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Mak-CAES Holds 2nd International GORILLA Conference

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The International Conference on Geographical Science for Resilient Communities, Ecosystems and Livelihoods Under Global Environmental Change (GORILLA) seeks to contribute to the realization of the Global Development Agenda 2030 and the AU Agenda 2063.

Overview

The resilience of ecological and social systems has gained heightened attention globally and are at the center of the United Nations Global Development Agenda 2030 manifesting in; (a) the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets, (b) the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, 2015-2030 with its four priorities and 7 targets, (c) the Paris Agreement geared at keeping temperature within the 1.5 º-2 ºC threshold.

The Chair of the Organizing Committee, also Deputy Principal CAES, Prof. Yazidhi Bamutaze welcomes participants to the conference.
The Chair of the Organizing Committee, also Deputy Principal CAES, Prof. Yazidhi Bamutaze welcomes participants to the conference.

Substantial efforts by the global community have been variously invested in resilience building and sustainable systems in light of multiple exposures and threats. But huge gaps and challenges still remain that compromise realizing the desired goals. The effects of the global financial crisis, existing geo-political tensions and the emergence of COVID19 altered the resilience trajectory with new dimensions in health, natural resources and poverty. Moreover, recent events exemplified by record temperatures registered in several countries but most notably in the UK, the increasing frequency and magnitude of hydrometeorological hazards as witnessed in Uganda, the increasing loss of biodiversity (>1,000,000 species lost) as recently reported by Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) have heightened the need for urgent interventions that protect vulnerable societies. A consequence of these processes coupled with other factors including but not limited to land use and land cover conversions, rapid urbanization, is that mixed progress has been registered in realizing the sustainability targets for 2030 (https://sdg-tracker.org) with Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) countries posting dismal progress. Uganda currently ranks 136/163 in SDG performance with an SDG Index Score of 53.5 (https://dashboards.sdgindex.org/profiles/uganda). Contextual knowledge creation and utility coupled with harnessing evolving and emerging technology are critical ingredients in building sustainable and resilience pathways and systems which the Global Sustainability Agenda aspired to achieve.

The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Hon. Dr. Monica Musenero Masanza addressing participants.
The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Hon. Dr. Monica Musenero Masanza addressing participants.

The 2nd GORILLA Conference

The 2ndGORILLA Conference organized by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University, and the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) sought to make a contribution to the realization of the Global Development Agenda 2030 and the AU Agenda 2063 by addressing two fundamental questions; (1) “how science, research and the academia can contribute to the expedited achievement of global targets and resolve societal challenges? (2) how local, regional and international partnerships as well as interactions between science, policy and practice can enhance the delivery and achievement of the global development targets?

Participants follow the proceedings of the conference.
Participants follow the proceedings of the conference.

The conference held on 8th-9th December 2022 at Protea Hotel in Kampala was coordinated by Prof. Yazidhi Bamutaze, Associate Professor in the Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Climatic Sciences, also Deputy Principal, CAES (Chair), and Dr Jerome S. Lugumira, Natural Resources Manager (Soil and Land Use), NEMA (Co-Chair). Sponsored by UNESCO, Biodiversity Foundation, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, NORAD, UK Research and Innovation, BRAC Uganda, ARUA Water Centre of Excellence (CoE), and the Regional Centre for Mapping Resources for Development (RCMRD), the conference was attended by eminent scholars, researchers, representatives from the government and civil society organizations, and policy makers.It was presided over by the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Hon. Dr. Monica Musenero Masanza, and graced by the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration, Prof. Henry Alinaitwe; the representative of the Executive Director, NEMA, Dr Daniel Babikwa; the Principal of CAES, Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga; and the Dean, School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences, Prof. Fred Babweteera.

Makerere University Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration, Prof. Henry Alinaitwe represented the Vice Chancellor at the Conference.
Makerere University Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration, Prof. Henry Alinaitwe represented the Vice Chancellor at the Conference.

The conference featured a number of keynote speeches and presentations in relation to nature-based systems in mitigating Hydro-Meteorological hazards and disasters; climate smart agriculture for sustainable resilience; land degradation; migration and displacement; water management; biogeography, biodiversity and ecosystem conservation; and the future of smart cities and urban systems in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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

Keynote addresses

Prof. Tonny J. Oyana, Principal College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS), Makerere University, also GIS and Spatial Analysis expert shared insights on optimizing biodiversity data science for societal benefits in developing countries. Dr Joy Obando, an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at Kenyatta University delivered a presentation on building climate resilient communities and ecosystems in Sub Saharan Africa, whereas Dr Justine Namaalwa, an Associate Professor and Head, Department of Environmental Management at Makerere University addressed participants on the significance of optimizing green assets as a pathway to achieving the global development agenda. In her remarks, Prof. Namaalwa emphasized the need to preserve nature.

Participants attending the conference at Protea Hotel, Kampala on 8th December 2022.
Participants attending the conference at Protea Hotel, Kampala on 8th December 2022.

“Compromise nature then you fall on the targets of the Global Development Agenda.There is need to take stock of our natural assets and reflect on their value. If we are to continue with the mantra of no one should be left behind, there should be national ownership over the development process. We also need to adopt informal and formal knowledge systems,and embrace citizen science as well as global partnerships,” she explained.

The Conference Conveners, Prof. Yazidhi Bamutaze (C) and Dr Lugumira Jerome (2nd L) with some of the keynote speakers, Prof. Tonny Oyana (2nd R), Dr Joy Obando (R), and Prof. Jan Ketil.
The Conference Conveners, Prof. Yazidhi Bamutaze (C) and Dr Lugumira Jerome (2nd L) with some of the keynote speakers, Prof. Tonny Oyana (2nd R), Dr Joy Obando (R), and Prof. Jan Ketil.

Prof. Jan Ketil from the Department of Geography, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) briefed participants on the geography of disaster risk and participatory risk management, sharing insights on harnessing sensors and geospatial technology for disaster risk management. Dr Samuel Partey from UNESCO Regional Office in Nairobi, Kenya highlighted the significance of biosphere reserves in building resilient ecosystems and societies. Dr Partey is the youth focal person for science, and the evaluation focal point for UNESCO’S Oversight Unit at the Office in Nairobi.

Prof. Tonny Oyana delivered a keynote address on optimizing biodiversity data science for societal benefits in developing countries.
Prof. Tonny Oyana delivered a keynote address on optimizing biodiversity data science for societal benefits in developing countries.

In his presentation, Prof. Heiko Baltzer from the University of Leicester, UK called for improved satellite earth observation as a measure to strengthen forest governance and livelihood resilience in Africa.

Dr. Joy Obando delivered a presentation on building climate resilient communities and ecosystems in Sub Saharan Africa.
Dr. Joy Obando delivered a presentation on building climate resilient communities and ecosystems in Sub Saharan Africa.

Panel discussion

The conference also featured a panel discussion on a number of topical issues in regard to Sustainable Development Goals (SDG); research and policy formulation; building resilient communities;prioritization of resilience in government planning and budgeting;factors undermining innovativeness; and the use of geoinformation in the quest to achieve sustainable development. Discussants included Hon. Dr. Magolo John Faith, Member of Parliament Bungokho County North and member of the Parliamentary Committee on Climate Change; Mr. Othieno Odoi, Senior Planner, Trade and Tourism at the National Planning Authority; Ms. Celia Nalwadda, Senior Research Officer, Uganda National Academy of Sciences (UNAS); Ms. Hellen Aketch, Project Manager BRAC Uganda; and Dr Anastasia Wahome, Lead, Science/Data at the Regional Centre for Mapping Resources for Development, Nairobi.

Prof. Samuel Kyamanywa (Left) together with other participants listening to the keynote speeches.
Prof. Samuel Kyamanywa (Left) together with other participants listening to the keynote speeches.

In his submission,Hon. Magolo informed participants that Parliament had passed the National Environment Act, 2019and the National Climate Change Act, 2021 to fast track the implementation of SDG 13 (Climate Action). Brac Project Manager, Ms. Hellen Aketch called for strengthened partnerships between universities and industry for increased uptake of research and sustainability of innovations. Ms. Anastasia Wahome emphasized the importance of geoinformation in disaster planning and management, whereas Dr Othieno Odoi from National Planning Authority noted that checks had been put in place to ensure issues regarding resilience, climate change, gender, and environment are catered for before government plans and budgets are passed. The discussion was moderated by Dr Patrick Byakagaba, a Lecturer in the Department of Environmental Management, CAES, Makerere University.

Prof. Justine Namaalwa addressing participants on the need to optimise green assets as pathways to achieving the global development goals.
Prof. Justine Namaalwa addressing participants on the need to optimise green assets as pathways to achieving the global development goals.

Remarks by the Minister – Hon. Dr. Monica Musenero Masanza

In her remarks, the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Hon. Dr. Monica Musenero Masanza urged Africans to embrace technology development as a measure to foster socio-economic transformation on the Continent. “Science contributes 50% to our national development. However, we haven’t done much to embrace technology development. We are blindly technology consumers, mainly relying on imports which makes it hard for us to achieve sustainable development. Africans should stop delegating thinking and work towards developing their own technology. We need to stop thinking of ourselves as consumers of technology and work on educating a thinking generation that can develop our own technology. Universities have done well but I encourage them to change their mindset and focus more on developing technology. We cannot afford as a country, in this new dispensation of green energy economies, post COVID19, and the future as envisioned in Vision 2040, to remain dependent on imported technology. We need to be more innovative,” she advised.

Dr. Samuel Partey briefed participants on the role of biosphere reserves in building resilient ecosystems and societies.
Dr. Samuel Partey briefed participants on the role of biosphere reserves in building resilient ecosystems and societies.

In line with the conference, the Minister emphasized the importance of geospatial tools in conserving ecosystems. Highlighting the significance of geography in developing the mobility industry, the Minister called for development of newer construction technologies. “The continued use of soil and stones in construction will lead to deformation of the ecology,” she noted.

Prof. Jan Ketil delivering his keynote address.
Prof. Jan Ketil delivering his keynote address.

Addressing participants, the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration, Prof. Henry Alinaitwe decried the continued depletion of ecosystems.“Climate change resulting from the continued destruction of ecosystems has led to erratic weather conditions with severe consequences for humanity. Because of erratic weather conditions, we cannot have good produces in terms of food and we are likely to have long spells of hunger. Achieving resilient and sustainable livelihoods requires continued research and invention of technologies to address challenges of climate change. It is gratifying that this conference seeks to address many of these challenges,” he noted.

Prof. Fred Babweteera moderated Day 2 keynote presentations.
Prof. Fred Babweteera moderated Day 2 keynote presentations.

The Principal, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga reiterated the need to build resilient communities and ecosystems for improved livelihoods. “Through research, we are looking for ways of improving community resilience in order to have sustainable ecosystems for improved livelihoods. This conference serves as a platform for us to share experiences in the different ecosystem research areas and best practices in trying to curb climate change. Climate change is real and a lot has to be done. We need to re-adjust the way we do things. There are practices we have come up with in relation to our day to day activities like water conservation and soil management that will help us combat some of the hazards resulting from climate change, and at this conference, we are focusing on climate smart agriculture. As a country, we purpose to move from substance climate smart agriculture to an income-oriented climate smart agriculture,” she said.The Principal also noted that the College was committing more efforts towards achieving the sustainable development goals. “As a country, we committed to having an input to achieving the SDGs.At this conference, we are emphasizing our intention and being very proactive in ensuring that we tackle the SDGs, putting it in mind that we have only 8 years to hit our target.As researchers, we are purposing to make contribution to the realization of all SDGs, with special focus on Goal 1 that seeks to alleviate poverty.”

Dr. Magolo John Faith (L), Mr. Othieno Odoi (2nd R), Ms. Celia Nalwadda (C), Ms. Hellen Aketch (R), and Dr Anastasia Wahome (2nd L) in a panel discussion at the conference.
Dr. Magolo John Faith (L), Mr. Othieno Odoi (2nd R), Ms. Celia Nalwadda (C), Ms. Hellen Aketch (R), and Dr Anastasia Wahome (2nd L) in a panel discussion at the conference.

Addressing participants, the Chair of the Organizing Committee, Prof. Yazidhi Bamutaze said the conference presented a great opportunity for conceptual, empirical and theoretical discourse on pressing sustainability and resilience issues. “The GORILLA conference serves as a platform for bridging the science-policy-practice gaps and deriving actionable and policy-oriented measures that can potentially transform societies,” he noted. He said a special publication had been planned with the African Geographical Review (AGR) journal in commemoration of Mak@100. He expressed gratitude to the sponsors of the conference and the local organizing committee.

Dr. Giregon Olupot reacting to the presentations.
Dr. Giregon Olupot reacting to the presentations.

Delivering his remarks, the Head, Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Climatic Sciences, Makerere University, Prof. Mugagga Frank appreciated the sponsors of the conference and the participants for committing time and resources to address issues crucial for sustainable management of ecosystems and livelihoods. He also appreciated the International Geographical Union (IGU) for its support towards the Uganda Geographical Association. “We profoundly thank IGU, through Prof. Michael Meadows for supporting us when we petitioned against the merger of the Bachelor of Geographical Sciences with Meteorology and Environmental Sciences at Makerere University. The petition was successful and the programmes were left as distinct disciplines,” he noted. Prof. Mugagga is the President of the Uganda Geographical Association, an organization that works to develop professional geographers with knowledge and skills to effectively address global environmental challenges. The Association conducts research on pertinent issues affecting humanity such as climate change adaptation and mitigation, landslides, floods, soil erosion and sedimentation, land degradation, regional development, ecosystems management, urbanization, population growth and development, water scarcity and food security. The Association also holds periodic retooling courses for geography teachers and other civil servants. Prof. Mugagga congratulated Prof. Yazidhi Bamutaze upon being elected IGU Vice President for Africa.

Participants in group presentations at the conference.
Participants in group presentations at the conference.

In his closing remarks, Dr Jerome S. Lugumira, Natural Resources Manager (Soil and Land Use), NEMA said government was committed to the use of science in fostering national development. He reiterated the power of networking in trying to address global development challenges and urged researchers to actively engage policy makers in their projects.

The Dean School of Agricultural Sciences, Dr. John Baptist Tumuhairwe addressing participants.
The Dean School of Agricultural Sciences, Dr. John Baptist Tumuhairwe addressing participants.

Pre-conference hackathon and training

Satellite Earth Observation (EO) provides a wide range of environmental data information which is key to the effective planning and monitoring of the environment. In this regard, the College held a three-day pre-conference hackathon on geospatial-based cloud computing for biodiversity and ecosystem resilience with the aim of engaging early career scientists, researchers and practitioners with diverse backgrounds to foster collaboration in the use of geospatial technology and earth observation to address sustainable development issues, especially on biodiversity and ecosystem resilience.

Participants in a pre-conference training on geospatial based cloud computing.
Participants in a pre-conference training on geospatial based cloud computing.

The College also held a three-day training on optimizing emerging geospatial technologies in evaluating climate change impacts on vegetation. Vegetation resources in tropical Africa are under increasing threat both from climate change and a spate of anthropogenic activities. Yet a substantial proportion of livelihoods in Africa is linked to environment and natural resources. Thus, the need for improved monitoring to ensure integrity and resilience of vegetation resources and ecosystems is apparent in line with the goals and tenets of the Global Development Agenda 2030. Geospatial technologies occupy a vintage position in monitoring, analysis and overall resilience building. The training aimed to, 1) equip participants with emerging tools and technologies that can be harnessed in analyzing climate change impacts on vegetation and ecosystems, 2) build an ecosystem of champions to propel the utility of geospatial technology, 3) to improve the ecosystem and vegetation resilience to climate change.

Dr. Jerome Lugumira delivering closing remarks at the end of the conference.
Dr. Jerome Lugumira delivering closing remarks at the end of the conference.

The trainings were coordinated by Dr Daniel Waiswa from the School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences, Makerere University; and conducted by Dr Allan Mazimwe from the Department of Geomatics and Land Management, College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT), Makerere University; Dr Bernard Barasa from the Department of Geography, Kyambogo University; and Mr. Thomas Enuru from the School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio-Engineering, CAES.

Details on the 1st GORILLA Conference at: https://news.mak.ac.ug/2020/12/the-1st-international-gorilla-conference-opens-at-mak/

Please see below for conference documents.

GORILLA Keynote Presentation_Dr. Samuel Tetteh Partey, UNESCO: https://doc-0s-58-docs.googleusercontent.com/docs/securesc/b07ld2tllpi647jp9b09m7chohgqnct1/tv2v4ikl813e11s5vhhkmrlatg2j282v/1670919975000/13459373403972771569/11467171637526004956/14Vc2iWRxryo_MNXMxq0I_dLBYocO7O34?e=download&authuser=0

Agriculture & Environment

Improving Agricultural Services in Northern Uganda: Mak staff train 546 extension workers

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The Minister of State for Northern Uganda, Hon. Grace Freedom Kwiyuchiny (c), the representative of Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi (6th R) and the representative of the Head of the EU Delegation in Uganda (4th L) with some of the trained extension workers at the closing ceremony.

Makerere University has trained 546 extension workers from Northern and Eastern Uganda. The five-month training that started on 5th September 2022 and ended January 2023 has been conducted by academics from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), College Natural Sciences (CoNAS), College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University Business School (MUBS), and officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF). All the trainings were conducted at Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK), and coordinated by Dr Bernard Obaa, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Extension and Innovation Studies at CAES. Through a programme titled; “Provision of Training Services to Technical Staff of Local Governments for improved Extension Service Delivery to Farmers in Northern Uganda” the extension workers have been 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 Minister of State for Northern Uganda, Hon. Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny delivering her remarks at the closing ceremony held at MUARIK on 27th January 2023.
The Minister of State for Northern Uganda, Hon. Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny delivering her remarks at the closing ceremony held at MUARIK on 27th January 2023.

The training was officially closed by the Minister of State for Northern Uganda, Hon. Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny at a ceremony held at MUARIK on 27th January 2023. The closing ceremony was attended by a number of dignitaries from the European Union, the Office of the Prime Minister, MAAIF, NARO Uganda, district local governments, as well as members of staff from Makerere University led by the Academic Registrar, Prof. Buyinza Mukasa who represented the Vice Chancellor.

Some of the extension workers that were trained.
Some of the extension workers that were trained.

Background to the training programme

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 Academic Registrar, Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi represented the Makerere University Vice Chancellor at the closing ceremony,
The Academic Registrar, Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi represented the Makerere University Vice Chancellor at the closing ceremony,

Last year, the Office of the Prime Minister through the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU) contracted Makerere University to offer the training services. 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.

The representative of the Head of the EU Delegation in Uganda delivering her remarks.
The representative of the Head of the EU Delegation in Uganda delivering her remarks.

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
Dr. Patience Rwamigisa, Director, Agriculture Extension Services at MAAIF emphasized the importance of efficient extension systems.
Dr. Patience Rwamigisa, Director, Agriculture Extension Services at MAAIF emphasized the importance of efficient extension systems.

Remarks by the Minister of State for Northern Uganda

Speaking at the closing ceremony held at MUARIK on 27th January 2023, the Minister of State for Northern Uganda, Hon. Grace Freedom Kwiyuchiny, said the greatest challenge affecting Northern Uganda was over reliance on subsistence farming. “This has kept us in poverty. The training of 546 extension workers will help improve the situation. On behalf of the people of Northern Uganda, I extend our appreciation to the Office of the Prime Minister for this and many other interventions aimed at restoring peace in the region. I also thank the EU for funding the project, and Makerere University for offering the training services,” she noted.

The Minister handing over equipment procured for extension workers.
The Minister handing over equipment procured for extension workers.

The Minister handed over equipment to representatives of extension workers from 18 districts to support their activities. The equipment included motorcycles, GPS machines, Artificial Insemination kits, laptops & fish pond water testing kits procured by Office of the Prime Minister with support from the EU.

Extension workers and officials from Zombo District with their equipment.
Extension workers and officials from Zombo District with their equipment.

Remarks by the representative of Makerere University Vice Chancellor

On behalf of the Vice Chancellor, Makerere University Academic Registrar, Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi appreciated the Office of the Prime Minister for the timely intervention. “These trainings have been conducted timely at the start of the implementation of the Parish Development Model (PDM). We are confident the new knowledge and skills acquired through these trainings will enable the frontline extension workers to provide better support to our farmers. This will in turn enhance household food and nutrition security, reduce poverty and improve household incomes in the Northern and Eastern Regions that were severely affected by the LRA insurgency, he noted, expressing gratitude to the EU for supporting the programme. He also appreciated the Government of Uganda for supporting various development initiatives in the country. “With the wise guidance of the President of the Republic of Uganda, H.E. Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni, the Government of Uganda has so far extended support to 750 research projects at Makerere University worth UGX90 billion. Through these projects, our researchers have come up with a number of innovations that directly address community challenges.” Prof. Buyinza implored the participants to use the knowledge and skills acquired to improve service delivery in their respective communities.

Dr. Bernard Obaa from CAES (R) coordinated the training programme.
Dr. Bernard Obaa from CAES (R) coordinated the training programme.

Remarks from MAAIF

Dr. Patience Rwamigisa, Director, Agriculture Extension Services at MAAIF noted that efficient extension systems are critical for building strong agricultural systems. “The training is therefore timely. I thank the trainers from Makerere University for the job well done, and the European Union and Office of the Prime Minister for supporting the programme.

The Dean, School of Agricultural Sciences, CAES Dr John Baptist Tumuhairwe appealed to the trainees to use the knowledge and skills acquired to promote climate smart agriculture in their respective districts.
The Dean, School of Agricultural Sciences, CAES Dr John Baptist Tumuhairwe appealed to the trainees to use the knowledge and skills acquired to promote climate smart agriculture in their respective districts.

EU support

In his remarks, the Head of the EU Delegation in Uganda, Ambassador Jan Sadek said the EU had extended considerable support to different local governments with the aim of improving service delivery and livelihoods. “I want to thank all those who have participated in the training of 546 extension workers from Northern & Eastern Uganda. We hope the knowledge and skills acquired will lead to better agricultural practices”.

Some of the motorcycles procured for extension workers.
Some of the motorcycles procured for extension workers.

Representing the Principal of CAES, Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga, the Dean School of Agricultural Sciences, Dr John Baptist Tumuhairwe expressed gratitude to the Office of the Prime Minister for choosing Makerere to conduct the training. He appreciated the EU for the funding and the trainers for committing time to offer the service. He appealed to the trainees to use the knowledge and skills acquired to promote climate smart agriculture in their respective districts.

The extension workers expressed gratitude for the training noting that it would enable them perform their duties effectively. They appealed for refresher trainings and improvement of their working conditions.

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Agriculture & Environment

Mak Trains over 500 Technical & Extension Workers under DINU

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Hon. Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny (L) hands over some of the donated items to the district officials as Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi (2nd L) and other officials witness on 27th January 2023 at CAEC, MUARIK, Makerere University.

On 27th January 2023, The Academic Registrar, Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi represented the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe at the closing ceremony of the training of technical staff of local governments under the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU) program. The training was conducted by a joint team from the Colleges of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Bio-security (CoVAB), Makerere University Business School (MUBS) and the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO).

Hon. Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny (C) is received upon arrival at CAEC, MUARIK by Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi (L) and the Dean, School of Agricultural Sciences, CAES, Assoc. Prof. John Baptist Tumuhairwe.
Hon. Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny (C) is received upon arrival at CAEC, MUARIK by Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi (L) and the Dean, School of Agricultural Sciences, CAES, Assoc. Prof. John Baptist Tumuhairwe.

DINU is a Government of Uganda programme supported by a grant of 150 million Euros from the European Union (EU) and supervised by Office of the Prime Minister (OPM). 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).

Hon. Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny (L), Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi (R) and other officials stand for the anthems.
Hon. Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny (L), Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi (R) and other officials stand for the anthems.

Over 500 technical and extension workers have received training in the field of integrated pest and disease management, climate smart agriculture, apiculture, post harvest handling, integrated soil fertility management, marketing, agribusiness and financial management.

The Minister of State for Northern Uganda, Hon. Grace Freedom Kwiyuchiny (c), the representative of Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi (6th R) and the representative of the Head of the EU Delegation in Uganda (4th L) with some of the trained extension workers at the closing ceremony.
The Minister of State for Northern Uganda, Hon. Grace Freedom Kwiyuchiny (c), the representative of Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi (6th R) and the representative of the Head of the EU Delegation in Uganda (4th L) with some of the trained extension workers at the closing ceremony.

The Minister of State for Northern Uganda, Hon. Grace Freedom Kwiyuchiny was the Guest of Honour at the closing ceremony held at the Continuing Agricultural Education Centre (CAEC) of the Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK).

The Academic Registrar, Makerere Univeristy, Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi makes his remarks at the event.
The Academic Registrar, Makerere Univeristy, Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi makes his remarks at the event.

The ceremony was attended by a representative of the Head of the EU delegation Ambassador Jan Sadek, Director of Agriculture Extension Services at MAAIF, Permanent Secretary OPM, and over 30 Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs). DINU will continue to partner with CAES to enhance knowledge, skills and practice in line with the Parish Development Model (PDM), which is aimed at serving as an engine for socio-economic transformation.

Some of the items donated after the DINU training for technical and extension workers included motorcycles.
Some of the items donated after the DINU training for technical and extension workers included motorcycles.

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Agriculture & Environment

Mak Hosts 2nd African Conference on Precision Agriculture (AfCPA) 2022

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Participants pose for a group photo during the 2nd African Conference on Precision Agriculture (AfCPA) held from 7th-9th December 2022 at Protea Hotel, Kampala, Uganda.

Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) represented by Dr. Patrick Musinguzi, a Lecturer in the Department of Agricultural Production, hosted a satellite event of the 2nd African Conference on Precision Agriculture (AfCPA) from 7th to 9th December 2022, at Protea Hotel in Kampala, Uganda. AfCPA is a biennial event and an initiative of the African Plant Nutrition Institute (APNI) in partnership with Muhammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P), the International Society of Precision Agriculture (ISPA), and the African Association for Precision Agriculture (AAPA). The satellite event offered an opportunity for the local presenters and stakeholders to participate in the main conference held in Nairobi, Kenya, on issues of precision agriculture as a novel management approach for optimizing soil/crop health and productivity. The mission of AfCPA is to build a forum dedicated to “connecting the science and practice needed to put precision agriculture in action for Africa.”

Dr. Patrick Musinguzi, Lecturer, Department of Agricultural Production, CAES Makerere University, and organizer of the conference.
Dr. Patrick Musinguzi, Lecturer, Department of Agricultural Production, CAES Makerere University, and organizer of the conference.

The conference was sponsored by OCP Africa, Global Phosphorous Institute, 4R Solution Global Affairs Canada, Digital Agriculture Convergence Laboratory, and Investiv. The conference aimed at strengthening and supporting the precision agriculture community within the African context. The conference engaged stakeholders including scientists, policy makers, extension staff, crop consultants and advisors, agronomists and service providers towards a common goal of building the capacity and resilience of African cropping systems.

Prof. Yazidhi Bamutaze, Deputy Principal, CAES, Makerere University.
Prof. Yazidhi Bamutaze, Deputy Principal, CAES, Makerere University.

AfCPA partner organizations that served as national satellite site hosts included:

  • National Polytechnic Institute Félix Houphouët-Boigny (INP-HB), Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire
  • National Authority for Remote Sensing & Space Sciences (NARSS), Cairo, Egypt
  • Ethiopia Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • CSIR-Savanna Agriculture Research Institute, Tamale, Ghana
  • Nassarawa State University, Keffi, Nigeria
  • University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
  • Advanced School of Agronomy/University of Lomé (ESA-UL), Lomé, Togo
  • National Institute of Agronomic Research of Tunisia (INRAT), Tunis, Tunisia
  • College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
  • Plant Production Sciences and Technologies, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe
Participants during day one of AfCPA conference.
Participants during day one of AfCPA conference.

Strategies to promote rapid adoption of precision agriculture

Education: Schools especially higher institutions of learning like universities should develop programmes and expand curricula to spur digital innovation and skills development of precision agriculture technologies and techniques.

Youth inclusion programmes: Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) should focus on youth inclusion and create programmes targeted towards the youth to educate, train and challenge them to engage in precision agriculture advancement.

Strengthening collaborations and knowledge sharing: Local organizations and international bodies should develop partnerships that ensure cross-fertilization of knowledge, ideas, and technologies in precision agriculture, with youth in the picture.

Research engagement: The youth are the powerhouse of innovative ideas and they posses the stamina needed in research that would advance precision agriculture. Research programmes must be developed to target and leverage the strength of the youth in Africa.

Policy Development: Government at all levels must develop policies and regulations that favour the advancement of precision agriculture in Africa, while encouraging the youth to lead with technology development and start innovations that promote precision agriculture.

Finance towards research and youth-led AgTech startup/SMEs: Precision agriculture product development especially in the African local context requires generous funding to prototype. Therefore funding is critically important to cause significant progress and to speed up precision agriculture in Africa.

Community engagement: The concept of precision agriculture comes with ideologies and it is vital to use the power of community engagement to bring about ideological change for rapid adoption of precision agriculture in Africa. The youth are valuable agency to deliver this change. When the youth accept precision agriculture, they easily influence the narrative its favour.

Dr. Mildred Ochwo, Head, Department of Agricultural Production, CAES.
Dr. Mildred Ochwo, Head, Department of Agricultural Production, CAES.

In her remarks, Dr. Mildred Ochwo, Head department of Agricultural Production, CAES said strengthening Networks would greatly boost precision agriculture in Africa.

Participants during day two of AfCPA conference.
Participants during day two of AfCPA conference.

The Deputy Principal of CAES, Prof. Yazidhi Bamutaze cited the need to embrace and optimize emerging technologies intended improve agricultural productivity. Prof. Bamutaze aslo noted the need for Uganda’s commitment to collecting quality data. “We need to redirect our efforts to data collection consistently in a clean way for science to work. With poor quality data you can not run simulations or models, and targeted interventions. We all have to work together towards this,” he said. According to Prof. Bamutaze, Uganda as a country is increasingly appreciating technology, and with leadership, we can work together, setup trials to ensure that what we are doing goes to the next level.

Participants during day one of the satellite event.
Participants during day one of the satellite event.

Prof. Bamutaze noted that the College was keen to work with partners, through student-staff mobilities. Prof. Bamutaze appealed to government for funding in order to produce competent students. “We can’t develop the country without good capital base, which requires resources,” he said.

Participants during day two of the satellite event.
Participants during day two of the satellite event.

According to Mr. Fred Kabango, Commissioner, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, the ministry has undertaken many initiatives like climate smart agriculture, geared towards addressing the effects of climate change. Mr. Kabango called for adoption of precision agriculture as a measure to improve productivity. In achieving NDP Goal 3, on industrialization, were, one of the pillars is to increase production and productivity, Mr. Kabango emphasized the need to look at agriculture as business, and to retool farmers with the best agricultural practices.

Mr. Fred Kabango, Commissioner, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF).
Mr. Fred Kabango, Commissioner, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF).

Mr. Paul Senyange, Project Manager E-services, National Information Technology Authority, Uganda (NITA-U) presented an assessment of how the Authority can support the implementation of precision agriculture through Agriculture technology initiatives discussed in the conference. Mr. Senyange presented a number of ideas on how NITAU can support the initiative including: creating an enabling environment with special focus on necessary laws, connecting through the National Backbone Infrastructure (NBI), supporting data sharing and security through the UGHUB which is a Government integration platform, supporting unit hosting of applications in the current cloud data centre, and supporting innovations and e-services in the precision agriculture space.

Mr. Paul Senyange, Project Manager E-services, National Information Technology Authority, Uganda (NITA-U).
Mr. Paul Senyange, Project Manager E-services, National Information Technology Authority, Uganda (NITA-U).

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