Soybean is ranked the most important oil crop in the world, providing the cheapest source of protein for both human food and livestock feeds. The protein content of soybean is the highest among legume crops, averaging 40% on a dry matter basis. Soybean protein is balanced with all the essential amino acids, while the seed also contains significant amounts of minerals (notably Fe, Zn, Ca, Mg). Due to its nutritional superiority, soybean flour is the only substitute for animal and fish protein. For this reason, soybean-based foods are highly recommended for children under 5 years, expectant mothers and HIV/AIDS patients.
Soybean oil is 85% unsaturated, comprising linoleic acid (omega-3 fatty acid) and oleic acid which are known to reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering serum cholesterol by about 33%. Besides, soybean also contains isoflavones which increase artery and heart health. Impact studies have also shown that regular soy food consumption can reduce the risk of rectal cancer by 80%, mammary tumor by 40% and breast cancer by 50%. Production of soybean stands at 264 million MT worldwide, with United States of America (USA), Brazil and Argentina being the largest producers. In Africa, Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda are the largest producers, with annual volumes estimated at 1.5 million metric tonnes (FAO, 2017).
In Uganda, soybean is number one income earner crop in Northern and Eastern Uganda. Farmers in the region earn at least UGX1,200,000 per hectare per season.
About the Mak Centre for Soybean Improvement and Development (MAKCSID)
Soybean research and development efforts in Uganda is led by Makerere University Centre for Soybean Improvement and Development (MAKCSID) in partnership with farmers, research institutes and technology verification centres in the major soybean growing areas. The major breeding objectives are to; i) Develop and release superior soybean varieties; ii) Improve awareness for increased adoption of released soybean varieties by farmers; iii) Enhance availability and access of improved varieties; and iv) Value addition for enhanced nutrition (soy flour, soybean milk, Yoghurt) using appropriate technologies.
Since its establishment, the MAKCSID has registered significant achievements. The Centre has produced six high yielding varieties namely; Maksoy IN, Maksoy 2N, Maksoy 3N, Maksoy 4N; Maksoy 5N, Maksoy 6N. Recent impact studies by researchers from the Centre led by Prof. Phinehas Tukamuhabwa showed that the new varieties developed by MAKCSID were the most planted and accounted for 93% of the soybean varieties grown by Ugandan farmers. Currently, Maksoy 1N is the most widely adopted variety by farmers, while Maksoy 3N has the largest quantities of foundation seed disseminated by the centre. The centre has also established a state-of-the-art seed storage facility for early generation seed (Breeders and Foundation seed) and soybean germplasm used for breeding other varieties. Other facilities are soybean processing equipment (soycow) and Soybean roaster that are used to add value to soybeans. The growth of the soybean sub-sector in Uganda is mainly attributed to the availability of a wide range of improved varieties, government investment in soybean research, and increased private sector investment along the soybean value chain.
CAES Principal’s visit to MAKCSID: Leveraging the achievements of the Centre
On 6th July 2022, the Principal, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga visited MAKCSID at the Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK) to chart ways of improving productivity of the Centre. In a meeting with the MAKCSID team, the Principal applauded their contribution to improving the nutritional and commercial value of the crop. Brainstorming on ways of improving productivity at the Centre, the Principal noted that Agribusiness was featuring a lot in the National Development Plan (NDP III) as one of the activities expected to transform the country.
“The government is looking at ways of generating funds from our initiatives. The initiatives should therefore be turned in business enterprises. We need to maximise the available land at Kibaale and Nakasongola to increase production. You also need to link up with other Units within the College and University when it comes to value addition,” she noted.
The Principal further implored the team to create a private outlet for foundation soybean seed at MUARIK as a measure of generating resources from the initiative. She urged researchers to include students on all projects noting that the latter are the entry points to the communities.
In his presentation, the Principal Investigator for the Soybean Breeding and Seed Systems at MakCAES, Prof. Tukamuhabwa said the MAKCSID was targeting to establish a Soybean Centre of Excellence at MUARIK, develop climate smart soybean varieties, enhance Soybean processing and utilisation at village level, and incubation of small soybean based businesses.
CAES is also working with partners to develop the soybean value chain in Uganda. The partners involved in the initiative include Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the Government of Russia.
The Principal also toured the irrigation pump, poultry and rabbit initiatives at MUARIK.
Click the link below to view the Soybean Research Highlights 2002-2018 Report
CAES Mentorship Programme to Enhance Capacity of Young Scientists in Agricultural Policy Processes
The programme titled, “Enhancing the Capacity of Young Scientists to Engage in Agricultural and Food Security Policy Processes in East Africa” seeks to improve connection between science, policy and practice
Funder: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Agriculture is a key economic sector in the East African Region and it is an important source of livelihood for households and communities, especially in rural areas. Efforts to achieve food security and desirable nutrition outcomes, as well as spur economic growth largely revolve around the agricultural and environmental sectors. The role of these two sectors in achieving the first and second Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that focus on ending poverty and hunger respectively has been recognised in many continental, regional and national agricultural initiatives. Yet identifying and implementing enabling policies and evaluating their impact remains a challenge to the development and protection of the two sectors in most African countries. Africa’s continental framework for promotion of agricultural transformation, the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), recognizes and emphasizes the need to strengthen capabilities and the policy and institutional environment required to trigger agricultural transformation while protecting the environment. The process includes interventions to strengthen the capacity for evidence-based planning, implementation and review, and to increase the capacity to generate, analyse and use relevant information and innovations.
About the project
Through a project titled“Enhancing the Capacity of Young Scientists to Engage in Agricultural and Food Security Policy Processes in East Africa”, the Department of Agribusiness and Natural Resource Economics, College of Agricultural and environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University together with Kyambogo University, Busitema University, and the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Nairobi have mentored 13 PhD graduates – 8 in Uganda and 5 in Kenya. Supported by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences under the leadership of Prof. Bernard Bashaasha, the project aims to increase the capacity of scientists to synthesize, analyse and communicate science with different stakeholders; increase use of science-based knowledge in policies & practice; and improve connection between science, policy and practice. The mentees include; Dr Florence Lwiza from the Department of Agribusiness and Natural Resource Economics, CAES; Dr Betty Christine Nagawa from the Department of Forestry, Bio-Diversity and Tourism, CAES; Dr Kanifa Kamatara from the Department of Agricultural Production, CAES; and Dr Kellen Aganyira from the College of Education and External Studies, Makerere University. Others are Dr Catherine Ndagire; Dr Margaret Namugwanya Misinde; and Dr Judith Nagasha from Kyambogo University. The mentors include; Prof. Bernard Bashaasha from Makerere University; Dr Peter Opio from Busitema University and Dr Faith Muyonga from Kyambogo University.
Policy workshop held at Makerere University
On 2nd August 2022, the project partners held a workshop at Makerere University to discuss and receive feedback from policy analysts on 7 policy briefs developed by the mentees. In the policy briefs, the mentees made a number of recommendations in relation to building resilience to extreme weather changes through index-agricultural insurance,the use of eucalyptus essential oils as an alternative to the commonly used synthetic pesticides in preservation of stored grains, quality-based classification scheme for beef carcasses as an incentive for beef cattle producers, conservation farming as a strategic solution to climate change challenges, the use of farmyard manure as a potential booster of macro and micronutrients in crops, building women’s capacity in value addition in a bid to increase their incomes, and the need to support school children and adolescents in Kampala to meet sedentary behaviour and physical activity guidelines.
Policy recommendations by the Mentees
- Building resilience to extreme weather changes through index-based agricultural insurance
In her research, Dr Florence Lwiza from the Department of Agribusiness and Natural Resource Economics, CAES notes that despite efforts by the Government of Uganda to promote Index-based Insurance which has potential to mitigate weather-induced effects, uptake of agricultural insurance among smallholder farmers remains low. To increase uptake,the researcher recommends,i) increase in financial literacy to enable farmers to better understand the value of agricultural insurance, ii) expansion of investments in high-quality agro-meteorological data- data crucial for informing investment decisions, iii) gender considerations- encouragement of women and youth participation in agricultural insurance markets, iv) increased access to information on changes in farmer behaviour, v) flexible design of contracts- promoters should consider the heterogeneity in farmer characteristics, risk exposure and risk preferences and therefore design contracts to suit their specific resources, needs and characteristics.
- The use of eucalyptus essential oils as an alternative to the commonly used synthetic pesticides in preservation of stored grains
According to Dr Betty Christine Nagawa from the Department of Forestry, Bio-Diversity and Tourism, CAES post-harvest handling and storage remains a challenge in Uganda. Shortage of standard and modern storage facilities reduces the shelf life of agricultural produce hence posing threats of food insecurity. Many farmers resort to pesticides to preserve their produce. However, the use of pesticides poses risks of chronic illnesses such as cancer. In a bid to minimise the use of pesticides, Dr Nagawa recommends the use of eucalyptus essential oils as a strategy to reduce on pest infestation in stored grain. This, she notes, requires conservation of eucalyptus trees species capable of obtaining oil at individual, community and district levels, and the establishment of cottage industries to support distillation of eucalyptus oil.
- Quality-based classification scheme for beef carcasses as an incentive for beef cattle producers
In its current form, the grading scheme offers no incentive to producers since carcasses are priced based on weights rather than on distinctively
differentiated quality classes. Dr Kanifa Kamatara from the Department of Agricultural Production, CAES calls for mandatory grading of carcasses at all slaughter houses just like inspection. She also recommends revision in the current classification scheme – attributes such as primal cut yield prediction and tenderness should be included to the classification criteria. She calls for adoption of objective classification technologies to improve accuracy.
- Empower Farmers to Gain from Conservation Farming
As farmers grapple with land shortage and climate change challenges, conservation farming offers the opportunity to increase food production and food security. In her policy brief, Dr Kellen Aganyira recommends empowerment of farmers through extension services, affordable farm inputs, vermin control and access to competitive market. According to her research, farmers do not practice conservation farming due to the high cost of inputs, lack of market for their produce, and uncontrolled vermin that destroy crops. She also calls on the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) in collaboration with the private sector to support farmers with subsidized farm inputs. She implores the government through the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives to link farmers to competitive markets, and to strengthen vermin control systems.
- Pig Manure, a Promising Option for Improving the Nutritional Value of Beans
Nutrient deficiency remains a serious public health threat as many households in low developing countries may not be in position to regularly afford foods rich in protein and micronutrients. Three-quarters of children 6-59 months old and 50% of women of reproductive age have severe micronutrient deficiency, resulting into impaired mental development and deaths. Due to high nutritional content (proteins, vitamins and micronutrients – zinc and iron), beans can play a big role in food and nutrition security for the poor. According to Dr Margaret Namugwanya Misinde from Kyambogo University, the nutrient content in bean seeds can be improved by combining farm yard pig manure with manufactured phosphorus fertilizers such as triple supper phosphate. The use of pig manure in combination with super phosphate for bean production is a sustainable strategy to improve protein and micronutrient intake for poor households, which cannot afford diversified diets. Farmers should therefore be sensitized and supported to adopt the practice.
- Sedentary behaviour and physical activity guidelines
According to research conducted by Dr Catherine Ndagire from Kyambogo University, a small proportion of school children and adolescents meet sedentary behaviour and physical activity guidelines.
46% of school children and adolescents spent excessive time in sedentary behaviours. To reverse this, Dr Ndagire points to the need for schools to give students access to a wide range of activities. Schools need to design and renovate play grounds so that they can inspire play, movement and sports. The Ministry of Education and Sports should support a community-wide comprehensive physical activity campaign that provides education and opportunities directly to children and adolescents in schools.
- Building women’s capacity on value addition for increased income
According to research conducted by Dr Judith Nagasha from Kyambogo University, women play a significant role in activities related to animal husbandry and dairy production. However, a lot of milk is wasted due to poor knowledge on safe production methods and appropriate storage facilities. Building their capacity on how to add value by refining the milk into products such as yogurt, butter, ghee, cheese and cosmetics that can be sold at a higher price can enhance their income.
Feedback from Policy analysts
The event was graced by a number of policy analysts who provided enriching feedback on the briefs. These included officers from the Office of the President; Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development; Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries; USAID; Water Resources Institute, and the Economic Policy Research Centre. The analysts cautioned policy developers to always avoid technical terms and to keep them precise, with recommendations that directly address community challenges. They also noted the importance of directly addressing the briefs to relevant bodies.
In her remarks, the Principal, CAES, Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga applauded all partnering institutions for the timely initiative. “For Uganda, this initiative cements Makerere University’s role to support and mentor the new universities in the country.” Prof. Nabanoga acknowledged the efforts and commitment of the mentors to build a new cadre of policy influence ambassadors. She thanked the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences for the funding and continued collaboration with Makerere University, and specifically CAES.
Mak staff trained on the importance of Diversity & Inclusion
Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) in Leadership and Training: The project funded by Michigan State University’s Alliance for African Partnership (AAP), under the Transforming Institutions Strategic Funding seeks to deepen knowledge and sensitivities on diversity and inclusion at the participating institutions.
The Second D&I Workshop Held at Makerere University
The Department of Extension and Innovation Studies, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University on 28th July 2022 held the second workshop on diversity and inclusion for management and staff from participating institutions. The activity held at the Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility at Makerere University was graced by the Principal of CAES, Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga. It featured expert presentations on integrating diversity and inclusion in teaching, training and community engagement; exploration of inclusive teaching and research; as well as cultivation and nurturing diverse and inclusive environments.
About the D&I Project
The Diversity and Inclusion in Leadership and Training project, funded by Michigan State University’s Alliance for African Partnership (AAP), under the Transforming Institutions Strategic Funding is implemented by Michigan Fellows Agribusiness Initiative (MFAI), Makerere University (Mak), and Michigan State University (MSU)-African Studies Centre. The project features a series of trainings aimed at deepening the knowledge and sensitivities of participating administrators, faculty, staff and youth leaders on matters of diversity and inclusion. The overarching objective of the project is to increase the representation of categories of people typically marginalized from leadership and decision-making processes such as women, people living with disabilities and youth from low income earning families. The project Principal Investigator (PI) at Makerere University is Prof. Nelson Turyahabwe, Head, Department of Extension and Innovation Studies at CAES.
Presentations at the workshop
Addressing participants at the workshop, the Principal of CAES, Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga, emphasized the importance of inclusivity in all University programmes. “Inclusivity is extremely important and starts with us as individuals. It is important for fulfilling the University mission and core values and each one of us, regardless of our shortcomings has a contribution to make. We must therefore be intentional on diversity and inclusion and must always practice fairness and justice in our pursuit for inclusivity,” she explained.
The Institutional Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Capacity and Needs Assessment at Makerere
Sharing the project findings on Makerere University, the PI, Prof. Nelson Turyahabwe indicated that some of the University policies do not outrightly address issues of diversity and inclusion. He called for periodical reviews to ensure diversity and inclusion are emphasized in all University programmes. According to the Institutional D&I Capacity and Needs Assessment conducted at Makerere, the University is an inclusive institution with policies and procedures that provide equal opportunity for all and generally lay foundation for diversity, equity and inclusion in the provision of services to the wider community without discrimination. However, integration of diversity, equity and inclusion in the University core mandate areas: teaching, research, and Knowledge Transfer and Partnerships is wanting, thus the need for training of persons responsible for these core functions. The Institutional D&I Capacity and Needs Assessment targeted to understand how the partner institutions take into account representation of categories of people that have typically been marginalized from leadership and decision-making processes as well as integration of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the mandate areas. The assessment was conducted by staff from the Department of Extension and Innovation Studies led by Prof. Turyahabwe (PI) and Dr. Losira Nasirumbi Sanya.
Preliminary findings/ Status of D&I at Makerere University
- Appointment and Recruitment of Staff policies are silent on D&I. ‘Equal Opportunity Employer’ is more of theory than practice
- Admission of students: All courses are open to all gender; Girls are given affirmative action of 1.5 at entry and 40% for females in STEM. There is a District quota system to address imbalances and cater for the less privileged/disadvantaged students from rural districts and also minority tribes. However,there is still low consideration of D&I in the admission of graduate students
- Curriculum Development: Many programmes are approved without gender and equity considerations. Appreciation of the importance of D&I is not shared across the board
- Teaching and Learning: Instructors/Lecturers to some extent use gender-responsive pedagogy. There are limited facilitates and support systems for special groups – Venues/buildings without lifts and ramp, no exams and examination scripts to cater for PWDs and no childcare facilities. Limited capacity – inadequate or no training on D&I
- Staff Development: The Staff Development Policy (SDP) is neutral to Diversity and Inclusion. However Administrative and Support staff ‘are not entitled’ in the SDP
- Research: Appreciation of the importance of gender dimension is not shared across the board. There is inadequate or no training in gender-responsive research methodology
- Implementation of Knowledge transfer partnerships (KTPs) is more on ad hoc basis
- Leadership: There is openness to diversity in the current Strategic Plan 2020-2030. However, women are still very few in senior positions and become even fewer the higher you go in the hierarchy
Integration of D&I in teaching, training and community engagements
Speaking to participants on the need to integrate diversity and inclusion in teaching, training and community engagement, the Founder, Africa Diversity and Inclusion Centre (ADIC), Mr Mubiru Ipolito pointed to unconscious bias as one of the major obstacles to nurturing inclusive environments. “We all have unconscious bias in our practices. If we are to create inclusive environments, we must learn to address our biases. Unconscious bias leads to prejudice,” he noted.
In her presentation titled “Exploration of Inclusive Teaching and Research”, Dr. Euzobia Baine Mugisha, Director Gender Mainstreaming at Makerere University noted that research in higher education institutions was predominantly STEM and a few areas in social sciences. “The link between disciplines & how they affect development is not adequately explored,” she explained, noting that most of the funding goes to science research, a factor that largely undermines inclusivity and development of some units. She further explained that research at the University was still gender-blind despite the initiatives to incorporate gender analysis/perspectives.
Commenting on the small number of women in leadership positions at Makerere, Dr. Euzobia called for periodical monitoring and evaluation of the University policies from an inclusive perspective. “We should exercise discretion in the implementation of policies. We also need to interrogate the concept of merit and how it applies in real life.” Dr. Euzobia further appealed to the University managers to pick interest in the welfare of staff and students, saying the majority struggle with different challenges that undermine their performance. “We should not rash to judge and exclude them before establishing the root cause of poor performance,” she explained.
Cultivating and nurturing inclusive environments
Regarding the need to cultivate and nurture inclusive environments, Dr. Gorretti Byomire, a Lecturer and Director Makerere University Business School (MUBS) Disability Resource & Learning Centre, called for modification of existing practices and policies to accommodate everyone. “Developing Institutional policies on Diversity Management and training University leadership, staff and students about diversity and inclusion fosters inclusivity at workplaces.
The discussion was moderated by Dr. Losira Sanya, project member, also Lecturer in the Department of Extension and Innovation Studies, CAES, Makerere University.
Mak-CAES to provide Training Services to Technical Staff of Local Governments
While notable strides have been made to enhance household food and nutrition security, reduce poverty and improve household incomes through agriculture, Northern Uganda is still lagging behind due to the long-term insurgency that left many households disintegrated. Uganda’s Vision 2040, the National Agricultural Extension Policy (NAEP), the National Agricultural Policy (NAP) and the National Agricultural Extension Strategy (NAES) strategically place agriculture as a key driver to achieve socio-economic transformation in the country. The Northern Uganda Region has immensely benefited from massive investments in agricultural infrastructure, but dismal efforts have been made to enhance actual service delivery. As a result, functional extension systems that efficiently and effectively respond to challenges that farmers experience along the value chain of key agricultural commodities have not been given adequate attention in the region. Consequently, the farmers continue to be constrained in terms of accessing inputs and advisory services on modern agronomic practices and market opportunities. Although the district and sub-county extension officers are expected to provide this service, they have inadequate knowledge and skills to enable them render improved and relevant advisory and support services to farming communities.
The training programme
To address the challenge, Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) through the Northern Uganda Development Initiative (DINU) will effective 5th September 2022 provide training services to technical staff of local governments in the region. The trainings to be conducted at Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK) will end in January 2023.
DINU is a Government of Uganda programme supported by the European Union (EU) and supervised by the Office of the Prime Minister. It is a multi-sectoral programme aimed at improving livelihoods in 41 districts in the five sub-regions of Acholi, Karamoja, Lango, Teso, and West Nile for a duration of six years (2017-2023). The 150.6 million Euro programme covers interventions in three interlinked sectors; (1) Food Security, Nutrition and Livelihoods; (2) Infrastructure (transport, logistics, water; and (3) Good governance.
Objectives of DINU
- To increase food security, improve maternal and child nutrition, and enhance household incomes through support to diversified food production and commercial agriculture, through improving household resilience – notably to climate change, and through women empowerment
- To increase trade of commodities within the region, in the country and within neighbouring countries through improved transport infrastructure
- To strengthen capacity, gender-responsiveness, good governance and the rule of law at the level of local government authorities and empower communities to participate in improved local service delivery
Through a programme titled; “Provision of Training Services to Technical Staff of Local Governments for improved Extension Service Delivery to Farmers in Northern Uganda”, a total of 543 extension workers will be trained in the areas of Integrated Pest and Disease Management, Climate Smart Agriculture and Postharvest Handling, Animal Feed Formulation and Dry Season Feeding, Fish Feed Formulation and Feeding, Animal Breed Improvement through Artificial Insemination, Fish Breeding and Hatchery Management, Apiculture (Queen rearing and breeding and value addition in honey), Farmer Institutional Capacity Development, Agribusiness and Market Linkages, and Financial Management.
The trainers will mainly be members of staff from CAES with a few co-options of staff from the College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB), and the College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS), Makerere University.
The training is expected to contribute to the broader objective of DINU targeting to consolidate stability in Northern Uganda, eradicate poverty and under-nutrition, and strengthen the foundations for sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development. Specifically, the training is expected to improve extension service delivery to farmers through enhanced performance of local production departments, community-based services, as well as trade, industry and local economic development departments of local governments in the targeted sub-regions of Northern Uganda.
At Makerere University, the training programme is coordinated by Dr Bernard Obaa and Dr Christopher Mawa from the Department of Extension and Innovation Studies, CAES. The programme is overseen by the Principal of CAES.
Meeting to discuss the implementation plan
On 27th July 2022, the programme coordinators met at the office of the Prime Minister in Kampala to deliberate on the implementation plan. At the meeting, the Makerere team was briefed on the financial management process and expected visibility plan. The meeting was attended by several staff from the Office of the Prime Minister including, Ms. Pamela Kabahasi, National Programme Coordinator; Mr. Joseph Dramadri, Agribusiness Officer; Mr Isaiah Kitimbo, Communication and Visibility Officer; Mr Ronald Kasozi, Finance, Administration and Contracts Advisor; Mr. Poul Lassen, Chief Technical Advisor; and Mr. John Bosco Birenge, Technical Advisor, Karamoja.
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