ARI and AgTrain PhD students conclude the two weeks Field Based Module in Nkozi
Students give feed back to farmers on Agrarian history, Zonation, Farming systems typology and Service Organisations in the area
• Major challenges include Land issues, Fake seeds, Decline in soil fertility, Population increase, and Lack of capital and market
• World Vision registers success in Agricultural production and value added products, calls for more partnerships with Makerere University
Makerere University students undertaking PhD in Agricultural and Rural Innovations (ARI) and students from European partner universities undertaking a course in Agricultural Transformation through Innovations (AgTrain) have finished the Field based module on Participatory Research Methods in Nkonzi sub county Mpigi district. . The two weeks field based training started on 21st June to 3rd July 2015.
A section of farmers listening during the feedback session
The program brought together 18 students from Makerere University of different nationalities including Uganda, Cameroon, Nigeria and Kenya. Two AgTrain students were from European Universities. The course attracted instructors from Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, France and Spain.
Makerere University‘s Department of Extension and Innovation Studies launched a joint Field- based module for the Regional PhD program in Agricultural and Rural Innovations (ARI) and Agricultural Transformation through Innovations (AgTraIn) in January 2014.
The University won a grant from African Caribbean and Pacific-European Union Co-operation Program in Higher Education (EDULINK II) to implement a regional PhD programme ARI in collaboration with a similar European –based PhD program AgTraIn.
Instructors Didier Pilot, Dr. Forence Kyazze and Assoc. Prof. Paul Kibwika during one of the public presentaions in Bukunge village
The partners of the project entitled, “Strengthening Human Resource Capacity to Foster Agricultural and Rural Innovations in Eastern Africa”, include Egerton University in Kenya and Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania, Wageningen University of Netherlands, Agreenium in France, University of Copenhagen in Denmark and the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM).
Students reading the GPS to locate where they are
This year, students were dispatched from Makerere University to Bukunge and Ggolo parishes in Nkozi sub county in Mpigi district to learn about small holder farmers, farming systems and challenges. The field based module is the 10th and last module of the PhD coursework since January 2015.
Speaking at the students feedback session to the farmers at Kitokolo Bukunge parish, the Principal Investigator Makerere University Assoc. Prof. Paul Kibwika told participants that students were in the area to learn from farmers to help them understand better things outside the class.
Assoc. Prof. Paul Kibwika addressing farmers during the feedback session
“As a university we cannot teach students to internalise while in class that is why we found it necessary to go to communities. The two weeks we have been interacting with farmers and it is our responsibility to give feedback and discuss what it means” The professor said and went ahead to say:
“Today’s function is to present to you findings and discuss what came out of the students interactions with you. It is also our responsibility to give feedback to you and also get your responses, then we can also discuss possible solutions to problems encountered. As student researchers, they may in the long or short term find possible solutions”, he explained.
The feedback session was attended by farmers, students, instructors, local government officials including the Local area councillors, District officials including the Assistant Town Clerk Kayabwe Town Board, the Inspector of Police Buwama sub county and the Manager World Vision for Butambala and Mpigi Districts.
Interviewing one of the young successful farmers aged 23 in his tomato gardens
Dr. Kibwika reported that during the two weeks interactions with farmers, it was found out that there was a big problem on land issues in that many farmers seemed not to understand the responsibilities and relationship between the land lords and tenants, an issue that prompted instructors to invite a resource person from the district to explain.
Students presented their findings based on four thematic areas namely the Agrarian history, the zonation of the area, Farming systems typology and the different service providers in the area.
One of the students Mr. Sula Ndaula presenting on the Agranian history
The Manager World Vision Butambala and Mpigi District Mr. Yiga Patrick Obita told participants that the organisation secured a grant project on Agriculture and livelihood and had registered success in the area of production and value chain. He called for more partnership with Makerere University.
“People in the area are adding value to cassava by making doughnuts and bagiya. As an organisation, we want to get more partnership to do more on research. I will pray that we want a much bigger thing. Whatever comes out of this field work shall be put in practice” Mr. Yiga pledged adding that:
“World Vision is a Christian organisation and its about seeing that the wellbeing of children taken care of. We want to see that children are educated for life; they enjoy good health, protected from infection and access medical services. We want children who experience the love from peers, parents and that there is harmony”, Mr. Yiga said.
Mr. Yiga Patrick, Manager World Vision Butambala and Mpigi speaking to farmers
Mr. Yiga also reported that the most successful story celebrated in the area was that there were no cases of early child marriages because parents and village committees were on the look out to report.
He thanked the sponsors for the money injected in World Vision to change lives in the area. He also thanked Makerere University for their interest in agricultural activities and partnering with world Vision in the area.