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Agriculture & Environment

CONSORMIP Project boosts Nutritional & Market Value of Sorghum & Millet

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Commercialization of New Sorghum and Millet Products for Improved Nutrition and Socio-Economic Gains in Eastern Africa (CONSORMIP)

 Sorghum and millet are key crops in Uganda’s agricultural food systems and directly and indirectly support over 10 million livelihoods in the country.  The two crops are tolerant to arid and dry environments. They are highly nutritious, not known to be allergenic, have low glycemic index (help lower the risk of conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart diseases), and contain phytochemicals beneficial to health. Despite their nutritional benefits, “the crops are increasingly disappearing from our diets”.

 Prof. Yusuf Byaruhanga, Principal Investigator presents the project overview.
Prof. Yusuf Byaruhanga, Principal Investigator presents the project overview.

With support from SIDA through BioInnovate Africa, researchers from the Department of Food Technology and Nutrition at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), together with their counterparts from Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania and Hawassa University in Ethiopia in 2018 set out to study and improve the nutritional and market value of the crops.

Some of the products developed under the CONSORMIP project.
Some of the products developed under the CONSORMIP project.

Through a project titled; Commercialization of New Sorghum and Millet Products for Improved Nutrition and Socio-Economic Gains in Eastern Africa (CONSORMIP)”, the researchers including Prof. Yusuf Byaruhanga (Principal Investigator), Prof. Kyamuhangire William, and Dr. Gaston Ampe Tumuhimbise, targeted to improve food and nutrition security, incomes and livelihoods of smallholder farmers and other stakeholders in the sorghum and millet value chains in Eastern Africa.

Some of the products developed under the CONSORMIP Project.
Some of the products developed under the CONSORMIP Project.

The project specifically aimed to address the market gap – lack of value added, convenient sorghum and millet products, and to commercialize instant flour, snacks and complimentary feed made from sorghum and millet using lean business start-up and business incubation approaches. In the course of implementing the project, each partner country targeted to deliver at least one start-up enterprise commercializing one product and its attendant technology.

Project closing meeting

On 4th May 2022 the research team led by Prof. Yusuf Byaruhanga held an end of project meeting at which they disseminated the findings and achievements registered. The meeting held at the School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio-Engineering was graced by Makerere University Vice Chancellor, represented by the First Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs, Prof. Umar Kakumba and attended by the Principal of CAES, Prof. Gorettie N. Nabanoga; the Dean, School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio-Engineering, Dr. Abel Atukwase; the Head, Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, Dr. Ivan Mukisa Muzira; and senior members of staff at CAES.

The DVCAA, Prof. Umar Kakumba represented the Vice Chancellor at the project closing meeting.
The DVCAA, Prof. Umar Kakumba represented the Vice Chancellor at the project closing meeting.

Achievements registered

Presenting the achievements, Prof. Byaruhanga noted that the project team had developed novel value-added products including instant sorghum and millet flours, expanded snack food, complimentary feed, and breakfast cereal products. Other achievements included processing protocols and formulations for the four product types; creating new business opportunities; and boosting capacity for research and development in the sorghum and millet value chains.  The project trained three research fellows, one MSc research graduate, and several BSc research graduates. The project also developed and supported SMEs in each partner country as a vehicle for commercialization of the developed value-added products in the respective countries. It also trained four farmer groups in postharvest handling of grain foods.

The Principal, CAES, Prof. Gorettie N. Nabanoga addressing participants.
The Principal, CAES, Prof. Gorettie N. Nabanoga addressing participants.

Lessons learnt

  • In the production of cereals, maize still has an economic advantage over sorghum and millet. Therefore, there is need for high yielding and quick maturing sorghum and millet varieties.
  • Drudgery is one of the reasons for less millet and sorghum on the market.
  • Commercialization is different for each product.
  • The ultimate value of a product or innovation is in the market and not patent. “Many times we focus on patenting of our products but the biggest value of an innovation is in marketing,” Prof. Byaruhanga explained.
The DVCAA, Prof. Umar Kakumba (2nd R) and the Principal of CAES, Prof. Gorettie N. Nabanoga (R) tour some of the products developed under the project.
The DVCAA, Prof. Umar Kakumba (2nd R) and the Principal of CAES, Prof. Gorettie N. Nabanoga (R) tour some of the products developed under the project.

Remarks by the DVC Academic Affairs

Addressing the meeting, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC) in charge of Academic Affairs, Makerere University, Prof. Umar Kakumba applauded the research team for uplifting the name and ranking of the University. “CAES ranks highly in terms of research output at Makerere University and plays a pivotal role in linking the University with communities,” he noted. Despite the achievements registered in research and innovation, Prof. Kakumba said the university was not faring well in the area of knowledge translation. Reechoing the vision of the University that seeks to transform Makerere into a thought leader of knowledge generation for societal transformation and development, Prof. Kakumba explained that knowledge generated at the University must inform the processes of the transforming the country. He acknowledged the efforts of Professors in advancing the University’s research agenda. He expressed gratitude to SIDA and BioInnovate Africa for the support accorded to the project and other research activities at the University. He also appreciated the Government of Uganda for supporting high impact and transformative research at the University. Additionally, he appreciated the project partners, noting that such collaborations are crucial in building strategic partnerships. He reminded the research team to work towards patenting their products.

The DVCAA, Prof. Umar Kakumba (2nd L) checking out some of the products developed under the project.
The DVCAA, Prof. Umar Kakumba (2nd L) checking out some of the products developed under the project.

In her remarks, the Principal of CAES, Prof. Gorettie N. Nabanoga appreciated the School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio-Engineering for its outstanding contribution to research and Innovation at the University. Despite the small number of staff, the School has won many big grants and has successfully implemented many high impact research projects. The School features prominently with respect to resource mobilization,” she noted, reiterating the need to patent and commercialize all products and innovations generated at the University.

The Principal appreciated Makerere University Management for supporting research and innovation development. She also appreciated SIDA and BioInnovate Africa for supporting research at CAES and the University in general.

The Dean, School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio-Engineering, Prof. Abel Atukwase delivering his remarks.
The Dean, School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio-Engineering, Prof. Abel Atukwase delivering his remarks.

The Dean, School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio-Engineering, Prof. Abel Atukwase appreciated the research team for the great outputs intended to boost food security. He equally appreciated the SIDA and BioInnovate Africa for supporting Makerere University’s agenda of becoming a research-led University. Commenting on the relevance of Professors in generating research grants, supervising and mentoring junior staff and students, he appealed to Management to work out measures of retaining all professors post retirement.

The Head, Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, Dr Ivan Mukisa Muzira appreciated senior professors for their contribution to research and innovation at the University.
The Head, Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, Dr Ivan Mukisa Muzira appreciated senior professors for their contribution to research and innovation at the University.

The Head, Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, Dr. Ivan Muzira Mukisa appreciated the contribution of senior researchers and Professors towards research and innovation at Makerere University. He equally appreciated the development partners for supporting research and innovation at the University.

Prof. Archileo Kaaya contributes to the discussion.
Prof. Archileo Kaaya contributes to the discussion.

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

Agriculture & Environment

CAES Annual Report 2023

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Cover page of the CAES Annual Report 2023. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga
Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga

With utmost delight, I am honoured to present the Annual Report of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) for the year 2023. As we look back on the accomplishments and obstacles of the past year, I extend my deepest appreciation to each and every one of you who contributed to our collective achievements. It has truly been a year of fulfilment and progress. In 2023, CAES proudly celebrated the graduation of 592 students, of whom 48% were female, at the 74th Graduation Ceremony. Among them were 14 PhD, 94 MSc, 5 Post Graduate Diplomas, and 479 BSc graduates across various disciplines in agricultural and environmental sciences. My sincere congratulations to all the graduates and the dedicated staff who supported them throughout their journey.

Reflecting on the commitments made in 2022 for the year 2023, we have made substantial strides. I am pleased to report that our faculty and students successfully adapted to the blended mode of teaching and learning. We remain steadfast in our dedication to a learner-centered, practical-oriented, and gender-responsive approach, with the goal of nurturing skilled, entrepreneurial, and innovative graduates capable of addressing challenges in the Agricultural and Environmental sectors.

Furthermore, we have revised the curriculum for approximately 15 programs, enriching content to include skills relevant to entrepreneurial green economies. This underscores our commitment to fostering innovation within CAES and equipping our graduates with the tools they need to thrive in dynamic professional landscapes.

Moreover, our college continues to advance knowledge, tackle critical challenges, and make a positive impact on society. Notably, the Makerere University Regional Centre of Excellence for Crop Improvement (MaRCCI) has been elevated to an “African Host Centre (AHU/C) for training high-quality PhDs in Plant Breeding and Biotechnology.” This initiative aims to address the human resource gap in highly qualified specialists in these fields across Africa, reaffirming our commitment to excellence and leadership in agricultural education and research. For the reporting year, CAES has registered several achievements as highlighted.

Teaching and Learning for improving learner experiences

The introduction and implementation of the CAES-GRADCARE Management System represents a significant milestone in our efforts to enhance graduate management processes within the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. This innovative system was meticulously crafted to streamline operations, optimize workflow, and elevate overall efficiency and effectiveness. Its primary objectives include improving supervision mechanisms, reducing lead times, and minimizing costs associated with thesis examination. Moreover, the system empowers stakeholders with invaluable data insights, facilitating informed decision-making across various levels of academic administration.

Research and Innovation for impacting society

In our relentless pursuit of ethical research practices, we are proud to announce the establishment and full operationalization of the CAES Research Ethics Committee/Institutional Review Board (CAES-REC/IRB). This critical initiative underscores our commitment to upholding the highest standards of integrity and transparency in our research endeavors. Our dedication to innovation is exemplified by the introduction of the MakSol Cooker—a solar-powered marvel poised to revolutionize cooking practices while significantly reducing carbon footprints within households. This transformative solution not only addresses environmental concerns but also promotes sustainable living on a tangible, everyday level. Furthermore, our research efforts have yielded remarkable breakthroughs in agriculture and food security. Through the development of bio-fertilizer formulations, we aim to unlock crop productivity while simultaneously addressing soil nitrogen deficiencies, thereby enhancing household food security and bolstering agricultural sustainability. In tandem with our agricultural innovations, we have successfully bred resilient Mak Soybean, Cowpea and Sorghum varieties, capable of withstanding drought, disease, pests, and climate stress while boasting shortened maturity periods. These advancements provide a vital protein source, particularly in regions prone to agricultural challenges, and enable the production of value-added products, contributing to enhanced food security and resilience, further enhancing the agricultural value chain. In our quest for sustainable agricultural practices, we have developed innovative solutions such as the Soil Test Kit, facilitating simplified soil management by offering rapid semi-quantitative evaluations of essential elements crucial for optimal plant growth. This tool empowers farmers with actionable insights to optimize crop yields and promote sustainable land stewardship. Additionally, our Hybrid Refractance Window Drying equipment represents a game-changer in post-harvest handling, ensuring consistent drying of perishable agricultural produce. By preserving the quality of fruits and vegetables, this technology enhances the value chain, thereby maximizing agricultural productivity and reducing post-harvest losses. Furthermore, our efforts extend beyond crops to encompass livestock management and nutrition. Through the development of protocols for Banana Tissue Culture and value addition to Sweet Potato-Sorghum enterprises, we aim to improve agricultural livelihoods and economic resilience among farming communities. Innovative solutions such as rearing and utilizing blue flies, maggots, and earthworms as alternative protein sources for poultry and fish feeds demonstrate our commitment to sustainable feed production. These efforts not only diversify protein sources but also promote circular economies by utilizing agricultural by-products effectively. Moreover, our research endeavors have yielded transformative solutions to combat malnutrition and poverty. The development of a livestock milk booster, derived from sugarcane industrial waste, addresses nutritional deficiencies while enhancing dairy production, thereby improving livelihoods and food security. Our commitment to research and innovation for societal impact is unwavering. From ground-breaking agricultural technologies to transformative solutions for nutrition and food safety, we remain dedicated to advancing sustainable development and improving livelihoods across communities. Through collaborative efforts and relentless innovation, we strive to create a brighter, more resilient future for all.

Knowledge transfer and Community engagement

This 2023 Annual Report highlights several impactful knowledge sharing initiatives undertaken by CAES: i) NARO-Makerere Third Joint Scientific Conference, ii) Summer School on Landscape Ecology, iii) International Collaboration in Soybean Research, iv) Policy Dialogue on Climate Science, v) Recognition at the 29th Source of the Nile National Agricultural Show, vi) Youth and Innovation Expo 2023, vii) Training Programs for Capacity Building, viii) Capacity Building in Seed and Agronomic Practices, and ix) Soybean Seed Distribution. These initiatives underscore CAES’ commitment to knowledge transfer, community engagement, and sustainable agricultural development, reflecting our dedication to fostering innovation and driving positive change in Uganda and beyond. The accomplishments detailed in this report are a testament to the unwavering dedication and collaborative efforts of our esteemed staff, students, and partners.

Throughout this reporting year, we have witnessed remarkable growth and achievement among our faculty members, with several individuals being promoted and duly recognized for their outstanding contributions.

Looking ahead, we are presented with a multitude of opportunities to further our impact and achieve even greater heights of excellence. As we embark on the next chapter of our journey, we remain steadfast in our commitment to academic excellence, research, innovation, and societal impact. In the coming year, we will continue to focus on strengthening our academic programs, fostering interdisciplinary and multi-stakeholder collaboration, and expanding our innovative research initiatives to address pressing challenges in agriculture, environmental sustainability, and food security. We will also prioritize initiatives aimed at enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion within our college community, ensuring that all voices are heard and valued. As we navigate the path ahead, I am confident that together, we will overcome any challenges that may arise and continue to make significant contributions to the advancement of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. As Winston Churchill stated, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts”.

I invite you to explore the pages of this Annual Report to learn more about our achievements, challenges, and aspirations for the future.

Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga
PRINCIPAL, CAES

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Agriculture & Environment

The Joint ClimSMART-NORHED II CSA Summer School Second Edition 2024 Kicks Off at Mak

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Participants of the joint CSA-ClimSMART Summer School at Makerere University’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES). Inauguration of the 2024 edition of the ClimSMART-NORHEDII CSA Summer School funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and the Norwegian Research Council, kick off theory sessions from May 27th to 28th, 2024, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

By Brian Ogenrwoth

Makerere University, in collaboration with Gulu University, has inaugurated the 2024 edition of the ClimSMART-NORHEDII CSA Summer School. Funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and the Norwegian Research Council, the program began with a series of theory sessions from May 27th to 28th, 2024. This year’s event has drawn 23 postgraduate students (MSc and PhDs) from 7 countries studying at 5 African universities namely; Makerere University, Gulu University, University of Zambia, Hawassa University and University of Juba, and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU). Additionally, 16 scientists and three postdoctoral researchers from the participating institutions have joined the initiative.

CAES Principal, Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga addressing the participants. Inauguration of the 2024 edition of the ClimSMART-NORHEDII CSA Summer School funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and the Norwegian Research Council, kick off theory sessions from May 27th to 28th, 2024, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
CAES Principal, Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga addressing the participants.

Prof. Jackline Bonabana, the Principal Investigator of the ClimSMART project and Co-Principal Investigator of the NORHED II CSA project who coordinated the Summer School, emphasized the comprehensive and multifaceted nature of the program. She highlighted that the sessions would cover critical topics in climate-smart agriculture, biochar, climate change, and food security. Prof. Samuel Kyamanywa, the Principal Investigator of the NORHED II CSA project, applauded the collaborative efforts of the Climsmart/NORHED II partners and delivered an engaging presentation on insect pests and their management in the context of climate change.

Prof. Jan Mulder of NMBU delivering a presentation on food security in Sub-Saharan Africa. Inauguration of the 2024 edition of the ClimSMART-NORHEDII CSA Summer School funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and the Norwegian Research Council, kick off theory sessions from May 27th to 28th, 2024, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Jan Mulder of NMBU delivering a presentation on food security in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Prof. Vegard Martinsen from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) underscored the vast research opportunities in climate-smart agriculture on the African continent. He noted the region’s unique context and the increasing impact of climate change as pivotal factors for continued need for meaningful research and empirical evidence.

Participants and scientists listening to presentation on site assessment and sampling for agriculture. Inauguration of the 2024 edition of the ClimSMART-NORHEDII CSA Summer School funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and the Norwegian Research Council, kick off theory sessions from May 27th to 28th, 2024, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Participants and scientists listening to presentation on site assessment and sampling for agriculture.

Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga, Principal of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) at Makerere University, presented on critical thinking and officially welcomed participants, stressing the urgent need to upscale such collaborative efforts to tackle food insecurity and climate change. She affirmed that such programmes align to the Makerere University agenda and strategic direction.

Participants at MUARIK. Inauguration of the 2024 edition of the ClimSMART-NORHEDII CSA Summer School funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and the Norwegian Research Council, kick off theory sessions from May 27th to 28th, 2024, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Participants at MUARIK.

The sessions also featured a variety of expert presentations, including:

  • Food Security in SSA by Prof. Jan Mulder (Norwegian University of Life Sciences)
  • Site Assessment and Sampling for Agriculture by Prof. Lydia Chabala (University of Zambia)
  • Aqua Crop Model for Land Management by Prof. Elijah Phiri (University of Zambia)
  • Understanding Basic Concepts in Soil Fertility by Dr. Patrick Musinguzi and Prof. Twaha Basamba Ali (Makerere University)
  • Weed Management by Dr. Sylvester Katuromunda (Makerere University)
  • Co-Composting Organic Wastes with Biochar by Prof. Fantaw Yimer (Hawassa University)
  • Socio-Economic Topics like personal branding and marketing by Prof. Basil Mugonola and Dr. Walter Odongo, climate resilience governance and management practice by Dr. Patrick Byakagaba (Makerere University), and communication and presentation skills by Mr. Edward Gita (Rural Enterprise Development Solutions). Very insightful presentations were made by the Post Doc and PhD students as well.

The practical sessions, scheduled from May 29th to June 9th, 2024, will include farmer field visits, laboratory sessions, group discussions, data analysis, and presentations at Gulu University.

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Agriculture & Environment

Eco Brixs Seeks to Collaborate with Mak in Plastics Waste Management

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The CEO of Eco Brixs, Mr. Andrew Bownds (2nd R) with the Makerere University team led by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (3rd R) after the meeting on 8th May 2024. Rotary Peace Centre, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

Poor waste disposal remains one of the biggest challenges in Uganda pausing a number of environmental and health risks. According to the Ministry of Water and Environment, plastic waste is becoming disastrous to urban and rural areas due to poor disposal practices. All store purchases are packaged in polythene bags, and without proper disposal, plastic garbage can be seen everywhere. During the rainy season, they are washed into water channels, where they block drainage. Single-use packaging for soda, water, and other drinks results in mountains of garbage heaping up in legal and illegal dumpsites – The Independent Magazine, 30th May 2022.


As a measure to improve plastics waste management in the country, Eco Brixs has reached out to Makerere University to collaborate in addressing the challenge. On 8th May 2024, the CEO, also Co-Founder of Eco Brixs, Mr. Andrew Bownds held a meeting with Makerere University officials led by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe in which they brainstormed on different areas for collaboration.

Proposed areas for collaboration

  1. Research, Eco Brixs seeks to collaborate with Makerere University in Product Testing. Eco Brixs is producing new products monthly and requires lab tests to support UNBS certification. The Company also seeks to collaborate with Makerere in Environmental Research. The Company intends to work with PhD students to complete focused research on plastic pollution and the recycling process.
  2. Internships – Eco Brixs has had 50 students complete internships and would love to grow that with Makerere.
  3. Be Makerere Official Recyclers – Eco Brixs seeks to be the recycler of Makerere University. Suggestions were made to jointly source funding to address the challenge and to set up a plastic waste collection centre at Makerere University.

During the meeting, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe welcomed the initiative and reiterated the need to include students on projects to ensure sustainability. The meeting was attended by among others the Principal, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga; the Dean, School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences, Dr Revocatus Twinomuhangi; and the Manager in charge of Accounts and Reporting at Makerere University, Mr Lubowa Ssebina Gyaviira.

About Eco Brixs

Eco Brixs is a plastic recycling enterprise which uses a sustainable circular economic model to address the challenges of plastic waste and high unemployment levels in Uganda. Eco Brixs collects, recycles, and processes plastic waste into Eco Products for a ready market. Addressing plastic pollution and lifting people out of abject poverty through sustainable employment is one of the core roles of Eco Brixs. Operating since 2017, Eco Brixs has a plastic waste collection network that has seen 3,000 people delivering plastic into one of the enterprise’s 44 Buy-Back centres and engaging in earning through the recycling economy. Eco Brixs model is replicable and scalable to achieve its vision of being the Biggest Recycler in East Africa with franchises across the developing world. Eco Brixs is focused on driving green job creation through sustainable conservation.

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