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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

FoodLAND Project Research Dissemination: Nakaseke District Farmers Sensitized on Modern Agricultural Practices & Proper Nutrition

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Participants including leaders of farmer groups in Nakaseke and District officials at the training venue at Butalangu District Headquarters. Food and Local, Agricultural, and Nutritional Diversity (FoodLAND) project, Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Funded to the tune of 7 million Euros by the European Commission within the Horizon 2020 programme, research dissemination, Nakaseke District, 16th July 2024.

******Food and Local, Agricultural, and Nutritional Diversity (FoodLAND) project aims to develop, implement and validate innovative, scalable, and sustainable technologies aimed at supporting the nutrition performance of local food systems in Africa, while strengthening agro-biodiversity and food diversity as well as diversity of healthy diets.


Experiences of Nakaseke District farmers

Farmers in Nakaseke District are indebted for the support and training received from the FoodLAND Project. Although many had been engaged in the activity, they lacked knowledge and skills of modern farming. Connected to FoodLAND through VEDCO, a non-governmental and not for profit agricultural organization, the farmers have acquired skills on value addition, precision irrigation/fertigation, smart storage systems, gardening and hydroponics systems, biodegradable mulching, precision crop protection systems, precision harvesting systems and agro-ecological intensification practices.

Dr. Richard Bukenya disseminated the project findings and achievements on behalf of the PI. Food and Local, Agricultural, and Nutritional Diversity (FoodLAND) project, Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Funded to the tune of 7 million Euros by the European Commission within the Horizon 2020 programme, research dissemination, Nakaseke District, 16th July 2024.
Dr. Richard Bukenya disseminated the project findings and achievements on behalf of the PI.

According to Ms. Nakawuba Sarah, a widow and tomato farmer in Kapeeka Sub County, Nakaseke District, the knowledge acquired has enabled her to expand, and gain more profits. “I extend my gratitude to FoodLAND and the funders of the project. The knowledge acquired over time has enabled me to expand my farm and earn more money. Due to ignorance, we used to be exploited – people would buy our products cheaply because we lacked knowledge of preservation. The training on value addition has helped us learn how to preserve our products and we are now benefiting more from them. At the time my husband died, we had just a small house built on his father’s land. I am happy that with the support received from VEDCO and FoodLAND, I have bought a plot of land, built a house, and I am able to pay school fees for my children. I once again thank VEDCO and the FoodLAND. Although the FoodLAND project is ending soon, I request that they do not leave us. They should continue training us so that we further improve our skills.”

Mr. Lubowa Samuel Sunday, also a farmer in Kapeeka Sub County, Nakaseke District is equally grateful. Through FoodLAND, several farmers in Nakaseke District have acquired knowledge of climate smart agriculture. “Farming in the dry season is no longer a challenge. Our harvest has increased and we are now earning more. However we still face a number of challenges including the high cost of fertilizers and pesticides. We appeal to the project team to conduct more research on natural remedies for the challenges we are experiencing.”

Participants during one of the training sessions. Food and Local, Agricultural, and Nutritional Diversity (FoodLAND) project, Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Funded to the tune of 7 million Euros by the European Commission within the Horizon 2020 programme, research dissemination, Nakaseke District, 16th July 2024.
Participants during one of the training sessions.

Ms. Nankya Jane, a coffee and banana farmer Semuto Sub County, Nakaseke District, the irrigation skills acquired through the project have greatly improved her farm. “The place where I do my farming was so dry, and this, in many cases, affected my yields. Through VEDCO, we were taken to the Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK) where we acquired skills on proper irrigation and value addition using technologies developed by the FoodLAND Project. If I had acquired these skills when I started 7 years ago, I would be very far. My appeal is that you continue offering training to us. There is a lot more that we need to learn.”

About the FoodLAND project

Launched in 2020, the main objective of the FoodLAND project was to develop, implement and validate innovative, scalable and sustainable technologies aimed at supporting the nutrition performance of local food systems in Africa, while strengthening agro-biodiversity and food diversity as well as diversity of healthy diets.

Butalangu Town Clerk, Ms. Rashida Mutebi on behalf of the Chief Administrative Officer appreciated the project for reaching out and working with the local communities to improve their livelihoods. Food and Local, Agricultural, and Nutritional Diversity (FoodLAND) project, Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Funded to the tune of 7 million Euros by the European Commission within the Horizon 2020 programme, research dissemination, Nakaseke District, 16th July 2024.
Butalangu Town Clerk, Ms. Rashida Mutebi on behalf of the Chief Administrative Officer appreciated the project for reaching out and working with the local communities to improve their livelihoods.

Funded to the tune of 7 million euro by the European Commission within the Horizon 2020 programme, and led by Alma Mater Studiorum – University of Bologna (Italy), the project committed to developing a range of innovations for local agriculture and aquaculture development, as well as to nudging consumers towards healthier eating behaviour in six African countries: Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The project specifically aimed to empower smallholder farmers and food operators, foster nutrition responsive and sustainable agro-biodiversity, reinforce the productivity and resilience of food supply chains, and create new market opportunities at both the local and global scales, thereby encouraging the flourishing of rural communities. The project was envisaged to create a network of 14 local Food Hubs—paired with 14 separate cities in these countries—that would mobilise relevant actors in rural, urban and peri-urban communities and serve as injection points for testing and introducing the innovations. The 28 partners that comprise the FoodLAND consortium (18 of them African institutions while the other 10 are European) were expected to work together to develop, implement and validate 12 technological innovations; which include organizational and technological innovations for both vegetable and fish farming and food processing systems, together with 17 novel local food products, ranging from fresh, dried and processed vegetables and fish to composite flours and therapeutic foods.

DPMO Wandera James addressing participants. Food and Local, Agricultural, and Nutritional Diversity (FoodLAND) project, Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Funded to the tune of 7 million Euros by the European Commission within the Horizon 2020 programme, research dissemination, Nakaseke District, 16th July 2024.
DPMO Wandera James addressing participants.

In Uganda, the project was implemented in 6 districts namely; Masaka, Nakaseke, Kamuli, Lwengo, Mukono and Wakiso, and was led by Prof. John Muyonga from the Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University. Other members on the project were: Prof. Johnny Mugisha from CAES; Dr. Cassius Aruho, Dr. Puline Nakyewa, Dr. Margaret Masette, Dr. Getrude Atukunda and Dr. Justus Rutaisire from NARO; Mr. Henry Nsereko from VEDCO; and Prof. Dorothy Nakimbugwe from Nutreal.

To date, the project team in Uganda has registered a number of achievements including;

  1. New nutrient enhanced food products – Noodles containing orange fleshed sweet potatoes and biofortified beans; instant flours containing orange fleshed sweet potatoes, biofortified beans and grain amaranth; and dry eggplant. Arrangements are in place for commercialization of the technologies by SMEs.
  2. Establishment of infrastructure at MUARIK for research and training on fertigation (irrigation that supplies water together with manure) and precision irrigation.
  3. Development of technology for smart cold storage of perishable foods such as fruits and vegetables. The technology allows for remote monitoring of temperature and relative humidity.
  4. Development of technology for rodent control in stores. This technology has been shown to be effective in preventing of rodent damage to food in stores.
  5. Promotion of agro-ecological intensification – Applying ecological principles to ensure sustainable agricultural production.
  6. Testing application of bio-based packaging of food
  7. Training of 100 farmers in different production technologies.
  8. Training of 3 M.Sc.
  9. Developing of nutrition guidelines for adults and the elderly.
Mr. Baraka Price training the farmers on precision irrigation. Food and Local, Agricultural, and Nutritional Diversity (FoodLAND) project, Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Funded to the tune of 7 million Euros by the European Commission within the Horizon 2020 programme, research dissemination, Nakaseke District, 16th July 2024.
Mr. Baraka Price training the farmers on precision irrigation.

Dissemination of the project findings and achievements to farmers and district leaders in Nakaseke

On 16th July 2024, the project team held a dissemination workshop for Nakaseke District leaders and farmers to sensitize them on different aspects including the research findings and recommendations for improved farming practices. Coordinated by Ms. Josephine Kisakye, and conducted at Butalangu District Headquarters, the workshop was attended by representatives of farmer groups in Nakaseke as well as the district officials, including the CAO, DHO, DPMO and RDC. On behalf of the Project Coordinator, Dr Richard Bukenya, also a member of staff in the Department of Food Technology and Nutrition briefed the farmers on the findings of the project, highlighting the project objectives and progress made thus far, including the technologies, novel raw materials, ingredients and food products developed.  Under the project, a number of technologies for smart farming have been developed and are being tested. These include: Digital tools for precision agriculture, farming management systems like the rodent control system as part of smart storage systems, and the food processing systems like the solar drier.

The farmers receiving training on value addition. Food and Local, Agricultural, and Nutritional Diversity (FoodLAND) project, Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Funded to the tune of 7 million Euros by the European Commission within the Horizon 2020 programme, research dissemination, Nakaseke District, 16th July 2024.
The farmers receiving training on value addition.

During the workshop, Mr. Barak Price, a student on the project sensitized participants on the rodent control system. He also trained the farmers on precision irrigation/fertigation. The farmers were also taken through the processes of value addition. Ms. Josephine Kisakye, a researcher on the project discussed the nutrition recommendations developed by the project. In the course of the project activities, it was noted that diets in Uganda are mainly composed of starchy staples, especially cereals, roots, tubers and bananas, with legumes constituting the main protein source. Intake of micronutrient-rich foods is low, despite various interventions to promote consumption of fruits, and vegetables. Ugandan adult and elderly population in both rural and urban areas were found to be at risk of under-nutrition and micro-nutrient deficiencies. Nutritional recommendations included: i) Daily consumption of locally available fruits and vegetables, whole starchy staples, and protein-rich foods; including beans, peas, nuts, fish, eggs, and meat; ii) Limiting the consumption of fried foods, salt, alcohol, and sweetened beverages; iii) Hydrate with fluids, preferably water; Regular engagement in moderate-intensity physical activity like brisk walking, digging, swimming, aerobics, and cycling; vi) Undertaking medical examination at intervals of no longer than 6 months to facilitate timely detection and treatment of ailments like diabetes, hypertension, high plasma cholesterol and cancers.

Some of the products developed under the project. Food and Local, Agricultural, and Nutritional Diversity (FoodLAND) project, Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Funded to the tune of 7 million Euros by the European Commission within the Horizon 2020 programme, research dissemination, Nakaseke District, 16th July 2024.
Some of the products developed under the project.

Appreciation by the District officials

Butalangu Town Clerk, Ms. Rashida Mutebi on behalf of the Chief Administrative Officer appreciated the project for reaching out and working with the local communities to improve their livelihoods. “The trainings on value addition will go a long way in saving our farmers losses,” she noted, calling for resilience and cooperation amongst the farmers. “It is important that you work together. Always share best practices if you are to improve yourselves and gain more from farming. I also implore you to always keep records of your farming activities.”

In his remarks, Nakaseke District Health Officer, Dr Alija Simon noted that the challenge of non-communicable diseases was on the raise due to poor feeding habits. He expressed gratitude to the project for incorporating the important aspect of nutrition in its research.

Ms. Josephine Kisakye sensitizing the farmers on the nutritional recommendations developed under the project. Food and Local, Agricultural, and Nutritional Diversity (FoodLAND) project, Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Funded to the tune of 7 million Euros by the European Commission within the Horizon 2020 programme, research dissemination, Nakaseke District, 16th July 2024.
Ms. Josephine Kisakye sensitizing the farmers on the nutritional recommendations developed under the project.

DPMO Wandera James appreciated the Government of Uganda for investing in farming. He also appreciated the project team for the trainings offered to the farmers in the district, noting that value addition was a key area of focus in the Parish Development Model. “Nakaseke is now becoming a food hub. I thank Makerere University for working with the communities. Initially, research was done but stopped in the shelves of the University. We are happy that you are now working with the communities to identify solutions to the challenges undermining agriculture. Research should be conducted for development.”

Addressing participants, the Assistant RDC, Nakaseke District, Mr. Muhoozi Michael appreciated Makerere University, specifically the FoodLAND Project, calling for more innervations to support farmers in the district out of poverty. He implored the farmer groups to form a cooperative, noting that the latter forms a better platform for soliciting support.  

Nakaseke District Health Officer, Dr Alija Simon decried the high level of NCDs as a result of unhealthy feeding habits. Food and Local, Agricultural, and Nutritional Diversity (FoodLAND) project, Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Funded to the tune of 7 million Euros by the European Commission within the Horizon 2020 programme, research dissemination, Nakaseke District, 16th July 2024.
Nakaseke District Health Officer, Dr Alija Simon decried the high level of NCDs as a result of unhealthy feeding habits.

A similar dissemination exercise was conducted in Kamuli District in Eastern Uganda.

More photos from the FoodLAND project Nakaseke Dissemination

The Assistant RDC, Nakaseke District, Mr. Muhoozi Michael appreciated Makerere University, specifically the FoodLAND Project, calling for more interventions to support farmers in the district out of poverty. Food and Local, Agricultural, and Nutritional Diversity (FoodLAND) project, Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Funded to the tune of 7 million Euros by the European Commission within the Horizon 2020 programme, research dissemination, Nakaseke District, 16th July 2024.
The Assistant RDC, Nakaseke District, Mr. Muhoozi Michael appreciated Makerere University, specifically the FoodLAND Project, calling for more interventions to support farmers in the district out of poverty.

Ms. Nankya Jane, a farmer in Semuto Sub County, Nakaseke District, also beneficiary of the FoodLAND Project training irrigating her farm. She's grateful for the training received from the project. Food and Local, Agricultural, and Nutritional Diversity (FoodLAND) project, Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Funded to the tune of 7 million Euros by the European Commission within the Horizon 2020 programme, research dissemination, Nakaseke District, 16th July 2024.
Ms. Nankya Jane, a farmer in Semuto Sub County, Nakaseke District, also beneficiary of the FoodLAND Project training irrigating her farm. She’s grateful for the training received from the project.

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Agriculture & Environment

Mak, Oregon State University Sign Cooperation Agreement

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The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe signing the MoU between Makerere University and Oregon State University. Makerere University and Oregon State University MoU Signing to collaborate on i) Exchange of scholars and faculty staff, ii) Exchange of undergraduate and graduate students for research and study, iii) Exchange of academic information and materials, iv) Joint research activities and publications, v) Participation in conferences and academic meetings vi) Joint running of short-term academic programs, vii) Resource mobilization, 19th July 2024, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe on 19th July 2024 endorsed the Memorandum of Understanding between Makerere University and Oregon State University to collaborate in different aspects of academics. The MoU signing ceremony was witnessed by members of staff from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) namely; Dr Revocatus Twinomuhangi, Dean, School of Forestry, Environmental, and Geographical Sciences; Dr Lawrence Orikiriza Head, Department of Forestry, Biodiversity and Tourism; and Prof. Jim Ayorekire from the same department. Oregon State University was represented by Dr Ian E. Munanura, an Associate Professor in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, College of Forestry, and Ms. Racheal Fahrenbach, Manager International Programs at the College of Forestry.  At Makerere, the MoU will be implemented by the Department of Forestry, Biodiversity and Tourism under the leadership of Prof. Jim Ayorekire. At Oregon State University, it will be implemented by the College of Forestry.

The VC together with representatives from Makerere CAES and Oregon State University display the MoU after the signing ceremony. Makerere University and Oregon State University MoU Signing to collaborate on i) Exchange of scholars and faculty staff, ii) Exchange of undergraduate and graduate students for research and study, iii) Exchange of academic information and materials, iv) Joint research activities and publications, v) Participation in conferences and academic meetings vi) Joint running of short-term academic programs, vii) Resource mobilization, 19th July 2024, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
The VC together with representatives from Makerere CAES and Oregon State University display the MoU after the signing ceremony.

Under the MoU, the two institutions have agree to mutually promote the following programmes, based on their respective academic and educational needs; i) Exchange of scholars and faculty staff, ii) Exchange of undergraduate and graduate students for research and study, iii) Exchange of academic information and materials, iv) Joint research activities and publications, v) Participation in conferences and academic meetings vi) Joint running of short-term academic programs, vii) Resource mobilization in respect of areas of mutual interest, and any other areas which may promote their mutual interests.

The delegation from CAES and Oregon State University brief the VC about the MoU. Makerere University and Oregon State University MoU Signing to collaborate on i) Exchange of scholars and faculty staff, ii) Exchange of undergraduate and graduate students for research and study, iii) Exchange of academic information and materials, iv) Joint research activities and publications, v) Participation in conferences and academic meetings vi) Joint running of short-term academic programs, vii) Resource mobilization, 19th July 2024, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
The delegation from CAES and Oregon State University brief the VC about the MoU.

During the ceremony, the Vice Chancellor noted that programmes agreed on in the MoU were in line with the University’s Strategic Plan, and would greatly advance Makerere’s aspiration to become a research-led University. “As we move towards becoming a research-led University, we aim to contribute to the realization of Agenda 2063 which seeks to have Africa produce at least one million PhDs as one of the measures to eradicate poverty from the continent. Partnerships like this will help us achieve our target, by building our supervision capacity,” he explained, pledging support towards the implementation of the MoU.

The VC shares insights on the collaboration. Makerere University and Oregon State University MoU Signing to collaborate on i) Exchange of scholars and faculty staff, ii) Exchange of undergraduate and graduate students for research and study, iii) Exchange of academic information and materials, iv) Joint research activities and publications, v) Participation in conferences and academic meetings vi) Joint running of short-term academic programs, vii) Resource mobilization, 19th July 2024, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
The VC shares insights on the collaboration.

Dr Ian Munanura on behalf of Oregon State University expressed gratitude to work with Makerere, noting that the partnership would strengthen research capacity of the two institutions and support the mentorship of the next generation of scientists to deal with the challenges facing humanity including climate change and unemployment.

The VC presents sovernirs to Ms. Racheal Fahrenbach. Makerere University and Oregon State University MoU Signing to collaborate on i) Exchange of scholars and faculty staff, ii) Exchange of undergraduate and graduate students for research and study, iii) Exchange of academic information and materials, iv) Joint research activities and publications, v) Participation in conferences and academic meetings vi) Joint running of short-term academic programs, vii) Resource mobilization, 19th July 2024, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
The VC presents sovernirs to Ms. Racheal Fahrenbach.

About the Department of Forestry, Biodiversity and Tourism at Makerere

The Department of Forestry, Biodiversity, and Tourism under the School of Forestry, Environmental, and Geographical Sciences at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Makerere University offers programmes namely; Bachelor of Science in Conservation Forestry and Products Technology; Bachelor of Social and Entrepreneurial Forestry; and Master of Science in Agroforestry. Specific courses offered under those programmes include; Agroforestry Systems, Practices And Technologies;  Drylands Agroforestry; Advanced Community Forestry; Gender Issues In Forestry; Advanced Biodiversity Conservation; Ecophysiology and Agronomy; Forestry For Rural Development; Natural Resource Management; Tropical Forest Ecology And Management; Forestry Business Management; Entrepreneurship In Forestry; Forestry And Food Security; Indigenous Knowledge in Resource Management; Biomass Energy Production and Conservation; Land Use Planning and Watershed Management; Forest Planning and Development; Forest Ecosystems and Livelihoods; and Forest Planning and Development. The Department also conducts a wide range of research in the fields highlighted above. The training offered exposes graduates from the department to a wide range of employment opportunities.

The VC presents sovernirs to Dr Ian E. Munanura. Makerere University and Oregon State University MoU Signing to collaborate on i) Exchange of scholars and faculty staff, ii) Exchange of undergraduate and graduate students for research and study, iii) Exchange of academic information and materials, iv) Joint research activities and publications, v) Participation in conferences and academic meetings vi) Joint running of short-term academic programs, vii) Resource mobilization, 19th July 2024, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
The VC presents sovernirs to Dr Ian E. Munanura.

About the College of Forestry, Oregon State University

The Oregon State University College of Forestry is an internationally recognized leader that is transforming education, research and policy for managing and sustaining working forest ecosystems in the 21st century. The College offers a world-class education that provides a wide variety of opportunities following graduation. Academic excellence is the hallmark of the College of Forestry programs at Oregon State University. Ranked as one of the premier forestry schools in the world, students find a variety of programs that offer broad education, rigorous depth and professional focus. The College is known for its collaborative research approach to advance knowledge and bring solutions to issues facing forest landscapes and ecosystems. It takes pride in creating new and innovative approaches to help partners enhance people’s lives while improving the health of lands, businesses and vital ecosystems.

A group photo with the VC at the signing ceremony. Makerere University and Oregon State University MoU Signing to collaborate on i) Exchange of scholars and faculty staff, ii) Exchange of undergraduate and graduate students for research and study, iii) Exchange of academic information and materials, iv) Joint research activities and publications, v) Participation in conferences and academic meetings vi) Joint running of short-term academic programs, vii) Resource mobilization, 19th July 2024, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
A group photo with the VC at the signing ceremony.

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Agriculture & Environment

Call For Abstracts: 3rd International GORILLA Conference

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The 3rd International Conference on Geographical Science for Resilient Communities, Ecosystems and Livelihoods under Global Environmental Change (GORILLA), 4-6 December, 2024. Call For Abstracts. Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

The 3rd International Conference on Geographical Science for Resilient Communities, Ecosystems and Livelihoods under Global Environmental Change (GORILLA) aims to take stock of emerging geographic oriented science and knowledge for advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The GORILLA Conference seeks to harness geographic science to advance knowledge and foster positive change in understanding and addressing sustainable development challenges and opportunities at local, regional, national, and global scales. The specific objectives are to;

  1. Facilitate exchange of contemporary resilience building knowledge and innovations in a transdisciplinary manner.
  2. Enhance dialogue to bridge the science-policy-practice interface to address deficits that are limiting the resolution of pressing resilience challenges and shape policy agendas.
  3. Enhance capacities and capabilities of early career scientists through mentorship and dedicated training focused on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  4. Increase knowledge and scientific outputs from Sub-Saharan Africa by facilitating special issue publications
  5. Provide an opportunity for increased networking and beneficial partnerships from attendees with varied backgrounds and professional affiliations to address complex sustainable development challenges.

Important dates

  • Conference Dates: 4th – 6th December 2024
  • Deadline for Submission of Abstracts: 30th August 2024
  • Latest Notification of Abstract Acceptance: 31st October 2024

Conference Topics

(a) Geographies of Climate Change, Climate Justice and Just Transition: Spaces and Patterns
(b) Biodiversity Informatics, Sustainable Ecosystems, Landscapes and People
(c) Green Growth and Transitions to Land Degradation Neutrality and Net Zero
(d) Water Governance and Watershed Resilience for Sustainable livelihoods
(e) Interconnected Geohazards and Disasters in a Changing World
(f) Polycrisis: Migration, Displacement, Conflict and Humanitarianism
(g) The changing Geography of Agrifood Systems
(h) Nature Based Solutions for Inclusive and Equitable Development
(i) Emerging and Novel Technologies for Societal Resilience
(j) Sustainable Cities and Urban Systems in SSA
(k) Geographies of Energy and Energy Transitions
(l) Environment and Health

Submission of Abstract

A 250-word abstract on the topics of the conference is required for those intending to make presentations. Both oral and poster presentations in the conference will be accepted. In addition, specific proposals for sessions may also be accepted. Abstracts will be submitted online at https://gorilla.mak.ac.ug.

Please see downloads for Conference Materials

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