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Mak-RIF, CAES Open Day: VC Reveals Plan to Establish a University-wide Research & Innovations Incubation Centre

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Plans are underway to establish a University-wide Research and Innovations Incubation Centre. This was revealed by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe during the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) Open Day held on 14th December 2021 to showcase outputs of some of the research projects supported by the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF). The event was presided over by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Maj. Gen. David Kasura Kyomukama. It was attended by, among others, the representative of the Chair Grant Management Committee, Assoc. Prof. Isa Kabenge; stakeholders in the agricultural sector; the Principal, CAES, Prof. Bernard Bashaasha; the Deputy Principal, Dr.Gorettie Nsubuga Nabanoga; members of the Mak-RIF Secretariat led by Ms. Phoebe Kamya Lutaaya; and members of staff and students of Makerere University.

Touring the exhibition stalls, the Vice Chancellor said Management was fast-tracking the formation of a university-wide Research and Innovations Incubation Centre to support researchers to improve their prototypes. “The projects we have seen today are very impressive.It is gratifying to note that our researchers are actively working with communities to address various challenges. This is clear testimony that we are on the right track as a University. I take this opportunity to congratulate all researchers for the great innovations,” he said.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe shared plans by Management to fast-track the formation of a university-wide Research and Innovations Incubation Centre.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe shared plans by Management to fast-track the formation of a university-wide Research and Innovations Incubation Centre.

Emphasizing the critical role played by universities in the development of nation states, the Vice Chancellor said Makerere had reached a stage of churning out companies that can transform the country’s economy in the shortest time possible. “Through the Research and Innovations Incubation Centre, this can be achieved. It is our responsibility to ensure our country remains stable by creating employment for multitudes of young people, and enhancing food security. I therefore appeal to the government to support the establishment of the centre.”

The Vice Chancellor reminded the researchers of the need to patent their work. He also advised them to work towards commercialising their products. He expressed gratitude to the Government of Uganda for the continued support towards research and innovations at Makerere University. He also appreciated the University Grant Management Committee for negotiating the support and ensuring it is put to good use. The Vice Chancellor commended the Mak-RIF Secretariat for working tirelessly to ensure the research conducted does not remain on the shelves but is widely disseminated to foster uptake and economic transformation.

During the event, researchers from CAES showcased outputs of various projects including;

  1. Unlocking the commercial potential of Canariumschweinfurthi (Empafu) indigenous fruits for improved livelihood in Central Uganda – Prof. Jacob Agea. The main objective of the project was to develop high value commercial innovations from the fruit. Specific objectives were to formulate high value wine and jam innovations from the fruit pulp and to assess consumer market acceptability for developed wine and jam innovation.
Prof. Jacob Agea (L) shows off outputs of his reseach project
Prof. Jacob Agea (L) shows off outputs of his reseach project
  1. Design, construction and evaluation of an automated continuous pasteurizer –Dr Emmanuel Baidhe, Dr Julia Kigozi. Along the juice processing chain, thermal processing by pasteurization is considered to be the most crucial of all unit operations as it increases the shelf life of the juice. Several batch pasteurizers have been locally developed and adopted. However, with the batch system, a particular volume of product is processed per unit time. It is therefore very cumbersome for a processor with large volumes since they have to keep emptying and refilling the vat. It requires a lot of resources in terms of labour (Amit et al., 2017), time and energy to have large quantities of juice processed. The purpose of the study was to design, simulate, construct and assess the performance of the low-viscous juice continuous pasteurizer. 
  1. Enhancing Value addition on Potato-Sorghum enterprises for Improved Livelihoods in Uganda (EVaPoSIL) -Prof. Johnny Mugisha. Potato (Solanumtuberlosum) and sorghum (Sorghum bicolar) are potential pathways for enhancing household incomes, food and nutrition security in South-western Uganda which is characterized by land scarcity, decreasing agricultural productivity, high post-harvest losses and low per-capita income. Potato and sorghum are the region’s main enterprises but their economic and nutrition potential are not fully exploited. Sorghum productivity and profitability are very low and potato harvest losses in form of non-marketable tubers are high. The project sought to enhance the value of both crops by innovative value addition that makes them complements, reduce harvest losses, increase incomes, and make available to consumers a diversity of high quality products. The overall objective was to improve the economic value of potato and sorghum enterprises for improved livelihoods of the value chain actors.
Prof. Johnny Mugisha's project aimed to enhance the value of potato and sorghum.
Prof. Johnny Mugisha’s project aimed to enhance the value of potato and sorghum.
  1. Developing dry season feeding technologies for different cattle production systems in Uganda – Dr Justine Nambi-Kasozi. Scarcity, high cost and fluctuating quality of feeds are major constraints to sustainable cattle production in Uganda, particularly during the dry seasons. Use of crop residues plays an important role in reducing feed stress. However, most crop residues are bulky and low in nutrient content hence unable to support maintenance and production requirements of cattle. The objective of this project was to develop crop residue-based multi-nutrient blocks (MNB) and pellets to increase the intake and utilization of crop residues for dry season feeding.
  1. Digitalizing the Makerere University Soil Test Kit for rapid soil assessment, improved soil management, crop yields and incomes among farmers in Uganda – Emmanuel Opolot. Accurate assessment of soil is key for its sustainable use and management. The Makerere University Soil Test Kit (MAK-STK) comes in handy. It gives results of five soil parameters (pH, N, P, K and SOM) within minutes. However, the results from the MAK-STK are qualitative and thus hard for agricultural extension workers to advise farmers on how much nutrients to add to the soil. The project objectives were to (i) calibrate the MAK-STK with laboratory data for major soil types in Uganda, (ii) develop a digital platform through which the MAK-STK results can be quickly and easily translated to fertilizer recommendations and (iii) build capacity of the agricultural extension officers, farmers and fertilizer input dealers on the use of the Makerere University Soil Test Kit and its digital platform.
  1. Development of a Safe and Efficacious Anti-malarial drug from Traditional medicine -Prof. John Tabuti.  Malaria is still a leading source of illness and death. In 2017, about 219 million suffered from malaria worldwide, with 92% of cases occurring in Africa. Malaria management is complicated by the fact that access is still limited in some places, and there is a possibility of treatment resistance.The goal of this research was to contribute to the development of a safe and efficacious anti-malarial. The specific objectives were: to compile a list of malaria treatment plants in Tororo District and prioritize them to determine the safety of the malaria treating plants.
  1. Deployment of the new Maksoy soybean varieties for on-farm income enhancement, Food and Nutrition security, Enterprise Development and Job creation in Eastern Uganda – Prof. Phinehas Tukamuhabwa. Over the last 10 years, Makerere University developed six improved soybean varieties namely MAKSOY 1N, 2N, 3N, 4N, 5N and 6N. Unfortunately, the potential of the new MAKSOY soybean varieties had not been fully exploited due to limited farmer access to seed in addition to low skill set in soybean agronomic practices that subsequently leads to low yields. Further, each of the soybean varieties has specific attributes for protein, oil, maturity and yield in the field and efforts had been made to enhance their adoption in different parts of Uganda. However, the role of soybean in contributing to food and nutrition security of different households and communities in the country remains a critical challenge. This project focused on harnessing the value of the different soybean varieties through value addition using soymilk and soy flour for adoption by households, SMEs and also to set up a Soy Processing Unit at MUARIK.
Prof. Phinehas Tukamuhabwa (2nd R) showcasing improved soybean varieties.
Prof. Phinehas Tukamuhabwa (2nd R) showcasing improved soybean varieties.
  1. Improving access to biodiversity data for conservation decision making: A case of the National Biodiversity Data Bank, Makerere University, Uganda – Daniel Waiswa. This project sought to revitalize the NBDB as a one-stop biodiversity data centre enabling easy and fast access for sound biodiversity conservation decision making. The overall objective was to improve access to biodiversity data for conservation decision making while the specific objectives were to: increase stakeholders’ engagement and confidence in the NBDB for enhanced biodiversity data sharing and access, re-designing and operationalizing the NBDB Database for reception, storage and open access to data and enhancing and sustaining the staffing, capacity and infrastructure of the NBDB.
  1. A Pedal-Operated Seed Cleaner (PoS-Cleaner) To Boost Post Harvest Grain & Legume Quality, Increase School-Study time & Create Financial Freedom in Rural-Uganda – Peter Tumutegyereize. Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) annually registers 40-50% of food Post-Harvest Losses (PHLs) worth US$4 billion with 41% and 26% respectively grains & legume losses in Uganda. Maize grains lost alone, could feed over 1.14 million persons for a full year. These losses along the food chain are greatly attributed to poor seed sorting or cleaning. Unclean seeds and foreign materials promote mold development resulting to dry matter loss, nutritional changes, seed quality loss, aflatoxin contamination and PHLs during storage and processing. Despite this, majority of small-scale farmers have no access to appropriate seed cleaning technologies. The available imported seed cleaners in Uganda are energy and cost demanding in terms of ownership, operation and maintenance. Farmers depend on traditional screening or winnowing which is inefficient, time consuming, labour intensive and dust exposure resulting into ill health. For rural schools that depend on in-kind food tuition contributions from parents, students traditionally clean seeds hence reducing their study time and educational performance. The study sought to create intermediate but appropriate post-harvest cleaning technologies.
A Masters student (L) showcasing a machine he invented to aid soap processing.
A Masters student (L) showcasing a machine he invented to aid soap processing.
  1. Developing an automatically controlled commercial solar-dryer and efficient resource recovery innovations for sustained market responsive fruit production in Uganda -Ahamada Zziwa. Food insecurity and poor livelihoods continue to prevail in Uganda partly due to high post-harvest losses, limited value addition options and low farm-gate prices particularly for perishable foods (FAO, WFP and IFAD, 2019). The lack of affordable preservation options contributes to over 30% post-harvest losses because majority of farmers have no access to electricity for processing and preserving perishable foods. Harnessing solar energy and its use for food preservation is a viable option for most off-grid farmers. However, the existing solar dryer designs are limited in drying efficiency due to absence of temperature and relative humidity controls which undermines their ability to ensure consistent physical and nutritional quality of dried products. Most dryers are also small drying capacity designs based on only solar light as the drying power which renders them unsuitable for large scale drying and uneconomical (Shaikh and Kolekar, 2015). The project aimed to: 1)design, construct, test and promote a sensor-controlled dual heat source (Hybrid) solar dryer to ensure consistent drying of reasonably large volumes of perishable produce; 2) investigate vermicompost recovery from pineapple waste and cow dung; and 3) optimise biogas production from pineapple waste.
  1. Development of Nutrient-Dense Recipes and Products from Underutilized Crops to Alleviate Malnutrition among HIV/AIDS Infected Persons in Western Uganda – Agnes Nabubuya. Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a global pandemic that is currently affecting 3.7 million people worldwide of which 70% is found in Sub-Saharan Africa. Uganda continues to suffer from scourge of HIV with current prevalence at 7%. Healthcare of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in Uganda is constrained by poor nutrition, with estimates of 25% suffering from malnutrition. This project addressed the challenge of malnutrition in PLWHA by using underutilized crops through development of nutrient-dense recipes and products. The research team analysed the nutritional composition of identified underutilized crops and developed nutrient-dense recipes and products for PLWHA.
A team of researchers headed by Dr. Dorothy Nakimbugwe created alternatives for the common wheat flour using amaranth for improved nutrition.
A team of researchers headed by Dr. Dorothy Nakimbugwe created alternatives for the common wheat flour using amaranth for improved nutrition.
  1. Strengthening the resilience and visibility of peri-urban poultry farmers in Wakiso for better marketing and profitability through feeding, post-harvest handling, value addition and resources recovery – Ahamada Zziwa. Globally, COVID-19 has had adverse impacts on the poultry value chain through infecting workers, farmers, stalling production, disrupting the supply chain, and thus affecting product demand. The lockdown led to socioeconomic restrictions and distortions in community dynamics, marketing and sale of products leading to huge losses in the poultry sector (FAO, 2020; Poudel et al., 2020). Transport restrictions to poultry farmers and closure of national borders, weekly markets, institutions, schools, hotels and restaurants, which were the main markets, left farmers with large quantities of unsold poultry products, resulting in financial losses especially to farmers without value-addition options and resources recovery innovations. The overall objective of the project was to strengthen the resilience and visibility of peri-urban poultry farmers for sustained poultry production, better marketing and enhanced profitability through innovative feeding, post-harvest handling, value addition and resources recovery.
  1. Optimized software for planning and simulation of food aid response during the COVID-19 pandemic and other similar disasters in Uganda – Fildah Ayaa. Covid-19 was declared a pandemic on 11th March 2020. First lockdown measures to contain the spread of the virus effected on 31st March 2020. Covid-19 lockdown disrupted food supply systems, causing food insecurity, especially in urban areas.Uganda’s government food distribution efforts were frustrated by poor planning for both food stock and manpower. Only 12 % of the total population received food aid during lockdown period. Of these, 24% were urban residents and only 7% lived in rural areas (Acayo,2020). The research team designed software for authorities to plan for food distribution during and after the Covid-19 pandemic in Uganda.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe and Guest of Honour, Maj. Gen. David Kasura Kyomukama touring the exhibition stalls.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe and Guest of Honour, Maj. Gen. David Kasura Kyomukama touring the exhibition stalls.
  1. Development of a Green Low Cost Touchless Handwash Technology (TW-20 Kit) For Public Shared Spaces – Joshua Wanyama. Effective hand washing with soap for at least 20 seconds and limiting contacts are useful COVID19 preventive measures. However; the existing point-of-hand washing systems are ineffective in achieving the set measures as most of them require individuals to touch the units, have no mechanism in place to ensure hand washing with soap for the recommended time and are therefore prospective contagion points for the pandemic (WHO 2020). There was therefore, a need to develop a low-cost hand washing technology that automatically releases soap detergent without contact and allows users to rub and scrub the hands with soap for 20 seconds before water is released for rinsing. The project aimed to provide a safe water and hygienic technology to boost behavioural hand washing culture and reduce the risk of SARS-COV-2 human to human transmission in public shared spaces. The specific objectives were: i) to re-evaluate and modify the first prototype of TW-20 Kit V1.1 design customized for public settings, ii) to influence public behavioural change towards hand hygiene and product validation by undertaking a comprehensive pilot study in selected shared public spaces in Kampala Metropolitan Area.
  1. Design and development of an atomized spray drier for egg powder production for use in bakery industries of Uganda – Kivumbi Hussein Balimunsi. Due to the introduction of fast growing breeds of chicken in Uganda, there has been enormous production of high quality eggs, making the country one of the largest egg producers in the region. However, due to the outbreak of COVID19 and the subsequent lockdowns, the prices of eggs drastically reduced to nearly 5000 UGX per tray consequently affecting chicken farmers. This was further worsened by the lack of value addition to the available eggs leading to huge losses. This project sought to explore the utilization of spray drying in the production of high-value products from eggs in Uganda as a measure to minimize losses.
  1. Automation of communal hand water pumps to eliminate COVID-19 transmission – Nicholas Kiggundu.The research was motivated by the observation that alternative solutions of limiting the spread of COVID-19 such as washing hands with water and soap or use of chemical sanitizers are difficult to enforce especially in the low income rural and peri-urban communities where the boreholes are found. The researchers invented MAKNAI an acronym for the Makerere UniversityMAK NAyIkondo – vernacular for borehole, a prototype to automate cranking of the hand pump that draws water from a well. Designed by a team from the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (DABE), School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bioengineering (SFTNB), College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) the prototype consists of a PV (photovoltaic) panel, battery, solar charge controller, inverter, motor, pulleys, belt, reciprocating arm and a foot switch. The foot switch serves to replace the use of palms and fingers to crank the pump handle, as is the practice while drawing water at boreholes.
Dr. Nicholas Kiggundu (L) invented the MAKNAI to safeguard the spread of COVID19 at boreholes.
Dr. Nicholas Kiggundu (L) invented the MAKNAI to safeguard the spread of COVID19 at boreholes.
  1. Empowerment of the Agro-Processing Industry to meet the Quantity and Quality Standards for the Local and Export Market; a Programme Enhancing the Practical Skills of Students in Makerere University – Julia Kigozi. 
  1. Mountain Gorilla Tourism Re-examined: Implications of increased visitor numbers to the welfare and behaviour of mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda – Prof. David Mwesigye Tumusiime.
  1. Developing Biofertiliser Formulations to Unlock Crop Productivity for Improved Food Security and Household Livelihood in Uganda – John Baptist Tumuhairwe

Remarks by the Permanent Secretary, MAAIF (Guest of Honour)

Addressing participants, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Maj. Gen. David KasuraKyomukama commended the innovations at CAES and Makerere University in general. He applauded Makerere University Management and Council for creating an enabling environment for research and innovations. Maj. General Kasura appreciated the Government of Uganda for the enormous investment in research at Makerere and other Institutions of Higher Learning.“With guidance from the President of the Republic of Uganda, H.E Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni, the Government has invested heavily in research, one of the major drivers of economic development. The Government has supported the formation of various initiatives aimed at advancing research in the country. In particular, the Government has supported the creation of several research initiatives at Makerere University. This is highly commendable and a great stride towards transforming our economy,” he noted. He appealed to the researchers to invent more technologies to aid the production of quality agricultural products in the country. “We should always ensure our agricultural products are 100% free of aflatoxinto avoid reputational damage,” he advised. Maj. Gen. Kasura pledged support towards the commercialization of the research outputs. He urged the researchers to extensively disseminate their work, saying that knowledge that is not shared is useless.

The Guest of Honour, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Maj. Gen. David Kasura Kyomukama addresses participants at the Mak-RIF CAES Open Day on 14th December 2021, Makerere University.
The Guest of Honour, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Maj. Gen. David Kasura Kyomukama addresses participants at the Mak-RIF CAES Open Day on 14th December 2021, Makerere University.

The representative of the Chair, Makerere University Grant Management Committee, Prof. Isa Kabenge expressed gratitude for the support rendered by the Government, noting that the impact of the research projects is invaluable. Since Financial Year 2019/20, the Government through Mak-RIF has supported 711 multidisciplinary research and innovation projects across the 10 colleges of Makerere University. The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) has obtained 79 projects across the three financial years.

In his remarks, the Principal, CAES, Prof. Bernard Bashaasha applauded the researchers for the great initiatives. He extended appreciation to Makerere University Management, the Government of Uganda, and development partners for supporting the researchers to explore their full potential. “The research generated at the College is highly commendable and has played a critical role in shaping the national and global policies,” he said.   

Similarly, the Deputy Principal appreciated the researchers, CAES Management, the University Management, Government and development partners for the support that has enabled the college to generate productive research.

About Mak-RIF

The Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF) is a funding stream to support generation and translation of high impact research and innovations to drive Uganda’s development Agenda. This initiative is funded by the Government of the Republic of Uganda.

Objectives of the Fund

  1. Developing and funding a robust research agenda based on National development priorities identified from academia, government, implementing partners, and industries.
  2.  Supporting the dissemination of high-quality research and innovations in a way that impacts development policies and programs.
  3. Supporting the growth of research leadership capacity in the university.

Agriculture & Environment

Prof. Elly N. Sabiiti Delivers Valedictory Lecture to CAES Community, Recounts His 43-year Experience at Mak

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CAES staff in a group photo with Prof. Elly Sabiiti after the Valedictory Lecture on 2nd September 2022, SFTNB Conference Hall, Makerere University.

Theme of the Lecture: “My Inspirational Academic Track Service at Makerere University: A Case for CAES”

After 43 years of dedicated service to Makerere University, Prof. Elly N. Sabiiti, a prolific researcher and internationally recognized scholar, currently working at Busitema University–Faculty of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, retired from university service in 2021. On 2nd September 2022, Prof. Sabiiti, in company of his wife Joy Sabiiti delivered a valedictory lecture to staff at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University. The lecture organized by the Office of the Principal, CAES and held in the Conference Hall at the School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio-engineering focused on his experiences, achievements, challenges, and strategies that enabled CAES to evolve from a Faculty to one of the most celebrated Colleges at the University. He specifically spoke about his career development in terms of teaching, research, graduate supervision, leadership, resource mobilization, representation on professional bodies, and outreach services, before sharing his thoughts for CAES to grow to higher levels and excel in Agricultural and environmental Sciences.

The Principal of CAES, Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga welcomes members of staff to the lecture.
The Principal of CAES, Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga welcomes members of staff to the lecture.

Addressing members of staff, Prof. Sabiiti noted that he was happy to be delivering his Valedictory Lecture at the time Makerere University is celebrating 100 years of existence and excellence.  He appreciated Makerere University Management for providing a conducive environment and facilities that enabled him to excel to become an international professor. He equally appreciated all development partners who supported his academic journey. Having joined Makerere University in 1973 as an undergraduate student, Prof. Sabiiti rose through the ranks to become a professor in 1998. During his time at Makerere, Prof. Sabiiti served in various capacities and made enormous contribution towards the development of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) and Makerere in general. At the time of his retirement, he was serving as a Professor in the Department of Agricultural Production at CAES.

Dr. Johnbaptist Tumuhairwe, Dean School of Agricultural Sciences presenting Prof. Elly Sabiiti's profile before the Valedictory Lecture.
Dr. Johnbaptist Tumuhairwe, Dean School of Agricultural Sciences presenting Prof. Elly Sabiiti’s profile before the Valedictory Lecture.

Academic contributions

At Makerere, Prof. Sabiiti had an illustrious career. He developed and taught several undergraduate and graduate courses namely; Undergraduate – Pasture Agronomy, Plant Genetic Resources and Utilization (developed), Seed Science and Technology (developed), Forest Fire Ecology, Agricultural Botany, Ecology and Crop Practical Skills. Graduate courses developed and taught by Prof. Sabiiti included Agronomy of Grasslands, Eco-physiology (developed), Seed Science and Technology (developed), and Plant Genetic Resources and Utilization. He played a key role in the transformation of the Agricultural Husbandry Forum to a Regional Forum based at Makerere University. He established collaboration at local and global levels with various institutions such as Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, ILCA, AFRINET, ICRAF, NARO, ASARECA and this improved visibility of the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry. Prof. Sabiiti supervised 33 graduate students, 26 MSc and 7 PhDs and had over 150 publications by the time he retired. He supervised and supported several members of staff to attain doctorates and to raise through the ranks to become senior lecturers and associate professors. These include, Dr Denis Mpairwe, an Assoc. Prof and former Head, Department of Agricultural Production; Dr Justine Kasozi Nambi, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Agricultural Production; Dr C Katongole, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Agricultural Production, and Coordinator Centre for Waste Management; Dr Sylvester Katuromunda, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Agricultural Production; Dr Jeninah Karungi-Tumutegyereize, an Assoc. Prof. in the Department of Agricultural Production; Dr A. Amoding, Department of Agricultural Production; Dr W Ekere, Department of Agricultural Production (Retired); Dr. A. R. Turinawe, Department of Agribusiness and Natural Resource Economics; Dr O. Walekhwa, Department of Agribusiness and Natural Resource Economics (Deceased); Dr Okello, Senior Lecturer, CoVAB; Dr H. Kato, Associate Professor, Kyambogo University; and Dr S. Mugasi, ED, NAADS.

Prof. Elly N. Sabiiti delivering the Valedictory Lecture.
Prof. Elly N. Sabiiti delivering the Valedictory Lecture.

Curriculum Expansion

As Dean Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, Prof. Sabiiti was instrumental in the review and expansion of academic programmes at CAES.  “There used to be one MSc in Agriculture with options but these would not be reflected on the degree certificate so we revised the old curriculum and proposed specialized MSc degrees of the various options, MSc Crop Science, MSc Soil Sciences, MSc Animal Science, and MSc Agricultural extension and this increased post graduate numbers. I led the development of a highly popular program –Masters in Agribusiness Management that combined science courses with agricultural economics to produce agribusiness entrepreneurs and make agriculture a rewarding business. We also revised the undergraduate degree programme from three: Bsc Agriculture, BSc Food Science and Technology and BSc Agricultural Engineering to over 10 programs,” he noted. “By the time I handed over to the next Dean, Prof. Matete Bekunda in 2003, the Faculty was leading in Academic programmes, significant financial research funds, several publications, and staff with PhD as well as MSc.”

CAES staff attending the lecture.
CAES staff attending the lecture.

Administrative roles

Administratively, Prof. Sabiiti held several leadership positions spanning a period of nine years, 1993-2003. He served as Head, Department of Crop Sciences, and Dean – Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry (November 1994-2003). Recounting his experience, Prof. Sabiiti said it was during his period as Dean that the Faculty had unprecedented growth in terms of Infrastructural development – the evolution of two Faculties and a Research Institute, and academic programs (under /postgraduate programs). In 1998, the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry split to two Faculties, Faculty of Agriculture and Faculty of Forestry and Nature Conservation. With NORAD support, a building/home was constructed to house the Faculty of Forestry and Nature Conservation. Kabanyolo University Farm also through a vigorous process was upgraded to Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyoro (MUARIK). “With good collaboration with NARO, the Faculty benefited from World Bank funding for five years and the Continuing Agricultural Education Centre (CAEC) was constructed as well as a postgraduate building mainly for girls. Using some innovations, a football field was constructed at MUARIK. With this funding, several staff got further training for Masters and PhD and short courses thus building capacity,” he noted. With savings from overhead costs from research and donor-funded projects, the then faculty was able to purchase for the first time a Leyland bus which is still functional-over 24 years), a small Tata bus, a tractor, a car for the Deputy Dean and restored Fish ponds at MUARIK. The other major purchase was about 100acres of land at Namalyagonja bordering MUARIK land. This was to be used for income generation from crop production, especially growing maize. According to Prof. Sabiiti, the idea behind purchasing more land was to prepare for the future plan to have a College and eventually an Agricultural University.

The Principal of CAES presents an award to Prof. Sabiiti in recognition of his distinguished service to Makerere.
The Principal of CAES presents an award to Prof. Sabiiti in recognition of his distinguished service to Makerere.

Other important contributions to the University

Prof. Sabiiti represented the Faculty of Agriculture in Senate. He also Coordinated the SIDA program he had initiated in 1999 to build PhD capacity for staff, improve lab equipment and enhance collaboration with Swedish Universities which was about 2m US$ for 15 years, and the Dryland husbandry Project based in Kazo, about US$850,000. He also served on Boards such NAADS, NEMA UNEB, UISTF /committees–I@Mak, where he had been appointed in his professional capacity. “The SIDA funding is one of my celebrated contributions to the College where we trained in joint collaboration with the Swedish University of Agriculture and produced 9 PhD staff, several MSc staff and also supplemented two staff to finish their PhDs (Drs Katuromunda and Obaa). ”While in Senate, Prof. Sabiiti   participated in the formation of the Collegiate system at Makerere University. He also defended the approval for the establishment of the Agrostudies program between CAES and Israel Institute funded by the Israeli Government which has become very popular at Makerere and at other Ugandan Universities. He served as Chair for Professorial Inaugural Lectures for 14 years. He initiated collaboration between the University of Western Sydney, Australia and Makerere University 1995 todate where one PhD from CAES was sponsored by that University and she graduated this year in May 2022.  He spearheaded the establishment of the first Makerere University Centre of Excellence in Waste Management at MUARIK which was commissioned by the Swedish Ambassador to Uganda in 2017. It has state-of-the-art equipment for bio-waste research. The Centre was also supported by Edmonton Centre of excellence in Waste management, Edmonton, Canada, Bank of Uganda, Makerere University top management and CAES.

CAES Principal presents a souvenir to Prof. Sabiiti. On the Left is Mrs. Joy Sabiiti.
CAES Principal presents a souvenir to Prof. Sabiiti. On the Left is Mrs. Joy Sabiiti.

Recognition Awards based on performance as an Academician and administrator

While in service, Prof. Sabiiti received several awards, locally and internationally in recognition of his excellent performance. These include;

  1. Makerere University Appreciation Award by the Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe in recognition of his distinguished and dedicated service to Makerere University, specifically for the leadership and devotion as Chairperson for the Professorial Inaugural Lectures Organizing Committee 2007-2021.
  2. Was awarded the highest National award for Civilians as a Hero – Independence Golden Jubilee Medal by H.E. the President of the Republic of Uganda for his outstanding contribution in research, teaching, outreach, institutional building and administration and his loyalty to the Nation – 26th January 2017.
  3. Appointed by the Board of Directors of the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) as the 1st President of ASARECA General Assembly, December 2011 because of his outstanding contributions in agricultural research and served for two years.
  4. Recognized by Makerere University in April 2015 for coordinating very successful research collaboration with SIDA financial support 2000-2015.
  5. Winner of the Presidential Excellence award for Science, technology Education Excellence 2008 for outstanding contribution in the understanding of ecological dynamics of rangeland /grasslands and institutional development.
  6. Winner of the Makerere University Vice Chancellor’s Innovations and Academic Excellence Award 2007/2008 for transforming the living conditions of Pastoral communities in Kazo rangelands.
  7. Received a Certificate of Recognition from Bishop Stuart University, Mbarara for his  outstanding and dedicated services to the University as its pioneer Chairperson of Council 2003-2018.
  8. Received recognition (FELLOW) of the Uganda National Academy of Sciences (UNAS) for exemplary contribution to science and technology, 2004.
  9. Received Recognition Award from the Faculty of Agriculture, Makerere University for having contributed significantly to the establishment of the Continuing Agricultural Education Centre (CAEC) in 2001.
  10. Was awarded a golden plaque by the Faculty of Agriculture – Makerere University, in recognition of his outstanding leadership as Dean 1994 – 2003.
Retired member of staff, Prof. John Steven Tenywa receiving an award from the Principal CAES. On the Left is the Deputy Principal, Prof. Yazidhi Bamutaze.
Retired member of staff, Prof. John Steven Tenywa receiving an award from the Principal CAES. On the Left is the Deputy Principal, Prof. Yazidhi Bamutaze.

Regional Recognition

  1. Elected Vice President, African Academy of Sciences based in Nairobi 2019 todate.
  2. Recognized Fellow in 2007 of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) based in Nairobi, Kenya for his outstanding scientific contribution in agronomy and Ecology.
  3. Received recognition award for Distinguished Service as Chairman of the National Steering Committee and National Coordinator of the Dryland Husbandry Project, Uganda from 1995-2003 from the Organization for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA), July 2004.
Prof. Theodora Shuwu Hyuha receiving an award from the Principal CAES. Prof. Hyuha retired from University service this year - 2022.
Prof. Theodora Shuwu Hyuha receiving an award from the Principal CAES. Prof. Hyuha retired from University service this year – 2022.

International Awards

  1. Won the prestigious Fulbright Fellowship for Senior African Scholars 2005/16 offered by USA Department of State and was implemented at the Ohio State University and became a Fulbright Scholar 2016 to-date.
  2. Elected a Fellow by the Governing Council of the Academy into The Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) 2001.
  3. Received recognition award for extraordinary service to the Inter Academy Council as a Member of the Panel on Science and Technology Strategies for Improving Agricultura Productivity and food Security in Africa from the Board of Inter Academy Council, The Netherlands, 27th August 2004.
  4. Appointed a TWAS Research Professor in Dec 2006 for five years by the Academy of Sciences for the developing World (TWAS) Secretariat based in Trieste, Italy and was hosted by the National University of Rwanda.
Prof. Nabasirye Margaret receiving her award from the Principal, CAES.
Prof. Nabasirye Margaret receiving her award from the Principal, CAES.

Extra Curricula Activities

  1. Served on Busitema University Council from 2015-2021 and also Chaired Student Affairs and Disciplinary Committee and Appointments Board.
  2. Appointed twice by Makerere University as Orator and presented citation for H.E. Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Kaguta Museveni for recognition of his contribution to education, agriculture, fight against HIV/Aids and was awarded D Laws (H.causa) 2019, and for the Distinguished Authorship Award for writing a dictionary-Katondoozi in local language – presented  to H.E. in 2020.
  3. Appointed member of the Board of Trustees of the Uganda Independence Scholarships Trust Fund March 1999 to date. This is a Presidential Appointment.
  4. Appointed Director on the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) board by the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, 2002 to 2008.
  5. Appointed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Sports to serve as Chairman of the Curriculum Subcommittee for the Agricultural Colleges in 2000 that reviewed the curriculum and recommended a two-year Diploma instead of three years.
  6. Appointed by the Chancellor of Bishop Stuart University, Mbarara as the first Chairman to its Council, June 2003 to date.
  7. Served as Chairman of the Agribusiness Advisory Committee between the Faculty of Agriculture and the Private Sector in Uganda to monitor a new Masters degree program in Agribusiness Management (1999- 2003).
  8. Appointed by OSSREA as the National Co-coordinator, Dryland Husbandry Project funded by SIDA. The Faculties of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine and MAAIF and NARO implemented the project from 1996 –2003.
  9. Appointed by the Vice-Chancellor, Makerere University to the MU/Government Committee of 14 that prepared a document on Human Capacity building for decentralization supported by the Rockefeller Foundation in 1999/2000. The project attracted about US$17M from the Rockefeller Foundation, World Bank and Government of Uganda. The implementation committee became  I@Mak.com – Innovations at Makerere Committee.
  10. Appointed by Ministry of Education and Sports as member of the Joint Commission for setting up the University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences 1995-2002. The university has been established and is called Gulu University. He was also chairman of the Curriculum Committee that worked out the academic faculties and programs.
  11. Appointed member Taskforce for setting up Agricultural University in the North, by the Prime Minister of Uganda, 1994.
  12.  Elected the first President of the newly formed Association of Uganda Professional Agriculturalists (ASUPA) 2002.
  13. Appointed board member of the Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) by the Minister of Education and Sports, 2002 to 2005 and was reappointed on the Board from 2006-2009.
  14. Member of the Management Committee of the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) 1995-2003.
  15. Member of the National Forum on the Plan for Modernization of Agriculture 1996-2003.
  16. Member of the National Steering Committee for the Plan for Modernization of Agriculture1996-2003.
  17. Appointed by Ministry of Agriculture to be Member of the National Steering Committee to Combat Desertification in Uganda, 1997 to 2010.
  18. National Coordinator, Plant Genetic Resources Coordinating Committee, 1992 -1997.
Retired members of staff after receiving their awards in recognition of their service to Makerere.
Retired members of staff after receiving their awards in recognition of their service to Makerere.

Prof. Sabiiti’s advice to members of staff

  • While in service, work for the good of the institution and the good of others and you will be rewarded.  “As a Professor at Makerere, I had purpose to build human capital. As a Lecturer, you should always have purpose as to why you are teaching and supervising. I came to Makerere to teach and build others. Learn to sacrifice for the good of others.”
  • Mentoring means being able to offer a helping hand to a fallen person or a person struggling with unseen challenges and you do it willingly without expecting rewards from that person. Your expectations from that person is to be a better person.
  • Makerere gives you the best environment to grow academically if you want to grow. Learn to love the institution and you will excel in whatever you do.
  • To the academic leaders, there is need to balance administration and academics. If you don’t, you will be lost when you leave administration.
A retired member of staff receiving an award from the Principal CAES. On the Left is the Deputy Principal, Prof. Yazidhi Bamutaze.
A retired member of staff receiving an award from the Principal CAES. On the Left is the Deputy Principal, Prof. Yazidhi Bamutaze.

Prof. Sabiiti’s thoughts on the future of CAES

Prof. Sabiiti implored staff to remain united with a common vision for the College. “Focus on growing CAES into a University of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences. Looking back, CAES has had steady developmental phases initially from the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry to a College status and this has been possible through dedicated service of the various leaders and staff. This practice should be further deepened to turn CAES into a much bigger Institution with more Departments, Schools, Centers, Institutes that fit in the NDPIII and Uganda Vision of 2040. You have a very good Strategic Plan 2020-2030 which should now be regularly revised to focus on what you want to achieve. Use the capacity you have on ground to drive your Strategic Plan. You should all remain united with a common vision championed by your leaders if you want to attain higher levels of development.”

One of the retirees, Prof. Bareeba Felix after receiving an award in recognition of his service to Makerere University.
One of the retirees, Prof. Bareeba Felix after receiving an award in recognition of his service to Makerere University.

Appreciation

Prof. Sabiiti appreciated the Principal of CAES, Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga for inviting him to deliver his valedictory lecture, and the Deputy Principal, Prof. Yazhidi Bamutaze for coordinating the program.

Prof. Sabiiti with the Principal CAES, the Deputy Principal, Makerere University Senior Public Relations Officer, Ms Ritah Namisango and some of the retirees.
Prof. Sabiiti with the Principal CAES, the Deputy Principal, Makerere University Senior Public Relations Officer, Ms Ritah Namisango and some of the retirees.

Recognition of retired staff

During the event, the Principal, CAES presented an award to Prof. Sabiiti in recognition of his distinguished service to Makerere University. The Principal, together with the Deputy Principal also presented appreciation awards to other retired members of staff in recognition of their service to Makerere. These included; Prof. Bareeba Felix, Prof. Tenywa Moses, Prof. Hyuha Theodora, Prof. Ssembajjwe Gombya, Prof. William Kyamuhangire, Prof. Nabasirye Margaret, Prof. Mutetikka David, Prof. Tenywa John Stephen, Dr Matsiko Francis, Dr Okiror John James, Dr Nagadya Harriet, Dr Christine Magala Nyago, Dr Michael Iwadra, Ms. Nanziri Sarah, Ms. Kawooya Teddy Mary, Mr. Eugene Manda, Mr. Tibakuzira Arnest, Mr. Emmanuel Nabyama, Ms. Toepista Namayanja, Everst Emuron, and Ms. Benny Kaitesi.

Some of the members of staff who attended the Valedictory Lecture.
Some of the members of staff who attended the Valedictory Lecture.

The Principal appreciated Prof. Elly Sabiiti and the other retirees for serving Makerere with utmost diligence. “It’s because of their sacrifices that CAES has grown and excelled in many aspects,” she noted.

The Valedictory Lecture was moderated by Dr Patrick Byakagaba, a member of staff at CAES.

Retirees join the Principal and Deputy Principal CAES to cut cake in celebration of their service to Makerere.
Retirees join the Principal and Deputy Principal CAES to cut cake in celebration of their service to Makerere.

Full presentation attached below.

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Agriculture & Environment

Researchers Recommend System Dynamics Approach in the Management of Wetlands

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Participants in a group photo with the project team and the Deputy Principal of CAES, Prof. Yazhidi Bamutaze (5th L) on 24th August 2022, Kampala Uganda.

Wetlands provide goods and services like water and fish as well as water purification and flood mitigation. However, they are used unsustainably leading to degradation. The search for fertile soils and water for animals and agricultural use, as well as papyrus for commercial purposes has heightened degradation. According to a study conducted by researchers from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University and Michigan State University, food and economic security are the main drivers of encroachment and the main activities carried out within the wetland are farming (40%), vegetation harvesting (25%) and fishing (24%).  Although a number of interventions have been made to protect wetlands, encroachment persists. To minimize the challenge, it is important for all stakeholders to understand the structure of the wetland system and its linkage with livelihood activities.

The Principal Investigator, Dr. Ellen Kayendeke briefs participants about the project.
The Principal Investigator, Dr. Ellen Kayendeke briefs participants about the project.

Through a project titled, “Participatory Modelling for Livelihood Security and Ecological Integrity in a Ugandan Wetland-Agricultural System”, the researchers led by Dr Ellen Kayendeke from the Department of Environmental Management, CAES, and Prof. Laura Schmitt Olabisi from Michigan State University conducted a survey among wetland users on the drivers of wetland degradation and how this impacts ecosystem services.  The overall objectives of the project were; i) to generate information about the causal links and feedback mechanisms between wetland management and livelihood activities, and ii) to create an improved and shared understanding of the wetland-agricultural system structure among the stakeholders. Other members on the project included Prof. Frank Kansiime from the Department of Environmental Management; and Prof. David Mfitumukiza from the Department of Geography, Geo-informatics and Climatic Sciences, CAES, Makerere University.

Prof. Laura Schmitt Olabisi from Michigan State University sensitizing participants on systems thinking.
Prof. Laura Schmitt Olabisi from Michigan State University sensitizing participants on systems thinking.

According to the research findings, wetland degradation impacts long-term agricultural productivity, which then perpetuates a cycle of food insecurity and poverty. The short term effects of encroachment include reduction in wetland flora and fauna, and reduced ability to supplement food needs. The long term effects include reduction in soil fertility and low yields.

Prof. Laura Schmitt Olabisi sensitizing participants on systems thinking and causal loop diagram methodology at the workshop.
Prof. Laura Schmitt Olabisi sensitizing participants on systems thinking and causal loop diagram methodology at the workshop.

Disseminating their findings to stakeholders on 24th August 2022, the researchers noted that wetland users are aware of the impact of degradation on ecosystem services, but continue to encroach on wetlands. The encroachers claim they cannot vacate the wetlands because of a lack of alternative livelihoods. The researchers advise that efforts to regulate wetland use and educate stakeholders on wise use of wetlands should be complemented with support of alternative livelihoods.

Participants at the research dissemination workshop.
Participants at the research dissemination workshop.

Using a system dynamics approach, the researchers generated visual representations (Causal Loop Diagrams) to illustrate the structure and feedback loops of the wetland-agricultural system in Uganda, with a case study of Naigombwa wetland in Iganga District. According to Prof. Laura Schmitt Olabisi, System Thinking is key when dealing with environmental management given the interconnection between different actors.  

Participants in group discussions about the causes of wetland degradation and the Causal Loop Diagram methodology.
Participants in group discussions about the causes of wetland degradation and the Causal Loop Diagram methodology.

During the research dissemination workshop held at Fairway Hotel in Kampala, the project team sensitized participants on System Dynamics (SD) and Causal Loop Diagram (CLD) methodology and its application to natural resources management. The workshop also served as a platform to validate the CLD of Iganga wetland-agricultural system, and to discuss potential policy measures for effective wetland management.

Participants in group discussions.
Participants in group discussions.

The meeting was attended by the Commissioners, Wetlands Management and Capacity development at the Ministry of Water and Environment; as well as representatives from the National Environment Management Authority; Iganga District Local government; CAES; Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF); Institute of Environment and Natural Resources (SIENR), Uganda National Association of Community and Occupational Health (UNACOH), GIZ, the media, and a representative of rice farmers in Iganga District.

Dr. Kayendeke sensitizing participants on the Causal Loop Diagram methodology.
Dr. Kayendeke sensitizing participants on the Causal Loop Diagram methodology.

The workshop was graced by the Deputy Principal of CAES, Prof. Yazidhi Bamutaze, and the Head, Department of Environmental Management at CAES, Prof. Justine Namaalwa.

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Agriculture & Environment

CAES Innovation Scholars Programme Boosts Critical Thinking, Innovativeness amongst Staff & Students

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Participants in a group photo with the Deputy Director USAID Mission (6th L), the Deputy DVCFA, Prof. Henry Alinaitwe (3rd L) and the Principal of CAES, Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga (5th L) during the workshop held 10th to 11th August 2022 in the Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University.

Inadequate curricula to stimulate innovativeness and entrepreneurship within learners and faculty and limited partnerships and collaborations are some of the major bottlenecks to innovativeness at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University.  The current programme design, sequencing and delivery inhibits critical thinking and innovation as it focuses more on theory than practice. Reviewing curricula to make it more learner-centered and entrepreneurial, reducing theory and creating more time for practical sessions can enhance the innovation culture at CAES.

The Principal of CAES also head of the CAES-ISP programme, Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga addressing participants at the workshop.
The Principal of CAES also head of the CAES-ISP programme, Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga addressing participants at the workshop.

Through the Innovation Scholars Programme, CAES and Michigan State University’s Borlaug Higher Education for Agricultural Research and Development (BHEARD) Program with the support of the MSU’s Global Centre for Food Systems Innovation (GCFSI) are working together to advance the College toward its strategic vision – “to be a leading institution of academic excellence and innovations in Africa.” The CAES Innovation Scholars Programme (CAESISP) offers an eighteen-month opportunity during which CAES academic staff work as interdisciplinary teams to solve problems in the food systems in Africa, while at the same time offering support to the entire CAES academic fraternity in the areas of design thinking, teaching and learning, community outreach, and communicating science.The CAESISP serves as a catalyst to support food system innovations that improve food security, and develop the current and next generation of entrepreneurial scientists at Makerere University and in the region. The programme is modelled after a successful, field-tested faculty development programme implemented at the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) and the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) —yet tailored for innovation and contextual challenges at Makerere University. The core values of the CAESISP include: participatory, asset-based, learner-centered, contextualized, and evaluative.

The DVC-FA, Makerere University, Prof. Henry Alinaitwe represented the Vice Chancellor at the workshop.
The DVC-FA, Makerere University, Prof. Henry Alinaitwe represented the Vice Chancellor at the workshop.

Under the programme, a number of academic staff at CAES have been coached to enhance their innovativeness to provide practical solutions to challenges affecting the agricultural sector. The researchers have also been equipped with various skills to deliver curricula that is practical-oriented and fosters critical thinking as well as entrepreneurship. At Makerere University, the Programme is headed by the Principal of CAES, Prof. Gorettie N. Nabanoga, and coordinated by Prof. Jackie Bonabana – Wabbi from the Department of Agribusiness and Natural Resource Economics (DANRE), CAES. The Michigan State University Coordinator is Dr John Bonnell, BHEARD Director.

Some of the participants following the proceedings.
Some of the participants following the proceedings.

In the second week of August 2022, the College held a two-day workshop under the theme – “University Responsiveness to Innovation” to showcase some of the innovations that have resulted from the programme. The event held at Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility from 10th-11th August 2022 was graced by the Deputy USAID Mission Director in Uganda, Daniele Nyirandutiye and the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University represented by the Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration, Prof. Henry Alinaitwe. Innovations showcased included the Kebera Organic App intended to detect contaminants in crops before they are put on market. The researchers also developed a tailor-made pasteurizer and fruit pulper for the Medium, Small & Micro Enterprises in the Food Processing Industry; and a Guide for Learner-Centered Processes at the Department of Environmental Management –CAES. They also developed two different audio-visual instruction materials for instructors and students to enhance e-learning at Makerere University; engaged various stakeholders to address challenges of poor seed quality in the horticulture industry; benchmarked approaches for improved delivery of Hands-on Practical Experiences for Business Management Courses at CAES, Makerere University; deployed a problem solving-centered teaching and learning approach using the Teach-Think-Pair-Share model for increased skilling among Agricultural students; and  programmed a software platform with a matching algorithm to cross-reference student abilities with company profiles.

Participants showcasing some of their innovations at the workshop.
Participants showcasing some of their innovations at the workshop.

Research projects and innovations showcased

1. Breaking barriers to global organic market access through research and innovations at Makerere University

Organic Agriculture (OA) is a rapidly growing sector due to health concerns by consumers. Globally, Uganda is only second to India in terms of the number of organic producers (210,000 VS 1,366,000). Uganda was the first African country to develop a National Organic Agriculture policy-supporting environment in 2019. Despite an annual global organic market worth $100 billion USD, annual organic exports from Uganda only account for $50 million USD of the totaI. Limited knowledge and high transaction costs in OA are some of the major bottlenecks to market access. Agricultural products from Uganda are usually rejected in international markets due to standard challenges. 45% of organic products in Uganda are reportedly contaminated and this poses a danger to health. To minimize the challenge, researchers led by Prof. Fred Kabi from the Department of Agricultural Production, CAES developed an App that detects pesticides and aflatoxins in organic foods. The  Kebera Organic App was designed by a group of researchers from CAES, the College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS) and the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) namely; by Mr. Ramadhan Nkuutu, Mr. Ambrose Kamya, Ms. Fatuma Nabatanzi, Dr. Daniel Basalirwa, Mr. Ronald Walumbusi and Mr. Brian Ogenrwoth. The App has been validated against globally recognised tools and proved suitable for field use and complies with the Food Safety Standards set by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).

Prof. Fred Kabi's team explaining how the Kebera Organic App detects contaminants in food.
Prof. Fred Kabi’s team explaining how the Kebera Organic App detects contaminants in food.

2. Developing Innovative Technology for the Medium, Small & Micro Enterprises (MSMEs) in the Food Processing Industry

A team of researchers led by Dr Julia Kigozi and coached by Dr Amy Jamison investigated the challenges faced by MSMEs Agro Processors in accessing pulping and pasteurizing equipment and discovered that many processors had limited access to the equipment due to the costs involved. To minimize the challenge, and increase access to the equipment, the team developed a tailor-made Pasteurizer and Fruit Pulper adapted according to end-user operational capacity, financial resources and available energy source, and composed manuals on the use and maintenance of the equipment. They also developed capacity among the agro-processors to design, simulate, fabricate and test the equipment. Other members on the project included; Mr. Moses Kalyango, Mr. Emmanuel Baidhe, and Mr. Isaac Oluk.

CAES-ISP Coordinator, Prof. Jackie Bonabana - Wabbi (L) and Michigan State University Coordinator Dr John Bonnell, BHEARD Director at the workshop.
CAES-ISP Coordinator, Prof. Jackie Bonabana – Wabbi (L) and Michigan State University Coordinator Dr John Bonnell, BHEARD Director at the workshop.

3. Learner-Centered Training in Environmental Science & Management

Strategic Goal No.2 of the Makerere University Strategic Plan 2020-2030 commits to Innovations in Teaching and Learning. The system has mainly been teacher-centred as opposed to learner-centred undermining practical training, critical thinking and innovativeness. Under the project, Prof. Justine Namaalwa and other team members namely: Prof. Anthony Egeru, Dr. Patrick Byakagaba, Dr. Kenneth Balikoowa, Dr. Ellen Kayendeke, Dr. Fred Yikii and Mr. Antonny Tugaineyo developed a Guide for Learner-Centered Processes at the Department of Environmental Management to support practical training and enhance innovativeness. The team worked in collaboration with Dr. Betty Ezati from the College of Education and External Studies, Makerere University; Dr. Jerome Lugumira from NEMA; Dr. Simon Nampindo from WCS; and Ms. Emily Namanya from Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA).

Prof. Justine Namalwa and team developed a Guide for Learner-Centered Processes at the Department of Environmental Management to support practical training and enhance innovativeness.
Prof. Justine Namalwa and team developed a Guide for Learner-Centered Processes at the Department of Environmental Management to support practical training and enhance innovativeness.

4. Capacity Enhancement for E-learning at Makerere University

Much as Makerere University E-Learning Environment (MUELE), is a common platform used for E-learning at Makerere University, both students and instructors lack the necessary skills to use the platform for learning and teaching because they have not been adequately trained. To enhance capacity for e-learning at the University, researchers led by Prof. Nelson Turyahabwe and coached by Dr. T.R. Silberg developed prototypes of audio-visual instructional materials to train instructors and students on how to access and navigate the MUELE platform for interactive teaching and learning. Other members on the team included Dr. G. Karubanga, Dr.  H. Nabushawo, Ms. R. Mukebezi, Mr. I. Mugabiirwe.

Prof. Fred Kabi et al developed the Kebera Organic App to detect contaminants in food crops before being put on to the market.
Prof. Fred Kabi et al developed the Kebera Organic App to detect contaminants in food crops before being put on to the market.

5. Engaging Stakeholders and Policy to Address Challenges in Seed Quality in the Horticulture Industry of Uganda: A Case of Tomato and Pepper

The Horticulture sector relies heavily on seed from the informal sector that is often of low quality and spreads disease. 40% of seed on market is counterfeit.The National Seed Policy (2018) that would contribute to addressing the challenge is not fully operational. There is also inadequate human capacity to conduct snowball efforts for improving seed quality in the horticulture industry. In a bid to increase access to quality seed in the Horticulture Industry in Uganda, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University through the Innovation Scholars Program (ISP) has engaged different stakeholders in the country to address the challenges in seed quality. Through a project titled, “Engaging Stakeholders and Policy to Address Challenges in Seed Quality in the Horticulture Industry of Uganda: A Case of Tomato and Pepper”, researchers led by Dr. Jeninah Karungi-Tumutegyereize, an Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural Production at CAES, Makerere University seek to enhance the quantity and quality of horticultural crops produce, and to strategically position CAES in agricultural development in the country.  Other members on the project are; Prof. Samuel Kyamanywa, and Dr. Mildred Ochwo Ssemakula from the Department of Agricultural Production, Makerere University; Dr. Gabriel Ddamulira (Head, Horticulture Programme, National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI); Mr. Moses Erongu from the Department of Crop Inspection and Certification at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries; and Mr. Daniel Kituzi, a farmer and entrepreneur. Team coach was Prof. Andrew Safalaoh. Ideas put forward by stakeholders were compiled and synthesized.A policy brief has been developed as a key output.

Prof. Jeninah Karungi-Tumutegyereize is leading a team of reseachers working to address challenges of poor seed quality in the horticulture industry.
Prof. Jeninah Karungi-Tumutegyereize is leading a team of reseachers working to address challenges of poor seed quality in the horticulture industry.

6. Benchmarking Approaches for Improved Delivery of Hands-on Practical Experiences for Business Management Courses at CAES, Makerere University

A team of researchers led by Dr. Alice Turinawe and coached by Dr. Sera Gondwe conducted investigations on topics that can be focused on to improve the delivery of more practical-oriented teaching. The team interviewed students, graduates and their employees to determine key topics that require more hands-on training. The team identified insufficient hands-on and practical exposure for entrepreneurship and marketing students, as well as limited experience and interaction with the world outside the study environment as some of the challenges undermining the performance of graduates. The team also established that potential employers and business partners expect soft skills from students.In a bid to produce better-equipped graduates, ready for life after school, the team strongly advocates for practical, hands-on skilling, as well as stronger connections between the university, private and public sectors.Other members of the team included Dr. Stephen Lwasa, Dr. Paul Aseete, Dr. Peter Walekhwa & Ms. Ahikiriza Elizabet.

Prof. Justine Namalwa showcasing her team's innovation during the workshop.
Prof. Justine Namalwa showcasing her team’s innovation during the workshop.

7. Deployment of a problem solving-centered teaching and learning approach using the Teach-Think-Pair-Share model for increased skilling among Agricultural students

Student lack full exposure to field problems for innovative learning and entrepreneurship. There is lack of a robust teaching and learning model that responds to the changing global needs in terms of innovativeness for entrepreneurship among students. Change in the style of delivery of lectures with inclusion of the Teach, Think, Pair, Share Model in new course descriptions is a possible solution for enhancing skills amongst students. The students are keen to learn with the model but they emphasize field practicals with progressive agribusiness entrepreneurship. Researchers including Dr Patrick Musinguzi (Team Leader), Dr Twaha A. Basamba, and Dr Emmanuel Opolot call for the novel Teach-Think-Pair-Share model of teaching and learning to be incorporated in the curriculum review process for agricultural based programmes. Funding to test the model with field-based practical support for students is critical to understand the novel teaching and learning approach.

Dr. Julia Kigozi and team developed a tailor-made Pasteurizer and Fruit Pulper adapted according to end-user operational capacity, financial resources and available energy source to support agro-processors.
Dr. Julia Kigozi and team developed a tailor-made Pasteurizer and Fruit Pulper adapted according to end-user operational capacity, financial resources and available energy source to support agro-processors.

8. Strengthening The Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering’s Industrial Training to Improve Students’ Innovativeness and Entrepreneurial Ability

Industries where students intern complain that they gain no tangible benefits from industrial training programmes. The students also complain that they are not motivated to be creative since they are forced to train in industries that do not match their strengths and/or interests.A solution that curates data on students’ strengths, abilities, interests and preferences and then proposing matching organizations ideal for their internship training comes in handy.Proper matching of students to industries increases their innovativeness.To match students’ desires with industry needs, researchers led by Dr Allan John Komakech and coached by Dr N. Peter Reeves developed a software platform programmed with a matching algorithm to cross-reference student abilities with company profiles. The platform will be tested with students and industries relevant to DABE and scaled to CAES.

Dr. Alice Turinawe et al benchmarked approaches for improved delivery of hands-on practical experiences for Business Management courses at CAES.
Dr. Alice Turinawe et al benchmarked approaches for improved delivery of hands-on practical experiences for Business Management courses at CAES.

Remarks by the representative USAID

In her remarks, the Deputy Director USAID Mission in Uganda, Daniele Nyirandutiye commended the incredible innovations resulting from the CAESISP noting that they will play an essential role in addressing current and future food security challenges, and serve as a catalyst to spur more critical research and innovations at the University. “The CAESISP has greatly supported staff and students define better career paths and has strengthened the innovation culture at CAES,” she noted.Appreciating Michigan State University’s Borlaug Higher Education for Agricultural Research and Development (BHEARD) for supporting quality research, collaboration, outreach and capacity building in Uganda, she said the skills acquired by the scholars would greatly enhance the University’s capacity to influence policy. “Uganda’s ability to deal with food insecurity rests in our ability to drive innovations and adopt new technologies. Academic institutions play an essential role in the global agriculture market space. Collectively we can use our mind power to solve challenges of global food insecurity,” she said, calling upon all stakeholders to expand, sustain and nurture the programme beyond its life.

Dr. Patrick Musinguzi called for the novel Teach-Think-Pair-Share model of teaching and learning to be incorporated in the curriculum review process for agricultural based programmes.
Dr. Patrick Musinguzi called for the novel Teach-Think-Pair-Share model of teaching and learning to be incorporated in the curriculum review process for agricultural based programmes.

Remarks by the DVC/FA

On behalf of the Vice Chancellor, Makerere University, the Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor, Finance and Administration, Prof. Henry Alinaitwe appreciated USAID for tirelessly supporting Makerere University’s efforts towards becoming a research-led University.  Over the years, USAID has partnered with and supported various programmes at Makerere. Specific to CAES, USAID through BHEARD supported 5 PhDs and 2 MA students between 2012-2016 to study in Universities in the US. The students participated in top level programmes focusing on Agriculture and nutrition. Between 2015-2019, USAID supported the development of a regional PhD in Agriculture and Applied Economics at the Department of Agribusiness and Natural Resource Economics, CAES. They also supported training of three PhD students in Agricultural Research and Policy Analysis. Emphasizing the central role of CAES in transforming the agricultural sector in the country and highlighting challenges posed by the growing population, Prof. Alinaitwe implored academics at the College to continue venturing into innovations that can address problems of food insecurity.

Experts in a panel discussion on how to nurture innovative mindsets.
Experts in a panel discussion on how to nurture innovative mindsets.

Remarks by the Principal, CAES

Addressing participants, the Principal of CAES, Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga said the College was moving towards more experiential learning & practical orientation of students. “In a bid to produce marketable graduates, we need to re-orient the mind-sets of our students to become critical thinkers & innovative,” she noted, appreciating the support rendered by USAID through the Innovation Scholars Programme that has enabled the College to make great strides in the Innovations journey. The Principal informed participants that as part of its strategic goals, the College was targeting to establish an innovations hub specific for agricultural and environmental innovations. She expressed gratitude to the Government of Uganda for the unwavering support towards research and innovations at the University, appealing for funding specifically ring-fenced for agricultural and environmental innovations at CAES. “We committee to remain innovation intentional as we leverage the 100 years of excellence at Makerere University”.

The team led by Prof. Nelson Turyahabwe developed prototypes of audio-visual instructional materials to train instructors and students on how to navigate the MUELE platform for interactive teaching and learning.
The team led by Prof. Nelson Turyahabwe developed prototypes of audio-visual instructional materials to train instructors and students on how to navigate the MUELE platform for interactive teaching and learning.

Panel discussion on nurturing innovative mind-sets

Sharing ideas on how to nurture innovative mind-sets, a panel of experts including Mr Apollo Segawa, Executive Director, CURAD Uganda; Mr. Benjamin Gyan-Kesse, Executive Director, Kosmos Innovation Centre – Ghana; Ms Freda Yawson, Entrepreneur and Senior Manager for Infrastructure and Innovation at the Africa Centre for Innovation in Ghana emphasized the need to be intentional about nurturing business mind-sets amongst students. “Every course should have an entrepreneurship unit. There is need to give more time to special projects,” they advised.They also emphasized the need to be intentional about developing a strong media policy on innovations, and  to create models of intellectual property in context with the African Continent, as a way of promoting local content.

The event was moderated by Dr Patrick Byakagaba, a Lecturer at CAES.

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