Students on pasture seed enterprise presenting


Students on the Hydroponics and Smart Green house tomato production presenting

The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) on Saturday 6th February, 2021 held the Field Day to Mark the end of the Recess term at the Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK)

The recess term involved students from four programs namely BSc Agriculture, BSc. Horticulture, BSc. Food Science and Technology and Bachelor of Rural Innovations (BARI) External.

Previously, the college has been conducting recess term at MUARIK  for  the first three programs without BARI External. From this year, and moving forward BARI External has been integrated into the recess term because the program has very limited time to have face to face interaction with the instructors.

Dr Prossy Isubikalu briefing students on what was expected of them

The college thought that throughout the four years of the study, students miss out a lot, that is why from this year and subsequent years BARI External students will be participating in recess term to expose them to the practical skills that most of them have been missing.

This years’ recess term was coordinated by Mr. Tonny Obua from the Department of Agricultural Production assisted by Dr. Sarah Akello Esimu from the Department of Extension and Innovation Studies.

Mr. Obua said, this year, the recess term  has been shortened from 10 weeks to five (5) weeks due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“The students reported on the first week of January 2021 MUARIK . They were grouped in nine groups. They have learnt aspects ranging from animal science, dairy  and beef production, piggery, poultry and more importantly, all have been practical based led by a number of instructors from the main campus to take students through the different enterprises like soybean production, banana production, Hydroponics and screen tomato production, hay and silage making among others”, Mr. Obua said.

Mr. Obua thanked the Principal CAES, management and the Dean School of Agricultural Sciences for the support accorded during the coordination.

“We have faced some challenges during this recess term and one of them is the delay in the release of recess term funds to coordinate the activities and we hope that in future funds will be released early to enable the smooth operation.

Students on the dairy enterprise presenting

The other challenge we faced is compressing all the recess term activities in five weeks and we hope that after the Corona pandemic, the period will go back to 10 weeks as has been.

We held the Field day where all the different groups participated and exhibited different components they had learnt in different enterprises. The students have exhibited enthusiasm and shown that they have learnt a lot in the five weeks”, Mr. Obua explained

During the exhibition students were evaluated in terms of the presentation skills, audibility, organization, time management, poster organization, team work, relevancy of the topic and content delivery among others.

At the end of the exhibition, the instructors held a general briefing on the was expected of the them during the exhibition for the future similar events

MUARIK Ag. Director. Dr. Ongom Cyrus making his remarks

While closing the recess term activities the new Ag. Director MUARIK Dr. Cyrus Okello Robert Ongom thanked the recess term coordinators, instructors as well as the students for the resilience despite the Corona pandemic.

Dr. Ongom urged students to work hard noting that their parents and guardians have made an investment into their education that should not go to waste.

“The biggest challenges faced in Uganda is corruption. As you can imagine someone spends about 40 million shillings on you and you come here and go to waste, that is a form of corruption. So while you are here think of the sacrifices your parents and sponsors have made.

The purpose of recess term is to give you real practical skills. You cannot supervise someone on laying irrigation pipes if you do not know how to dig trenches. You need to know how to dig trenches so that you can estimate the stress people are going through”, The Director said.

He expressed hope that the students had left a mark saying, there are cohorts that worked hard in 2018 and the farm was still benefiting from their works and attracting funding. The previous cohort left behind a mango orchard being using for training purposes” The director advised.

Students on the soybean production exhibiting

He said the farm is going to bring a collection of 38 lines of mango from Namulonge and will be working with the BSc Horticulture and BSc. Agriculture students to leave their mark for remembrance.

“I want to encourage you to work very hard. It is really pointless for you to come to Makerere and you leave with a pass degree. If anyone is looking for someone to employ, the first thing they will want to look at is the transcript. You will not be able to come back for a Master’s degree without at least a second upper class. But if you get a pass degree nobody will be interested in you.” Dr. Ongom said.

Dr. Ongom thanked the students for bringing out issues facing the different enterprises at MUARIK pledging to work with the Ag. Farm manager to address them. He also asked students to be creative adding  that outside where people are developing faster, it is students that come up with ideas.

Students on the Hydroponics and Smart Green house tomato production presenting

He urged students not to spend energies on things that people know but try to leave their mark in terms of their unique ideas. He said it would unfair for them to attend university education, gain a lot of knowledge and contribute nothing.

He said student’s minds were still fresh and therefore expected to be more creative. Dr. Ongom said MUARIK was counting on them and the doors will be open to receive their ideas to research on.

“One thing we are starting on with the Farm Manager is that, we have created an office where we shall be calling on students who score first class so that we work together. You can see we are looking for real good students not pass degrees. So when that time comes and you have graduated with a first class, please come to MUARIK”. The Director advised.

Report compiled by
Jane Anyango
Principal Communication Officer, CAES

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *