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Agriculture & Environment

Makerere Launches Solar-powered Cooker

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Makerere University has launched a Solar-powered Cooker developed by researchers from the Department of Agricultural and Bio-systems Engineering at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) in collaboration with Intellsys (U) Ltd. The MakSol Cooker was officially unveiled and launched on 14th June 2023 by the Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation, Hon. Dr. Monica Musenero Masanza, represented by Dr. Cosmas Mwikirize, Superintendent-Industry Value Chains Development at the Science, Technology and Innovation Secretariat (STI)-Office of the President.

Development of the MakSol Cooker

The cooker is an output of a research project titled, “Development, Production Scale-up and Commercialization of an Electric Solar Cooker (MakSol Cooker) to reduce the Cooking Carbon Foot-Print in Households”. The project was supported by the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF) and the Science, Technology and Innovation Secretariat-Office of the President. The project was led by Dr. Peter Tumutegyereize, a Lecturer in the Department of Agricultural and Bio-systems Engineering at Makerere University. Other project members included, Mrs. Ayaa Filadh Wondomal, Mr. Paul Soddo, Mr. Kenneth Junko, Ms. Zebia Catherine Nankya, and Ms. Cholet Nyangoma.  

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (4th R) expresses appreciation for the innovation. School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bioengineering Conference Hall, CAES, Kampala Uganda.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (4th R) expresses appreciation for the innovation.

What the innovation seeks to address

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) report on the use of clean and polluting fuels for cooking published in 2022, one third of the global population or 2.4 billion people worldwide still remain without access to clean cooking fuel. The use of inefficient, polluting fuels and technologies is a health risk and a major contributor to diseases and deaths, particularly for women and children in low-and-middle-income countries. It makes cooking with polluting fuels one of the largest environmental contributors to ill health. Breathing the smoke produced from cooking with polluting fuels can lead to heart diseases, stroke, cancers, chronic lung diseases and pneumonia. Millions of people continue to die prematurely every year from household air pollution, which is produced by cooking with inefficient stoves and devices paired with wood, coal, charcoal, dung, crop waste and kerosene. Without rapid action to scale up clean cooking, the world will fall short of its goal to achieve universal access to clean cooking by 2030. In Uganda, 95% of households rely on charcoal, wood, or other forms of biomass for their household cooking needs while 5% rely on alternatives like electricity or gas (UBOS, 2017).   

A member of the research team demonstrates how the MakSol Cooker works. School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bioengineering Conference Hall, CAES, Kampala Uganda.
A member of the research team demonstrates how the MakSol Cooker works.

A survey conducted by the research team indicates that health and financial implications of cooking on charcoal and/or firewood have pushed citizens to work harder to shift towards presumably less toxic and presumably less costly cooking fuels like liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). This indeed saves the daily purchases often associated with charcoal, but is however an expensive system to upgrade to and presents its own very lethal hazards in cases of accidents. Cooking with electricity exerts the least pollution to both mankind and the environment especially when the electricity is generated from clean renewable energy resources. However, since almost, 80% of Uganda’s households lack access to electricity, conventional electric cooking technologies have not had and will not have a countrywide adoption by 2040.

The Principal Investigator, Dr. Peter Tumutegyereize briefs participants on the project. School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bioengineering Conference Hall, CAES, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda.
The Principal Investigator, Dr. Peter Tumutegyereize briefs participants on the project.

The newly developed MakSol Cooker will greatly increase access to modern zero-emission cooking for off-grid communities. With a battery life of 5 years and 20 years for the solar panels, the cooker comes with seven unique benefits; zero emissions, zero recurring cooking costs, clean cooking, minimal fire outbreak, easy to clean, minimal heat loss to the surrounding and a cool kitchen. MakSol Cooker is powered by direct current from a battery charged by solar modules and currently costs UGX4,300,000.   

Remarks by the Minister

In her speech delivered by Dr. Cosmas Mwikirize, Superintendent-Industry Value Chains Development, Science, Technology and Innovation Secretariat – Office of the President, the Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation, Hon. Dr Monica Musenero Masanza congratulated the research team upon the milestone. “The solar cooker represents a breakthrough in clean cooking technology, harnessing the abundant sunlight in our region to provide a sustainable, efficient, and cost-effective alternative to traditional cooking methods. It eliminates the need for wood charcoal, thereby drastically reducing the harmful emissions of particulate matter and promoting a cleaner environment for all,” she noted. She said the cooker was not merely a technological innovation, but a symbol of progress, resilience, and sustainability, embodying the power of science, technology, and innovation in transforming society for the better. “It is a product of tireless research, collaboration, and the unwavering commitment of the talented minds and experts who have worked relentlessly to bring this innovation to life.”  

Dr. Cosmas Mwikirize, Superintendent-Industry Value Chains Development at the Science, Technology and Innovation Secretariat (STI)-Office of the President delivered Minister Musenero's remarks. School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bioengineering Conference Hall, CAES, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda.
Dr. Cosmas Mwikirize, Superintendent-Industry Value Chains Development at the Science, Technology and Innovation Secretariat (STI)-Office of the President delivered Minister Musenero’s remarks.

The Minister called on the public to embrace the technology in a bid to create positive impact on public health, and mitigate the environmental consequences of traditional cooking practices. “The solar cooker will not only improve air quality but also alleviate the burden of deforestation and reduce the reliance on unsustainable energy sources. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all the researchers, scientists, and innovators who have made this remarkable achievement possible. Their dedication, passion, and ingenuity have paved the way for a brighter and more sustainable future for our nation.”

Remarks by the Vice Chancellor

The Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe equally commended the research team, noting that the innovation would largely tame environmental degradation arising from the increasing population and the search for cheaper sources of energy. Uganda’s population currently stands at 48 million and is expected to increase to 60 million by 2030, and 104 million by 2060. The Vice Chancellor tasked the innovators to come up with different models of the MakSol Cooker to make it affordable for an average Ugandan.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe addressing participants at the launch of the MakSol Cooker. School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bioengineering Conference Hall, CAES, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe addressing participants at the launch of the MakSol Cooker.

Prof. Nawangwe was specifically impressed by the multidisciplinary nature of the research team and involvement of students in the project. “It is important that we continuously engage students in these projects because they are the future of this country and will remain innovative for a long time.” Emphasizing the role of Makerere in Uganda’s development, the Vice Chancellor appealed to the Government to reverse the decision to reduce funding towards research and innovation in the next financial year. “The future of our country lies in research and innovation. Many development ideas will be crippled if funding is reduced. It should instead be doubled to increase the number of innovations.” The Vice Chancellor urged the research team to patent their product. He pledged more support towards the project, saying the University had put in place a Fund under the Research and Innovations Hub to scale up such innovations. He expressed gratitude to the Government of Uganda for the unwavering support towards research and innovation at Makerere. Through MakRIF, the Government of Uganda has so far extended support to 750 research projects at Makerere University worth UGX90 billion. Similarly, the Vice Chancellor appreciated the Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation, Hon. Dr. Monica Musenero Masanza for her commitment and support towards research and innovation at the University.

Participants following proceedings of the event. School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bioengineering Conference Hall, CAES, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda.
Participants following proceedings of the event.

In his remarks, the Commissioner for Renewable Energy at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, Dr. Brian Isabirye applauded Makerere for always being at the top in research and innovation, and pledged to solicit for funding to scale up innovations at the University.

The Commissioner for Renewable Energy at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, Dr. Brian Isabirye commended Makerere for always being at the top in research and innovation. School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bioengineering Conference Hall, CAES, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda.
The Commissioner for Renewable Energy at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, Dr. Brian Isabirye commended Makerere for always being at the top in research and innovation.

On behalf of the Principal of CAES, Dr. John Baptist Tumuhairwe, Dean, School of Agricultural Sciences appreciated Makerere University Management for creating a conducive environment for research and innovation. He applauded the research team for the innovation, and thanked the Government of Uganda for its commitment towards improving research and innovation at the University. The representative of MakRIF, Dr. Michael Owor, Dean, School of Physical Sciences at the College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Makerere University congratulated the research team and pledged more support towards the initiative.

Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe appreciating the innovation. School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bioengineering Conference Hall, CAES, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda.
Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe appreciating the innovation.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (front row, 4th Left) with the representative of the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Cosmas Mwikirize (C), and the research team at the launch of the MakSol Cooker on 14th June 2023. School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bioengineering Conference Hall, CAES, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (front row, 4th Left) with the representative of the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Cosmas Mwikirize (C), and the research team at the launch of the MakSol Cooker on 14th June 2023.

Agriculture & Environment

Call for Papers – Makerere University Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (MUJAES)

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The walkway to the School of Agricultural Sciences, CAES, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda as seen on 4th February 2009. East Africa

The Editorial Board, Makerere University Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (MUJAES), College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) is receiving manuscripts for consideration for Volume 13, Issue 1 2024 that will come out in June 2024 and Issue 2 slated for December 2024. Manuscripts should be sent to mujaes.caes@mak.ac.ug. For details on MUJAES and guidelines for submission of manuscripts, visit: https://mujaes.mak.ac.ug/. Manuscripts to be considered for publication in MUJAES should be based on original research findings.

For any inquiries, contact; Dr Jeninah Karungi-Tumutegyereize, Editor, MUJAES. Email – jtumutegyereize@gmail.com.

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Agriculture & Environment

New CAES Project Targets to close the Nutrition Gap of Cross-bred Dairy Cattle in Uganda

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The Project PI, Prof. Veerle Fievez delivered a presentation on ways of harnessing circular and carbon-sequestering local feed resources to close the nutrition gap of cross-bred dairy cattle in Uganda. Makerere University Department of Agricultural Production, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI), Ento Organic Farm Ltd, and Ghent University, Belgium, two-year project designed to harness circular and carbon-sequestering local feed resources to close the nutrition gap of cross-bred dairy cattle in Uganda inception meeting, 8th February 2024, Grand Global Hotel, Kampala Uganda.

Status of Uganda’s Dairy Production

Dairy farming is a major activity in the southwestern, central, and northeastern parts of the country, with the sector contributing significantly to the economic, nutritional, and employment opportunities of the rural communities in those areas. The dairy industry contributes 9% to Agriculture GDP and about 4% of the total GDP. Dairy farming is a priority agricultural sector under NDP III (2020/2021 to 2024/2025), and a key driver of the agro-industrialisation agenda, Parish Development Model, and Uganda Vision 2040. According to expert reports, the dairy sector currently brings in the second-highest export earnings after coffee in the agricultural sector and is gradually paving its way to the number one position. The sector is currently valued at US$3.8 billion according to statistics. Production of milk increased from sh2.51b litres to approximately sh3.85b litres between 2018 and 2022, an average annual growth rate of 11%, which is among the highest of any sector in the Ugandan economy. However, the sector is undermined by a number of challenges including livestock diseases, low uptake of high grade exotic cattle, a high rate of failure for artificial insemination, limited access to extension services, and limited investments in feed resources. A report by the Economic Policy Research Centre, based on investigations into livestock production practices and milk productivity, reveals that Uganda could be making $300 million more but most farmers in western Uganda who initially embraced exotic breeds are reverting to local Ankole cattle. An exotic breed can produce up to 40 litres of milk per day compared with just three litres from local breeds.

Mr. Lutakome presenting his PhD research project on crossbreed dairy cows in grazing systems of Western Uganda. Makerere University Department of Agricultural Production, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI), Ento Organic Farm Ltd, and Ghent University, Belgium, two-year project designed to harness circular and carbon-sequestering local feed resources to close the nutrition gap of cross-bred dairy cattle in Uganda inception meeting, 8th February 2024, Grand Global Hotel, Kampala Uganda.
Mr. Lutakome presenting his PhD research project on crossbreed dairy cows in grazing systems of Western Uganda.

Short Initiative to improve productivity of dairy cows

Dairy cattle in Uganda, in most cases, produce less milk than expected. This is mainly caused by improper feeding. It is therefore imperative that feed quantity and quality be improved for dairy cows in Uganda to increase milk production and subsequently household incomes. Makerere University through the Department of Agricultural Production at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), together with the National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI), Ento Organic Farm Ltd, and Ghent University in Belgium, are implementing a two-year project designed to harness circular and carbon-sequestering local feed resources to close the nutrition gap of cross-bred dairy cattle in Uganda.

Participants keenly following the discussions during the meeting. Makerere University Department of Agricultural Production, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI), Ento Organic Farm Ltd, and Ghent University, Belgium, two-year project designed to harness circular and carbon-sequestering local feed resources to close the nutrition gap of cross-bred dairy cattle in Uganda inception meeting, 8th February 2024, Grand Global Hotel, Kampala Uganda.
Participants keenly following the discussions during the meeting.

The project is supported by Vliruos and led by Prof. Veerle Fievez from Ghent University, Belgium. In Uganda, the project is coordinated by Prof. Fred Kabi from the Department of Agricultural Production (DAP) at CAES, Makerere University. Other members on the project are; Mr. Pius Lutakome, a PhD student and Lecturer at DAP, Makerere University; Dr Susan Diana Kerfua and Mr. Denis Asizua from NaLIRRI, and Mr. Martin Tenywa from Ento Organic Farm Ltd. The project is intended to, among other objectives, i) share state-of-the-art scientific results on negative energy balance in transition crossbred dairy cows identified through metabolic biomarkers in blood spot samples, ii) Collaboratively co-create knowledge with stakeholders along the dairy value chain  on circular feeds as well as shrub- and tree-based resources with carbon-sequestering capacity, and assess their potential to close the nutrient gap, iii) cooperatively develop a roadmap with stakeholders in modeling a home grown solution to eliminating extreme hunger and poverty through sustainable dairy cattle production practices, and to close the nutritional gaps during negative energy balance  experienced at early lactation period of crossbred dairy cattle.

Dr. Prossy Isubikalu from the Department of Extension and Innovation Studies at CAES, Makerere University moderated the discussion. Makerere University Department of Agricultural Production, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI), Ento Organic Farm Ltd, and Ghent University, Belgium, two-year project designed to harness circular and carbon-sequestering local feed resources to close the nutrition gap of cross-bred dairy cattle in Uganda inception meeting, 8th February 2024, Grand Global Hotel, Kampala Uganda.
Dr. Prossy Isubikalu from the Department of Extension and Innovation Studies at CAES, Makerere University moderated the discussion.

Inception meeting

On 8th February 2024, the project team held an inception meeting to stimulate deep reflections on the contemporary global challenges on using circular feeds to close the nutritional gaps of dairy cows. The one-day meeting held at Grand Global Hotel in Kampala was also convened to develop a roadmap towards achieving the project goal, objectives and expected outcomes; to review implementation arrangements, and to confirm roles and responsibilities of the different stakeholders. It was attended by stakeholders along the dairy value chain, representatives from local government, and researchers from the Department of Agricultural Production at CAES, Makerere University. At the meeting, Prof. Veerle Fievez from Ghent University delivered a presentation on ways of harnessing circular and carbon-sequestering local feed resources to close the nutrition gap of cross-bred dairy cattle in Uganda, whereas Mr. Pius Lutakome shared part of his findings from his PhD research project. Mr. Lutakome is conducting research on crossbreed dairy cows in grazing systems of Western Uganda and measures that can be taken to improve nutritional management based on monitoring the metabolic status. Participants too engaged in focused group discussions on realities of feed and feeding practices of dairy cows in Uganda, with the aim of establishing the kind of feed given to dairy cows, source of feed, quantities given, and the frequency at which the cows are fed. This was intended to guide the way forward for successful implementation of the project. The meeting was moderated by Dr. Prossy Isubikalu from the Department of Extension and Innovation Studies at CAES, Makerere University.

Photo Gallery

Dr. Isubikalu moderating the discussion. Makerere University Department of Agricultural Production, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI), Ento Organic Farm Ltd, and Ghent University, Belgium, two-year project designed to harness circular and carbon-sequestering local feed resources to close the nutrition gap of cross-bred dairy cattle in Uganda inception meeting, 8th February 2024, Grand Global Hotel, Kampala Uganda.
Dr. Isubikalu moderating the discussion.
A participant sharing her views on the project. Makerere University Department of Agricultural Production, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI), Ento Organic Farm Ltd, and Ghent University, Belgium, two-year project designed to harness circular and carbon-sequestering local feed resources to close the nutrition gap of cross-bred dairy cattle in Uganda inception meeting, 8th February 2024, Grand Global Hotel, Kampala Uganda.
A participant sharing her views on the project.
The Project PI, Prof. Veerle Fievez (L) and Co-PI, Prof Fred Kabi (C) at the meeting. Makerere University Department of Agricultural Production, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI), Ento Organic Farm Ltd, and Ghent University, Belgium, two-year project designed to harness circular and carbon-sequestering local feed resources to close the nutrition gap of cross-bred dairy cattle in Uganda inception meeting, 8th February 2024, Grand Global Hotel, Kampala Uganda.
The Project PI, Prof. Veerle Fievez (L) and Co-PI, Prof Fred Kabi (C) at the meeting.
Some of the participants following the proceedings. Makerere University Department of Agricultural Production, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI), Ento Organic Farm Ltd, and Ghent University, Belgium, two-year project designed to harness circular and carbon-sequestering local feed resources to close the nutrition gap of cross-bred dairy cattle in Uganda inception meeting, 8th February 2024, Grand Global Hotel, Kampala Uganda.
Some of the participants following the proceedings.
Participants in focused group discussions on realities of feed and feeding practices of dairy cows in Uganda. Makerere University Department of Agricultural Production, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI), Ento Organic Farm Ltd, and Ghent University, Belgium, two-year project designed to harness circular and carbon-sequestering local feed resources to close the nutrition gap of cross-bred dairy cattle in Uganda inception meeting, 8th February 2024, Grand Global Hotel, Kampala Uganda.
Participants in focused group discussions on realities of feed and feeding practices of dairy cows in Uganda.
Masters students from CAES in a focused group discussion during the meeting. Makerere University Department of Agricultural Production, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI), Ento Organic Farm Ltd, and Ghent University, Belgium, two-year project designed to harness circular and carbon-sequestering local feed resources to close the nutrition gap of cross-bred dairy cattle in Uganda inception meeting, 8th February 2024, Grand Global Hotel, Kampala Uganda.
Masters students from CAES in a focused group discussion during the meeting.
Participants in a discussion on feeds and feeding practices of dairy cows in Uganda. Makerere University Department of Agricultural Production, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI), Ento Organic Farm Ltd, and Ghent University, Belgium, two-year project designed to harness circular and carbon-sequestering local feed resources to close the nutrition gap of cross-bred dairy cattle in Uganda inception meeting, 8th February 2024, Grand Global Hotel, Kampala Uganda.
Participants in a discussion on feeds and feeding practices of dairy cows in Uganda.

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Agriculture & Environment

CoSTClim – NORPART Call for Applications for Masters Student Mobility to Norway 2024

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Makerere University (MAK) in collaboration with Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Uganda Martyrs University (UMU) and Regional Universities Forum (for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) are implementing a five-year CoSTClim project (Collaborative Action for Strengthening Training Capacities in Climate Risk and Natural Resource management). The main goal of the project is to improve the quality of training, education and research at the partner institutions with a dedicated focus on climate risk, disaster risk management and natural resource management. CoSTClim builds on a range of other capacity development projects funded by the Norwegian Government at the partner institutions, and has a specific focus on education.

One of the components of CoSTClim is student mobility from Uganda to Norway and from Norway to Uganda. Therefore, we are inviting applicants from Makerere University for Masters student mobility scholarships to NTNU for the Autumn semester in 2024. There are five mobility scholarship slots available for this year. The scholarship will cover 5 months (August-December 2024) stay at NTNU in Trondheim, Norway. The successful candidates can enroll in selected course units at NTNU as well as leveraging the stay to write their master’s thesis. The width and breadth of available course units from which the candidates can select are found: https://www.ntnu.edu/geography/exchange-students

Limited research supervision will also be given by NTNU staff but the primary supervision responsibility stays with the allocated supervisors at Makerere University or Uganda Martyrs University.

Eligibility and requirements for the mobility applicants
a) The applicant should be a fully registered student in a relevant Masters programme at
Makerere University or Uganda Martyrs University, which aligns to the CostClim
thematic focus area.
b) The focus of the research of the applicant should align strongly to climate risk, disaster
risk management, natural resource management or agriculture.
c) The applicant should be progressing well on the masters programme and within the
stated duration of the programme (2-3years).

Application procedure
Interested and eligible Masters students should send the following;
a) A one page application letter
b) A motivation statement and plan for the time at NTNU (1-2 pages)
c) A letter from the Head of Department attesting to your registration, study status and
progress on your programme.
d) Copies of your undergraduate transcript and partial transcript or HOD endorsed
results for your current studies.
Application with all the required documents should be submitted by email to the contacts
below in one message.

  1. Yazidhi Bamutaze (for applicants from MAK)- yazidhibamutaze@gmail.com
  2. Runyararo Jolyn Rukarwa – r.rukarwa@ruforum.org
  3. Charlotte Nakakawa Jjunju – charlotte.jjunju@ntnu.no
  4. Joseph Sekandi sekjoseph@gmail.com
    Short listed applicants will be invited to complete educational procedures at NTNU under the
    exchange arrangement. A scholarship

The application deadline is Thursday 29th February 2024.

For further details, kindly download the document by following this link.

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