The Korea Rural Community Corporation (KRC) on Thursday 25th August 2022 officially handed over a facility aimed at “Improving Productivity of Dairy Farmers by Supporting Dairy Technology and Infrastructure in Uganda” to Makerere University. Implemented under the Korea Uganda Dairy Project (KUDaP), the facility is housed at the Nakyesasa Incubation Centre, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB), on the fringes of the National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI) in Namulonge. The ceremony was presided over by the Chairperson Appointments Board, Counsel Innocent Kihika, who represented both the Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Thomas Tayebwa and the Chairperson, Makerere University Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara.
The facility was handed over to the Principal CoVAB, Prof. Frank Norbert Mwiine by the Vice President KRC, Hon. KIM Byung-Soo following a tour of the premises, where the investment in dairy technology and infrastructure was appreciated. Present were the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Uganda, H.E. PARK Sung-Soo, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, the Commissioner for Animal Health in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Dr. Anna Rose Ademun Okurut who represented the Permanent Secretary Maj. Gen. David Kasura Kyomukama.
Others were the Chairperson KUDaP Steering Committee, Prof. William Bazeyo, Executive Director, Dairy Development Authority (DDA), Dr. Michael Kansiime, KUDaP Project Manager, Prof. LEE Hak-Kyo, KUDaP Principal Investigator and Dean School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Resources (SVAR), CoVAB, Prof. Robert Tweyongyere, Assistant Commissioner Information and Communication, MAAIF, Ms. Consolata Acayo, Members of Makerere University Management, Officials from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), Jeonbuk National University (JNBU), Korea, Uganda Veterinary Association (UVA) President, Dr. Daniel Kasibule among others.
KUDaP came into force following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) Korea on 17th December 2018. The project that commenced in February 2019 is implemented by SVAR and the National Animal Genetic Resource and Data Bank (NAGRC&DB) in collaboration with JNBU. It is aimed at: Establishing a model farm to train students, dairy farmers, extension workers and Artificial Insemination Technicians; Establishing an elite dairy herd in Makerere University; and Promoting improved dairy production practices in Uganda.
The components of the KUDaP Project are;
- Construction of a Dairy Demonstration Farm Facility at Makerere;
- Provision of dairy cows, high quality semen and embryos to farmers;
- Capacity building in dairy feeds production; and
- Upgrading/supporting breeding laboratory capacity at NAGRC&DB as well as human capacity development in Dairying in Uganda.
In his remarks, the Guest of Honour, Counsel Innocent Kihika congratulated Makerere University and CoVAB in particular upon successfully commissioning the Dairy Development Project, especially during a year when both the institution and college mark 100 and 50 years of existence respectively, two years into the implementation of the ten-year strategic plan.
“The Council has continued to emphasise the need to align our research with the requirements of national development as articulated in the National Development Plan and various instruments of Government and the private sector” he said.
Counsel Kihika emphasised that agriculture remains a primary employer in Uganda and any improvements in the sector would directly contribute to the growth of decent jobs in the value chains. “I must say that right now people are very excited with what is happening with Uganda’s oil in the Albertine rift valley but when you go deep into that, you will see that agriculture is the core of our economy and the oil is just a catalyst to that.”
The Guest of Honour noted that the commissioning of the facility at Nakyesasa positions Makerere University for robust research and technology transfer in the dairy sub-sector as part of the institution’s continued contribution to national development. He extended an open invitation to Ambassador PARK Sung-Soo to be a part Makerere‘s plans to develop its seven square mile acre property in Kyankwanzi District as well as the Buyana Stock Farm in Mpigi District.
“I wish to pledge the Council’s commitment to continuously improving the framework conditions for research through policy making, facility linkages with the relevant government entities and mobilising the required human resources” he concluded.
Reiterating the emphasis of agriculture to Uganda’s economy, Ambassador PARK Sung-Soo admitted that the sector has been a pertinent issue in the Republic of Korea’s partnership strategy with Uganda. He added that the KUDaP project is very meaningful for the future of Uganda because as everybody knows, this future lies in rural development.
“Agriculture including livestock and dairy industry is the backbone of Uganda’s economy. The dairy industry is especially a promising sector in Uganda’s agriculture; it is growing at a rate of 8-10% every year” remarked the H.E. Park.
The Ambassador added that the new President of the Republic of Korea, H.E. YOON Suk-Yeol is desirous of strengthening his country’s relationship with African Heads of State, with a special Korea-Africa summit planned for the second half of 2024 in Seoul. “I am 100% sure that this event will create new momentum to open a new chapter in the Korea-Africa cooperation and I believe that Uganda will be a part of this history-making process.”
He congratulated Makerere University upon celebrating 100 years of existence and pledged to continue strengthening cooperation and knowledge exchange with the institution. “I really hope that through this dairy project, Korea and Uganda may strengthen our mutual understanding and trust and extend our cooperation and collaboration into other fields and areas.
Addressing the gathering, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe emphasised the readiness by Makerere and CoVAB to demonstrate that they are doing things differently especially as they celebrate their 100th and 50th anniversaries respectively.
“The facility was have launched today is a demonstration that we are ready to do things differently and that we are becoming more relevant to our community. As the top national university, we must address the challenges that face our country, whose population is growing exponentially” remarked Prof. Nawangwe.
The Vice Chancellor through the Ambassador thanked the Government and people of the Republic of Korea for the generous support that led to the establishment of the facility that will benefit not only Makerere but also Ugandan farmers in the dairy sub-sector.
“I wish to pledge our total commitment to ensure the proper management and maintenance of this facility. We will play the role expected of us, especially the recruitment of the necessary human resource and payment of all the utility bills” said Prof. Nawangwe.
Speaking on behalf of the Permanent Secretary MAAIF, Dr. Ademun Okurut noted that the Dairy Demonstration Farm will play an important role in improving the livelihood of approximately 1.7million Ugandan households who depend on milk for nutrition, food security and employment.
“Currently we are running the Parish Development Model (PDM) and our extension service is now going further to ensure that production reaches the remaining 35% of our population that are not in the money economy” remarked Dr. Ademun Okurut.
She further shared that the Government had developed and is actively promoting a strategy on food and animal feed security, aimed at responding to the two failed season and alleviating any foreseeable shortages both in the short and long-term.
Dr. Ademun Okurut congratulated Makerere University on the project milestone, noting that it was an indication of institutional commitment to address the needs of our community. She acknowledged the fruitful collaboration with JNBU and the financial support of KRC and pledged her Ministry’s commitment to continued partnership with Makerere University and the furtherance of KUDaP as well as other projects of national importance.
On behalf of KRC, Hon. KIM Byung-Soo congratulated the Ugandan Government, Makerere University the Project Manager Prof. LEE Hak-Kyo upon the successful completion of the project, noting that it was an affirmation of “cooperation based on the principles of reciprocity and mutual interest”.
“I hope that after this ceremony, the corresponding Ministries and departments in Uganda and Korea will make further efforts to promote our cooperation in order to take Korea-Uganda relations and strategic partnership to a higher level” he added.
As any proud father would the Principal CoVAB, Prof. Frank Norbert Mwiine could not help but speak with pride of what would be achieved through the Dairy Development Farm facility. “This opening ceremony marks the beginning of yet another and major phase of implementing successful dairy farming, and this will need optimum commitment from us as managers and sustained support of the University and Government as owners of the farm.”
Prof. Mwiine added that the facility is set to exhibit the desirable practices that will lead to increased milk productivity by Ugandan farmers and hands-on training for University students. He added that CoVAB strongly supports the establishment of the facility and would like to nurture it to grow into a self-sustaining training and research centre of the college.
He thanked JNBU represented by Prof. LEE Hak-Kyo for the excellent collaboration and support for the successful initiation and implementation of KUDaP. He appreciated Prof. William Bazeyo for the great guidance, astuteness and good eye as Chairperson of the KUDaP Steering Committee and Prof. Robert Tweyongyere for his dedicated work as KUDaP Principal Investigator.
Prof. Tweyongyere in addition to acknowledging the support from Korean Government, JNBU, Ugandan Government and the Leadership of Makerere University noted that the beginning of the implementation phase calls for the establishment of another phase of infrastructure. He noted that as a Demonstration Farm, the facility will need to put in place training facilities and housing for all prospective students.
“In the next phase, apart from maintaining a healthy vibrant herd of animals, we need to cater for processing and value addition, as well as research, training and knowledge transfer to the community. We have already enrolled into a partnership of the dairy network and we want to ensure that we can be beneficial to our partners” said Prof. Tweyongyere.
The Dairy Development Farm facility will receive thirty thousand doses of Korean Holstein Fresian semen and two hundred embryos of Korean Holstein Fresian cattle. It comprises an office block, Integrated Micro Organism (IMO) cattle shed, state-of-the-art milking parlour, cattle dip, spray race and silage making facilities as well as farm implements such as two tractors and two pick-up trucks. The structures are surrounded by fields planted with highly nutritious Chloris gayana grass for hay and crops for silage production. A banana plantation has also been established to make the most of the manure produced by the cattle.
The event was moderated by Prof. Lawrence Mugisha, from the Department of Wildlife and Aquatic Animal Resources, SVAR, CoVAB and the Principal Public Relations Officer, Ms. Ritah Namisango.
At the same occasion, Makerere University presented appreciation awards to; Hon. KIM Byung-Soo, Prof. LEE Hak-Kyo, Prof. William Bazeyo and Norbrook (Uganda) Limited. In the same spirit, KRC presented appreciation awards to; Mrs. Lorna Magara, Counsel Innocent Kihika, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Prof. Henry Alinaitwe, Prof. William Bazeyo, Maj. Gen. David Kasura Kyomukama, Prof. Frank Norbert Mwiine, Dr. Michael Kansiime, Prof. Robert Tweyongyere and Dr. Clare Mugasa.
Stakeholders to take on Electronic Rabies Surveillance using a One Health Approach in the control of Rabies
Stakeholders in the Rabies Elimination project in Uganda (eRabies) have intensified efforts aimed at the use of electronic Rabies Surveillance using a One Health approach in the efforts towards elimination of rabies in Uganda.
A two-day workshop was convened at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University from 28th-29th August 2023, during which the stakeholders deliberated on a number of proposals for the best applicable surveillance tools to address One Health concerns in the effort towards the elimination of Rabies.
‘The purpose of the meeting is to hear from various actors and see what works for us, to enable us collect information and have it shared in a sustained way with One Health as a key component’ said Prof. Clovice Kankya, the Head, Department of Biosecurity, Ecosystems and Veterinary Public Health at CoVAB, at the start of the meeting held in the Centre for Biosecurity and Global Health.
Kankya noted that with one year of implementation to date, the eRabies project was progressing well drawing a lot of support from the implementing local Governments of Kyegegwa, Soroti and Kampala Capital City Authority that spearhead the community engagements and other related activities. He said the graduate fellows from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries supported by the project were also on schedule.
He said Rabies is a global challenge being a zoonotic disease affecting the entire world more so here in Africa where there is close interaction between the wild animals and the human population. The Uganda Wildlife Authority, he said, was brought on board specifically Queen Elizabeth National Park to address some of the challenges affecting people drawing from the wild animals.
The Deputy Principal CoVAB, Prof. James Acai Okwee, in his opening remarks noted through the eRabies project, Makerere University and the host CoVAB were consolidating efforts towards the control of rabies in Uganda. ‘In as much as Rabies is a killer 100%, it is also preventable 100%’ observed Prof. Acai, adding that Makerere University and CoVAB specifically have been involved in such efforts through filed activities, vaccinations and animal welfare programs aimed at the control of rabies. He said through research, such efforts were to be intensified from a scientifically informed point of view.
Prof. Sonja Hartnack, from the Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, one of the partners gave an overview of the project. She said the four-year project has seven different work packages while emphasizing that presently, the stakeholders were addressing work package one, that entails Surveillance systems and integrated bite case management. She noted that the communities were crucial in the rabies control efforts and specifically in identifying the barriers for rabies control through research interventions and the development of educational materials for awareness creation.
She made reference to the World organization for Animal Health (WOAH) recommended practices that points out that dog owners are clearly identified as one way through which the barriers to dog vaccination can be addressed in the communities and emphasized responsible dog ownership.
She said it was important to assess which vaccinations approaches are most successful in terms of vaccination coverage, whether there were static points vaccinations, or linked to institutions like Schools or other Veterinary activities or even human health related activities. She said through quantitative and qualitative research, the eRabies project was set to establish what works. She also pointed out the need to increase the laboratory capacity at regional levels as well as taking on rapid tests in the field.
Prof. Sonja Hartnack said the deliberations in the meeting were to inform the efforts towards having an integrated bite case management (IBCM) system by looking at different systems, picking out key data elements, reviewing the challenges of the existing processes for a proper One Health approach.
Dr. Andrew Kambugu, Director, Infectious Disease Institute (IDI) one of the key partners in the eRabies project extended appreciation to the Swiss Government and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) for the grant that is supporting the implementation of the activities. He referred to COVID-19, a Zoonotic disease that affected many people as having come from the contact between animals and humans. He said the model that would come out of the meeting was to be relevant to many. He emphasized the need for increased collaboration between different agencies in Africa, where he noted that many were working in silos. He affirmed that IDI was to give all relevant support needed in the eRabies project.
The deliberations in the workshop shared experiences from varied stakeholders that included the Infectious Diseases Institute experiences of Rabies Surveillance in West Nile region, the respective implementing Local Governments, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries.
Participants identified some of the challenges experienced in timely dog bites reporting that need to be addressed in the surveillance. They included late reporting by the victims, failure to capture data from the private Veterinary Medicine practitioners that handle a number of cases in the communities, omission of the wildlife Veterinarians in the reporting system and the little interaction between the Human Health practitioners and the Veterinarians, coupled with the limited data sharing avenues.
The eRabies project is implemented by Makerere University College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) in collaboration with the Vetsuisse Faculties, Universities of Bern and Zurich from Switzerland. It is contributing to efforts towards elimination of Rabies by 2030.
UK-based Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (Cefas) seeks collaboration with CoVAB in Aquatic Animal Health
The College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity on 8th August 2023, hosted a team from the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, an executive agency for the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Dr. Richard Paley and Mr. Andrew Wokorac Joseph of the Environment and Animal Health group were in the College courtesy of Dr. John Walakira from the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO). Their visit is aimed at forging collaboration and support diagnostic and research activities pertaining to aquatic animal health.
The team was welcome to the College by the Principal, Prof. Frank Nobert Mwiine, represented by the Dean, School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Resources, Prof. Robert Tweyongyere. While extending appreciation for the upcoming collaboration, the Principal noted that Uganda is one of the main producers of fisheries products in Sub-Saharan Africa and it is the second largest foreign exchange earner for Uganda. He said the interventions in the collaboration were pertinent given the declining production that is also negatively affecting national and household income and food security which is being addressed by the Government of Uganda through promotion of aquaculture.
Prof. Mwiine highlighted some of the challenges affecting aquaculture that include lack of quality feed and seed as well as technical expertise. He said although fish diseases are yet to be considered a major challenge, with the advances in aquaculture, there is bound to be frequent disease outbreaks. He said anti-microbial resistance and drug residues were inevitable because in the process of managing fish disease, antibiotics are administered. Further he pointed out the limited knowledge and skills in fish health management which falls in the docket of veterinaries but few are well equipped with the requisite skills and knowledge.
He made reference to Makerere University’s vision of innovative teaching, learning and services responsive to national and global needs, and the strategic direction of enhancing and strengthening partnerships with industry, the community through multiple collaborations with universities and other research institutions regionally and globally.
The Principal informed the team that Makerere University offers comprehensive training programs in aquaculture, fisheries production and aquatic animal health at CoVAB and the College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS). He said at CoVAB, research in aquatic animal health has expanded to cover core areas of biosecurity and ecosystem health following the one health approach. He emphasized the need for increased collaborative ties and networks with the private sector, research institutions, universities and technical agencies, working closely with the fish farmers.
He explained that at CoVAB, the two Schools synergistically offer training across the graduate and undergraduate programs. He highlighted some of the fisheries/aquaculture research projects ongoing that include Safe Fish that is investigating phages as alternatives to antibiotic use in fish management; Novel Feeds, that is developing a feed formulation for fish larvae; Bioconversion of Industrial waste products in Nile perch , Artificial Intelligence system to balance water quality and feed; Capacity Building in aquatic animal health and environmental health as well as probiotics for use on Tilapia and Nile Perch farms.
Dr. John Walakira from the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) noted that there was potential for a long-term relationship between CoVAB and NARO and urged the college to identify gaps that need to be filled in future in the aquaculture industry. He said the team was in the college to establish what it can do in the industry, noting that issues of diseases are recurrent and a preserve of the veterinarians. He noted that aquaculture animal health was growing very fast with over 2.5 billion fingerlings in the region and in the process, diseases are on the increase.
He said the team from Cefas was in the college to establish what was on ground for example the graduate courses as well as training for the practitioners in the industry. He said Africa has been without aquaculture related diseases but now they are getting reported and veterinarians called to take up the challenge. Because of the rich resources in Uganda, it’s time to train practitioners, he said, and that Makerere University especially CoVAB is a focal point especially in dealing with such diseases.
Dr. Richard Paley from the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquatic Science (Cefas) while briefing the meeting said Cefas is an International Centre of Excellence involved in the maintenance of the health of wild and farmed seafood to minimize loss and maximize food security. He said as a world leader in marine science and technology, Cefas collects, manages and interprets data on the aquatic environment, biodiversity and fisheries. He their Weymouth lab has over 1100 scientists dedicated to aquatic health bringing together all the necessary disciplines that among many include disease inspection, diagnosis, research and development, microbiology, virology and many more.
The World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) designated Cefas as the WOAH Collaborating Centre for Emerging Aquatic Animal Diseases. He said their aim is to function as a global resource for health and disease research, diagnostics, pathogen detection and description, and knowledge sharing associated with aquatic animals. The meeting was attended among others by the Assoc. Prof. Jesca Nakavuma who is also undertaking research in Safe Fish that is investigating phages as alternatives to antibiotic use in fish management, as well as Veterinary medicine students.
COVAB capacity building engagement on Human Capital Development in Science, Technology, and Innovation Industrialization
The College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Bio-security (COVAB) Human Capital Development Project held a five-day capacity building training at Esella Hotel, Kira to equip the project’s staff and protégé with knowledge and skills in product value chain industrialization.
During the workshop which ran from 24th to 28th July 2023 staff and Protégé were imparted with knowledge on commercialization of an innovative product, strategic financial management, strategic planning and management, business planning, policy formulation and management.
At the opening ceremony, the Superintendent of Industrial Value Chains Development, Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI)- Office of the President, Dr. Cosmas Mwikirize pointed out that people were the most important in the process of development.
“In the development tree, people are the most important ingredient to development. No country can be better than the quality of its human resource,” said Dr. Mwikirize, adding that the mentorship model is important given that it gives opportunity to people to develop technologies, and hence no need to look for jobs.”
He further encouraged participants to embrace Science, Technology, and Innovation because of its big contribution to national GDP. “STI is the way out, and if you want a good place to invest your money, look at your students who have good ideas and start pulling resources. Invest in your people’s ideas and you will not go wrong,” said Dr. Mwikirize.
The protégés who participated in the workshop were all spread under STI Value Chain Economies which include the engineering economy, mobility, beauty and apparel, the digital economy, Agro security and the pathogenic economy.
In his welcome remarks, the Principal for the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity, Prof. Frank Norbert Mwiine appreciated government support towards research and mentorship initiatives. “We thank the Government of Uganda for the support towards research and innovation through funding several projects, and for equipping the University with resources and laboratories for quality research,” said Prof. Mwiine.
Prof. Mwiine further emphasized the benefits of research, stating that nations need research to evolve. Further, he emphasized that research and innovation is the way through whcih the University gives back to society.
The Human Capital Development Project is championed by Dr. Claire Mack Mugasa, who is the Principal Investigator of this initiative. Dr. Mugasa highlighted the need for equipping scientists, researchers and innovators with specialized techniques which is a critical aspect in national development and industrialization.
“We have our scientists and innovators working separately and are not in touch with one another in their production lines, but with this mentorship programme, we are ensuring that the scientists have specialized skills, techniques, and knowledge that is key in industrialization,” said Dr. Mugasa, adding that, “with some amount of redirection and orientation, the scientists will be brought together in a foundry network.”
The Human Capital Development Initiative is funded by the Government of Uganda through Science, Technology, and Innovation-Office of the President.
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