CAES through the 90 years
From a mere subject, “Agriculture” to a small Faculty of Agriculture in the 1920’s, Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences(CAES) was born and has now been identified as one of the most vibrant colleges in the region and a centre of leadership for post graduate training, research and innovations .
The history of the Faculty of Agriculture dates as far back as 1924 when a technical school was established on Makerere Hill to offer intermediate education in lead subjects of Agriculture, Medicine, Education and Veterinary sciences. At the time, a certificate in Agriculture was awarded after three years of training.
In 1936 the certificate course was upgraded to a Diploma in Agriculture and strengthened with basic science subjects, extending the duration from three to five years. When Makerere established a special relationship with the University of London in 1948, Professor Fergus Wilson was recruited as the first Dean of the college of Agriculture at Makerere (then a constituent college of London University). Wilson is well known for construction of the present Faculty building on the main campus in 1957 and the training/research infrastructure at Kabanyolo University Farm now Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK).
The First degree intake in 1958 comprised of nine (9) students who completed their 3-year BSc. Agriculture in 1961. From 1961 the college expanded from a single Department of Agriculture to three departments namely; Department of Agriculture taking care of Agriculture, Crop husbandry, Animal husbandry, Agricultural Engineering, Agricultural Economics and the University Farm; Department of Agricultural Biology taking care of Agricultural Botany and Agricultural Zoology and the Department of Agricultural Chemistry taking care of Agricultural Chemistry and Soil Science.
In 1967 the number of departments expanded from three to five; namely; Crop Science, Animal Science, Agricultural Engineering, Agricultural Chemistry and Agricultural Economics.
In 1971, a sixth Department of Forestry was constructed with funding from NORAD which later transformed into the present Faculty of Forestry and Nature Conservation.
The Continuing Agricultural Education Center (CAEC) was conceived in 1993 as a project with joint funding from the World Bank and Government of Uganda under the Agricultural Research and Training Project (ARTP) through the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO).
By 2007 the Faculty of Agriculture had expanded to seven departments of Animal Science, Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, Agricultural Engineering, Agricultural Extension/Education, Crop Science, Food Science and Technology and the department of Soil Science.
The Faculty offered seven undergraduate programmes namely, BSc. Agriculture with five options: Animal Science, Agricultural Economics, Agricultural Extension and Education, Crop Science and Soil Science; BSc. Agricultural Engineering; BSc. Food Science and Technology; B.Sc Land Use and Management; Bachelor of Agricultural Extension Education; Bachelor of Agribusiness Management and B.Sc. Horticulture. Each of the departments also offered Masters and PhD programmes.
In responding to the changing demands for professionals to champion national development, the Faculty of Agriculture moved from a general MSc. Agriculture to specialized Masters programmes to enhance professionalism in the specific disciplines. The Masters programmes included: MSc in Crop Science, Animal Science, Agricultural Economics, Agricultural Extension and Education and Master in Agribusiness.
In collaboration with other universities in the Eastern and Southern Africa and elsewhere, the Faculty of Agriculture participated in the implementation of several regional graduate training programmes namely; The Regional Masters in Agricultural and Applied Economics; PhD in Plant breeding and Biotechnology; Master of Science in Plant Breeding and Biotechnology, Master of Science in Research Methodology; PhD level training with USA Universities under HEPAD and Sandwich PhD training programmes with BIO-EARN.
To enhance its research and outreach arms, the former University Farm at Kabanyolo was upgraded to a fully fledged research institute, MUARIK which has been expanded from 230 ha 800 ha of land. Some of the research facilities at the institute have been rehabilitated with funding from different development partners.
The Faculty of Agriculture continued to engage in research that addresses national development needs. Both strategic and applied research were core elements of the Faculty research and later strengthened the applied research for development.
In 2011, Makerere turned into a collegiate university to improve operational efficiency, reduce duplication, rationalise use of resources, and improve services and core functions of teaching, research and knowledge transfer. As a result Makerere University was divided into nine colleges and one school of law.
Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) is one of the nine colleges. It was formed by the integration of the former Faculty of Agriculture, the Faculty of Forestry and Nature Conservation, Makerere University Institute of Environment and Natural Resources (MUIENR) and the Department of Geography.
Currently, CAES comprises three schools and eight departments. The School of Agricultural Sciences has three departments namely; Agricultural Production, Extension and Innovations studies and Agribusiness and Natural Resources Economics. The School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio engineering is composed of two departments; the department of Agricultural and Bio-systems engineering and that of Food Technology and Nutrition. The School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences has three departments. These are: Geography, Geo informatics and Climatic Sciences, the department of Forestry, Bio-diversity and Tourism and that of Environmental Management.
Two institutes that is, Makerere University Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK) and Makerere University Biology Field Station (MUBFS) handle research. The college has ten centers serving as a base for knowledge transfer partnerships.
CAES has recorded a rise in the number of student’s admission with a student population of about 3700 students. Of these about 3000 are undergraduates, 703 are masters and 83 are taking PhDs. In addition the Department of Geography services about 3822 students from other units.
In response to demand for human resources needs and challenges, CAES has developed diverse training programmes. A total of 17 undergraduate, 18 Masters and 10 PhD programmes are offered covering a number of disciplines in Agriculture, Food Science, Forestry, Environment, Natural Resources, Geography and emerging themes like Climate Change and Biodiversity Management.
The college also supports the strengthening of human resources of other universities and Agricultural Training Colleges in the country such as Bukalasa and Nyabyeya and has partnered with these colleges to upgrade their staff to Bachelors level througjoint h partnerships.
CAES further offers Regional training and short courses as a member of various national, regional, continental and global organizations that promote training, research and development activities. These organizations include the Association of African Universities, Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture, African Economics Consortium and diverse multi and bilateral partnerships within and outside of Africa.
As such the College, has been identified as a the regional centre of leadership for Masters and PhD training in Plant Breeding and Biotech, Seed systems, Agricultural and Applied Economics, and Agricultural Extension and Education and novel approaches in teaching and farmer participatory Research and Development. All these programmes have a foreign student population of about 50%.
This academic year 2012/2013 the college is implementing an MSc Integrated Water Resources Management and the regional program in Agricultural and Rural Innovations. Plans are under way to start a master’s programme in Climate Change Science, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, Tourism Management, Urban Planning and Management, Waste Utilization and management, Water and Irrigation and a PGD in Environment & Natural Resources.
CAES boasts of a multi-disciplinary academic staff in food, agriculture, environment, forestry and geographical aspects currently standing at 188 and over 140 administrative and support staff. The college has also undertaken a number of institutional and infrastructural developments and put in place buildings, library, green houses, lecture rooms, land and laboratories among others.
The college has transformed its research and development agenda for client-responsiveness and development impact and implement programmes that promote farmer participatory research and development integrating the University into Uganda’s rural transformation processes. CAES has pioneered and implemented many technologies in agro-processing, improved animal breeds and crop varieties, integrated paste, water, waste and environmental management and agricultural mechanization, extension and outreach technologies.
However, given the rising number of enrolment from UPE and USE, the college is constrained by the available infrastructural and institutional mechanism for technology and knowledge transfer. In the strategic plan (2011-2021) the management is proposing the relocation of the college to the off campus site at Kabanyolo to develop modern facilities and expand enrolment in order to enhance innovative teaching, learning, research and outreach services. This requires about 250bn UGX.