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Copyright 2017 - @ College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences - Makerere University. All Rights Reserved!

Minister of State for Animal Industry Hon. Joy Kabatsi on behalf of the Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) officially opens the Annual CAES Students’ Agricultural exhibition and Career expo 2017

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Hon. Joy Kabatsi  tests the simple irigation technology while touring the exhibitions at the Makerere University Freedom Square.

 

  • Minister says, Government with support from FAO was developing the National Strategy for Youth Employment in Agriculture sector to attract youth into Agriculture.
  • Minister expressed committed to continue working with Makerere University in areas  of development in research, provision of agriculture extension  services and capacity building for farmers, Value addition especially food processing and incubation centers and, general transfer of knowledge and technology.

 

Minister of State for Animal Industry Hon. Joy Kabatsi has officially opened the Annual CAES Students’ Agricultural exhibition and Career expo 2017 at the Makerere University Freedom square. The minister was received by the Vice Chancellor Makerere University represented by Prof. Bernard Bashaasha who is also Principal College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES).

The three day event starting  21st - 23rd March 2017 was organized by CAES students under  the theme, “The role of Youth and Small holder farmers in agricultural transformation amidst changing climate and growing population”.

The three-day event attracted exhibitors from Makerere and other  universities, researchers, secondary school students, small holder farmers, youth entrepreneurs, agricultural professionals, farmers and agricultural companies in the categories of crop production, animal husbandry, food production technology and human nutrition, agricultural machinery, environmental conservation, forestry and tourism.  Different financial institutions, government authorities, the media and other service providers in the sector  also attended.

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Representatives of different exhibitors posing for a group photograph with the minister who was flanked by the Principal CAES Prof. Bernard Bashaasha and Minister Sarah Kataike

The  objectives  of the exhibition and career expo were to  provide an opportunity for the youth and small holder farmers to interact with the different actors in the agribusiness value chain and expose  University students to the different agricultural stakeholders in the country and abroad.

The other objectives were to show case  the contributions that the youth and small holder farmers make towards agricultural transformation and bridge the gap between different value chain actors by providing an interactive environment that can create business linkages.

Besides  creating  awareness about climate change and it’s impacts on agricultural development and food security,  the exhibition and career expo  provided a platform for sharing and learning between agribusinesses, financial and legal service providers, government institutions and other players.

While opening the exhibition and Career expo on behalf of the Min. MAAIF, Minister of State for Animal Industry Hon. Joy Kabatsi congratulated all exhibitors for displaying their products and technologies and appealed to them to share experiences and knowledge with the show goers.

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                  Minister touring the Tissue Culture stall 

Hon. Kabatsi also appealed to the participants not only to admire what was on display but also to take time and talk to exhibitors and obtain useful knowledge of innovations and new practices for application on their farms and businesses.

The minister acknowledged and appreciated the importance of the agriculture sector in the economy. She reported that sector contributes 26.2% of Uganda’s GDP, employs 80% of Uganda’s population and contributes 53% of Uganda’s export revenues.

“ The magnitude of Agriculture sector importance in terms of employment and wealth creation, food and nutrition security; household incomes and  contribution in terms of export revenues remains a mainstay of Uganda’s economy”. She said.

Minister Joy Kabatsi told participants that the Government Agriculture Sector  Objectives as contained in the National Development Plan are to:  Increase incomes through increasing production and productivity; Ensure household food and nutritional security; Create on-farm and off farm employment opportunities; Promote value addition and domestic and external trade in agricultural products.

The Minister described the Government intervention in agriculture as being in line with the exhibition theme, “The role of Youth and Small holder farmers in agricultural transformation amidst changing climate and growing population”.

She said, Government with support from the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) was developing  the National Strategy for Youth Employment in Agriculture sector intended to attract youth into Agriculture.

The objectives of the strategy according to the Minister  are: Training the youth in agro- enterprise development; Identifying youth champions and or mentors to serve as models; Training youth in farming as a business and identifying  linkages to agribusiness incubators and financing. The other objectives are: Promoting youth participation in small scale value addition and processing; Promoting youth programmes by profiling and supporting them to develop agriculture enterprises.

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Minister of State for  Animal Industry Joy Kabatsi opening the exhibition and career expo on behalf of the Min. MAAIF

Hon. Joy Kabatsi said government recognizes the importance of Sustainable Agricultural land management as one way  of combating climate change. This, she said calls for  strategies and practices that enable farmers and communities to adapt as well as become more resilient to climate change by increasing food production, conserving soil and water as well as enhancing food security.

She informed participants that the Ministry has continued to intervene in making investments that promote sustainable land management, adaptation and mitigation measures.

“The Ministry has a formal working relationship with Makerere University operationalised in form of Memoranda of Understanding. The Ministry is committed to continue working with Makerere University in areas  of development in research, provision of agriculture extension  services and capacity building for farmers, Value addition especially food processing and incubation centers and, general transfer of knowledge and technology”.

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Minister poses for a photograph with the agricultural engineering students

The Minister acknowledged the role of  the agricultural research system in addressing  research in drought tolerant varieties of the priority crops. She also appreciated agricultural research scientists in both public and private sectors for generating knowledge, technologies and innovations that have enabled farmers to adapt to sustainable agronomic practices.

“Mitigating the effects of climate change through sustainable agriculture requires the engagement and expertise of scientists, government, farmers’ organizations and business.  Government will continue to place emphasis on sustainable and smart agriculture for food security and prosperity”. Hon Kabatsi pledged.

In his remarks  read for him by the Prof. Bernard Bashaasha, the Vice Chancellor Makerere University Makerere University thanked the Minister  for honoring the  invitation to grace the occassion.

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Prof. Bernard Bashaasha speaking on behalf of the Vice Chancellor Makerere University

The Vice Chancellor reminded participants that the continent was currently grappling with enormous development challenges stemming from unsustainable undertakings by people in search of livelihood options including climate change, persistent land degradation, wetland conversions and transformations, avoidable disasters, forestry cover reduction, high urbanization, perpetual conflicts which raise sustainability questions.

He noted that Agriculture was among the most sensitive sectors to climate change  impacting  negatively on the yields of major staple crops with local temperatures expected to increase 2°C or more above 1990s levels.

“Scientific evidence shows that tropical regions are likely to experience stronger yield decline than temperate regions. Combined with challenges of population growth, demographic transitions and conservation of ecosystem services, climate change puts future food security and rural prosperity at stake”. The VC stated.

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The minister at the plant clinic stall. The college trains plant doctors.

The Vice Chancellor also observed that whereas Agriculture has been identified as one of the key sectors that can generate wealth with high employment potential, majority of the youth remain unemployed and most of the food  produced by small holder farmers amidst increasing challenges of climate change and high population growth rates.

“Despite efforts by the youth and the small holder farmers, there is still a lot that needs to be done to increase their resilience against climate change and the dynamic agribusiness sub-sector. Therefore, this exhibition and career expo will make known to the public the most recent innovations, technologies, products, farming practices and services that can be used to solve problems and make farming and farming businesses a success.” He said.

As a University, the Vice Chancellor said, Makerere University was providing an education system focused on improving agriculture and sustainable natural resource use as part of the special pillars that can deliver a better a Uganda and a better Africa. 

He told participants that through the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the University has transformed its research and development agenda for client-responsiveness and shifted from outreach that portrays knowledge transfer to engagement and partnership with communities in Uganda to enhance agricultural development and sustainable use of natural resources.

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Minister at the mashroom stall. The college has a special lab for mashroom producion and is setting up a structure at the university farm at Kabanyolo

“Our students and staff have linked with farmers, processors, and others who have adopted new technologies in areas of agro processing, animal and crop production, environment and human health, agricultural mechanisation, extension and outreach services and the promotion of sustainable use of the natural resources” , He added

The Vice Chancellor thanked the Uganda Government for creating special programmes for the youth focusing on agriculture and entrepreneurship and for the support accorded to Makerere through various projects.

He pledged the University commitment to enter into a Public Private Partnership to transform the agricultural sector and cause it to stimulate development in the country and the region.

The CAES students’ President Mr. Iganachi Razak Omia decried the varying and changing climate amidst population growth that puts future food security and rural prosperity at stake.

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           CAES Students' President Mr. Iganachi Razak Omia speaking during the opening ceremony

The President observed that there was need to change the way agriculture is done and also ensure that natural resources are utilized in a sustainable manner.

“ There is an information gap. Farmers and businessmen do not have access to information they need to increase production and value addition. The College has professionals with knowledge, skills and technologies   but have no access to farmers. So this exhibition provides a platform for sharing and learning from one another”. He went to say:

“We are not only showcasing the advances in agriculture. We are  also holding training sessions for farmers as  parallel sessions in the School of Agricultural Sciences”. Mr. Omiat said.

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Show goers at the soybean stall. The college has bred and released six varieties of soybean grown widely across regions in Uganda. Several products including soy bread are made at the university.

For the first two days, farmers from different parts of the country were grouped in two different locations and trained in aspects of Poultry farming, Piggery farming, Dairy farming, Irrigation technology, Nursery Management, Bee keeping and Fruit processing.The President further said the third day was dedicated to the agribusiness talk and related topics.

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A section of farmers undergoing training at the upper lecture theartre School of Agricultural Sciences.

After the opening ceremony, Minister Joy Kabatsi and Sarah Kataike paid a courtesy call on the Vice Chancellor.

 

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Article compiled by:

Jane Anyango and Marylyn Atwongyeire

Communication Office, CAES.

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Tel: +256-414-542277

Email: principal@caes.mak.ac.ug