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CoNAS Moves to Popularise the Bachelor of Science Programme, Improve Performance in the Subject of Biology

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Overview

Basic biological research offered by the School of Biosciences at the College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), more so at the Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS) requires continuous recruitment of trainees to ensure its sustainability at Makerere University. Over the years, there has been a decline in the number of students admitted to offer biological courses at the School of Biosciences due to poor performance, but also the negative perception about the courses. These courses are often termed as “FLAT” during career guidance at high school, an indication that even the career teachers do not have a clear understanding of the Bachelor of Science degree programme. The perception that the programme is flat with no job prospects makes it unpopular, yet basic sciences are a pivot for several other applied sciences that significantly contribute to the wellbeing of humans and the economy of the country. For example, studies in basic Zoology, Botany, Chemistry and Biochemistry are a basis for effective understanding of applied courses such as plant breeding, vector control, wildlife management, plant pollination, environmental conservation, veterinary science, and human health management, among others. The decline in uptake of these programmes is a big challenge as it is likely to affect the learning of applied sciences.

Dr. Godfrey Kawooya Kubiriza, coordinator of the project, welcoming participants to the seminar. Zoological Museum and Aquarium, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences, CoNAS, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda. East Africa.
Dr. Godfrey Kawooya Kubiriza, coordinator of the project, welcoming participants to the seminar.

The reduced recruitment of students into basic sciences has long term implications of missing on key scientists to support research in various scientific fields, yet the graduates of Bachelor of Science degree have numerous opportunities to undertake research and academic work in several national and international research institutions, academic institutions, and the private sector. The use of the term “FLAT” by career masters reflects the lack of clear understanding of the vast opportunities that this course exposes the candidates to, both in public and private sectors.

Dr. Kubiriza briefs participants on the research activities at CoNAS. Zoological Museum and Aquarium, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences, CoNAS, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda. East Africa.
Dr. Kubiriza briefs participants on the research activities at CoNAS.

Plans to popularise the Bachelor of Science programme

To increase uptake, CoNAS has embarked on a programme to popularize the courses offered at the School of Biosciences among high school science teachers and learners by deciphering the myths associated with the Bachelor of Science degree. Broadly, the action aims at arousing the interest and improve academic performance among high school students in biology, and ultimately increase the students applying for the courses offered at the Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences. Specifically, the programme aims to popularize research by early career researchers in the Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences in selected schools with A-level biology students, as well as biology and career teachers. The Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences will engage selected schools to share progressive research, experiences and lessons learnt to cultivate/arouse interest among the biological students in high schools. During the engagement sessions, the team will discuss possibilities to improve performance in biology and inform the next course of action.

Dr. Joel Isanga from the Department of Biochemistry and Sports Science moderated the seminar. Zoological Museum and Aquarium, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences, CoNAS, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda. East Africa.
Dr. Joel Isanga from the Department of Biochemistry and Sports Science moderated the seminar.

The programme is coordinated by Dr Godfrey Kawooya Kubiriza, a Lecturer in the Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences and a postdoc fellow for CECAP. It is part of the activities supported under his project on “Popularizing early career research for increased visibility of the Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences”.

Participants follow the proceedings of the seminar. Zoological Museum and Aquarium, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences, CoNAS, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda. East Africa.
Participants follow the proceedings of the seminar.

CoNAS engagement with Secondary School Biology teachers

On 26th July 2023, the CoNAS through the Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences held a seminar for Secondary School teachers from selected schools around the country. The one-day seminar was funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, through the Directorate of Research and Graduate Training at Makerere University. It was intended to bridge the gap between the School of Biosciences, Makerere University and high school biology teachers in Uganda.  It was also aimed at sensitising the teachers about the programmes at CoNAS, the importance of the Bachelor of Science programme and the opportunities it presents. The Seminar held at ZEFS was graced by the Commissioner in charge of Crop Inspection and Certification at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Mr. Paul Mwambu; the Principal of CoNAS, Prof. Winston Tumps Ireeta, and senior academics from the School of Biosciences, Makerere University.

Staff from the School of Biosciences, CoNAS and secondary school biology teachers at the seminar. Zoological Museum and Aquarium, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences, CoNAS, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda. East Africa.
Staff from the School of Biosciences, CoNAS and secondary school biology teachers at the seminar.

During the engagement, academics from the School of Biosciences sensitized the teachers on the programmes in their departments, highlighting the different course units, research activities, career prospects and opportunities, and emphasizing the importance of the BSc programme.

The Principal of CoNAS, Prof. Winston Tumps Ireeta emphasized the need to retool biology teachers and pledged the College support towards secondary school career guidance programmes. Zoological Museum and Aquarium, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences, CoNAS, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda. East Africa.
The Principal of CoNAS, Prof. Winston Tumps Ireeta emphasized the need to retool biology teachers and pledged the College support towards secondary school career guidance programmes.

The Dean, School of Biosciences, also Patron of the Biology Society of Uganda (BioSU) delivered a presentation on the past, present and future dynamics of biology, stressing its relevance in driving the world systems in the next century. He also briefed participants on the BioSU and its intended purpose to improve performance in the subject of biology that has been declining over the years. A research conducted in the performance of Biology at the UACE sitting of 2018 whose results were released in February 2019, indicated that a total of 13,061 candidates sat for Biology countrywide, and of these only 1 candidate scored an “A”. That year, only up to 38% of the candidates scored at least an “E” leaving almost 80% failed (score O or F). In the next year’s sitting of 2019, only 44 candidates countrywide scored “A” in Biology. This trend was found quite repeated several times before 2018 and has not improved to-date post COVID-19. To solve this problem, Makerere University through the School of Biosciences at CoNAS in partnership with the College of Education and External Studies (CEES) under the supervision of the office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Academic Affairs has embarked on a programme to identify the root causes of poor performance, by undertaking a detailed and carefully planned analysis of the qualifications, competence, and availability of Biology teachers and technicians at A’ level; the scope- breadth and depth of Biology curriculum at A’ level; how topics are segregated or not segregated in different UNEB past papers of Biology at A’ level in comparison to other A’ level subjects; the state of laboratory and field infrastructure for teaching Biology at A’ level; and attitudes of learners/students towards Biology at A’ level.

The Commissioner in charge of Crop Inspection and Certification at MAAIF, Mr. Paul Mwambu shared his experience about the Bachelor of Science and the enormous job opportunities the programme presents. Zoological Museum and Aquarium, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences, CoNAS, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda. East Africa.
The Commissioner in charge of Crop Inspection and Certification at MAAIF, Mr. Paul Mwambu shared his experience about the Bachelor of Science and the enormous job opportunities the programme presents.

During his presentation, Prof. Tugume appealed to government to support and promote skilling programmes, noting that there are many people who have not had an opportunity to acquire University education but are doing wonders because of the skills attained from vocational training.

MAAIF Commissioner Paul Mwambu addressing participants at the seminar. Zoological Museum and Aquarium, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences, CoNAS, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda. East Africa.
MAAIF Commissioner Paul Mwambu addressing participants at the seminar.

At the same meeting, Dr Kubiriza presented the research activities at the College, specifically in the Department of ZEFS, whereas Mr. Paul Mwambu, Commissioner in charge of Crop Inspection and Certification at MAAIF narrated how his study of the Bachelor of Science programme had exposed him enormous employment opportunities. 

The Dean, School of Biosciences, CoNAS, Prof. Arthur Tugume briefed participants on the relevance of biology and strategies being undertaken by the University to improve performance in the subject. Zoological Museum and Aquarium, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences, CoNAS, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda. East Africa.
The Dean, School of Biosciences, CoNAS, Prof. Arthur Tugume briefed participants on the relevance of biology and strategies being undertaken by the University to improve performance in the subject.

During the engagement, the secondary school teachers shared the challenges they experience and brainstormed on strategies that can be used to demystify the negativity about the Bachelor of Science programme. They also shared ideas on how to improve performance in subject of biology, emphasizing the need to review the syllabus and to retool the teachers. “The syllabus is so wide and this could be one of the lead causes of poor performance in the subject,” Prof. Tugume noted.

Dr. Gladys Bwanika from ZEFS addressing participants. Zoological Museum and Aquarium, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences, CoNAS, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda. East Africa.
Dr. Gladys Bwanika from ZEFS addressing participants.

In his remarks, the Principal of CoNAS, Prof. Winston T. Ireeta emphasized the importance of career guidance and sharing of resources to improve performance. He pledged the College support towards secondary school career guidance programmes and retooling of teachers.

An official from the Department of Academic Registrar, Mr. Justus Karegeya briefed participants on the requirements for admission to the different programmes of Makerere. Zoological Museum and Aquarium, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences, CoNAS, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda. East Africa.
An official from the Department of Academic Registrar, Mr. Justus Karegeya briefed participants on the requirements for admission to the different programmes of Makerere.

Participants follow proceedings during the seminar. Zoological Museum and Aquarium, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences, CoNAS, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda. East Africa.
Participants follow proceedings during the seminar.

Natural Sciences

CARTA Fellow Anywar Appointed Member of BMC Editorial Board

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Dr. Godwin Anywar (2nd Right) displays his certificate after attending the Science Diplomacy Course in Trieste, Italy, from June 17 to 21, 2024. Photo: CARTA.

Godwin Anywar, cohort 6, Makerere University, was appointed a Member of the editorial board of BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies on June 18, 2024. The appointment is on a rolling basis, renewable after every two years.

He also attended the Science Diplomacy Course in Trieste, Italy, from June 17 to 21, 2024, under the auspices of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Washington, DC, USA, and The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), Trieste, Italy.

Source: CARTA Newsletter Issue 78

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Mak Researchers develop Innovative Integrated Wetlands-bivalve system to Mitigate Effects of Pollution in Aquaculture farms in the Lake Victoria Basin

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The Project team with the participants during the workshop at Colline Hotel Mukono on 26th June 2024. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.

By Hasifa Kabejja & Dr. Robinson Odong

Overview

The fisheries sub-sector in Uganda is crucial, supporting over 5 million livelihoods and providing essential protein for up to 17 million people, with an average consumption of 10 kg per capita. Uganda’s population is projected to double in the next 27 years, prompting the National Development Plan III to aim for a significant increase in fish production, with aquaculture expected to contribute 1 million MT by 2030. The Fisheries and Aquaculture Act 2022 emphasizes adherence to National Environmental Management principles to achieve sustainable production systems.

However, as aquaculture grows, the sector faces environmental challenges due to increased intensive production and on-farm waste, including nutrients from feed, uneaten feed, poor quality feeds, pseudofeces, escaped farmed fish, and residual chemicals. These pollutants pose risks such as habitat quality deterioration, biodiversity loss, eutrophication of waterways, and the emergence of drug-resistant pathogens.

The Principal, CoNAS, Makerere University, Prof. Winston Tumps Ireeta officially opened the workshop. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.
The Principal, CoNAS, Makerere University, Prof. Winston Tumps Ireeta officially opened the workshop.

Mitigating the effects of environmental pollution from aquaculture

Through a Project titled: Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP), researchers from Makerere University in collaboration with the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) set out to assess the effects of aquaculture facilities and practices on Lake Victoria, its catchment rivers and wetlands. The team led by Dr Ronald Semyalo from the Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS) at Makerere University subsequently examined the effectiveness of innovative technologies, such as integrated wetland-bivalve systems, in mitigating these impacts. They also reviewed the application of national environment and aquaculture regulations in controlling environmental pollution. The study surveyed fish farms in three districts of Buikwe, Jinja, and Mukono within the Victoria Water Management Zone. Other project team members were: Dr Jerome Lugumira from NEMA, Dr Robinson Odong and Mr. Drake Ssempijja from ZEFS, Makerere University, and Ms. Ritah Namisango, Senior Public Relations Officer at Makerere. The Project was supported by the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (MakRIF).

Some of the participants at the workshop at Colline Hotel Mukono. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.
Some of the participants at the workshop at Colline Hotel Mukono.

During their engagement with different stakeholders in the fishing industry including the fish farmers from Jinja, Buikwe and Mukono, as well as experts from the Directorate of Water Resources at the Ministry of Water and Environment, NEMA, and the Directorate of Aquaculture Development at MAAF, the research team established that only 138 out of 380 registered fish farms were active, with 45.6% of the farms in Jinja, 35.5% in Mukono; and 18.8% in Buikwe. Overall, over 60% of the farms were inactive posing serious environmental threats.  

The PI, Dr Ronald Semyalo presenting the project findings to stakeholders. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.
The PI, Dr Ronald Semyalo presenting the project findings to stakeholders.

Dissemination of the research findings

On 26th June 2024, the project team held a workshop at Colline Hotel Mukono to disseminate the research finding to stakeholders who included fish farmers from Buikwe, Jinja and Mukono, District Fisheries Officers, as well as representatives from NEMA and MAAIF. In the presentations, the team highlighted the environmental impacts of aquaculture practices and the possibility of innovatively using nature-based, environmentally friendly innovations as a mitigation measure. The presentations covered farm characteristics, water and feed management practices, water quality assessments and waste management methods. The participants engaged in discussion on the implications of the results and shared their experiences and challenges in managing aquaculture operations.

Dr Semyalo disseminating the research findings. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.
Dr Semyalo disseminating the research findings.
Mr. Geoffrey Dheyongera, Principal Fisheries Officer at MAAIF delivered a presentation on the state of capture fisheries and aquaculture in Uganda. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.
Mr. Geoffrey Dheyongera, Principal Fisheries Officer at MAAIF delivered a presentation on the state of capture fisheries and aquaculture in Uganda.

Key findings as disseminated by the PI

Out of the 380 farms, 119 were assessed. Below are the key findings;

  1. Environmental Impact Assessment: It was established that 81% of the farmers had not conducted Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and Environmental audits. This, the researchers noted was one of the major causes of abandoned farms. 
  2. Farm Characteristics: The majority of farms used earthen ponds (66.9%) and were semi-intensive (63.6%), relying on manufactured feed and pond fertilization. Intensive farms (30.5%) exclusively used manufactured feeds, while extensive farms (4.2%) relied solely on pond fertilization.
  3. Fish Species: Nile tilapia was the top choice (96.1%) for monoculture farms, while tilapia and catfish were preferred for polyculture systems (46.9%). Intensive farms predominantly farmed Nile tilapia.
  4. Demographics: Most respondents were male (90.7%), with a median age of 35 years. The largest age group was 31 to 59 years (43.2%).
  5. Fish diseases: The research revealed a number of diseases affecting aquaculture including: lesions/wounds on the belly and cysts on the scales, skin lesions and cysts on the belly, popping eyes and white substance on fins, open skin wounds, open wounds on the head, skin lesions – greyish, swollen eyes, whitish and black patches on the skin on the pelvic fin, wounds on the head.
  6. Water Use: Fish farms primarily relied on spring water and lake water. Other sources, such as streams, wells, and rivers, were also utilized. In most cases, the water source was shared with the community. Only a small percentage of respondents acknowledged any known disease outbreaks on their farms. There was a strong association between the district in which the farm was located and the water source used. Majority of those using lake water were in Jinja District, while most of those using spring water were in Mukono District. Additionally, there was a significant association between the fish species cultured and the water source used. 
  7. Feed Management: A significant proportion of the farms heavily relied on factory-made feeds. These feeds were often used in combination with farm feed materials, such as maize bran, potato vines, yam leaves, and kitchen waste. A smaller number of farmers exclusively relied on farm-made feeds, while an even smaller percentage solely relied on pond fertilization. Manufactured feeds were used in various forms: powder and floating pellets, powder, crumble, and floating pellets, powder only, floating pellets only, and sinking pellets. The most prevalent method of feed delivery was feeding by response, while some farms also practiced feeding by ration.
  8. Waste Management: The findings indicated a concerning lack of treatment for aquaculture effluent, with majority of respondents (69%) releasing it directly into natural streams or wetlands. This highlights the need for improved environmental management practices.  Common waste sources included faecal matter and dead fish. Most farms incinerated or buried solid waste. 
  9. Water Quality: Measurements at the representative visited farms showed compliance with FAO optimal conditions for fish farms. The physicochemical parameters of the farms visited were in line with FAO optimal conditions for fish farms.
  10. Prevailing Regulatory System: A comprehensive gap analysis was conducted to supplement the findings from the survey. It aimed to identify weaknesses and areas for improvement in current policies and regulations governing aquaculture. It also evaluated the effectiveness of existing measures in addressing environmental pollution, waste management, and sustainable water use. This exercise provided a foundation for developing more robust and effective regulatory frameworks that support sustainable aquaculture practices, protect water resources, and enhance the overall environmental health of the Lake Victoria basin.
Stakeholders at the MEEP dissemination workshop. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.
Stakeholders at the MEEP dissemination workshop.

Project output

***Innovative Integrated wetlands-bivalves system was developed to mitigate the impact of pollution emanating from aquaculture on the environment

Effluent from poor aquaculture practices may contain uneaten feed residues and associated components, such as suspended solids, nutrient nitrogen and phosphorus and organic materials. If discharged without any form of treatment, such effluent contributes to excessive nutrient enrichment of water bodies, a phenomenon referred to as eutrophication. Eutrophic waters have diminished ecological value, for example are low in oxygen level and can lead to fish kills. Wetland plants, such as duckweeds can aid in cleansing of aquaculture effluent of excess pollutants, through various mechanisms. For example, the plant roots adsorb suspended solids, besides offering conducive attachment surfaces for beneficial microorganisms which perform various nutrient recycling roles. The plants also uptake excess nutrients, hence reducing their levels in water. Bivalves (Molluscs) are filter feeders, hence uptake and cleanse water of detrital or solid materials, hence augmenting the roles of the plants. The integration of wetlands-bivalves system offer synergistic roles in aquaculture effluent treatment. The plants and bivalves used in the treatment can in turn be removed and used for other beneficial purposes.

Dr Jerome Lugumira from NEMA delivered a presentation on the policies regulating the sector and the gaps. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.
Dr Jerome Lugumira from NEMA delivered a presentation on the policies regulating the sector and the gaps.

Presentation on policy gaps

During the dissemination workshop, Dr Jerome Lugumira, the Natural Resources Manager, Soils and Land Use at NEMA sensitized participants on the National Environment Act, 2019 with special emphasis on policy regulations for the aquaculture sector. He emphasized the need to acquire an EIA certificate before engaging in aquaculture. Highlighting the gaps in policy, Dr Lugumira noted that Schedule 4 of the National Environment Act, 2019 does not sufficiently guide the Fisheries sector; while the Physical Planning Act, 2010 is biased towards physical development planning, and the Water Act, 1997 provides for a waste discharge permit but no consideration of the extent of wastes discharged from fish farms of varying size and intensity is provided.

Dr Lugumira sensitizing participants on the policies. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.
Dr Lugumira sensitizing participants on the policies.

He further noted that the National Environment (Wetlands, Riverbanks and Lakeshores Management) Regulations, 2000 do not guide on areas where aquaculture best fits, indicating that the application of the 25% wetland area beyond which one needs approval is vague.

Additionally, he explained that the National Environment (Waste Management) Regulations, 2020 refer to fish waste generally and not whether it means waste from fish or all waste from fish farms, such as off-cuts, unwanted materials, and that the National Environment (Standards for Discharge of Effluent into Water or Land) Regulations, 2020 consider effluent discharge and not that released in-situ and that disposed directly into water via cages and into soil via land-based systems.

Right-Left Dr Susan Luyiga, Dr Peter Akoll, and Ms. Ritah Namisango at the dissemination workshop. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.
Right-Left Dr Susan Luyiga, Dr Peter Akoll, and Ms. Ritah Namisango at the dissemination workshop.

Dr Lugumira called for the review of the National Environment (Wetlands, Riverbanks and Lakeshores Management) Regulations, 2000, by requiring the mandated Lead Agency (WMD) to issue approvals for access to wetlands, and appending guidance on wetlands and lake areas where aquaculture is suitable. He suggested that submissions seeking approval from NEMA should have all required approvals from MAAIF, WMD and DLGs. “The assessment process should be supported by a technical officer skilled in fisheries sciences and not generalists,” he noted.

The Guest of Honour, Mr. Alio Andrew briefed participants on proper aquaculture management practices and called on Ugandans to invest in the fisheries sector. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.
The Guest of Honour, Mr. Alio Andrew briefed participants on proper aquaculture management practices and called on Ugandans to invest in the fisheries sector.

Overview on the state of capture fisheries and aquaculture in Uganda

Sharing an overview on the state of capture fisheries and aquaculture in Uganda, Mr. Geoffrey Dheyongera, Principal Fisheries Officer at MAAIF, noted that the global decline/stagnation in capture fisheries stocks had increased demand for fish, calling for a boost in fish production through stock enhancement in water bodies and promotion of aquaculture. “There is need for huge investment in aquaculture. The Aquaculture Policy targets 1 million MT from aquaculture through establishment of aquaparks with intensive management activities.”

One of the technologies developed by the project team to support the mitigation of the effects of aquaculture on the environment. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.
One of the technologies developed by the project team to support the mitigation of the effects of aquaculture on the environment.

Key concerns raised by the farmers

During the focused group discussions, participants highlighted a number of factors undermining the growth of the aquaculture sector. These include;

  1. Ignorance about the laws/policy guidelines
  2. Low skills and lack of exposure in aquaculture management
  3. Low numbers of technical staff to guide the farmers
  4. Inexperienced technical staff
  5. Cheating by fish seed producers
  6. Expensive and poor quality feeds
  7. Fluctuating prices of fish
  8. Competition with capture fisheries/negative attitude towards farmed fish
  9. Increased degradation of the environment which affects water quality
  10. High interest rates on loans
  11. Farmers fear for exorbitant taxes
Participants in group discussions on the factors undermining aquaculture. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.
Participants in group discussions on the factors undermining aquaculture.

Proposals for improvement

  1. Government should recruit technical staff to assist farmers
  2. Thorough training of extension staff
  3. Encourage value addition to farmed fish
  4. Integrate climate smart interventions in aquaculture
  5. Policies regulating the sector should be popularized
  6. Undertake periodical review of the existing policies
  7. Encourage multi-stakeholder involvement in the implementation of policies
  8. Invest in research responsive to fish and aquaculture sector needs
  9. Monitor quality of fish feeds to satisfy farmers’ needs and environmental safety
  10. Private hatchery operators must be supported by the responsible sector agencies to ensure quality seed. Likewise, fish seed must come from certified hatcheries.
  11. Inspection of farms should be strengthened
  12. Train farmers on proper aquaculture management practices
  13. Farmers should work in groups to reduce production costs, negotiate better prices for their products, access credit facilities and maximize profits
Group discussions on aquaculture. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.
Group discussions on aquaculture.

Remarks by the Guest of Honour, Mukono District CAO, and the Principal, CoNAS

In his remarks, the Guest of Honour, also Assistant Commissioner Aquaculture Management at MAAIF, Mr. Alio Andrew, guided the farmers on proper aquaculture practices, and encouraged Ugandans to invest in the fish sector. “The demand for fish has increased. Aquaculture remains a viable option,” he noted. He also raised the need to support private hatchery operators to produce quality seed, emphasizing that fish seed should only be bought from certified hatcheries. He highlighted the significance of biosecurity in aquaculture, and the need to collect appropriate data on the sector.

Group discussions on aquaculture. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.
Group discussions on aquaculture.

The CAO Mukono District called for intensified training of farmers in aquaculture management practices. She advised the farmers to work in groups if they are to make reasonable profits.

The Principal, College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Makerere University, Prof. Winston Tumps Ireeta, acknowledged the involvement of the community in research, and appreciated the fish farmers for actively participating in the project activities. He expressed gratitude to the Government of Uganda for the continued support towards research at Makerere University. Besides other initiatives geared towards improving research at Makerere, the Government is supporting over 700 research projects at Makerere through the Research and Innovations Fund. He also appreciated MAAIF and NEMA for the technical guidance extended towards the project.

The Representative of the CAO Mukono District delivering her remarks. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.
The Representative of the CAO Mukono District delivering her remarks.
A participant presenting the views of his group on the factors undermining aquaculture. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.
A participant presenting the views of his group on the factors undermining aquaculture.
The Secretariat at the dissemination workshop. On the left is Ms. Catherine Nannyonga, the Project Administrator. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences (ZEFS), College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) Mitigating the Effects of Environmental Pollution from aquaculture on freshwater resources in Lake Victoria Basin (MEEP) Mak-RIF funded project Dissemination of the research findings, 26th June 2024, Colline Hotel Mukono.
The Secretariat at the dissemination workshop. On the left is Ms. Catherine Nannyonga, the Project Administrator.

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Natural Sciences

Call For Applications For Masters Scholarship Under The Biosorption For Sustainable Small-Scale Gold Mining In Uganda (BioGold) Project

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The JICA Building, College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) as approached from the Mary Stuart Road Roundabout, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda

BioGold Project is a three-year collaborative project among five academic institutions including, Kyambogo University, Makerere University, Gulu University, University of Pretoria and University of Continuing Education, Krems, Austria funded by the Austrian Development Cooperation under the APPEAR Partnership. The project will combine principles of biosorption and chemical remediation to treat contaminated wastewater, tailings, rehabilitate contaminated soils so as to protect vulnerable ecosystems surrounding artisanal gold mining (ASGM) areas in Uganda. This study will design biochar composites from locally available biomass to enhance mercury removal from wastewater and tailings as well as rehabilitate mercury-contaminated soils making them fit for agriculture. The project envisages to train and build capacity of young researchers in Uganda. As such the project has been allocated an MSc. position under Component II, to support to full-time student to undertake studies in Austria. The successful MSc candidate is expected to undertake research on characterizing, optimizing biochar and modify the biochar to improve the sorption capacities.

The project consortium is now inviting qualified and interested persons to apply for nomination for the award of the scholarship. The project has strong preference for female candidates, therefore strongly encouraged to apply.

Eligibility criteria

In addition to APPEAR requirements https://appear.at/en/implementation/embedded-scholarship-application, the applicants should:

  1. Not be older than 30 years (women not older than 35)
  2. Demonstrate interest and capability to work in the priority themes
  3. Present a concept note to provide understanding of the subject
  4. Have a minimum of second- upper class bachelor’s degree in any of the following programmes: BSc in Chemistry, BSc in Environmental Science, & BSc in Environmental Engineering

Benefits

The successful applicants will receive a full scholarship (up to 24 months) which includes;

  1. Return air ticket and visa costs to Austria
  2. Monthly stipend of €1000 while in Austria to cater for personal welfare, accommodation and local movement
  3. Research related expenses.

Application process

  1. A complete application form
  2. A one-page motivation letter
  3. Curriculum vitae (maximum 2 pages)
  4. A completed Master Scholarship Application Form for Embedded APPEAR Projects
  5. Copies of Academic documents
  6. Photocopy of the passport and/or ID
  7. Recommendation letters from two academic referees.
  8. All applications must be sent electronically to Dr. Mary Kaggwa (marykaggwa@kyu.ac.ug) and copied to Dr. Peter Akoll (peter.akoll@mak.ac.ug) and Dr. Denis Nono (d.nono@gu.ac.ug) not later than 5.00pm East African Time on 20th June 2024.

Members of staff with former students interested in biochar technology and its use in heavy metal removal are requested to share the advert with them.

Full Advert and Application form may be accessed below.

Note: Only successful applicants will be contacted.

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