CAES Meets Assistant IGP Elizabeth Muwanga
Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences(CAES) on February 1 2012, met with the Assistant Inspector General of Uganda Police who is also in charge for Production and Welfare Elizabeth Muwanga to discuss modalities to utilise police farm land in Yumbe and Masindi.
Chairing the meeting the Ag. Deputy Principal CAES Prof. Frank Kansiime said the purpose of the meeting was to forge a way of working together with government to enhance agricultural productivity in the Uganda Police Force and how to make Makerere more relevant and reach out to the communities.
Prof. Kansiime told members that the College representatives met with the Uganda Prisons officials and drafted a Memorandum of Understanding awaiting clearance by the Solicitor General.
He also said the College and Police representatives had visited the piece of land in Yumbe earmarked as a training unit for Uganda Police for food production the previous week and would like to plan how to translate that land into productivity.
The Assistant IGP Elizabeth Muwanga reported that one of the force’s concerns was that Police was incurring expenses in buying food.
She said the force had an 80km (approx. 4 sq miles) piece of land in Iririm- Yumbe bordering Karamoja and Katakwi and another 600 acres( abt 1 sq mile) in Masindi for agriculture adding that the IGP would like to see the three institutions namely; Makerere, Uganda Police and Prisons take off immediately with the land in Yumbe because natives there were very willing.
Muwanga also said the Police force had been lacking some human resources but had managed to grab some young graduates now recruited as cadets. She introduced Cadet Benard Abasi who accompanied her as a graduate of BSc. Agriculture who had been posted to her office to steer the program.
Members expressed the willingness and readiness to work with Uganda Prisons and Police on grounds that they had the expertise needed. They however expressed the need to do an assessment of which crops will do best in available land basing on the weather patterns, consider the labour aspect and ascertain if the landscape allows for mechanisation and to be careful with crop selection for Yumbe especially maize as this may fail due to problematic rainfall patterns.
Among proposals were to start with what was applicable in the particular areas basing on natural rainfall and plan for irrigation later, ask people how long the rains last and possibly get data from the meteorological department, inquire on soil types and when planting and harvesting starts in each area.
It was also poposed that information on how maize and beans perform in Masindi should be gathered and there after early maturing varieties would be introduced. Other proposals were the inception of industrial tomato production and livestock in the project areas so that crop residues can be utilised as feeds for beef production and starting a small canning industry for fortified food for the forces.
It was observed that although cassava would be best option for Yumbe due to its marketability, drought tolerance and viability to produce dry rations like packed ugali for the forces and its commercial use like brewing, one of the biggest challenges in the country was obtaining tonnage of clean planting materials hence risky to start with.
Soya bean was seen as having an advantage because of seed availability and weather friendliness that could be converted into various value added products and linked up with seed companies in Yumbe while Mak soy varieties would be introduced for commercial vegetable oil production and food.
Sorghum was also seen as another viable crop for Yumbe where Sweet sorghum variety for food and bio fuels would be introduced for food security and commercial purposes through partnership with breweries.
Members agreed to sell the idea of using the forces’ farms to produce and multiply clean seeds for the entire population to the IGP and to immediately set off by planting one suitable crop for available farms.
They also agreed to plan how to work with Uganda Prisons and Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) on how to mechanise those areas. Dr.Denis Mpairwe was asked to find out if MAAIF can loan out tractors, their accessories and operators.
A visit to Yumbe was scheduled for Friday February 15, 2013 to Sunday February 17, 2013. CAES team comprised four people, Eng. Micheal Iwadra, Dr.J B Tumuhairwe, Dr. SB Mukasa and Dr. Denis Mpairwe while Police was represented by Ms. Elizabeth Muwanga and Cadet Benard Abasi
Also agreed was that the team would come up with the structure of the draft proposal with a preamble on planned activities and a budget, sit together and digest it before presenting to the IGP and then schedule a visit to Masindi and come up with another proposal.
The project would also benefit CAES by having students attached for internship on these projects.