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PAIRWISE Project Engages Mbarara Stakeholders on Antibiotic Resistance

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Most of the antibiotics used to manage diseases in humans and livestock end up in the environment. Antibiotics (ATBs), Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria (ARB), and Antibiotic Resistance (ARGs) have spread in almost all habitats globally. The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) recognize the problem of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), and thus recommend: Prudent use of antimicrobials; and a “One Health Approach” to mitigate the problem. Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is a situation where bacteria develop resistance against antibiotics intended to destroy them.

Dr Robinson Odong briefing stakeholders about the project
Dr Robinson Odong briefing stakeholders about the project

Antibiotics in the environment may induce AMR in bacteria, hence the risk of transfer to humans and wildlife. AMR reduces effectiveness of antibiotics, leading to higher costs of treatment, severe illnesses, and deaths. Globally, about 1.2 million people died in 2019 due to complications of AMR; Sub-Saharan African region alone had 255,000 deaths (Murray et al., 2022, The Lancet, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(21)02724-0).

Assoc. Prof. Charles Masembe, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences, CoNAS, Makerere University. He conducts research on animal diseases using molecular epidemiology tools with special focus on African Swine Fever genetics.
Assoc. Prof. Charles Masembe, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences, CoNAS, Makerere University. He conducts research on animal diseases using molecular epidemiology tools with special focus on African Swine Fever genetics.

The Strategic Research Agenda by the Joint Programming Initiatives (JPI) calls for transnational studies on AMR in both terrestrial and aquatic environments. Indeed, the role of livestock, wildlife and migratory birds in the spread of AMR has previously been under-emphasized, yet they are major reservoirs of ARB and ARG.

Dr Peter Akoll engages stakeholders on the commonly used antibiotics and the potential sites for sample collection
Dr Peter Akoll engages stakeholders on the commonly used antibiotics and the potential sites for sample collection

The PAIRWISE Project is being implemented in three countries in Europe, and two in Africa. PAIRWISE is investigating the risks posed to human health and the environment by pollutants and pathogens present in water resources. The project also aims to investigate the dispersal of ATB, ARB and ARG downstream Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTPs) by comparing different geographical/climatic regions, wastewater management practices and types of water bodies.

Project partners include; National Veterinary Institute (SVA), Sweden; Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), Norway; Linköping University (LiU), Sweden; Doñana Biological Station, Higher Council for Scientific Research, Spain; National Research Institute for Rural Engineering, Water, and Forestry, Tunisia; Faculty of Medicine Ibn Al-Jazzar Sousse, Tunisia; and the College of Natural Sciences,  Makerere University, Uganda.

Mr. David Nuwagaba, Mbarara District Natural Resources Officer sharing his views at the stakeholders meeting 
Mr. David Nuwagaba, Mbarara District Natural Resources Officer sharing his views at the stakeholders meeting 

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 869178-AquaticPollutants, Joint Programming Initiative on Anti-microbial Resistance (JPIAMR), www.waterjpi.eu; and JPI Oceans, www.jpi-oceans.eu. For Uganda, the three-year project is funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida). The African Population and Health Research Center, Nairobi, www.aphrc.org coordinates the funding in Uganda.

One of the study areas, River Rwizi Catchment
One of the study areas, River Rwizi Catchment

In Uganda, the research activities are being conducted by researchers from the College of Natural Sciences, Makerere University including: Prof. Charles Masembe (Principal Investigator), Dr. Robinson Odong, Dr. Peter Akoll, Mr. Mayega Johnson (Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences) and Mr. John Omara (Department of Biochemistry and Sports Sciences) as team members. The study area in Uganda includes the catchment of River Rwizi, Lake Mburo National Park, and River Aswa.  

The Team visits one of the study areas, River Rwizi Catchment
The Team visits one of the study areas, River Rwizi Catchment

The research will contribute towards better understanding of the factors which influence the occurrence and spread of AMR in water systems, livestock farms, and birds. It will also contribute towards the Government of Uganda’s framework to combat the threat of AMR, through the National AMR Action Plan; design policies to reduce the risks of AMR, and the costs incurred for animal and human disease management.

Dr Peter Akoll moderated the discussion on potential sites for sample collection
Dr Peter Akoll moderated the discussion on potential sites for sample collection

Makerere University PAIRWISE Consultative Meeting in Mbarara

On 31st May 2022, the project team from the Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences led by Prof. Charles Masembe (Principal Investigator) held a consultative meeting to get buy-in and introduce the PAIRWISE Project to the key stakeholders in Greater Mbarara and River Rwizi catchment. The meeting also aimed to receive input from key stakeholders regarding the use of antibiotics in Greater Mbarara district and River Rwizi catchment, to document challenges of Antimicrobial Resistance and identify potential sites for fieldwork.  

Mr John Omara from the Department of Biochemistry and Sports Sciences sharing his views on the study
Mr John Omara from the Department of Biochemistry and Sports Sciences sharing his views on the study

The meeting was attended by administrators, senior health, water and environmental officers in Mbarara City and District including:

  1. The District Chief Administration Officer represented by Mr Bakashaba Innocent
  2. Mr David Nuwagaba, the District Natural Resources Officer
  3. Mr Tumwebaze Herbert, Environment Officer, Mbarara City
  4. Dr Oriokot Francis, Deputy Director, Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital
  5. Dr Akashaba Andrew, Mbarara District Veterinary Officer
  6. Mr Mwesigye Joseph, Environment Officer, Mbarara District
  7. Mr Katongole Joseph, a farmer in Mbarara District

Mr Ayebare Calist, Fisheries Officer, Isingiro District, and a fresh graduate (May 2022, Makerere University 72nd Graduation) assisted in organizing the Stakeholders meeting. During the meeting, Dr Robinson Odong on behalf of Prof. Charles Masembe shared the project overview with participants, outlining the challenges of AMR, and expectations from the research. Stakeholders brainstormed and listed the commonly used antibiotics and the potential sites for sample collection. The research will take the One Health Approach, encompassing aspects of human, animal and environmental health.

Some of the District officials who participated in the PAIRWISE project consultative meeting in Mbarara City
Some of the District officials who participated in the PAIRWISE project consultative meeting in Mbarara City

Capacity Building under PAIRWISE Project

As part of the PAIRWISE capacity building component, the project is supporting research activities of two graduate students: Ms. Ndinawe Ruth Pamela (Master of Science in Molecular Biology) studying “The dispersal of antimicrobial resistance bacteria and genes through aquatic birds under different climatic and geographical conditions”; and Mr. George Katende (Master of Science in Immunology and Clinical Microbiology), studying “Characterization of clinically important antibiotic resistant bacteria and genes in river waters upstream and downstream of WWTPs and hospital effluent” https://cns.mak.ac.ug/blog/call-applications-msc-scholarship-under-pairwise-project.

More at: https://mobile.twitter.com/makconas

Mr Ayebare Calist (R), Fisheries Officer, Isingiro District and Mr Katongole Joseph, a farmer in Mbarara District at the stakeholders meeting
Mr Ayebare Calist (R), Fisheries Officer, Isingiro District and Mr Katongole Joseph, a farmer in Mbarara District at the stakeholders meeting
The Team on the banks of River Rwizi, Isingiro District.
The Team on the banks of River Rwizi, Isingiro District.
Cattle watering in River Rwizi, Isingiro District. The water is also used for human consumption. PAIRWISE is investigating the risks posed to human health and the environment by pollutants and pathogens present in water resources
Cattle watering in River Rwizi, Isingiro District. The water is also used for human consumption. PAIRWISE is investigating the risks posed to human health and the environment by pollutants and pathogens present in water resources
A student drawing water from River Rwizi
A student drawing water from River Rwizi
The Project team with farmers in Isingiro District
The Project team with farmers in Isingiro District

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Natural Sciences

CARTA Fellow Anywar Appointed Member of BMC Editorial Board

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Dr. Godwin Anywar (2nd Right) displays his certificate after attending the Science Diplomacy Course in Trieste, Italy, from June 17 to 21, 2024. Photo: CARTA.

Godwin Anywar, cohort 6, Makerere University, was appointed a Member of the editorial board of BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies on June 18, 2024. The appointment is on a rolling basis, renewable after every two years.

He also attended the Science Diplomacy Course in Trieste, Italy, from June 17 to 21, 2024, under the auspices of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Washington, DC, USA, and The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), Trieste, Italy.

Source: CARTA Newsletter Issue 78

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Natural Sciences

Mak Researchers develop Innovative Integrated Wetlands-bivalve system to Mitigate Effects of Pollution in Aquaculture farms in the Lake Victoria Basin

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The Project team with the participants during the workshop at Colline Hotel Mukono on 26th June 2024. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.

By Hasifa Kabejja & Dr. Robinson Odong

Overview

The fisheries sub-sector in Uganda is crucial, supporting over 5 million livelihoods and providing essential protein for up to 17 million people, with an average consumption of 10 kg per capita. Uganda’s population is projected to double in the next 27 years, prompting the National Development Plan III to aim for a significant increase in fish production, with aquaculture expected to contribute 1 million MT by 2030. The Fisheries and Aquaculture Act 2022 emphasizes adherence to National Environmental Management principles to achieve sustainable production systems.

However, as aquaculture grows, the sector faces environmental challenges due to increased intensive production and on-farm waste, including nutrients from feed, uneaten feed, poor quality feeds, pseudofeces, escaped farmed fish, and residual chemicals. These pollutants pose risks such as habitat quality deterioration, biodiversity loss, eutrophication of waterways, and the emergence of drug-resistant pathogens.

The Principal, CoNAS, Makerere University, Prof. Winston Tumps Ireeta officially opened the workshop. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.
The Principal, CoNAS, Makerere University, Prof. Winston Tumps Ireeta officially opened the workshop.

Mitigating the effects of environmental pollution from aquaculture

Through a Project titled: Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP), researchers from Makerere University in collaboration with the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) set out to assess the effects of aquaculture facilities and practices on Lake Victoria, its catchment rivers and wetlands. The team led by Dr Ronald Semyalo from the Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS) at Makerere University subsequently examined the effectiveness of innovative technologies, such as integrated wetland-bivalve systems, in mitigating these impacts. They also reviewed the application of national environment and aquaculture regulations in controlling environmental pollution. The study surveyed fish farms in three districts of Buikwe, Jinja, and Mukono within the Victoria Water Management Zone. Other project team members were: Dr Jerome Lugumira from NEMA, Dr Robinson Odong and Mr. Drake Ssempijja from ZEFS, Makerere University, and Ms. Ritah Namisango, Senior Public Relations Officer at Makerere. The Project was supported by the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (MakRIF).

Some of the participants at the workshop at Colline Hotel Mukono. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.
Some of the participants at the workshop at Colline Hotel Mukono.

During their engagement with different stakeholders in the fishing industry including the fish farmers from Jinja, Buikwe and Mukono, as well as experts from the Directorate of Water Resources at the Ministry of Water and Environment, NEMA, and the Directorate of Aquaculture Development at MAAF, the research team established that only 138 out of 380 registered fish farms were active, with 45.6% of the farms in Jinja, 35.5% in Mukono; and 18.8% in Buikwe. Overall, over 60% of the farms were inactive posing serious environmental threats.  

The PI, Dr Ronald Semyalo presenting the project findings to stakeholders. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.
The PI, Dr Ronald Semyalo presenting the project findings to stakeholders.

Dissemination of the research findings

On 26th June 2024, the project team held a workshop at Colline Hotel Mukono to disseminate the research finding to stakeholders who included fish farmers from Buikwe, Jinja and Mukono, District Fisheries Officers, as well as representatives from NEMA and MAAIF. In the presentations, the team highlighted the environmental impacts of aquaculture practices and the possibility of innovatively using nature-based, environmentally friendly innovations as a mitigation measure. The presentations covered farm characteristics, water and feed management practices, water quality assessments and waste management methods. The participants engaged in discussion on the implications of the results and shared their experiences and challenges in managing aquaculture operations.

Dr Semyalo disseminating the research findings. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.
Dr Semyalo disseminating the research findings.
Mr. Geoffrey Dheyongera, Principal Fisheries Officer at MAAIF delivered a presentation on the state of capture fisheries and aquaculture in Uganda. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.
Mr. Geoffrey Dheyongera, Principal Fisheries Officer at MAAIF delivered a presentation on the state of capture fisheries and aquaculture in Uganda.

Key findings as disseminated by the PI

Out of the 380 farms, 119 were assessed. Below are the key findings;

  1. Environmental Impact Assessment: It was established that 81% of the farmers had not conducted Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and Environmental audits. This, the researchers noted was one of the major causes of abandoned farms. 
  2. Farm Characteristics: The majority of farms used earthen ponds (66.9%) and were semi-intensive (63.6%), relying on manufactured feed and pond fertilization. Intensive farms (30.5%) exclusively used manufactured feeds, while extensive farms (4.2%) relied solely on pond fertilization.
  3. Fish Species: Nile tilapia was the top choice (96.1%) for monoculture farms, while tilapia and catfish were preferred for polyculture systems (46.9%). Intensive farms predominantly farmed Nile tilapia.
  4. Demographics: Most respondents were male (90.7%), with a median age of 35 years. The largest age group was 31 to 59 years (43.2%).
  5. Fish diseases: The research revealed a number of diseases affecting aquaculture including: lesions/wounds on the belly and cysts on the scales, skin lesions and cysts on the belly, popping eyes and white substance on fins, open skin wounds, open wounds on the head, skin lesions – greyish, swollen eyes, whitish and black patches on the skin on the pelvic fin, wounds on the head.
  6. Water Use: Fish farms primarily relied on spring water and lake water. Other sources, such as streams, wells, and rivers, were also utilized. In most cases, the water source was shared with the community. Only a small percentage of respondents acknowledged any known disease outbreaks on their farms. There was a strong association between the district in which the farm was located and the water source used. Majority of those using lake water were in Jinja District, while most of those using spring water were in Mukono District. Additionally, there was a significant association between the fish species cultured and the water source used. 
  7. Feed Management: A significant proportion of the farms heavily relied on factory-made feeds. These feeds were often used in combination with farm feed materials, such as maize bran, potato vines, yam leaves, and kitchen waste. A smaller number of farmers exclusively relied on farm-made feeds, while an even smaller percentage solely relied on pond fertilization. Manufactured feeds were used in various forms: powder and floating pellets, powder, crumble, and floating pellets, powder only, floating pellets only, and sinking pellets. The most prevalent method of feed delivery was feeding by response, while some farms also practiced feeding by ration.
  8. Waste Management: The findings indicated a concerning lack of treatment for aquaculture effluent, with majority of respondents (69%) releasing it directly into natural streams or wetlands. This highlights the need for improved environmental management practices.  Common waste sources included faecal matter and dead fish. Most farms incinerated or buried solid waste. 
  9. Water Quality: Measurements at the representative visited farms showed compliance with FAO optimal conditions for fish farms. The physicochemical parameters of the farms visited were in line with FAO optimal conditions for fish farms.
  10. Prevailing Regulatory System: A comprehensive gap analysis was conducted to supplement the findings from the survey. It aimed to identify weaknesses and areas for improvement in current policies and regulations governing aquaculture. It also evaluated the effectiveness of existing measures in addressing environmental pollution, waste management, and sustainable water use. This exercise provided a foundation for developing more robust and effective regulatory frameworks that support sustainable aquaculture practices, protect water resources, and enhance the overall environmental health of the Lake Victoria basin.
Stakeholders at the MEEP dissemination workshop. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.
Stakeholders at the MEEP dissemination workshop.

Project output

***Innovative Integrated wetlands-bivalves system was developed to mitigate the impact of pollution emanating from aquaculture on the environment

Effluent from poor aquaculture practices may contain uneaten feed residues and associated components, such as suspended solids, nutrient nitrogen and phosphorus and organic materials. If discharged without any form of treatment, such effluent contributes to excessive nutrient enrichment of water bodies, a phenomenon referred to as eutrophication. Eutrophic waters have diminished ecological value, for example are low in oxygen level and can lead to fish kills. Wetland plants, such as duckweeds can aid in cleansing of aquaculture effluent of excess pollutants, through various mechanisms. For example, the plant roots adsorb suspended solids, besides offering conducive attachment surfaces for beneficial microorganisms which perform various nutrient recycling roles. The plants also uptake excess nutrients, hence reducing their levels in water. Bivalves (Molluscs) are filter feeders, hence uptake and cleanse water of detrital or solid materials, hence augmenting the roles of the plants. The integration of wetlands-bivalves system offer synergistic roles in aquaculture effluent treatment. The plants and bivalves used in the treatment can in turn be removed and used for other beneficial purposes.

Dr Jerome Lugumira from NEMA delivered a presentation on the policies regulating the sector and the gaps. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.
Dr Jerome Lugumira from NEMA delivered a presentation on the policies regulating the sector and the gaps.

Presentation on policy gaps

During the dissemination workshop, Dr Jerome Lugumira, the Natural Resources Manager, Soils and Land Use at NEMA sensitized participants on the National Environment Act, 2019 with special emphasis on policy regulations for the aquaculture sector. He emphasized the need to acquire an EIA certificate before engaging in aquaculture. Highlighting the gaps in policy, Dr Lugumira noted that Schedule 4 of the National Environment Act, 2019 does not sufficiently guide the Fisheries sector; while the Physical Planning Act, 2010 is biased towards physical development planning, and the Water Act, 1997 provides for a waste discharge permit but no consideration of the extent of wastes discharged from fish farms of varying size and intensity is provided.

Dr Lugumira sensitizing participants on the policies. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.
Dr Lugumira sensitizing participants on the policies.

He further noted that the National Environment (Wetlands, Riverbanks and Lakeshores Management) Regulations, 2000 do not guide on areas where aquaculture best fits, indicating that the application of the 25% wetland area beyond which one needs approval is vague.

Additionally, he explained that the National Environment (Waste Management) Regulations, 2020 refer to fish waste generally and not whether it means waste from fish or all waste from fish farms, such as off-cuts, unwanted materials, and that the National Environment (Standards for Discharge of Effluent into Water or Land) Regulations, 2020 consider effluent discharge and not that released in-situ and that disposed directly into water via cages and into soil via land-based systems.

Right-Left Dr Susan Luyiga, Dr Peter Akoll, and Ms. Ritah Namisango at the dissemination workshop. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.
Right-Left Dr Susan Luyiga, Dr Peter Akoll, and Ms. Ritah Namisango at the dissemination workshop.

Dr Lugumira called for the review of the National Environment (Wetlands, Riverbanks and Lakeshores Management) Regulations, 2000, by requiring the mandated Lead Agency (WMD) to issue approvals for access to wetlands, and appending guidance on wetlands and lake areas where aquaculture is suitable. He suggested that submissions seeking approval from NEMA should have all required approvals from MAAIF, WMD and DLGs. “The assessment process should be supported by a technical officer skilled in fisheries sciences and not generalists,” he noted.

The Guest of Honour, Mr. Alio Andrew briefed participants on proper aquaculture management practices and called on Ugandans to invest in the fisheries sector. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.
The Guest of Honour, Mr. Alio Andrew briefed participants on proper aquaculture management practices and called on Ugandans to invest in the fisheries sector.

Overview on the state of capture fisheries and aquaculture in Uganda

Sharing an overview on the state of capture fisheries and aquaculture in Uganda, Mr. Geoffrey Dheyongera, Principal Fisheries Officer at MAAIF, noted that the global decline/stagnation in capture fisheries stocks had increased demand for fish, calling for a boost in fish production through stock enhancement in water bodies and promotion of aquaculture. “There is need for huge investment in aquaculture. The Aquaculture Policy targets 1 million MT from aquaculture through establishment of aquaparks with intensive management activities.”

One of the technologies developed by the project team to support the mitigation of the effects of aquaculture on the environment. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.
One of the technologies developed by the project team to support the mitigation of the effects of aquaculture on the environment.

Key concerns raised by the farmers

During the focused group discussions, participants highlighted a number of factors undermining the growth of the aquaculture sector. These include;

  1. Ignorance about the laws/policy guidelines
  2. Low skills and lack of exposure in aquaculture management
  3. Low numbers of technical staff to guide the farmers
  4. Inexperienced technical staff
  5. Cheating by fish seed producers
  6. Expensive and poor quality feeds
  7. Fluctuating prices of fish
  8. Competition with capture fisheries/negative attitude towards farmed fish
  9. Increased degradation of the environment which affects water quality
  10. High interest rates on loans
  11. Farmers fear for exorbitant taxes
Participants in group discussions on the factors undermining aquaculture. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.
Participants in group discussions on the factors undermining aquaculture.

Proposals for improvement

  1. Government should recruit technical staff to assist farmers
  2. Thorough training of extension staff
  3. Encourage value addition to farmed fish
  4. Integrate climate smart interventions in aquaculture
  5. Policies regulating the sector should be popularized
  6. Undertake periodical review of the existing policies
  7. Encourage multi-stakeholder involvement in the implementation of policies
  8. Invest in research responsive to fish and aquaculture sector needs
  9. Monitor quality of fish feeds to satisfy farmers’ needs and environmental safety
  10. Private hatchery operators must be supported by the responsible sector agencies to ensure quality seed. Likewise, fish seed must come from certified hatcheries.
  11. Inspection of farms should be strengthened
  12. Train farmers on proper aquaculture management practices
  13. Farmers should work in groups to reduce production costs, negotiate better prices for their products, access credit facilities and maximize profits
Group discussions on aquaculture. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.
Group discussions on aquaculture.

Remarks by the Guest of Honour, Mukono District CAO, and the Principal, CoNAS

In his remarks, the Guest of Honour, also Assistant Commissioner Aquaculture Management at MAAIF, Mr. Alio Andrew, guided the farmers on proper aquaculture practices, and encouraged Ugandans to invest in the fish sector. “The demand for fish has increased. Aquaculture remains a viable option,” he noted. He also raised the need to support private hatchery operators to produce quality seed, emphasizing that fish seed should only be bought from certified hatcheries. He highlighted the significance of biosecurity in aquaculture, and the need to collect appropriate data on the sector.

Group discussions on aquaculture. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.
Group discussions on aquaculture.

The CAO Mukono District called for intensified training of farmers in aquaculture management practices. She advised the farmers to work in groups if they are to make reasonable profits.

The Principal, College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Makerere University, Prof. Winston Tumps Ireeta, acknowledged the involvement of the community in research, and appreciated the fish farmers for actively participating in the project activities. He expressed gratitude to the Government of Uganda for the continued support towards research at Makerere University. Besides other initiatives geared towards improving research at Makerere, the Government is supporting over 700 research projects at Makerere through the Research and Innovations Fund. He also appreciated MAAIF and NEMA for the technical guidance extended towards the project.

The Representative of the CAO Mukono District delivering her remarks. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.
The Representative of the CAO Mukono District delivering her remarks.
A participant presenting the views of his group on the factors undermining aquaculture. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.
A participant presenting the views of his group on the factors undermining aquaculture.
The Secretariat at the dissemination workshop. On the left is Ms. Catherine Nannyonga, the Project Administrator. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.
The Secretariat at the dissemination workshop. On the left is Ms. Catherine Nannyonga, the Project Administrator.

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Call For Applications For Masters Scholarship Under The Biosorption For Sustainable Small-Scale Gold Mining In Uganda (BioGold) Project

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The JICA Building, College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) as approached from the Mary Stuart Road Roundabout, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda

BioGold Project is a three-year collaborative project among five academic institutions including, Kyambogo University, Makerere University, Gulu University, University of Pretoria and University of Continuing Education, Krems, Austria funded by the Austrian Development Cooperation under the APPEAR Partnership. The project will combine principles of biosorption and chemical remediation to treat contaminated wastewater, tailings, rehabilitate contaminated soils so as to protect vulnerable ecosystems surrounding artisanal gold mining (ASGM) areas in Uganda. This study will design biochar composites from locally available biomass to enhance mercury removal from wastewater and tailings as well as rehabilitate mercury-contaminated soils making them fit for agriculture. The project envisages to train and build capacity of young researchers in Uganda. As such the project has been allocated an MSc. position under Component II, to support to full-time student to undertake studies in Austria. The successful MSc candidate is expected to undertake research on characterizing, optimizing biochar and modify the biochar to improve the sorption capacities.

The project consortium is now inviting qualified and interested persons to apply for nomination for the award of the scholarship. The project has strong preference for female candidates, therefore strongly encouraged to apply.

Eligibility criteria

In addition to APPEAR requirements https://appear.at/en/implementation/embedded-scholarship-application, the applicants should:

  1. Not be older than 30 years (women not older than 35)
  2. Demonstrate interest and capability to work in the priority themes
  3. Present a concept note to provide understanding of the subject
  4. Have a minimum of second- upper class bachelor’s degree in any of the following programmes: BSc in Chemistry, BSc in Environmental Science, & BSc in Environmental Engineering

Benefits

The successful applicants will receive a full scholarship (up to 24 months) which includes;

  1. Return air ticket and visa costs to Austria
  2. Monthly stipend of €1000 while in Austria to cater for personal welfare, accommodation and local movement
  3. Research related expenses.

Application process

  1. A complete application form
  2. A one-page motivation letter
  3. Curriculum vitae (maximum 2 pages)
  4. A completed Master Scholarship Application Form for Embedded APPEAR Projects
  5. Copies of Academic documents
  6. Photocopy of the passport and/or ID
  7. Recommendation letters from two academic referees.
  8. All applications must be sent electronically to Dr. Mary Kaggwa (marykaggwa@kyu.ac.ug) and copied to Dr. Peter Akoll (peter.akoll@mak.ac.ug) and Dr. Denis Nono (d.nono@gu.ac.ug) not later than 5.00pm East African Time on 20th June 2024.

Members of staff with former students interested in biochar technology and its use in heavy metal removal are requested to share the advert with them.

Full Advert and Application form may be accessed below.

Note: Only successful applicants will be contacted.

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