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Agriculture & Environment

Mak-CAES to provide Training Services to Technical Staff of Local Governments

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Overview

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 Makerere University Programme Coordinator, Dr Bernard Obaa presenting the action plan.
The Makerere University Programme Coordinator, Dr Bernard Obaa presenting the action plan.

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.

Mr. Ronald Kasozi, Finance, Administration and Contracts Advisor at the Office of the Prime Minister briefing the team on the financial management process.
Mr. Ronald Kasozi, Finance, Administration and Contracts Advisor at the Office of the Prime Minister briefing the team on the financial management process.

Objectives of DINU

  1. 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
  2. To increase trade of commodities within the region, in the country and within neighbouring countries through improved transport infrastructure
  3. 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.

Mr. Isaiah Kitimbo, Communication and Visibility Officer at the Office of the Prime Minister briefing the team on the visibility plan.
Mr. Isaiah Kitimbo, Communication and Visibility Officer at the Office of the Prime Minister briefing the team on the visibility plan.

Expected outcome

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.

The Makerere team at the Office of the Prime Minister.
The Makerere team at the Office of the Prime Minister.

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.

Agriculture & Environment

CAES Mentorship Programme to Enhance Capacity of Young Scientists in Agricultural Policy Processes

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The Mentors led by Prof. Bernard Bashaasha (Front: 3rd L) with their mentees and policy analysts after the workshop on 2nd August 2022, SFTNB Conference Hall, Makerere University.

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

Overview

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.

The Principal of CAES, Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga delivering her remarks.
The Principal of CAES, Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga delivering her remarks.

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.

The Coordinator of the programme, Prof. Bernard Bashaasha delivering his remarks at the workshop.
The Coordinator of the programme, Prof. Bernard Bashaasha delivering his remarks at the workshop.

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.

Some of the mentees and participants following the proceedings.
Some of the mentees and participants following the proceedings.

Policy recommendations by the Mentees

  1. 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.

Dr. Florence Lwiza called for an increase in financial literacy for farmers to understand and appreciate the value of agricultural insurance.
Dr. Florence Lwiza called for an increase in financial literacy for farmers to understand and appreciate the value of agricultural insurance.
  1. 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.

Dr. Betty Christine Nagawa recommended the use of eucalyptus essential oils as a strategy to reduce on pest infestation in stored grain.
Dr. Betty Christine Nagawa recommended the use of eucalyptus essential oils as a strategy to reduce on pest infestation in stored grain.
  1. 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.

Dr. Kanifa Kamatara called for a quality-based classification scheme for beef carcasses as an incentive for beef cattle producers.
Dr. Kanifa Kamatara called for a quality-based classification scheme for beef carcasses as an incentive for beef cattle producers.
  1. 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.

Dr. Kellen Aganyira from the College of Education and External Studies, Makerere is one of the mentees on the programme.
Dr. Kellen Aganyira from the College of Education and External Studies, Makerere is one of the mentees on the programme.
  1. 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.

Dr. Margaret Namugwanya Misinde from Kyambogo University recommended the use of pig manure as an option for improving the nutritional value of beans.
Dr. Margaret Namugwanya Misinde from Kyambogo University recommended the use of pig manure as an option for improving the nutritional value of beans.
  1. 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.

Dr. Catherine Ndagire from Kyambogo University is also one of the mentees on the project.
Dr. Catherine Ndagire from Kyambogo University is also one of the mentees on the project.
  1. 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.

Dr. Judith Nagasha from Kyambogo University presenting her research on building women’s capacity on value addition for increased income.
Dr. Judith Nagasha from Kyambogo University presenting her research on building women’s capacity on value addition for increased income.

Dr. Peter Opio from Busitema University is one of the mentors on the project.
Dr. Peter Opio from Busitema University is one of the mentors on the project.

Dr. Faith Muyonga from Kyambogo University is a mentor on the project.
Dr. Faith Muyonga from Kyambogo University is a mentor on the project.

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.

Martin Fowler, Senior Agriculture Advisor at USAID Uganda commenting on the policy briefs.
Martin Fowler, Senior Agriculture Advisor at USAID Uganda commenting on the policy briefs.

Principal’s remarks

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.

An official from MAAIF addressing participants.
An official from MAAIF addressing participants.

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Agriculture & Environment

Mak staff trained on the importance of Diversity & Inclusion

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Participants in a group photo with the Principal of CAES, Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga (C), who presided over the event on 28th July 2022, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University.
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.

CAES Principal, Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga addressing participants at the second D&I workshop held at the Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility at Makerere University.
CAES Principal, Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga addressing participants at the second D&I workshop held at the Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility at Makerere University.

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.

Participants at the workshop.
Participants at the workshop.

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 D&I project PI at Makerere University, Prof. Nelson Turyahabwe presents the needs assessment report.
The D&I project PI at Makerere University, Prof. Nelson Turyahabwe presents the needs assessment report.

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.

Dr. Euzobia Baine Mugisha, Director Gender Mainstreaming at Makerere University called for periodical monitoring and evaluation of the University policies from an inclusive perspective.
Dr. Euzobia Baine Mugisha, Director Gender Mainstreaming at Makerere University called for periodical monitoring and evaluation of the University policies from an inclusive perspective.

Preliminary findings/ Status of D&I at Makerere University

  1. Appointment and Recruitment of Staff policies are silent on D&I. ‘Equal Opportunity Employer’ is more of theory than practice
  2. 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
  3. Curriculum Development: Many programmes are approved without gender and equity considerations. Appreciation of the importance of D&I is not shared across the board
  4. 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
  5. Staff Development: The Staff Development Policy (SDP) is neutral to Diversity and Inclusion. However Administrative and Support staff ‘are not entitled’ in the SDP
  6. 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
  7. Implementation of Knowledge transfer partnerships (KTPs) is more on ad hoc basis
  8. 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
Mr. Mubiru Ipolito pointed to unconscious bias as one of the major obstacles to nurturing inclusive environments.
Mr. Mubiru Ipolito pointed to unconscious bias as one of the major obstacles to nurturing inclusive environments.

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.

Dr. Gorretti Byomire, a Lecturer and Director Makerere University Business School Disability Resource & Learning Centre addressing participants on the importance of cultivating and nurturing inclusive environments.
Dr. Gorretti Byomire, a Lecturer and Director Makerere University Business School Disability Resource & Learning Centre addressing participants on the importance of cultivating and nurturing inclusive environments.

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.

Mr. Raymond Musiima, D&I project PI at MFAI addressing participants.
Mr. Raymond Musiima, D&I project PI at MFAI addressing participants.

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.

 Dr. Losira Nasirumbi Sanya moderated the workshop.
Dr. Losira Nasirumbi Sanya moderated the workshop.

The discussion was moderated by Dr. Losira Sanya, project member, also Lecturer in the Department of Extension and Innovation Studies, CAES, Makerere University.

First D&I training at Makerere: https://caes.mak.ac.ug/uncategorized/makerere-administrators-sensitized-on-significance-of-diversity-and-inclusion/

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Agriculture & Environment

CAES Stakeholder Engagement on Challenges Affecting the Seed Value Chain in the Horticulture Industry in Uganda

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Dr. Jeninah Karungi, Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural Production at CAES, Makerere University sharing an overview of the project at the Stakeholder Engagement on Challenges Affecting the Seed Value Chain in the Horticulture Industry in Uganda, 13th July 2022, Kampala.

68% of Uganda’s farming households are engaged in subsistence rain-fed agriculture that relies largely on home-saved seed of low quality resulting into low production. Farmers’ reliance on home-saved seed is caused by insufficient availability of affordable high quality seed and lack of trust in the certified seed available in the market. Certified seed contributes only about 15% of seed requirement (mainly maize, some legumes). The remaining 85% is from the informal sector. Due to the inability of seed companies to supply required quantities of certified seed and the limited capacity in the regulatory system, an estimated 30-40% of seed traded in the market is counterfeit.

 Dr. Fredrick Bagamba delivering his remarks. He briefed participants on the mandate of the CAES Innovation Scholars Program.
Dr. Fredrick Bagamba delivering his remarks. He briefed participants on the mandate of the CAES Innovation Scholars Program.

In a bid to increase access to quality seed in the Horticulture Industry in Uganda, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University through the Innovation Scholars Program (ISP) is engaging different stakeholders in the country to address the challenges in seed quality. Through a project titled, “Engaging Stakeholders and Policy to Address Challenges in Seed Quality in the Horticulture Industry of Uganda: A Case of Tomato and Pepper”, researchers led by Dr. Jeninah Karungi-Tumutegyereize, an Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural Production at CAES, Makerere University seek to enhance the quantity and quality of horticultural crops produce, and to strategically position CAES in agricultural development in the country.  Other members on the project are; Prof. Samuel Kyamanywa, and Dr. Mildred Ochwo Ssemakula from the Department of Agricultural Production, Makerere University; Dr. Gabriel Ddamulira (Head, Horticulture Programme, National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI); Mr. Moses Erongu from the Department of Crop Inspection and Certification at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries; and Mr. Daniel Kituzi, a farmer and entrepreneur. The project is supported by USAID and Michigan State University’s Borlaug Higher Education for Agricultural Research and Development (BHEARD).

Some of the participants following the proceedings.
Some of the participants following the proceedings.

Stakeholder engagement

On 13th July 2022, the project team held a stakeholders’ workshop to deliberate on the challenges in the seed value chain in the horticulture industry in Uganda and to explore avenues for supporting the operationalization of the National Seed Policy. The meeting held at Eureka Place Hotel in Ntinda, Kampala was attended by staff from the Department of Agricultural Production, CAES; representatives from MAAIF, NARO, and seed companies; as well as farmers and exporters.  

Members of staff from CAES who participated in the workshop.
Members of staff from CAES who participated in the workshop.

Challenges affecting the seed value chain in the horticulture industry in Uganda

During the stakeholder engagement, Dr. Karungi shared an overview of their project pointing out key factors undermining access to quality seed in Uganda’s Horticulture Industry including; limited funding; lack of qualified manpower especially breeders, seed technologists and agronomists to develop, maintain private varieties and parental germplasm; and a weak policy framework to support quality control. “Uganda has made strides in developing an institutional policy and regulatory framework for the seed subsector. However, implementation and enforcement remain a challenge due to inadequate human and financial resources leading to limited enforcement of seed quality standards. Institutional and policy weaknesses limit the development of a competitive, vibrant and pluralistic seed sector in Uganda,” she noted.

Dr. Gabriel Ddamulira (Head, Horticulture Programme, National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI) delivering his remarks.
Dr. Gabriel Ddamulira (Head, Horticulture Programme, National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI) delivering his remarks.

Commenting on the Parish Development Model which emphasizes increase in agricultural production, Dr. Fredrick Bagamba from the Innovation Scholars Program (ISP) at CAES underscored the significance of improving access to quality seed, noting that ISP was supporting the process by ensuring end users are involved right from problem identification.

Interventions

Addressing participants, the Head of the Horticulture Programme at the National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI)), Dr. Gabriel Ddamulira noted that as part of the interventions to address the challenge of lack of access to quality seed, the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) in 2021 released certified vegetable varieties from Uganda. “In crop production, the most fundamental factor is seed. However, access to quality seed is still low. Increasing access to quality seed requires enabling policies, research, private sector engagement & regulation,” he explained.

Mr. Moses Erongu from the Department of Crop Inspection and Certification at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries addressing participants.
Mr. Moses Erongu from the Department of Crop Inspection and Certification at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries addressing participants.

Discussing the legal aspects of seed entrepreneurship and distribution, Mr. Moses Erongu from the Department of Crop Inspection and Certification at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), cautioned farmers against buying seed of unknown quality. He urged seed dealers to report issues of counterfeit seed to agricultural extension officers, police or MAAIF, and to always consult with extension service providers before buying seed. To address the challenge of seed quality, Mr. Erongu said MAAIF was renovating and expanding the seed testing laboratory at Kawanda to provide better services. He further noted that MAAIF was developing a digital tracking system to monitor the quality of seed.

CAES staff chatting with Mr. Erongu (R) at the workshop.
CAES staff chatting with Mr. Erongu (R) at the workshop.

Brainstorming on strategies to support the operationalisation the National Seed Policy

The overall goal of the National Seed Policy is to guide, promote, develop and regulate the seed sub-sector in order to ensure availability, accessibility and affordability of safe and high quality seed to all stakeholders for increased food and nutrition security, household income, wealth creation and higher export earnings. The policy sets out to; i) strengthen research and development for the seed sector; ii) strengthen capacity of the key players along the seed value chain to achieve an effective and efficient seed sector; iii) strengthen the seed quality control system along the entire value chain; and to enhance knowledge and information management for the seed sector. Policy priority areas include; i) generating new commercial and food and nutrition security varieties; ii) sustainable utilisation and protection of Uganda’s national plant genetic resources; iii) multiplication of high quality seed under the formal seed system; iv) enhancement of the production of quality seed within the informal system; v) strengthening seed distribution and marketing to enhance commercialization of quality seed; vi) enhancement of national competitiveness in regional and international seed trade to contribute to economic growth; vii) quality control along the formal seed value chain; viii) quality control for Quality Declared Seed; ix) development of human resource for the seed sub-sector development; and  x) and establishment of a Seed Sector Integrated Information Management System.

Ms. Harriet Adong moderated the workshop.
Ms. Harriet Adong moderated the workshop.

Suggestions by participants

Braining on measures to support the operationalization of the National Seed Policy, participants called for the development of a national horticulture policy and improved investment into the horticulture seed industry – availing resources to support the breeding of seed varieties. They also called for skilling of farmers in good agronomy practices, strengthened regulation of the seed industry, more research on the sector, identification and development of seed varieties for commercially viable crops, financial subsides to the seed companies, insurance to manage the challenge of seed forecast, protection of local seed industries from competition; strong penalty for companies dealing in counterfeit seed, enhancement of capacity of extension workers and inspectors, and empowerment of institutions of higher learning to train manpower to support the seed system in the country.

Participants in group discussions on the National Seed Policy.
Participants in group discussions on the National Seed Policy.

The workshop was moderated by Ms. Harriet Adong, Director Communication, Learning and Knowledge Management at RAN, also Communication Officer at Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF).

About the CAES Innovation Scholars Program

Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) and Michigan State University’s Borlaug Higher Education for Agriculture Research and Development (BHEARD) Program with the support of the MSU’s Global Centre for Food Systems Innovation (GCFSI) are working together to advance CAES toward its strategic vision “to be a leading institution of academic excellence and innovations in Africa.”  The CAES Innovation Scholars Program (CAESISP), offers an eighteen-month opportunity during which CAES academic personnel can work as interdisciplinary teams to solve food system problems that are relevant to the food systems in Africa, while at the same time offering support to the entire CAES academic team in the areas of design thinking, teaching and learning, community outreach, and communicating science.

Ms. Harriet Adong briefing participants on the purpose of the workshop.
Ms. Harriet Adong briefing participants on the purpose of the workshop.

The CAESISP serves as a catalyst to support food system innovations that improve food security, and develop the current and next generation of entrepreneurial scientists at Makerere University and in the region. The program is modelled after a successful, field-tested faculty development program implemented at the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) and the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) —yet tailored for innovation and contextual challenges at Makerere University. The core values of the CAESISP include: participatory, asset-based, learner-centered, contextualized, and evaluative.

Access the National Seed Policy here: https://www.agriculture.go.ug/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Ministry-of-Agriculture-Animal-Industry-and-Fisheries-National-Seed-Policy.pdf

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