The Honorary Consul of Israel in Uganda, Mrs. Ishta K. Muganga on 7th September 2023 flagged off 50 students for the Agrostudies Apprenticeship programme in Israel. 37 of the students are from Makerere University and 13 from Busitema University. The first group of students left on Monday, 11th September 2023. The event held at the Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility at Makerere University was graced by among others, the Commissioner, Directorate of Planning and Development at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Mr. Walter Anguzu; the Commissioner, Directorate of Agricultural Extension Services at MAAIF represented by Mr. Steven Magume; the Coordinator of the programme at Busitema University, Dr Godfrey Lubadde; the Principal, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University represented by the Deputy Principal, Prof. Yazidhi Bamutaze; and the Head, Department of Agricultural Production at CAES, Dr Mildred Ochwo- Ssemakula. In Uganda, implementation of the programme commenced in 2013 but was institutionalised in 2021. Coordinated by Makerere University through the Department of Agricultural Production, CAES, the programme has over the years benefited about 2,000 students.
About the Agrostudies programme
The Agrostudies programme, built with the support and oversight from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Agriculture, focuses on capacity building through practical and professional knowledge transfer in the field of agriculture, and promotes food security around the world by providing the participants with a creative, practical and dynamic educational framework.
The programme, operating since 2005, trains interns from Southeast Asia and Africa on carefully selected farms throughout Israel, as part of Israel support for developing countries. The programme is an integral part of the agricultural studies of the participants in their home countries, with the goal of providing an opportunity for practical experiential learning in advanced, modern agricultural methods.
The programme combines frontal instruction and theoretical studies with work in practical agricultural internships on farms around Israel. The internships are based on the “Learning by Doing” method, by which the participants gain first-hand experience of advanced agricultural technologies and methods at an international standard in various specializations. The goal of the programme is to directly connect the theoretical knowledge the participants study to the implementation of modern agriculture. At the end of the programme, the participants leave with professional experience and knowledge, allowing them to develop and promote the agricultural sector in their country. The Agrostudies Institute in Israel, which is the international centre for agricultural interns, coordinates the programme.
The flag off ceremony
During the flag off ceremony, the 2021-2022 alumni of the Agrostudies programme shared their experiences and guided the 2023 cohort on the activities and appropriate code of conduct while in Israel. Activities carried out during the one-year internship programme include working on different crop, poultry and dairy production farms. While on the farms, the students acquire skills in land preparation, green house management, drip and sprinkler irrigation, planting, weeding, grafting and seedling production, disease management, harvest and post-harvest management, packaging, value addition and marketing, hatchery management, vaccination, feeding and feed formulation, slaughtering and dressing, calf management, machine milking, artificial insemination, and waste management. The students are also exposed to theoretical studies about different agricultural fields and the diverse cultures of the people of Israel and the countries of the trainees. In their presentation, the alumni led by Mr. Dancan Mugizi, Mr. Oketch Jacob, and Mr. Bua Morris appreciated the governments of Israel and Uganda, noting that the trainings had exposed them to knowledge and skills in modern agricultural systems and technologies. “Overall, the programme changed our mind-set about agriculture as a rewarding enterprise. We also acquired a number of soft skills and became more resilient. We thank the governments of Uganda and Israel, the University Management, and the national programme coordinators for the tremendous work that has made the programme so enjoyable to students and a success.”
In her remarks, the Honorary Consul of Israel in Uganda, Mrs. Ishta K. Muganga congratulated the students for having emerged successful out of over 600 applicants. Briefing the students on Israel, she cautioned them to show commitment to the programme and project a good image of Uganda. “Do what is right to avoid closing the opportunity for others. Israel has some of the best farmers in the world. Maximise your time to acquire knowledge and skills in different fields. There are numerous opportunities in Israel but for only those who are organized. You need to work as a team if you are to make significant strides, and when you return, deploy the knowledge acquired skilfully.”
Briefing the students on NDP III that seeks to make Agriculture profitable and sustainable, the Commissioner, Directorate of Planning and Development at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries (MAAIF), Mr. Walter Anguzu said a lot still needed to be done to improve the sector. “Many of our people are still in subsistence farming, grappling with challenges of low production, limited knowledge and skills, limited access to finances and market, and post-harvest losses. Our target is increase exports. Without exposure, we cannot reach where we need to be. We are grateful for this programme and I implore all of you beneficiaries to fully utilize this opportunity and acquire skills that will contribute to the transformation of agriculture in our country.”
On behalf of the Commissioner, Directorate of Agricultural Extension Services at MAAIF, Mr. Steven Magume congratulated the students upon acquiring a ‘golden’ opportunity to practice in one of the best agricultural countries. He appealed to the students to project a good image of the country when they go to Israel, and to work towards improving their soft skills. “Hard skills enable you to get a job but soft skills that include self-esteem, confidence, good attitude, and time management will keep you there.”
Highlighting the different national and global development programmes, the Deputy Principal of CAES, Prof. Yazidhi Bamutaze emphasized the importance of Agriculture in the transformation nation states, and the need to improve investment in the sector. He appreciated the governments of Israel and Uganda for presenting an opportunity to Ugandan students to improve their Agrostudies skills. “As a University, we have a duty to develop human capital. The notion of producing graduates that are skilled is paramount in the transformation agenda of our country. The Agrostudies programme has played a vital role in changing the mind-set and enhancing the skills of many of our students.”
Dr Narisi Mubangizi, Lecturer in the Department of Extension and Innovation Studies, also part of the coordination team, urged the students to be good ambassadors and avoid engaging in activities that will tarnish the image of the country. “Focus on what you are going for, acquisition of knowledge and skills, and ensure you successfully complete the programme. The diploma you get at the end of the programme is very marketable worldwide.” Similarly, Dr Mildred Ochwo- Ssemakula, Head of the Coordination team implored the students to appreciate the importance of the programme and focus on acquiring knowledge and skills that will enable them make an impact on the agricultural sector back home.
See details on the 2021-2022 cohort in Israel in the document below;
New CAES Project Targets to close the Nutrition Gap of Cross-bred Dairy Cattle in 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.
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.
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.
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.
CoSTClim – NORPART Call for Applications for Masters Student Mobility to Norway 2024
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).
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.
- Yazidhi Bamutaze (for applicants from MAK)- firstname.lastname@example.org
- Runyararo Jolyn Rukarwa – email@example.com
- Charlotte Nakakawa Jjunju – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Joseph Sekandi email@example.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.
CAES Presents 20 PhDs at the 74th Graduation Ceremony of Mak
The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) has presented 638 students for the award of degrees and diplomas at the 74th graduation ceremony of Makerere University. Of the 638 students, 20 have graduated with PhDs (7 female, 13 male), 104 with Masters degrees (49 female, 55 male), 3 with a Postgraduate diploma (all male), and 511 with Bachelor’s degrees (220 female, 291 male). During the course of the 74th graduation ceremony that commenced on Monday, 29th January 2024 and will end on 2nd February, a total of 12,913 graduands will receive degrees and diplomas of Makerere University. Of these, a total of 132 students will graduate with PhDs, 1,585 with Masters degrees, 11,016 with Bachelor’s degrees, 156 with postgraduate diplomas, and 24 with undergraduate diplomas. 53% of the graduands are female and 47% are male. In the category of PhD graduands, 46 are female and 86 are male. In the category of students graduating with Master’s degrees, 699 are female and 886 are male.
Vice Chancellor commends CAES research output
Addressing the congregation, the Acting Chancellor, also Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe commended the College for the enormous research output that directly addresses national development challenges. “With the growing population, there is need to invest in food security. I commend CAES for the many projects aimed at addressing the challenge.” In 2023, the College through the Department of Agricultural Production trained and exposed 145 different categories of soybean stakeholders from Karamoja including District Agriculture officers, extension workers and local seed business holders to state-of-the-art seed and agronomic production practices and post-harvest handling techniques. Additionally, the College in collaboration with Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU) disseminated over 55 metric tons of Soybean foundation seed to the districts of Kalenga, Kabong, Amudat, Nabilatuk, Napak and Nakapiripirit. The College is also responsible for the Soybean component in the current National Oil Seeds Project (NOSP) that is funded by IFAD and the Government of Uganda. This project has a hub in Karamoja operating in the districts of Napak, Nakapiripirit, Nabilatuk, Abim, Kabong.
“It is also pleasing to note that the Makerere University Regional Centre for Crop Improvement (MaRCCI) under the College has been identified as a premium centre to train quality PhDs in Plant Breeding and Biotechnology and will now be known as an African Host Centre (AHU/C). This will support the production of quality seed adaptive to climate change,” the Vice Chancellor noted. MaRCCI, in collaboration with the Department of Agricultural Production at CAES, is charged with training quality PhD students from across Africa to address the human resource gap of highly qualified specialists in the fields of Plant Breeding and Biotechnology. The first cohort of Ten (10) scholars from Benin, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Sudan and hosts Uganda have already commenced their study programs with RSIF funding. Later this year (2024), another group of 4 PhDs from Nigeria and Rwanda will join as cohort 2. This program expects to enroll at least 10 PhDs every year at Makerere University for the foreseeable future with full funding.
The Vice Chancellor also commended the College for developing a cutting-edge solar-powered cooking solution, MakSol Cooker that will revolutionize cooking practices while reducing carbon footprints in households. “The innovation will create positive impact on public health, and mitigate the environmental consequences of traditional cooking practices. We thank the Government of Uganda for supporting this initiative through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF).” He equally appreciated the College for a new project aimed at improving tea production and productivity in the country. Funded by the Danish Fellowship Centre under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Denmark, the Project, Nature-based Solutions for Climate-Resilient Tea Production in Uganda (NbS4Tea), is envisaged to sustainably bridge the tea yield gap in Uganda by developing research-based NbS for enhanced climate resilience of tea production systems. Through the project, the research team led by Dr Alex Nimusiima from the Department of Geography, Geo-Informatics and Climatic Sciences will identify and recommend climate resilient tea varieties, develop new methods and knowledge on locally available organic resources and NbS, innovate and deploy affordable irrigation technologies, empower vulnerable communities in tea production and processing, and identify export market strategies to substantially increase tea production and productivity in Uganda.
Status of research and innovations, and aspirations to transform Makerere into a research-led University
Presenting the status of research and innovations at Makerere, the Vice Chancellor noted that as a result of the various partnerships forged over time, the University’s research output in terms of innovations and publications had tremendously increased. On the aspirations to transform Makerere into a research-led University as stipulated in the 2020/2030 Strategic Plan, the Vice Chancellor explained that with funding from the Government of Uganda through the Mak-RIF, the University was supporting PhD research ideas that generate knowledge that addresses national development priorities. “Additionally, through the same fund, we are supporting the commercialization of projects that have demonstrated the potential for scaling up. These commercialization efforts have been complemented by our partners including the UNDP who have supported the establishment of state-of-the-art Innovation Pod, the first of 13 such pods to be established across Africa. The Pod will facilitate students to apply design thinking to solve societal problems and will offer collaborative working spaces to enable students create business ideas.”
Vice Chancellor’s Research Excellence Award
Through his inaugural Makerere University Vice Chancellor’s Research Excellence Awards introduced this year with the aim of appreciating outstanding performers in research and publication, the Vice Chancellor presented plaques and certificates of recognition to the best five researchers from each of the 10 colleges. Based on the highest number of publications between the year 2017 and 2023 according to the Scopus database, Prof. Moses Robert Kamya and Prof. Rhoda Wanyenze from the College of Health Sciences emerged the best overall male and female researchers. Prof. Moses Robert Kamya has 271 publications and Prof. Rhoda Wanyenze has 153 publications in the aforementioned period. The recipients of the awards at CAES are; Prof. Nakimbugwe Dorothy, Prof. John H. Muyonga, Prof. Kaaya Natigo Archileo, and Prof. Mukisa Muzira Ivan from the Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, and Prof. Egeru Anthony from the School of Agricultural Sciences.
Appreciation to Government and other development partners
The Vice Chancellor appreciated the Government of Uganda for its continued support to Makerere University. “It would not be possible for v to realise all these achievements had it not been for the unwavering support of our Visitor, our Minister, Parliament and the entire Government. I wish to convey our appreciation to H.E. the President and the entire Government for the continued support to Makerere University, especially the support to staff welfare and the Research and Innovation Fund. We once again pledge our commitment to serving our country with maximum dedication through training of highly skilled human resource, research for development and support to Government programmes including the Parish Development Model and measures aimed at achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.” He also appreciated all stakeholders who are providing scholarships to enable bright, but economically disadvantaged students to attain education at Makerere and to support research and innovation. These include: Makerere University Council through the Female Scholarship Foundation, the Madhvani Foundation, the Government of Uganda through the Higher Education Students Financing Board, Sida of Sweden, the Embassy of China, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Government Ministries, State House, NORAD, Gerda Henkel Foundation, Mellon Foundation, USAID, NIH, Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation, Centre for Disease Control, ARUA, RUFORUM, IUCEA and many others.
Makerere University Transcripts and Certificates
The Vice Chancellor noted that the University had come up with measures aimed at making the issuance of academic transcripts and certificates very fast and convenient by shortening the clearance process. “With the support of the University Council and Senate, the Department of the Academic Registrar, the Directorate of ICT Support Services, and the leadership at the Colleges, the academic transcripts for students graduating during the 74th graduation ceremony were printed before graduation. The academic transcripts are ready and they are due for issuance to graduands who have satisfied the academic and financial obligations. I therefore urge all our graduands to pick their transcripts from their respective colleges at the end of this graduation ceremony.”
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