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Agriculture & Environment

Researchers Invent Shield to Curb Spread of COVID-19

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The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) in collaboration with the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT), Makerere University hosted a hybrid virtual and physical symposium on Transport and Covid-19. The symposium held on 22nd February 2022 at the College of Computing and Information Sciences’ Conference Room was aimed at disseminating research findings from a project titled: Modeling the Exposure Risk Trade-off between Public Transit and Private Paratransit for Transport Decision making in the era of Covid-19.

Participants during Transport and Covid-19 Syposium held at Makerere Universit
Participants during Transport and Covid-19 Syposium held at Makerere University

The overall objective of the project was to provide a science-based answer for transport policymakers in developing countries in relation to the safest publicly available transport mode to move people during the pandemic, and making travelling in para-transit modes-especially motorcycle taxis safer. The project also aimed to address issues related to changes in travel choices and preferences during the pandemic. It was funded by UK Research and Innovation as part of the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and Newton Fund Agile Response Call to Respond to Covid-19.

Dr. Frank Mugagga (C) with other Participants during the Transport and Covid-19 Symposium
Dr. Frank Mugagga (C) with other Participants during the Transport and Covid-19 Symposium

The project started in 2020 and ended in December 2021. It was carried out in four countries with twelve (12) researchers involved in three (3) case study cities of Nigeria (Owerri), Uganda (Kampala) and Bangaldesh (Hakara). The project was a collaboration between five universities including: Makerere University, University of Leeds, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, University of Asia Pacific and Federal University of Technology Owerri. Makerere University was represented by Dr. Paul Mukwaya from the Department of Geography, Geo-Informatics and Climatic Sciences, CAES, and Dr. Andrew Bwambale from the Department of Civil Engineering, CEDAT. The project was executed under the leadership of Dr. Zia Wadudu, Associate Professor at the Institute for Transport Studies – University of Leeds. According to Prof. Wadud, the research project was diverse in terms of gender, age, race and area of coverage. The symposium was guided by two main objectives including: 1) Disseminating and sharing relevant international academic knowledge with stakeholders in the transport and health sectors; and 2) Facilitating opportunities for networking, collaboration and exchange of ideas with international experts in evidence-based practice and education.

Participants listen attentively during Dr. Chinebuli Uzondu’s presentation
Participants listen attentively during Dr. Chinebuli Uzondu’s presentation

Addressing the participants, Dr. Paul Mukwaya called for extensive dissemination of the research findings within and outside the health and transport sectors. He emphasized the importance collaborative research in addressing public health challenges.

Dr. Paul Mukwaya giving his introductory remarks during the Symposium on Transport and Covid-19
Dr. Paul Mukwaya giving his introductory remarks during the Symposium on Transport and Covid-19

In his remarks, Assoc. Prof. Frank Mugagga, Head Department of Geography, Geo-Informatics and Climatic Sciences, appreciated  the university of Leeds and all collaborating institutions for the worthwhile initiative, noting that the findings would greatly guide public transport management during health emergencies. He also appreciated the institutions for co-opting students on the project. “In line with the Makerere University motto, you cannot effectively Build for the Future without engaging the students,” he noted. Referring to objective two of the symposium – Facilitating opportunities for networking, collaboration and exchange of ideas with international experts in evidence-based practice and education – Assoc. Prof. Mugagga called for more research collaborations within and outside the country.

Dr. Frank Mugagga giving his opening remarks during the Transport and Covid-19 Symposium
Dr. Frank Mugagga giving his opening remarks during the Transport and Covid-19 Symposium

Presenting an overview of the project, Dr. Zia Wadud Associate Professor, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds and Principal Investigator noted that the project focused on “modeling the exposure risk trade-off between public and private paratransit for transport decision making in the era of covid-19”. Highlighting the statistics of COVID19-related infections and deaths between 2020-2022, Dr Wadud said 86 million people were infected by early January 2021and 1.8 million people had died of covid-19 in the same year. By February 2022, the projected rate of covid-19 infections had increased to 445 million with 5.9 million deaths.

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Agriculture & Environment

Food vendors  can  only afford  LPG cookstoves at their households – EfD-Mak study

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A study conducted by researchers at the EfD Mak Center Uganda has shown that  Chapati vendors could only afford to use the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cook stoves at their households.  The study findings indicated that LPG cook stoves were more  costly for such small businesses.

The study also revealed that Chapati vendors demonstrated considerable credibility on settling instalments and that given appropriate terms and access to hire-purchase schemes can support adoption of cleaner and modern cook stoves by food vendors.

The study titled, “Purchase and Learning Schemes and Adoption of LPG Cook stoves: Experimental Evidence from Uganda”, was funded by  Sida under the auspices of the EfD network at  an estimated budget of US$ 55,747.

Participants attending the launch

The project was launched on 18th August 2021 under the leadership of  Dr. Aisha Nanyiti assisted by  three Co-PI’s  Prof Fred Matovu, Dr. Suzan Kavuma and  Richard Ssebagala , School of Economics, Makerere University.

Disseminating the study findings, on 13th October 2022, Dr. Nanyiti said, Biomass is predominantly the energy used for cooking by households and food vendors in Africa. In Uganda for instance Biomass constitutes 94% of energy used with Fuel wood forming 64% and Charcoal for 30%/.

Nanyiti reported that reliance on biomass increases the deforestation rate  and contributes to climate change noting that 44 million tonnes of tree biomass is used per year in Uganda posing  negative health effects with respiratory infections accounting  for 18% of all illnesses in Uganda with women facing higher risk of illness. .

She said various interventions have been undertaken to promote use of cleaner cooking technologies. Earlier studies focused on improved cookstoves while some studies asses LPG cookstoves.

These studies Nanyiti said,  focus on  adoption of and attitude towards  LPG  and identify barriers in high initial cost, limited supplies and perceptions. High initial cost she said,  is relevant especially to adoption by the low income groups where subsidization is not sustainable.

Some of the students attending

“Hire purchase schemes are relevant to easing the high initial cost. These have not been assessed before. Most studies focus on households. This study assesses the impact of Hire purchase schemes, Learning schemes, on adoption of LPG cookstoves by chapati vendors.”, Dr. Nanyiti said.

To achieve the objective Dr. Nanyiti said the study employed a  Randomised Control Trial  with chapati vendors in the capital Kampala in 3 divisions of Kampala, Constructed 3 clusters of parishes in each division and  implemented 3 treatment arms in each division (Treatment 1 information only, Treatment 2-information + hire purchase and Treatment 3-information + grace period learning+ hire-purchase)

Treatments were administered to individual owners at their chapati stalls. From each cluster; 100 chapatti vendors were randomly selected. 5 surveys;  Baseline, intervention, first follow-up, second follow-up and endline.  Intervention conducted at stall in teams of two and vendors  always carried the full kit of LPG cookstove to the stall.

“In Treatment  1 (Information) the research team offered  verbal information on the benefits of using LPG cookstoves and  offered  opportunity to buy the LPG cookstove by paying at once the full cost of UGX 210,000 ($60). This opportunity  lasted for two weeks where the vendors refilled gas cylinders themselves at a nearby refill station.

In Treatment 2(Hire purchase) the research team provided Verbal information on the benefits of using LPG cookstoves. Vendors were offered opportunity to buy the LPG cookstove on a hire-purchase in 3 instalments (70,000 @) or 4 instalments (50,000 @).  The vendors had opportunity to instead pay at once. The opportunity lasted for two weeks and vendors had to refill the cylinders by themselves at a nearby refill station”, Dr.Nanyiti explained.

In Treatment 3 (Learning) the team provided Verbal information on the benefits of using LPG cookstoves, offered opportunity to use the LPG cookstove for two weeks then decide to buy the LPG cookstove on a hire purchase basis or to pay at once.. The opportunity  lasted for two weeks and refill done by the vendors themselves at a nearby refill station. But on returning, vendors would pay 49000 for the gas used.

University management applauds Dr. Nanyiti

The study findings were disseminated during the  two in one event of the  EfD- Mak center  disseminating the outputs from the study funded through the EfD Network but also getting to launch and start the journey for other studies at centres’  conference room on 13th October 2022.

The event presided over by the Principal College of Business and Management Sciences  brought together members of staff and students from the School of Economics and Agricultural sciences and the EfD members.

Prof. Eria Hisali speaking during the event

The Principal Prof. Eria Hisali congratulated Dr. Aisha Nanyiti and the team upon delivering the research output calling for more involvement of other stakeholders during the dissemination activities.

“Dr. Nanyiti and your team, we congratulate you and thank you for delivering and for not disappointing the network. From the questions that were coming up, it clearly seems to be a very interesting study and with a lot of potential to contribute to policy.

Let us get closer involvement of the policy makers, implementers, and key actors from the private sector both in the course of our research but also in the dissemination activities. This is very important for purposes of uptake because you take care of their concerns, insights and that way the findings became immediately useful”, Hisali said.

A section of participants attending

Hisali also thanked the EfD Global hub for sponsoring the study and the participatory model used in the partnership.

“I thank colleagues from the EfD Global hub for the continued support and for the very healthy partnership. The EfD over the past few years is that kind of partner that does not stop at sending resources and waits for reports but these are colleagues who we are working with along  the way .Many of the activities we run, you take off time and participate and urged you keep at that.

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Agriculture & Environment

Gender Dynamics affect Uptake of Agricultural Technologies – Mak SECA Study

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Farmers from Nambaale Subcounty in Iganga take a group photo with researchers after the meeting at Vick Hotel.

A study conducted by Makerere University researchers in Iganga and Bugiri districts indicates that disparities still exist regarding access and sustained use of improved crop varieties among women and men. The men still dominate decision making power which negatively impacts on the sustained use and uptake of improved crop varieties in the two districts. Gender transformative approaches that consider the interest and needs of both men and women, are deemed fit for the design and implementation of interventions and ensure voices and aspirations of men and women are considered.

Between 2020–2022, researchers from Makerere University Department of Extension and Innovation Studies with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York under the Auspices of the Directorate of Graduate Research and Training programme of Supporting Early Career Academics through Post-Doctoral training at Makerere University (SECA) undertook a study titled, “Intra-household Gender Dynamics in Uptake of Agricultural Technologies for Sustained livelihoods in Uganda.”

Dr. Losira Nasirumbi presenting the study findings at Nakigo Sub-county.
Dr. Losira Nasirumbi presenting the study findings at Nakigo Sub-county.

The study was conducted in Nakigo and Nambaale sub-counties in Iganga and Buwunga and Nabukalu sub counties in Bugiri districts. The study areas were selected because of the intensity of interventions by government and non-state agencies in the area aimed at enhancing resilience of the farming systems and increasing agricultural productivity.

The   study,  aimed to unravel  the power dynamics at the household level that influence sustained use of new crop varieties for equitable and sustainable likelihoods in Uganda. The research therefore adopted a gender approach in examining decision making patterns, power relations and negotiation processes at household level and how these influence access to control over new technologies and ultimately sustained use. This was disclosed during the research dissemination workshops conducted on 6th and 7th October 2022 in the study areas that brought together district administrative and technical officers including, production, extension and agricultural officers, district chairpersons, senior production secretaries, farmers and farmer groups, civil society organisations and community-based organisations.

Dr. Florence Kyazze speaking to farmers at Buwunga Sub-county.
Dr. Florence Kyazze speaking to farmers at Buwunga Sub-county.

According to the Principal Investigator, Dr. Losira Nasirumbi Sanya, progress towards attaining food security remains a challenge partly due to low use of science and technological innovations developed over time. While sharing the study findings for validation, Dr. Losira explained that the overall objective of the research was to contribute towards promoting sustainable use of new agricultural technologies and innovations through better understanding of the gendered dynamics that enhance access and sustained use as a pathway to transformation of production systems and increasing productivity.

“The specific objectives were to describe the dissemination and use of agricultural technologies in selected districts of Eastern agro-ecological zone of Uganda; analyse the intra-household gender roles and relations in regard to technology access and sustained use within the institution of the household, and quantify the distribution of the decision-making power within dual adult households and how this influences technology uptake and empowerment among women,” she said.

Dr. Losira with a couple during the scoring game.
Dr. Losira with a couple during the scoring game.

She said data was collected from men and women using survey questionnaires, focus group discussions and in-depth farmer interviews. The findings indicated that farmers were involved in growing at least eight crops, two of the crops purposely for food security, one for cash and the rest for both food and cash. The crops include maize, cassava, beans, sweet potatoes, ground nuts, rice, soybeans, coffee and bananas among others.

The study revealed that in the past five years, men had more access to training on farming and improved seeds from government related experts and NGOs.The study also revealed that though women went to cluster project [ACDP] and accessed improved seed, only a few continued to use such varieties due to several factors.

Dr. Florence Kyazze (Mentor) and Dr. Losira Nasirumbi (PI) meeting farmers at Nakigo Sub-county.
Dr. Florence Kyazze (Mentor) and Dr. Losira Nasirumbi (PI) meeting farmers at Nakigo Sub-county.

The study also established that households had joint and individual plots for women and men.  Joint farms according to this research were preferred by men and women to promote harmony and reduce domestic violence, ease management, sharing resources and labour, timely planting and due to limited land.

Men, the study found, preferred their own plots to meet their diverse demands since some were polygamous, and wanted to fulfil family obligations. On the other hand, it was found that women preferred individual farms for financial independence, control over their income and the need to ensure food security.

When it came to access to farming resources such as land, fertilizers, herbicides and seeds, the study indicated that men had more access but women were mostly involved in providing farm labour for planting and weeding.

The representative of the Chairman LCV Iganga speaking.
The representative of the Chairman LCV Iganga speaking.

Findings on the intra-household decision making power indicated that 62% of women accorded themselves a high score of having more decision making power than what men scored them in relation to their input to decision dimensions related to asset ownership and use, productive decisions, use of labour (hired and family), marketing, financial  time allocation and access to trainings, extension and  group membership. However, 29% of the women gave themselves a lower score than their spouses scored them across the different decision dimensions. The study found perfect agreement in the scores assigned by men and women in only 9% of the households. “Decision making power is directly linked to one’s ability to make choice and action on that choice,” said the PI. “A mismatch between actual and perceived empowerment in decision making signals opportunities for creating awareness among farming communities if we are to achieve the intended goal of equitable access and outcomes.”

The study revealed that the disparities in decision making power affected the use of improved technologies and productivity.

“Women with high decision making power (empowered) were more likely able to sustain use of improved varieties than those with lower scores.Those with low decision making power were highly associated with low use of improved varieties. Those with the ability to make decisions and even when closer to extension services were able to grow more improved varieties though high decision making power was negatively associated with the number of improved varieties grown. This illuminates the fact that women’s empowerment in decision making has potential to contribute to closing the gender gap in sustained use thus the need to be more intentional about women’s participation, decision making and agency in development interventions if we are to achieve greater impact in sustained use of agricultural technologies towards better livelihoods,” Dr. Losira explained.

District Agricultural Officer Iganga Bazalaki Sully making his remarks.
District Agricultural Officer Iganga Bazalaki Sully making his remarks.

During the dissemination workshop, the District Agricultural Officer, Iganga, Mr. Bazalaki Sully Nantatya said, the research has been of great value and has unearthed the dynamics in the communities in regard to gender relations, decision making and uptake of technologies.

He reported that technology uptake in Iganga district has been good because of the capacity building initiative undertaken by a number of partners and projects both through government and non-state actors.

“This research has revealed that adoption of improved technologies has been embraced which has led to increased yields and farmers are very appreciative. Since the start of this research, we have observed that gender relations have improved among participating households when it comes to working in gardens and decision making and that now a wife and husband have come closer and jointly taking lead in implementing farming activities right from planting to marketing. This has been made possible by the approach adopted in this research of having both spouses involved in all activities. Farmers are also realising the use of improved technologies which they feel must be sustained. As a district, we are thinking of enhancing input delivery system to sustain the new interventions and all these have been revealed during the dissemination workshop which has pointed out where things are working out well and not,” he said

Dr. Florence Kyazze (Left) interacting with farmers during the meeting at Nambaale Sub-county.
Dr. Florence Kyazze (Left) interacting with farmers during the meeting at Nambaale Sub-county.

The Agricultural Officer, Nambaale Sub County, Gwahaba Richard said farmers easily take up new technologies especially to increase yields but hardly sustain their use.

“We need to wake up as extension officers and district partners and concentrate on gender issues so that men, women and children at the household level embrace these technologies and work together to sustain them,” he said.

Representing the District Chairperson Iganga, the Vice Chairperson, Ali Mukacha appreciated Makerere University for choosing Iganga as a site for the research saying, the study was in line with the government strategy of modernising agriculture and improving farmers’ livelihoods from a peasantry to middle income earners by the year 2030.

He said Nambaale Sub County has been one of the model sub-counties in the district that has participated in many interventions. He pledged the district support towards any research program in the area.

Farmers from Buwunga Sub-County and researchers take a group photo after the meeting.
Farmers from Buwunga Sub-County and researchers take a group photo after the meeting.

Rebecca Naigaga, a farmer from Iganga districts appreciated the research.

I have learnt a lot that a husband and wife need to sit together during the planting season and agree on how to rent land, its size, what crops to plant. Then during harvest, we need to agree on what amount to sell and leave for food and what to sell for fees. The other, I have learnt is that, men have more access to land but as women we can also hire,” she noted.

Elias Mutyaba from Nambaale Agro business appreciated the study for changing his mindset and called upon farmers to adopt modern farming practices.

This time I have changed my attitude. I was so piteous of myself that I was unemployed but with this workshop, I have learnt that farming is also a business where I can earn money. I call upon my fellow farmers to embrace new varieties and use of fertilisers to improve the yields,” he said.

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Agriculture & Environment

Mak Flags off 50 Students for Agrostudies Internship in Israel

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The Principal, College of Agricultural and Enviromental Sciences (CAES), Prof. Gorretie Nabanoga (Left) flags off the student interns on 21st September 2021, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University.

The Government of Uganda currently holds bilateral cooperation with Israel, encompassing: agriculture, post harvest technologies, animal husbandry, water management, health and on land security. The cordial relationship resulted into the Israel Agrostudies Apprenticeship Programme, which has incredibly benefited many Ugandan students since 2013. The programme started in 2013 but was institutionalized in 2021. The Agrostudies Institute in Israel, which is the international centre for agricultural interns, coordinates the programme. The Agrostudies opportunity comes with a lot of practical agricultural skills training and international cultural exposure.

Agrostudies Students
Agrostudies Students

Makerere University in September flagged off 50 male students to Israel for a one-year paid internship. Ten (10) of these were from Busitema University while 40 were from Makerere. The students were flagged off by the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, Prof. Banarbas Nawangwe, who was represented by the Principal, College of Agricultural and Enviromental Sciences (CAES), Prof. Gorretie Nabanoga, on 21st September 2021 at an event held in the Council Room at the Frank Kalimuzo Teaching Facility), Makerere University.

Prof. Gorretie Nabanoga, Principal, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES).
Prof. Gorretie Nabanoga, Principal, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES).

The event was attended by the Dean, School of Agricultural Sciences (SAS), Dr. John Baptist Tumuhairwe; the Head Department of Agricultural Production, Dr Mildred Ochwo Semakula; as well as alumni and coordinators of the Agrostudies Apprenticeship Programme at Makerere University.

CAES Managers meeting students.
CAES Managers meeting students.

In his remarks, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Banarbas Nawangwe urged students to be hardworking, resilient and committed to the training. “You need to go with an open mindset. Have an inquisitive mind and use this as an opportunity to acquire a variety of skills. Your main focus should be skills acquisition rather than money making. Do not let money be the driving force. Have it in mind that you are ambassadors of Makerere University,” he said. “As you make individual choices, know that you are in it alone. Do not be influenced by others. In case of challenges that cannot be addressed by those around you, always get back to us.” Prof. Nawangwe advised the students to share their skills as a way of showcasing their seven (7) months training.

The Principal, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Prof. Gorretie Nabanoga applauded the coordinators of the programme and the Dean SAS for equipping students with the necessary skills. She further appreciated the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Nawangwe for the support accorded to the programme.

Dr. John Baptist Tumuhairwe, Dean School of Agricultural Sciences, cautioned students against indiscipline. “While out there, you need to be mindful of your actions. Do not spoil the future for other. We shall lobby for an increase in number from fifty (50) to more depending on your progress,” he said.

Dr. John Baptist Tumuhairwe, Dean School of Agricultural Sciences, CAES.
Dr. John Baptist Tumuhairwe, Dean School of Agricultural Sciences, CAES.

Dr. Tumuhairwe further urged students to make good use of the opportunity to develop skills for future employment.

In his remarks, Mr. Narisi Mubangizi, Lecturer in the Department of Extension and Innovation Studies, also part of the coordination team, cautioned the interns against diversion and tarnishing the country’s image. “Remember how far you have moved on your course and focus to successfully complete. The future of this programme lies in your hands. Any mistake you make will deter progress of the programme.”

Dr. Narisi Mubangizi, Lecturer in the Department of Extension and Innovation Studies.
Dr. Narisi Mubangizi, Lecturer in the Department of Extension and Innovation Studies.

According to Mr. Moris Bua, a former beneficiary, the Agrostudies Programme is a life changing initiative. “You must have goals in your life. You must see the future. Use the opportunity to map out your future.

Mr. Moris Bua, a former beneficiary the Agrostudies Programme.
Mr. Moris Bua, a former beneficiary the Agrostudies Programme.

Mr. Deric Niwasasira, a student and Team Leader Agrostudies Apprenticeship Programme, Cohort 2022/2023, urged the interns not to lose focus on the major objectives of the programme. “The next journey requires endurance and focus. Let us not disappoint our country and our college.”

Mr. Deric Niwasasira, a student and Team Leader Agrostudies Apprenticeship Programme, Cohort 2022/2023.
Mr. Deric Niwasasira, a student and Team Leader Agrostudies Apprenticeship Programme, Cohort 2022/2023.

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