Copyright 2018 - #

MAK-CAES re-trains Agricultural engineers from districts and MAAIF

Participants pose for a group photo after the opening

About 50 Agricultural engineers from the local governments and the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) on 15th January 2018 converged at the Continuing Agricultural Education Centre at Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo for a two weeks refresher training on Micro Irrigation on increased water use efficiency in agricultural production.

Another training also kicked off on the same day on sustainable land management at the Grand Global hotel in Kikoni, a Kampala surburb.

These trainings are part of a series of trainings under the new National Agricultural Policy (2016), where universities are mandated to provide training for extension staff in Uganda.

Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) to train technical staff from District Local Governments in   a number of areas.

Participants interact with the commissioner(checked shirt and bown coat) from MAAIF

The university received a total of 2.66bn shillings through MAAIF to train up to 1200 extension workers for a period of three months that was supposed to have ended in December, 2017.

Part of this funding was provided by IFAD to train different groups of extension workers in Post harvest handling, Micro Irrigation for improved water use efficiencies in agricultural production, sustainable land management and agricultural risk management.

Previously, the university with support from the Directorate of Agricultural Extension services through the Agricultural Technology and Agribusiness Advisory Services (ATAAS) - a World Bank project run by  MAAIF plus  NARO   has  been conducting trainings   in the areas of agribusiness development, appropriate postharvest technology and safe use of agro-chemicals and fertilizer optimization in modern crop husbandry.

Makerere University project coordinator Dr. Bernard Obaa said the main objective of the trainings is to provide agricultural extension field staff with technical skills and functional knowledge in different aspects to successfully and sustainably implement project activities in an efficient and effective manner.

Dr. Obaa said, these courses are run on demand from the MAAIF which does a needs assessment and identifies  critical skill and knowledge gaps. The courses are then developed for the specific purposes by respective units in the college.

Dr Obaa Bernard  during an exclusive interview in his office at CAEC

“We develop the course content in consultation with MAAIF. The content is reviewed to ensure its relevant with emphasis on hands on skills and we have.

120  people  have been trained in agribusiness development, 70  trained  in  Post harvest handling  and 300 in extension management”, the coordinator reported.

He said, the current two weeks training is in agricultural engineering for district agricultural engineers recently recruited and have not been oriented to the work environment.

The other training according to Dr. Obaa in agricultural risk management was slated for 29th January 2018.

“Studies show that many extension workers are employed without any training and only depend on what they studied from the different universities and institutions.

So, we wanted to bring them together to enhance their skills and share their experiences. These refresher courses help them to reuse, network and increase access to relevant information’’, Dr. Obaa explained.

Dr. Obaa Bernard chats with the MAAIF official during the break session

He stated that there is a general outcry that many employees have more of theoretical than practical skills.

For this particular training for agricultural engineers, the don said, they will go to the field to set up irrigation equipment and also visit  Mobuku irrigation scheme in Kasese to study and learn  from that scheme.

Dr. Joshua Wanyama, a lecturer in the department of Agricultural engineering Makerere University said the university has been training agricultural engineers since 1994.

At an average of 15 graduates churned out per year, Wanyama observed  that over 345 agricultural engineers have been produced by Makerere university but there has not been any portfolio in public service until last year 2017.

“A new position for agricultural engineers was established last year and these trainees are the first agricultural engineers recruited under public service. So this is the first time they are meeting as professionals and also the first time to interface with MAAIF officials”, Dr. Wanyama observed.

Originally Makerere University offered a program in agricultural engineering, then Gulu University came on board and finally Busitema University.

Report compiled by:

Jane Anyango

Communication Officer, CAES 


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