President M7 to meet Mak researchers; backs VC proposal to establish Government fund for Graduate training

President Museveni (R) with a bag of Mak sobean 6N given to him as a gift

 

The President visits MaRCCI stall, a project that conducts research on cowpea and sorghum

The President of Republic of Uganda, Gen. Yoweri Museveni has invited all Makerere researchers to Statehouse after the independence anniversary in October 2019 to discuss how university technologies and innovation scan be scaled out to cause transformation in the agricultural sector.

The president also directed the line ministries including the ministry of Science and technology to be part of this conference to forge a way of establishing a government fund to support graduate training especially the science disciplines.

The President made the remarks while presiding over   the Makerere University Agricultural Day and Exhibition as Chief Guest on 25th September, 2019  in the Freedom Square under the theme, “Enhancing Youth involvement in Agriculture to Mitigate increasing Food insecurity and unemployment in Uganda”,

The agricultural day and exhibition was a university-wide event that was spearheaded by students from the College of Agricultural and Environmental sciences aimed at refocusing the youth towards active involvement in Agriculture.

Over 100 exhibitors comprising staff and students staff and students from different colleges mounted stalls showcasing advances in research, technologies and innovations aimed at addressing challenges in the agricultural sector and related fields.

Mak plant breeder Prof. Phinehas Tukamuhabwa explains the Maksoybean varieties

The President who arrived at 1.00 o’clock toured the exhibition stall for more than two hours expressing excitement over the job well done.

President Museveni commended the Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe for re-orienting Makerere university. He said Prof. Nawangwe had added value to the university by telling staff and the youth to come for teaching and learning, research and innovations.

“I was very excited to see different innovations and I thank all those involved. Congratulations on thinking. Katondayebale to see Africans thinking…

I congratulate professors for really now coming to reality to make training a producer of people who are needed in the job market”, President Museveni commended.

Museveni noted that although educated people have existed since 1950’s, it is of recent that he has seen scholars becoming inquisitive and finding out more.

The President hailed Makerere for entering the error of renaissance highlighting some of the exciting innovations of the event including the discovery of the ticks vaccine by Prof. Kahwa, leather making, fabricated agricultural engineering products, extraction of medicines from cattle placentas and banana peelings among others.

The president vists the hydroponics system stall

“I want a conference with all people with research initiatives in mid-October at state house Entebbe. I need Hon. Elioda Tumwesigye and Nakyobe also to attend. I want to get money for all these products. I want to stop travelling expenses and get money for these products. As Makerere you have done your part. It is government to do its part”, the President stated.

President Museveni however challenged the university to aim at being at the top number one position on the continent.

“This saying that Makerere is 5th in position should stop. You should be in the first position because other universities leading are foreign dominated in South Africa. You are the indigenous people. This is the African indigenous university that has been here for almost a hundred years”, Gen. Museveni urged.

The President backed the Vice Chancellors proposal for the need for government to establish a fund to support Graduate training to realize a research led university and research driven economy.

“I totally agree with the Vice Chancellor’s proposal that as government we can reconsider our funding to support post graduate training especially sciences”, he stated.

One of the exhibitors explains the innovation

The Minister of Education and Sports represented byte Minister of State for Higher Education Hon. John C. Muyingo expressed happiness to be part of the celebration of the role of the youth in agriculture to mitigate food insecurity issues and unemployment in Uganda.

He observed that youth unemployment is one of the major socio-economic policy challenges facing Uganda’s economic growth and development today and that;  unless this problem is amicably addressed, it will peg back Uganda’s ambition to reduce poverty and attain a middle-income status by 2020.

Aware of this challenge, the minister said, Government under the Vision 2040 and the second National Development Plan (NDP II) has put in place strategies to expand the country’s productive base and reduce unemployment.

He reported that the (NDP II) aims at strengthening Uganda’s competitiveness for sustainable wealth creation, employment and inclusive growth by prioritizing the five investment areas of Agriculture, Tourism, Minerals, oil and gas, Infrastructure development and Human capital development.

One of the exhibitors receives a token of appreciation from the president

“Universities globally, act as fountains of knowledge creation and diffusion; they are centers of innovation and front-runners in training and imparting skill into the youth and general public, this is why the National Resistance Movement (NRM) Government since its assumption of power in 1986, worked tirelessly to change the landscape of higher education in Uganda.

Currently, the terrain of institutions of higher learning in Uganda is driven by the capacity to introduce the youth into the world of business and innovation for community development. This has been made possible by integrating skilling and development courses into our education system to build a competent youth with a design thinking mind as well as several innovative and business ideas to penetrate markets”, Minister Muyingo explained

The education minister thanked the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) for recognizing the importance of youth in developing the back born of the economy through several projects and programs, such as youth Agribusiness programs, agricultural incubation centers for youth, market and innovation centres and entrepreneurial and business forums on agriculture for youth, that have sharpened their ideas and further developed their management and entrepreneurial skills.

“I applaud the institutions of higher learning especially Makerere University for embracing and integrating the youth skilling model that has been seen vividly in your agricultural and agribusiness lessons. 

I applaud the university for the tremendous research and innovations that have been geared towards reshaping Uganda’s education and agricultural sectors for the better”, Hon. Muyingo said.

He urged the youth in agribusiness to embrace the improved technologies, inputs and digital tools to enhance agricultural productivity and making farming interesting.

Muyingo said, making agriculture attractive and an easy sell to youth should continue and encouraging many younger people to pursue agriculture as a career should be top priority.

Council Chair Ms. Lorna Magara hands over guide books for soybean growing to the President

The Chairperson Makerere University Council Ms. Lorna Magara, welcomed the president in his two distinguished capacities; first as the President of the Republic Uganda and second as the Statutory Visitor to Makerere University.

She reported that the new University Council took office in December last year (2018) and in the last nine months the main focus has been to ensure the stability of the university, to allow for an environment of learning, research and development.

“We are glad to report that this has been achieved. The university is back to normalcy and very busy with its core activities. Makerere University has continued to shine internationally: Just last week, the UK’s Times Higher Education rankings placed Makerere at 5th position in Africa.

In the last two weeks, together with Hon. Dan Kidega, the Vice Chairperson, I have visited all the ten colleges of the university to foster a culture of dialogue in executing our responsibilities and in resolving disagreements that may arise. Council is committed to end strikes at the University.” Ms. Magara said.

President at the stall of breeding flies and insects for poultry and animal feeds

The Council Chair said during the College visits, they had positive responses and discussions aimed at rebuilding a strong foundation for Makerere University to refocus on its core activities. These visits she added have also enabled council to experience some of the astounding initiatives in the various colleges such the innovations under the Presidential Initiative Projects in CEDAT, CAES and COVAB.

Ms. Magara said Makerere’s Strategic Plan 2020-2030 is guided by the vision “A thought Leader of Knowledge Generation for Societal Transformation and Development”.  The goal she said, is for Makerere to provide trans-formative, innovative teaching, learning, research and services responsive to the dynamic national and global needs.

“Your Excellency, in line with the University’s strategic plan, we aim to establish a Research and Innovation Ecosystem that links the national policy needs as expressed through Government and private sector engagements, to the research and innovations developed here at Makerere.

President at the tissue culture stall

The findings should be able to guide the policies developed and ultimately the decisions taken at different levels of governance in the nation. The strategic plan therefore aims to transition Makerere University into a research led University. charlady reported.

Your Excellency, it is in light of the above that we are gathered here today to witness the contribution of our scholars towards agricultural development. This exhibition showcases Makerere’s role in the pursuit of the development priorities of the Government of Uganda:  priorities which are enshrined in the NRM Manifesto as well as in other development instruments including the National Development Plan II, Vision 2040, Agenda 2063 of the African Union and the Global Sustainable Development Goals”, The Chairlady explained.

President visit to the agricultural engineering section

Quoting Chapter five of National Resistance Movement Manifesto for the period 2016-2021 which underscores job creation and inclusive development as pathways for taking Uganda to modernity, Ms. Magara commended students from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and congratulated the Vice Chancellor and his team for spearheading this initiative.

“Your Excellency, the exhibitions today are a demonstration of Makerere University’s commitment to the transformation of the agricultural sector through home grown ideas and innovations. It is a sign of our strong commitment to a partnership with government in pursuit of your aspirations as expressed in the NRM Manifesto 2016-2021.

The University Council greatly appreciates your continued support through the continuous funding for wage, capital developments and research at the University. As a University Council, we pledge to address ourselves towards building an enabling environment for research and innovations that will support government in achieving its goals for the nation, in the region and indeed Uganda’s contribution towards the development of Africa as a whole”, She said.

The Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe welcomed President Museveni to his Alma Mata. He thanked the president for his continued support to Makerere University adding that, most of exhibitions are funded through the Presidential initiative for Science and Technology.

“Your Excellency, we want to extend our sincere most gratitude to the Government of Uganda for the recent, first and single largest injection of money for research and innovation, 30 billion shillings. We pledge our commitment to put it to good and intended use of this money and produce results to transform our economy”, The Vice Chancellor promised.

The president at the micro gardening stall

Prof. Nawangwe said Makerere was transiting into research intensive led university with focus on graduate training.

He appealed to the President to revive the sponsorship of graduate students which stopped in 1980’s and to consider special loan schemes for graduate students on grounds that modern economies can only thrive on a graduate mass of students.

Prof. Nawangwe said the university was now settled and on its course with students determined to transform the society.

He said the Agricultural Day and Exhibition was a student’s initiative aimed at transforming the image of the university.

He thanked the university council and government for the support accorded to the university and reiterated management full commitment to utilise funds for the transformation of the economy.

Report compiled by;
Jane Anyango,
Principal Communication Officer, CAES



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