- December 15, 2022
- Posted by: Mariam Kasemiire
- Category: Uncategorized
The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) through the School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences on 6th December launched the first CAES Botanical Gardens at Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK). The Botanical Gardens will cover 30 acres of MUARIK land. This is one of the College initiatives geared towards the protection, conservation and recreation of ecosystems. The gardens will also be used for teaching and research. During the launch, over 300 trees were donated to the Gardens.
The CAES Botanical Gardens is an iconic monument set up to commemorate 100 years of Makerere University and 50 years of the School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences. The idea of the gardens was an initiative by Prof. Bernard Bashaasha, following his visit to Stellenbosch University where he was impressed by the green scenery.
Established in 1953, MUARIK is one of the research institutes of CAES, Makerere University, with the main role of supporting the College’s mandate of teaching, research, outreach and production. MUARIK carries out research based on the nation’s priorities, including: biotechnology, tissue culture technology, plant breeding, development of improved farming techniques, agro-processing, marketing and value addition. The institute has had a number of achievements including: increased banana plantation acreage, poultry unit renovation, increased soybean production to 14 acres between 2018-2020, expansion of pasture gardens, improvement of the coffee plantation, and provision of training services to education institutions.
On behalf of Makerere University Vice Chancellor, the Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration, Prof. Henry Alinaitwe, commended CAES for the initiative, emphasizing the importance of forests in combating climate change. “We all rely on the environment and I am sure we have all witnessed how fast the environment is changing, and as a Civil Engineer I confess that we are part of the problem. We cut trees for construction purposes, with no effort to replace them,” he said.
Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga, Principal CAES, urged the First Year students at the College to take charge in as far as protection and conservation of forests is concerned. “Your cohort comes in at the beginning of a new century. We assign you the responsibility to take this forward,” she said. Prof. Nabanoga re-echoed the need for sustainable management of ecosystems for improved livelihoods.
According to Prof. Fred Babweteera, Dean School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences, the CAES Botanical Gardens will serve as a centre for replicating a number of ecosystems, promoting and conserving the indigenous species, especially those with medicinal value, and setting up recreational spaces.
In her remarks, Hon. Kaaya Christine Nakimwero, Woman Member of Parliament, Kiboga District called on the public to support popularization of the Botanical Gardens. “I feel you are the centre of biological diversity, and having the gardens at the best University in Uganda is indeed something to celebrate,” she said.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Water and Environment, represented by Commissioner Mr. Alfred Okot Okidi described the Botanical Gardens as a great initiative that would boost Government efforts geared towards preserving forests.
According to Dr. Daniel Waiswa, Lecturer, Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Climatic Sciences, CAES, the Botanical Gardens will serve as a laboratory for many studies. It will also help in the promotion and conservation of endangered and indigenous species, as well as serve as a recreation centre.
The event was moderated by Dr. Patrick Byakagaba, Lecturer at the Department of Environmental Management, CAES.
Article Written By Kasemiire Mariam, Web Administrator, CAES