Story by Issa Mugabo
Public Relations Office
Makerere University will strive to remain a research led University, with strong links to communities and industry.
This assurance came from the Vice Chancellor Makerere University, Professor John Ddumba-Ssentamu, at the opening of the 3rd Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) Biennial Conference on Monday, 24th September 2012.
Prof. Ddumba-Ssentamu further shared that Makerere University through the Directorate of Research and Graduate Training (DRGT) has embarked on a path of improving the quality of graduate programmes both at the Masters and PhD levels, through harnessing efforts by RUFORUM and other knowledge centres to provide quality graduate programmes.
He informed participants that through RUFORUM, Makerere University will next academic year introduce jointly withUniversity of Stellenbosch (South Africa) and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (Kenya) a PhD Programme in Food Science and Nutrition.
The conference under the theme "Partnerships & Networking for Strengthening Agricultural Innovation and Higher Education in Africa" was officially opened by the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Hon. Tress Buchanayandi.
Vice Chancelllor, Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu [L] shakes hands with Hon. Tress Buchanayandi.
In his address, the Minister said that Uganda was closely working with the East African Community (EAC) and theCommon Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) member countries to ensure that RUFORUM activities are integrated within national programmes in these countries and that higher education in Agriculture receives due attention.
He challenged universities in Africa and other research partners to strengthen agricultural value chains on the continent in order to enhance productivity of farmers as well as integrate entrepreneurial skills development in university academic programmes.
Minister Buchanayandi called upon the scientists to enhance the resilience of the African farming communities to climate change challenges, and encouraged African governments to increase their support to the agricultural and higher education sectors as they seek to make a positive contribution in the lives of their populations.
The Minister of State for Higher Education, Hon. John Chrysostom Muyingo challenged higher education institutions in Africa to align themselves to market trends and be in position to anticipate skills needed not only for today but also tomorrow.
[L-R]Hon. John Chrysostom Muyingo, Prof. Adipala Ekwamu (Executive Secretary RUFORUM) and Prof. Ddumba-Ssentamu
Hon. Muyingo advised Universities in Africa to regularly obtain feedback from their alumni and market stakeholders, and also undertake foresight studies to establish future trends and their implications for human resource capital development.
He also noted that his ministry is working with the other member Universities of the East African Community to establish Centres of Excellence for both research and Higher education.
The Minister hailed Makerere University for the innovative School Gardening pilot project, which is aimed at attracting primary school children to agriculture and retaining them in school through the provision of lunch and other meals.
Some of the posters and technologies exhibited by CAES during the conference in Entebbe.
The RUFORUM Biennial conference provides an opportunity for graduate students to come to together with scientists and practitioners, as a platform for presenting and communicating research findings as well as sharing on-going university research projects.
Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences show cased a range of technologies including the Banana tissue culture, New drought tolerant sorghum varieties, mak soybean varieties, climate change research and the Integrated Pest Management technologies among others.