Digital Plant Growth Chamber opened at Kabanyolo
Makerere University has acquired a Controlled Environment Plant Growth Chamber worth 1.5 million US Dollars. The structure was built and equipped with support from theSwedish International Development Agency (SIDA) through BIO – EARN and BIO – INNOVATE with co –funding fromDanida.
Bio innovate Manager, Seyoum Leta opens the facility
The facility was refurbished to support sorghum and millet research, training, and innovation activities of the university for years to come under the BIO – INNOVATE consortium project “ Delivering new sorghum and finger millet innovations for food security and improving livelihoods in eastern Africa”, which Makerere University is implementing together with other projects.
Presiding over the opening ceremony at Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo on July 12, 2012,BIO – INNOVATE Manager, Dr. Seyoum Leta said, the program commenced in 2010 and focuses on application of bio-resource innovations to support sustainable growth and transformation of agriculture and environment from primary production to value addition, while enhancing adaptability to climatic change and strengthening policies that support bioscience innovation.
“By emphasizing innovations to help drive crop production in the six partner countries, Bio-Innovate is working at the heart of one of the region’s greatest challenges – that of providing enough food in the face of climate change, diversifying crops and addressing productivity challenges threatening the livelihoods of millions.”
Ag. Principal Prof. Samuel Kyamanywa and Dr. Seyoum Leta inside the facility
Dr. Seyoum expressed satisfaction with the activities and progress registered by Makerere University pledging support to enable the college attain its objectives. ”I would like to take this opportunity to emphasize that Bio-Innovate Program Management Office will provide the consortium partners at Makerere University with the needed support to facilitate the partners achieve their objectives that will contribute towards economic development in the region. This is also to assure you that we will do our best to assist you and the University in the course of your project implementation in the remaining project implementation period. ” He pledged.
Ag. Principal Makerere University Pro. Samuel Kyamanywa thankedSIDA and BIO INNOVATE for supporting the University in research and building human resource capacity. "We thankSIDA for its foresihtedness and its model for doing us proud in BIO EARN; we have Doctors who started as scientists and are now mentors”. Prof. Kyamanywa said.
Participants during the opening of the facility
He assured the participants that the tax payers money has been put to the right use, with operational laboratories and a hard working team from which the college was reaping big. He also thanked the lead reseracher in the sorghum and millet project Dr. Patrick Okori and his team for the perseverance and keeping the place nice.
Dr. Okori said the the refurbished facililty was made of local digital gadgets to grow things in away that it can be manipulated by researchers to suit the required working environment in terms of temperature and humidity. The laboratory facilitaty can be regulated to reduce temperatures from the sun up eight degrees, make the night or day conditions longer or shorter.
He said the only missing thing was better insulation adding that, if finances allow and its sealed with alminiunm sheets, the facility would become a cold room. He said two technicians have been trained to set up the facility to suit the researchers requirements.
The consortium project on "Delivering new sorghum and finger millet innovations for food security and improving livelihoods in eastern Africa" is one of the nine consortia projects supported by the Bio-Innovate. Its partners are fromAddis Ababa University (Ethiopia), Makerere University (Uganda), Moi and Maseno Universities (Kenya) Michekoni Agricultural Research Institute (Tanzania), the International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the University of Georgia from the US. This collaborative consortium project employs upstream and downstream technologies in developing new tools for a neglected crop: finger millet, and impacting directly on farmers’ yields through introduction and adoption of improved disease and drought tolerant sorghum varieties.
Uganda as the Bio-Innovate partner country is participating in seven of the consortia projects: two of them as the lead implementing institutions (MAK, UNCST), and in five as co-lead implementing institutions with a fund of USD 1,435,187.MAK is leading in project consortium 2 and has co-principal investigators in fourof the consortia projects with funding amounting to USD 965,211 over a three-year period. Three of the consortia projects in which Makerere University is participating are from the