vice Chancellor noted that government has tried to come up with laws on protecting the environment but the challenge remains with enforcement. Alternatives such as use of electricity and solar energy are in place but with limitations of affordability and reach. Prof. Nawangwe said these requires the private sector to come on board to supplement government efforts.
As a university, the Vice Chancellor said, the issues of climate change, environmental degradation and the increasing population growth are important to the university.
“The university has a responsibility to conduct research and take the lead in finding solutions to the pressing issues and giving evidenced policy briefs to government to make decisions and come up with new workable policies based on research. We have a number of researchers working on environmental issues and I am happy that the university of Gothenburg is working with Makerere on environment issues through the EfD-Mak Centre”, Prof. Nawangwe said.
He said the university promotes multidisciplinary research that brings together expertise in agriculture, economics, forestry, environment and gender among others in trying to seek solutions to environmental challenges facing the country.
IGE fellows challenged on addressing capacity gaps, domestication and monitoring progress of the Inclusive Green Growth concept
The Principal College of Business and Management Sciences, Assoc. Prof. Eria Hisali paid tribute to the leadership of the EfD-Mak Centre for mentoring the IGE fellows in Uganda pledging commitment to support to the program.
Assoc. Prof. Hisali challenged the IGE fellows to look at the capacity gaps in matters related to inclusive green economy noting that the training in Uganda has covered six fellows and this is only a drop in the ocean compared to size of public service in and the challenges posed by climate change and environmental degradation.
“…how fast are we going to scale up the group to reach out to a bigger number of people? The second challenge is the domestication of the concept of inclusive green economy. With the different international protocols, experience given and many ideas on how to take up the inclusive green economy, how much of this has been domesticated across the different countries?
Do we have a coherent framework in our countries for monitoring and evaluating the progress and how much of this concept is appreciated out there and if not, what should we do to cover the capacity gaps?”, Assoc. Prof. Hisali asked.
Jane Anyango is the Communication Officer, EfD-Mak Centre
Mak Researchers Skilling Roadside Plant Nursery Owners on Business Management & Sustainable Practices
Uganda’s roadside urban and peri-urban plant nurseries are a unique small-scale business that play a critical role in poverty eradication by acting as green businesses and providing employment to many youth and women. However, their growth and sustainability is threatened by inadequate requisite business management skills and knowledge. To remedy this, a multi-disciplinary team of researchers from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), and the College of Business Management (CoBAMS), Makerere University have embarked on activities to build business management skills and sustainable plant nursery management practices among their owners, operators, and workers. The researchers namely; Dr Edward Nector Mwavu (Principal Investigator), Dr Anthony Tibaingana, Dr Paul Ssegawa, Dr Grace Nakabonge and Ms. Agatha Syofna are working in collaboration with officials from the Ministry of Local Government and National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO).
The activity is intended to enhance profitability of the roadside plant nursery business.
Through their project titled “Building business management skills and sustainable practices among urban and peri-urban roadside plant nursery owners, operators and workers for resilient ‘green’ businesses in Greater Kampala, Uganda, the researchers are training roadside farmers on the best plant and business management practices.
According to the researchers, building capacity coupled with the provision of access to technical information could greatly help move the nursery businesses from where they are today to where their owners and managers want them to be. Furthermore, the skilling of roadside plant nurseries operators and workers to sustainably manage them as green businesses, is a triple-win strategy since it supports the improvement of livelihoods of many low-income urban and peri-urban households, and boosts plant conservation, urban agriculture as well as forestry development. “If properly managed and maintained these ‘green’ businesses have the potential to fulfil a variety of financial returns,” the researchers advise.
Pathogens Severely Affecting Agricultural Production in Africa – Researchers
Agriculture is the backbone of Uganda’s economy, employing about 73% of the population and contributing approximately 20% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 48% export earnings. The National Development Plan (NDP III) identifies agriculture as one of the key growth opportunities with the highest potential to generate employment and have positive multiplier effects on other sectors. The Agricultural sector contributes about 50% of the gross domestic product (GDP) of most countries in Africa, and plays a pivotal role in ensuring food security across the globe. The sector is however derailed by a number of factors. Key among these are pathogens that are greatly undermining crop production in the country and Africa in general.
On 8th-9th November 2021, the Department of Agricultural Production, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University in partnership with the University of Pretoria, South Africa held a research dissemination workshop at Golf Course Hotel, Kampala to deliberate on a number of issues affecting the sector. Convened by Dr Nicholas Kagimu under the theme “The Impact of Pathogens on Agricultural Production”, the workshop was part of the activities under the Future Africa’s Early Career Research Leader Fellowship (ECRLF) programme at the University of Pretoria intended build a critical mass of the next generation researchers in Africa. It drew participants from academic and research institutions across Africa.
Topics discussed included; the Status of nematology research in Uganda by Dr Hebert Talwana (Department of Agricultural Production, CAES); Bioprospecting of the Natural Products from Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus bacteria and their application in agriculture by Dr Nicholas Kagimu (ECRL Fellow at Future Africa, University of Pretoria); Entomopathogenic fungi for insect crop management by Dr Jeninah Karungi (School of Agricultural Sciences, CAES); An overview of Entomopathogenic nematodes- EPN (insect-killing-worms) in Africa/ICIPE perspective presented by Dr Solveig Haukeland, ICIPE Nairobi); Status of liquid culture development for commercialization of entomopathogens in South Africa (Prof. Antoinette Malan, Stellenbosch University); Forest pest surveillance to protect Africa’s forest resource (Prof. Brett Hurley, FABI – University of Pretoria); Bio-control agents in pest management in Uganda’s forest systems (Dr Peter Kiwuso – NaFORRI); Bio-prospected products from insects (pharmaceutical, nutritional, cosmetics) presented by Dr Alice Nabatanzi, College of Natural Sciences – Makerere University; Chemical defenses of forest trees to fungal infection and the consequences of these defenses on insect herbivory (Prof. Almuth Hammerbacher – FABI, University of Pretoria); What Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI), University of Pretoria can offer in collaboration with research and industry in Uganda (Prof. Bernard Slippers – Director FABI, University of Pretoria; Tsetse fly vector: effects distribution and control in Uganda; Tick epidemic and vaccine development; Helminths and helminths control in small ruminants (Dr Idibu Joachine –CoVAB, Makerere University); Veterinary drug use and resistance; Potential of biopesticides in small holder agricultural systems (Dr Paul Sigombe – Real IPM Uganda); as well as Chemical control of internal and external parasites in livestock by Dr Ivan Kisakya from MTK Uganda.
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