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Mak-CAES BioInnovate Project Registers Significant Achievements

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Smallholder farmers in Uganda and Kenya produce a variety of fruits, traditional and exotic vegetables, spices, and herbs that have unique nutritional, nutraceutical and functional properties. However, the value derived from these crops is limited due to postharvest losses, seasonal production, limited value addition and market access problems. Developing and applying affordable food preservation technologies could reduce postharvest losses by up to 68%. Additionally, food preservation by drying not only prolongs shelf life, but it also minimizes storage, transportation and packaging costs.

About the project

In 2017, Makerere University through the Department Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) received funding under the BioInnovate Africa Programme Phase II to implement a project titled;“Adaptation and Promotion of Refractance Window Drying Technology (RWDT) for Production of High Quality Bio-products”. The RWDT uses heat to dry fruits and vegetables, while maintaining the nutritive qualities. With RWDT, liquid foods, purees or slices are dried on one side of a thin plastic film, whose other side is in close contact with hot water at temperatures below boiling point. The plastic film, usually in the form of a conveyer, is susceptible to infrared radiation, therefore allowing thermal energy to be transferred from the water to the food. Transmission of infrared radiation stops when the food is dry, and the product scraped off the conveyor. The temperature of the product remains relatively low during drying, resulting in better quality retention due to reduced moisture content and inhibited microbial growth. The heated water is recycled, further improving thermal efficiency of the system.

The Project Leader, Prof. John Muyonga disseminating the research findings and outputs
The Project Leader, Prof. John Muyonga disseminating the research findings and outputs

Project duration and objectives

The three-year project worth 750,000 USD had been scheduled to end in December 2020 but was extended to June 2021 due to the outbreak of COVID19 and the subsequent restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the pandemic. The development objective of the project was to create new business opportunities in food value addition and agro-processing equipment fabrication. The project specifically aimed to develop a heat drying technology that is affordable yet yields high quality products, even from heat sensitive materials. It also aimed to; support local fabricators to make quality Refractance Window Drying equipment suitable for use by local agro-processors; improve the quality of products, mainly fruits, vegetables and herbs on the Ugandan& Kenyan markets; minimize post-harvest losses; increase the use of locally produced food ingredients derived from fruits, vegetables and herbs; and to enhance collaboration among farmers, agro-processors, researchers and support agencies.

One of the Refractance Window Drying Technologies created.
One of the Refractance Window Drying Technologies produced.

Project activities

Working with various partners namely; Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI), TONNET Agro-engineering Company Limited, East Africa Nutraceuticals Ltd (EAN), Food and Nutrition Solutions Ltd (FONUS) and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Uganda, Makerere University implemented several activities under the project. These included designing and fabrication of low cost dryers, techo-economic evaluation of the dryers, evaluation of the refractance window dried products, assessment of the capacity of agro-processors and fabricators; training of farmers, agro-processors, and fabricators; and training of graduate students.

Another version of the Refractance Window Drying Technologies produced.
Another version of the Refractance Window Drying Technologies produced.

Project closure workshop

On 22ndMarch 2022, the research team led by Prof. John Muyonga held the project closure meeting at which they disseminated the findings and outputs. The meeting held in the School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio-Engineering Conference Hall was graced by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, the Principal CAES, Dr Gorettie N. Nabanoga, the Programme Manager of Bio-Innovate Africa Programmes, Dr Julius Ecuru, and representatives of partner institutions.

The Hybrid dryer that employs Refractance Window Drying Technology.
The Hybrid Refractance Window Drying Technology (RWDT) Developed by BioInnovate Project Team

Achievements registered under the project

Disseminating the research findings, Prof. Muyonga noted that the project had registered significant achievements.

Guided by Prof. Muyonga, the project members including; Dr Julia Kigozi (Lecturer – Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Makerere University) Dr. Peter Tumutegyereize (Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Makerere University), Mr Shaffic Ssenyimba and Mr Raymond Mutumba (both MSc Students at Makerere University), and the TONNET Agro-engineering Company Limited team designed and fabricated several low cost refractance window drying machines. Additionally, the project team optimised the refractance window drying conditions for different products including passion fruit juice, pineapples, mango puree, jackfruit puree and cowpea leaves. They also developed protocols and guidelines for use of refractance window dried fruits as ingredients in foods. Using the RWD technology, the research team has produced a number of marketable products including – dried fruit slices, dices and strips; fruit powders; bread and cake containing refractance window dried fruits; as well as fruit gummies. The team is in the process of evaluating results for refractance window and solar dried pineapple slices. The team is also evaluating results for drinks produced from mixing refractance window dried pineapple powder in water, the different yoghurts, cookies and porridge made with different proportions of refractance window dried jackfruits, and breakfast cereal containing different proportions of refractance dried pineapple.

Some of the products produced using the refractance window drying technology
Some of the products produced using the refractance window drying technology

Other achievements registered under the project included; obtaining a Certificate of Grant of Utility Model from the Uganda Registration Services Bureau patenting the Electric and Biomass Powered Refractance Window Drying Apparatus invented by the research team; training of farmers in the use of Refractance Window Drying Technology and the use of RWD products as ingredients, training of 16 fabricators, training of 6 graduate students (2 PhD & 4 M.Sc.), refurbishment of facilities at Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK); and publication of 12 articles in internationally recognized journals.

Articles published included;

(1) Adoption of the Refractance Window Drying Technology in the Drying of Fruits and Vegetables in UgandaJournal of Advances in Food Science & Technology, 1-10;

(2)Design and Evaluation of a Refractance Window Lab-scale DryerJournal of Engineering, Design and Technology;

(3) Techno-Economic Analysis of a Refractance Window Dryer Prototype Developed by Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute -Current Journal of Applied Science and Technology;

(4) Drying Behaviour and Optimization of Drying Conditions of Pineapple Puree and Slices using Refractance Window Drying TechnologyJournal of Food Science and Technology, 1-10;

(5) Optimization of Refractance Window Drying Conditions for Passion Fruit Puree;

(6) Optimization of Drying Conditions for Jackfruit Pulp using Refractance Window Drying technologyFood Science & Nutrition;

(7) Performance Analysis of An Arduino Based Calibration and Temperature Control System for a Refractance Window Dryer;

(8) Arduino based control of the Food and Water Conveyance Systems of a Refractance Window Dryer;

(9) Techno Economic Analysis of Refractance Window Drying of Fruits: A Case of Small-Medium Scale Agro Processors in Uganda;

(10) Physicochemical Properties, Sensory Acceptance and Storage Stability of Yogurt Flavoured with Refractance Window Dried Passion Fruit Powder –Asian Food Science Journal, 38-49; and

(11) Exploring the Potential of Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam), (2021) –Asian Food Science Journal. Page 97-117.

According to Prof. Muyonga, plans are underway to develop a Memorandum of Understanding between Makerere University and a private firm to oversee the utilisation of Refractance Window Drying equipment at MUARIK for commercial production of value added foods. “There are also plans to facilitate three agro-machinery companies – 2 in Uganda and 1 in Kenyato produce Refractance Window Dryers under the guidance of Makerere University and Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI). We also hope to engage development agencies to support farmer groups to procure Refractance Window Dryers,” he noted while explaining the research team’s commercialization arrangements.

Dr. Julia Kigozi explaining the design process.
Dr. Julia Kigozi explaining the design process.

Explaining the design process of the Refractance Window Dryer, Dr Julia Kigozi said the technology is mechanically simple, cheaper to purchase, energy efficient with high drying speed and low operational costs, and ensures retention of product quality. Dr Kigozi revealed that steps were being taken to promote the use of RWD technologies through Jazi Agro-processing Solutions Limited. Jazi Agro-processing Solutions Limited is a private company that specializes in food processing and doubles as a consultancy in regards to agro-processing solutions with a goal of promoting the agro-processing sector in Uganda. The company carries out training and mentoring on fundamentals necessary for the operation of agro-processing industries.

During the meeting, Mr. Raymond Mutumba shared the outreach and dissemination programmes conducted by Food and Nutrition Solution Ltd (FONUS) with regard to the Refractance Window Drying Technology.Based at the School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio-Engineering, Makerere University, FONUS provides consultancy services in the fields of food value addition, community nutrition, food handling and hygiene, post-harvest handling of foodstuffs, facilitation of farmer group learning processes and project evaluations.The main purpose of FONUS’ engagement with the project was to promote uptake of the RWD technologies among end users. This was done through a series of engagements with farmer groups, small and medium agro-processors, and processors that utilise the RWD products and ingredients in foods.

Community engagements undertaken by FONUS included a situational analysis on the potential utilization of the Refractory Window Drier Technology in food value addition, training agro-processors in the use of hybrid RWD, and training of medium and large scale agro-processors in the use of RWDT in the drying of fruits and vegetables. In addition, FONUS conducted trainings on the use of RWDT products and ingredients and flavours in foods, and assessed the marketability of RWDT products.

The Vice Chancellor, Makerere University, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe addressing participants.
The Vice Chancellor, Makerere University, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe addressing participants.

According to Mr. Mutumba, the community engagements revealed that the RWDT presented a viable solution for preservation of fruits and vegetables in Uganda. The engagements also revealed that the incubatees were more willing to adopt the technology compared to already established processors. It was also discovered that more research needs to be done in RWDT energy efficiency if the RWDT products are to have competitive process on the market. The team called for government support to increase uptake of the technology, noting that individuals and small processor groups may not easily afford it.

Addressing participants, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe appreciated SIDA for the enormous support extended towards research and training programmes at Makerere University. “The University has reached the 1,000 mark of staff with PhDs, and almost half of these have been trained under SIDA,” he noted.  In addition to other research programmes, SIDA supports the BioInnovate Africa Programme. The Vice Chancellor applauded the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at CAES for the commendable initiative aimed at improving the quality and increasing shelf life of agricultural products in Uganda. “The products produced out of this initiative can be major exports for Uganda. We need to move towards commercializing our products. We however need to improve our marketing skills,” he explained while cautioning the research team on the importance of marketing the products. He also advised researchers to make use of the Intellectual Property Management Office at the University to patent their products.

Commenting on the significance of agriculture in the development of the economy, the Vice Chancellor said the CAES has a great role to play in improving the sector. Appreciating the research output at CAES, he called on the College to take lead in the establishment of a central business incubation unit to promote research and innovation at Makerere.

In line with 2020-2030 Strategic Plan that aims to transform Makerere into a research-led University, the Vice Chancellor said it was time to do things differently. “At the moment, Makerere is a research-intensive not research-led University. We have excelled in research publications. We need to move towards churning out companies if we are to make positive impact on our economy. You can remain top on research while churning out companies,” he explained, sharing an example of the University of Istanbul that churns out 300 companies per year worth about three billion USD, and is greatly contributing to the development of the country’s economy. The Vice Chancellor echoed the need for Makerere University to make contribution towards the Parish Development Model. “We will be judged harshly if we do not do anything to liberate our people,” he said.

The Principal of CAES, Dr Gorettie N. Nabanoga delivers her remarks at the workshop.
The Principal of CAES, Dr Gorettie N. Nabanoga delivers her remarks at the workshop.

In her remarks, the Principal of CAES, Dr Gorettie N. Nabanoga appreciated SIDA and BioInnovate Africa for the support extended towards the research project. She applauded the School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio-Engineering for always writing successful projects. “Despite the small number of staff at the School, they feature prominently in resource mobilization,” she said. She commended the project implementation team for the significant outputs and strong partnerships. “The project has all that is required to be considered successful and is key to obtaining practical solutions for the agricultural sector,” she explained, noting that CAES is academically productive due to the tireless efforts of staff in different units. Commending the quality of the research outputs, Dr Nabanoga said the project would significantly address the current market needs.

Dr Abel Atukwase, Dean School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio-Engineering (SFTNB), CAES speaking at the workshop.
Dr Abel Atukwase, Dean School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio-Engineering (SFTNB), CAES speaking at the workshop.

Like the Principal, the Dean, School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio-Engineering, Dr Abel Atukwase appreciated BioInnovate Africa for the support extended to the project. He expressed gratitude to the Vice Chancellor for his unwavering supports towards programmes at CAES and the University in general. He congratulated the project team upon the worthwhile initiative.

The Head, Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Makerere University, Dr. Ivan Muzira Mukisa, acknowledged the efforts of Prof. Muyonga in promoting research and innovation at the College and University in general. “The success we continue to register is largely due to the commitment of staff. Prof. Muyonga has been a key pillar in research, teaching and mentorship of students,” he said. Highlighting the different research initiatives, including the Food Technology and Business Incubation Centre as well as FONUS, Dr Mukisa said the School had greatly provided opportunities for the processors to improve their skills.

The Head, Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (DABE), Makerere University, Dr. Ivan Muzira Mukisa, acknowledged the efforts of Prof. Muyonga in promoting research and innovation at the University.
The Head, Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (DABE), Makerere University, Dr. Ivan Muzira Mukisa, acknowledged the efforts of Prof. Muyonga in promoting research and innovation at the University.

Delivering a presentation on government-academia-private sector partnership in technology development and promotion, the Representative of the Commissioner of Small and Medium Enterprises at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Dr Steven Mbogo Kirya thanked the sponsors of the project, as well as the partnering academic institutions for the efforts towards advancing agricultural technologies. He called for continued training of the youth and women in the utilization of new technology to boost the quality of agricultural products in the country.

The Programme Manager, BioInnovate Africa, Dr Julius Ecuru acknowledged the great work done by the research team, saying the project demonstrated that it is possible for academia, industry and government to work together to move ideas to the market. He commended Makerere University for winning 8 out of the 20 projects supported under BioInnovate Africa Programme Phase II. He pledged continued support for scientists in the region.

Dr. Gaston Ampe moderated the meeting.
Dr. Gaston Ampe moderated the meeting.

The workshop was moderated by Dr Gaston Ampe from the School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio-Engineering, CAES.

About BioInnovate Africa

BioInnovate Africa is a regional innovation-driven initiative stimulating a bio-economy in eastern Africa. The initiative is supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and implemented by International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe). The initiative supports multidisciplinary teams of scientists, researchers, and innovators to co-develop and pilot innovative and economically viable bio-based ideas, interventions, and technologies. BioInnovate Africa offers grants for innovative bio-based research ideas and technologies with prospects for business and the market. While funding bio-based innovation projects remains the core activity of BioInnovate Africa, the initiative’s strategy now includes developing a knowledge-based bioeconomy in eastern Africa. This is built on the premise that collaboration at the national and regional level, and between researchers and private sector partners, is the surest way to translate scientific outputs into usable, and commercially scalable products and technologies.Current BioInnovate Africa partner countries are: Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

Mr. Raymond Mutumba presenting about FONUS engagement with the project.
Mr. Raymond Mutumba presenting about FONUS engagement with the project.

Please see Downloads below for presentations from the BioInnovate Closure Workshop

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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