Makerere University Chancellor, Prof. Ezra Suruma appointed Dr Gorettie N. Nabanoga as the next Principal of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University effective 1st February 2022. She is the first female Principal of CAES and will hold the position for a period of four years as stipulated in the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions (Management of Constituent Colleges of Makerere University) Statute, 2012. Dr Nabanoga who has been Deputy Principal, CAES takes on from Prof. Bernard Bashaasha who has served in the position since August 2013.

Dr Nabanoga delivering her first speech as Principal, CAES

CAES Structure

CAES is composed of three schools and eight Departments. The schools are; Agricultural Sciences; Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences; and Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio-Engineering. The School of Agricultural Sciences is composed of three Departments namely; Agricultural Production; Extension and Innovation Studies; and Agribusiness and Natural Resource Economics. The Departments under the School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences include; Forestry, Biodiversity and Tourism; Environmental Management; and Geography, Geo-informatics and Climatic Sciences. The School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio-Engineering is made of two Departments- Food Technology and Nutrition; and Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering.

The College also hosts several research institutes and centres namely; Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK), the Makerere University Biological Field Station (MUBFS), the Food Technology and Business Incubation Centre (FTBIC), Makerere University Regional Centre for Crop Improvement (MaRCCI), Makerere University Centre of Excellence in Waste Management, Makerere University Centre for Climate Change Research and Innovations (MUCCRI), Makerere University Centre for Soybean Improvement and Development (MAKCSID), the National Biodiversity Data Bank (NBDB) – Uganda, Uganda Forestry Resources and Institutions Centre (UFRIC) – Makerere University, Continuing Agricultural Education Centre (CAEC), and a Consortium for Enhancing University Responsiveness to Agribusiness Development (CURAD). Others are; the Centre for Mountain Resources and Disaster Management, Rangeland Resources Centre, and the Agricultural Policy Analysis Centre. In addition, the College is composed of several administrative units including; the Office of the Bursar, Office of the College Registrar, Human Resource Office, Procurement and Communications.

During her four-year tenure as Principal, CAES, Dr Gorettie N. Nabanoga will provide academic and administrative leadership to 337 members of staff and over 3,000 students in the aforementioned Units.

Handover ceremony

Today, 15th February 2022, the outgoing Principal, Prof. Bernard Bashaasha handed over to the new Principal at a ceremony witnessed by the Representative of the University Secretary, Ms. Consolata Komugisha; the Director Internal Audit, Mr. Walter Yorac Nono; as well as the Deans and Heads of Academic and Administrative Units at the College.

Some of the Administrative Staff that attended the handover ceremony.

Presenting his handover report, Prof. Bashaasha congratulated the new Principal upon her appointment and briefed her on a number of issues relating to the status of CAES programmes; assets; ICT infrastructure; student enrolment; registration and graduation statistics; E-Learning; research, innovations, and outreach programmes; online presence and publicity; human resources; the financial status of the college; as well as the achievements registered; challenges experienced over the years, and the pending tasks.

Achievements registered during Prof. Bashaasha’s term of office

Key achievements registered under Prof. Bashaasha include increased student enrolment. As at December 2021, CAES had a total of 2,922 registered students. Of these 2,758 (94.4%) are undergraduate students and 164 (5.6%) are graduate students (Masters and PhD). Other achievements include growth in graduation statistics from 362 undergraduates in 2013 to 467 in 2021, and 122 graduate students in 2021 (with 21 PhDs) from 83 in 2013 with only five PhDs. There has also been accelerated research output resulting into a total of 331 publications in 2021 from 164 in 2018. “The College also revamped the Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK) Bulletin into Makerere University Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (MUJAES),” Prof. Bashaasha noted. According to the outgoing Principal, the College has widened research collaborations locally and internationally, established a research grants office and laid the foundation for the CAES Research and Ethics Committee (REC) to support the ethical aspects of research. “An interim REC Committee has been appointed and the application is with the National Council for Higher Education,” he explained.

Other achievements include; enhanced visibility of CAES through the website and other online platforms, the college quarterly newsletter, annual reports and other IEC materials; rehabilitation of research laboratories and facilities at MUARIK including the Diary Value Chain; establishment of a Botanical Garden at MUARIK, increased number of research centres and institutes; enhanced transport facilities; 50 Zoom licenses procured to support blended teaching and learning; increase in number of programmes to 13 undergraduate and 24 graduate – a total of 6 new programmes have been developed during the last 8 years and another 6 programmes are in the pipeline; increase in the number of research institutes and centres; increase in the number of high level research innovations; procurement of a standby generator for the College; and above all enhanced teamwork at the College. “We inherited a college divided in opinion and strategy. We have managed the diversity and coalesced into one CAES family working together for the good of the College, University and nation,” he said.

 Key Research, Innovations and Outreaches

The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) undertakes basic, strategic and applied research and development in the broader areas of agriculture, food technology and nutrition, forest management, and environment and natural resources management.

In agriculture, research and development programmes have focused on enhancing farmer centred approaches, climate smart agricultural systems, value chain improvement for the achievement of food and nutritional security, livelihood improvement and overall rural development. The College has also pioneered R&D in biotechnology, integrated pest and disease management, linking producers to markets as well as incubation of innovation for market products.

The key research achievements include;

  • Launch of crop breeding programmes on disease and drought tolerant cowpeas and sorghum by the Makerere University Regional Centre for Crop improvement (MaRCCI)
  • Construction of a Graduate Training and Research Laboratory building at MUARIK
  • Development of a hybrid dryer, automatic communal borehole, 3D thermal imaging for the pots (value added potatoes), refractive window drying technology for fruits, and a solar irrigation pump
  • Development and release of a new soybean variety – Maksoy 6N
  • Establishment of a pig semen lab at MUARIK
  • Making diesel from recycling plastics
  • Making organic pesticides from agricultural waste
  • Invention of a three-wheeled multi-purpose farmers’ tractor – MV MULIMI, and;
  • Signing of various MoUs on research and innovations

Challenges experienced

Despite the achievements, the College has experienced a number of challenges. These include; erosion of staff, depleted transport facilities, lack of data to support blended teaching and learning, underfunding, limited research funding, lack of a budget for MUARIK, non-registration and overstay on programmes by graduate students, limited teaching space, and depleted ICT facilities. Prof. Bashaasha implored the new Principal to follow up on a number of issues including; pending appointments and replacement of retired staff in critical units – appointment of a graduate programmes coordinator and a dedicated registrar to support graduate students’ registration. He also appealed to her to follow up on the operationalization of the College Research and Ethics Committee and the Grants Office, pending results, mobilization of CAES alumni to support the establishment of the College Endowment Fund, and the rehabilitation of facilities in the College.

Appreciation to staff

Prof. Bashaasha appreciated Makerere University Management and all members of staff for the cooperation and support accorded to him during his term of office. He pledged continued support to the new Principal and all staff at CAES.

Some of the Administrative Staff that attended the handover ceremony.

Remarks by Dr Gorettie N. Nabanoga

In her communication to members of staff at CAES, Dr Gorettie N. Nabanoga appreciated the Search Committee, Senate and Council for recommending her for the position. She expressed gratitude to the CAES fraternity for their support. “I wish to thank the Search Committee, Senate and the University Council that identified me as the most suitable candidate. My appreciation to all the colleagues at CAES that encouraged, supported and provided mentorship. I will forever be grateful for the trust you have placed in me, and I commit to work tirelessly to deliver on my mandate as Principal, CAES,” she stated.

Dr Nabanoga showing a fuel card presented to her by the outgoing Principal, Prof. Bernard Bashaasha

Similarly, Dr Nabanoga extended appreciation to the outgoing Principal, Prof. Bernard Bashaasha. “I wish to pay tribute to Prof. Bernard Bashaasha who has steered CAES for the last 8 and a half years with utmost dedication and professionalism. Thank you so much for your commitment to serve CAES. It is great honour and privilege to succeed you and build upon the significant transformations you have made at CAES. I thank you for all the support offered to me as your Deputy, which enabled me to gain management experience and advance my professionalism.”

She equally appreciated her contenders, Prof. Jacob Godfrey Agea and Dr Patrick Okori for offering themselves for the position. “It showed the zeal and motivation you equally have to serve this university and CAES fraternity in particular. “We may have had slightly different visions and strategies to move CAES in the next 4 years, which if consolidated, shall get the College to the desired level much faster. I pledge to seek and integrate your brilliant ideas, and also harness your networks within and outside the University,” she noted. Dr Nabanoga acknowledged the support of the former and current Deans and Heads of Department.

Pledge to serve

Getting the Journey started, Dr Nabanoga pledged to steer the College Management to deliberate on how best to cascade the University Mantra of a Research-Led University, and thus, nurture the CAES that everyone will be proud of. “Through this process, all voices shall contribute to co-creating winning strategies as we nurture the CAES we shall continue to be proud of. I reiterate my aspirations of having a united, harmonious and progressive CAES and, I continue to count on your support, even much more than you did when I served as Deputy Principal. I Pledge to serve you with utmost professionalism,” she stated. Dr Nabanoga pledged to maintain an open-door policy during her term of office. The open-door policy will not just be about leaving my office door open, but reaching out to all staff to establish their psychological wellbeing and to seek views on how to manage the College better,” she explained.

In his remarks, the Director Internal Audit, Mr. Walter Yorac Nono congratulated the new Principal upon her appointment and appreciated the outgoing Principal for the commitment and dedication that steered CAES to greater heights. “Prof. Bashaasha has come out strongly to defend CAES programmes in various Management engagements and I highly commend him for that,” he said.

The Director Internal Audit, Mr. Walter Yorac Nono.

The Representative of the University Secretary, Ms. Consolata Komugisha congratulated Prof. Bashaasha for the achievements registered over the years, noting that CAES had not experienced any serious financial challenges under his tenure. She congratulated Dr Nabanoga upon her appointment as the first female Principal of CAES and pledged to support her. Commenting on the budget cuts that have led to insufficiency in most of the Units, Ms. Komugisha implored Dr Nabanoga to work towards managing staff expectations, endeavouring to explain and opening up to staff on the situation at hand.

Ms. Consolata Komugisha represented the University Secretary.

The College Human Resource Officer, Ms. Hawa Harriet congratulated the new Principal and appreciated the outgoing Principal for the cordial working relationship.

On behalf of all staff and students of CAES, the Dean, School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio-Engineering, Dr Abel Atukwase welcomed the new Principal and pledged to support her to advance the mandate of CAES. He appreciated the outgoing Principal for the cordial relationship, mentorship and guidance over the years and appealed to him to continue supporting the College.

The Dean, School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio-Engineering, Dr. Abel Atukwase (Standing) passing a vote of thanks on behalf of CAES staff and welcoming the new Principal.

Profile of the New Principal Dr Gorettie N. Nabanoga

Dr Gorettie N. Nabanoga is innovative, goal-oriented, dependable, trustworthy, open-minded, easy going yet a perfectionist. She enjoys co-creating ideas, learning, unlearning and re-learning when engaging with teammates. She endeavours to always use these qualities in her personal and professional engagements.

She is a Christian, Ugandan citizen, born in 1969. She holds a PhD-Social Sciences; with research in Gender and Natural Resources Management, Wageningen Agricultural University, The Netherlands; a Master of Science in Management of Natural Resources and Sustainable Agriculture (MNRSA), Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway; a Bachelor of Science in Forestry, Department of Forestry, Makerere University, Uganda, and she completed her ordinary and advanced levels of education from Mt. St. Mary’s College Namagunga, Uganda.

Prof. Nabanoga completed her 4-year Bachelor’s Degree in Forestry with an Upper Second Honors Degree of Makerere University in 1993 and has since served Makerere University growing through the academic ranks from Teaching Assistant to currently Associate Professor.

She has also held several administrative and academic leadership portfolios in the University; starting as the first female Head, Department of Community Forestry and Extension, Faculty of Forestry and Nature Conservation-MAK for 8 years; the first female Dean of Faculty of Forestry and Nature Conservation-MAK for 3 years; the first female Deputy Principal, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Makerere University for 8 years; and now the first female Principal, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Makerere University. She has also served the University on several management committees as Member of the Inaugural Board of Directors, Makerere University Holdings Company for 7 years; Chair, Procurement Sub-committee, Makerere University Holdings Company for 6 years; Chair, Research and Innovations Sub-committee, of the Change Management Committee of the URARFC, Makerere University for one year; Member of the Search Committee for Principal and Deputy Principal for the College of Health Sciences; Member of the Senate Committee in the formation of the Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD); Member of Makerere University Governing Council- Science Senate representative and Member of Makerere University Senate.

She has supervised several undergraduate and graduate students and mentored staff and students, many of whom have risen though the academic ranks under her mentorship; edited a Book, published two Book Chapters, several publications in peer reviewed journals and mobilized close to US$ 14 million research grants through international collaboration with several development agencies and Universities such as Agricultural University of Life Sciences, Norway (UNMB), Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Lund and Uppsala Universities, Sweden, Wangeningen University, The Netherland, Yale University, USA, Connell University, USA, Michigan State University USA among others. And regional Universities such as Stellenbosch University South Africa; Sokoine Agricultural University, Tanzania; the University of Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia; Egerton University, Kenya as well as many Universities, Ministries, Departments and Agencies in Uganda. She has also been part of a number of consultancy teams local, regional and international.

In fulfilling the University’s outreach and community service mandate, Prof. Nabanoga is currently serving as the Vice Chairperson, Board of Directors – Buganda Cultural and Development Foundation (BUCADEV); and Member of Technical Working Committee (TEWOCO) for the Consortium for enhancing University Responsiveness to Agribusiness Development (CURAD). She previously served as an Advisory Board Member, Uganda Martyrs University – Masaka Campus; Chair, Uganda Martyrs University’s Advisory Board Academic Planning Committee – Masaka Campus; Vice-chairperson, Board of Advisors – Environmental Management for Livelihood Improvement Bwaise Facility (EMLI); and Patron – Buganda Kingdom Environment Development Association. In the private sector, she is one of the Directors, Royal Suites Hotel (a 20 US million dollar 4-Star Suite Hotel with about 130 employees) located in Bugolobi, Kampala Uganda-. Award winner of the Investor of the Year Award in 2003 and Kalanoga Resort (a 2 US million dollar Resort with about 50 employees) located 2km off Kajjansi-Munyonyo Highway, Busabala Road Junction, Kampala, Uganda.

Prof. Nabanoga is a Uganda National Academy of Science (UNAS) Fellow, a member of the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB); Uganda Society for Science and Technology (USST); Norwegian Friends of Uganda (NUFA); Uganda Forestry Association (UFA): and Buganda Kingdom Development Programme-Agro Sector.

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