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Agriculture & Environment

Stakeholders to work with Academia to strengthen Education & Research in Biodiversity Conservation

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On 16th November 2023, national and international stakeholders participated in the kick off workshop hosted at Makerere University to further consolidate various schools of thought aimed at producing a holistic and relevant graduate student equipped with practical skills, research and problem solving abilities aligned to Sustainable Development Goals.

The blended kick off workshop, which brought on board the academia, researchers, private sector, civil society, business community and graduate students set the pace for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Partnership Project titled: Strengthening Education and Research Capacity for Enhancing Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Natural Resources Use.

Expected to benefit over 350 graduate students and 20 members of staff, the SDG Partnership project that will be implemented by Makerere University (Mak) through the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) in collaboration with Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences (HSRW), and Central University of Technology (CUT) is funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

Welcoming the stakeholders to the kick off workshop, the research project team represented by Prof. John Tabuti from Makerere University and Ms Nele Vahrenhorst from Rhine Waal University of Applied Sciences highlighted that the project seeks to contribute to the following SDGs:

Assoc. Prof. Robert Wamala (2nd L) with Left to Right: Ms. Nele Vahrenhorst, Prof. John Tabuti and Assoc. Prof. Vincent Muwanika. Strengthening Education and Research Capacity for Enhancing Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Natural Resources Use Project Kick Off Workshop, 16th November 2023, Senate Conference Hall, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Assoc. Prof. Robert Wamala (2nd L) with Left to Right: Ms. Nele Vahrenhorst, Prof. John Tabuti and Assoc. Prof. Vincent Muwanika.
  • Poverty Eradication (SDG 1), Zero Hunger (SDG 2), Quality Education (SDG 4), Economic Growth (SDG 8), promoting sustainable consumption and production through developing business opportunities in natural resources use (SDG 12), Climate action through better management technologies and protection on natural resources and ecosystems reducing carbon emissions (SDG 13), as well as protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably managed forests, combat desertification and halt reverse land degradation and halt bio diversity loss (SDG 15).

Prof. Tabuti stated that the mode of delivery will prioritise the student using an approach referred to as ‘Student-centred learning.”

The main objective of the project is to enhance SDG research and teaching through a strong North-South-South partnership between HSRW, Mak, and CUT, so as to prepare graduate students for the societal challenges ahead, and the requirements of the job market. The SDG project partnership will ensure that university graduates are highly equipped with the necessary competencies to develop appropriate resource management responses, and implement optimum biodiversity conservation strategies as well as dealing with dynamic and complex business problems. The project will address the issue of environmental degradation hence poverty reduction, food insecurity, natural resource depletion, and climate change.

The project will focus on mainly Uganda, being the most bio-diverse country in Sub-Saharan Africa, with over 70% of its population relying on agriculture and use of natural resources. In addition, the loss of substantial parts of the natural habitat used in infrastructure development and extension is a major issue of concern. The research project states the urgent need to encourage the youths and students to foster their passion for SDGs premised on the rapid population growth in Uganda, with 50% of the population being under 16 years old.

Assoc. Prof. Robert Wamala (2nd L) prepares to make his remarks as Left to Right: Ms. Nele Vahrenhorst, Prof. John Tabuti and Assoc. Prof. Vincent Muwanika share a light moment. Strengthening Education and Research Capacity for Enhancing Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Natural Resources Use Project Kick Off Workshop, 16th November 2023, Senate Conference Hall, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Assoc. Prof. Robert Wamala (2nd L) prepares to make his remarks as Left to Right: Ms. Nele Vahrenhorst, Prof. John Tabuti and Assoc. Prof. Vincent Muwanika share a light moment.

Officially opening the kick off workshop for the SDG partnership project, the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, represented by Associate Prof. Robert Wamala from the Directorate of Research and Graduate Training commended the physical and online participants for accepting to engage in this highly interactive workshop. He further underscored the need to conduct research aligned to the SDGs, national development goals, and global challenges.

The Vice Chancellor pointed out that biodiversity, despite sustaining the planet, faces unprecedented challenges including: Climate change, habitat loss, pollution, and unsustainable resource use. He highlighted education and research as the most formidable tools in addressing these challenges. He noted the role played by Makerere University through its 5-year Strategic Plan that aligns with the National Development Plan III (2020/21-2024/25), by contributing to our transformation into a “research-led” institution with a multi-faceted research agenda and enhanced engagement with industry players.

Associate Professor Robert Wamala concluded by informing the audience that DAAD has been instrumental in his career growth, having sponsored both his Masters’ and PhD studies. Currently serving as Deputy Director (Research Innovations and Partnerships) at Makerere University, he applauded DAAD for supporting research and capacity building programmes at Makerere University.

Ms. Nele Vahrenhorst from Rhine Waal University of Applied Sciences makes her remarks. Strengthening Education and Research Capacity for Enhancing Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Natural Resources Use Project Kick Off Workshop, 16th November 2023, Senate Conference Hall, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Ms. Nele Vahrenhorst from Rhine Waal University of Applied Sciences makes her remarks.

According to the Acting Head, Department of Environmental Management at Makerere University, Associate Professor Vincent Muwanika, the project will support practical training of students on problem identification, and staff in identifying and publishing local cases that are key in enhancing growth, not only at Makerere University but also in the private sector.

Associate Prof. Muwanika observed that the project’s alignment with SDG 15 will be guided by and greatly benefit from partnerships. He noted that partnerships are key in enabling us share and cross fertilize academic ideas and experiences, a feat that has kept Makerere University among top-tier research institutions.

Highlighting the importance of policies in churning out relevant products, Associate Prof. Muwanika commended the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe for spearheading and overseeing policies and programmes that recognize, incentivize, and promote partnerships with industry, people and institutions outside Makerere University.

To further onboard the stakeholders, the project team leads namely Prof. John Tabuti and Ms Nele Vahrenhorst specified that the main activities of the project would include:  improving the teaching material on courses that assemble natural resources for use, socio-ecological issues, data analysis, genetics, entrepreneurship, and sustainable tourism. The project will focus on capacity building of teaching and research staff on various methods, develop case studies on sustainable natural resources use, develop networks with non-academic actors, enhance student mobility to strengthen international perspectives, as well as promote inter-country inter-disciplinary learning exchange, incorporate higher education management, internationalization, digitalization as well as monitoring and evaluation.

Associate Professor Vincent Muwanika, Acting Head, Department of Environmental Management, School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Makerere University. Strengthening Education and Research Capacity for Enhancing Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Natural Resources Use Project Kick Off Workshop, 16th November 2023, Senate Conference Hall, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Associate Professor Vincent Muwanika, Acting Head, Department of Environmental Management, School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Makerere University.

Prof. Tabuti advocated for a strong stakeholder engagement for content development, research undertakings and case studies. “We have brought you on board because you are key people in the field. You are going to play an instrumental role in the development of case studies. Stakeholders will work with the academic staff to develop the content and teach our students,” said Prof. Tabuti.

In a highly interactive session involving a plenary and group sessions, the stakeholders contributed to the discussion on their needs and expectations regarding the graduate competencies and skills in biodiversity conservation and sustainable natural resources.

Matters arising from the stakeholder workshop:

  1. With regard to the kind of graduates’ employers would wish to have, participants presented a number of qualities including: good communication skills, practical orientation, humility, openness to diversity, readiness to learn and unlearn, ability to adopt to work ethics, problem solving skills, articulateness, confidence with ability to collaborate, design thinking mindset, and innovativeness.
  2. In response to a question on how the partnership with stakeholders to support teaching and research shall be made possible, the participants presented proposals including: Identification of case studies linking to the lecture to be delivered, identification of key stakeholders, stakeholder engagement, identification of valid course content, design access and agreement on methodological approach to be used during the teaching and learning process, compilation of issues to be addressed before they are presented, design of a working document that can guide who does what, coming up with a team to develop a framework for developing the curricular.
  3. Responses to a question on how partners can collaborate in development of case studies included: contribution of knowledge to case study development, establishment of linkages with the community, identification of research gaps, sharing of available resources in public domain, documentation of intellectual property rights, collaboration in teaching and training of students, provision of internship opportunities, giving notifications for advance preparation.

During the presentations, stakeholders indicated the readiness to partner with Makerere University to contribute to the development of case studies and content production for lectures and community outreach.

Closing the kick off workshop, Prof. Tabuti conveyed his gratitude to Makerere University management for supporting the project. He acknowledged Ms Ritah Namisango, the Principal Public Relations Officer of Makerere University for moderating the workshop. He thanked Dr. Dorothy Nampanziira, Ms Ritah Namisango, Ms Aziidah Namatovu and Dr. Godfrey Mayende for the excellent coordination of activities leading to the successful hosting of the workshop. He also thanked the physical and online participants for actively contributing to the stakeholders’ workshop.

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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