Mak launches Climate Smart Agriculture Project

Food insecurity and malnutrition remain high in Sub-Saharan Africa where agriculture is predominantly rain-fed and 80% of the food produced by small-holder farmers. Addressing the challenge requires extensive research and extension support to improve the existing traditional tillage systems and farming practices.

Climate Smart Agriculture in Sub Saharan Africa (NoRHED II), a collaborative project between Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), seeks to generate new knowledge and to contribute to capacity building with respect to food security and on-farm profitability in Sub-Saharan Africa through innovative and sustainable climate-smart technologies. The project sites in Uganda are in Alebtong and Mubende districts representing two distinct agro-ecological zones.

The Ag. DVCFA, Prof. Henry Alinaitwe (L) officially launched the project on behalf of the Vice Chancellor.

Project activities

The 5-year project (2021-2026) launched by Makerere University Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration, Prof. Henry Alinaitwe on 15th June 2022 will among other activities train farmers on Climate Smart Agriculture technologies, train Masters and PhD students and build research capacity at the participating institutions. Further capacity building is expected through organization of three summer schools involving all partners, students from the five collaborating universities, as well as NGO and government representatives. Each summer school will involve one student from NMBU and two students from each of the partner institutions in the South leading to a total of 48 students trained in novel Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) technologies. Partner institutions in Norway include the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI) and Menon Economics while in the South, partners include Gulu University’s Faculty of Agriculture and Environment; Rural Enterprise Development Solutions (REDS); Hawassa University’s Wondo Genet College of Forestry and Natural Resources; University of Zambia’s School of Agricultural Sciences; and University of Juba’s School of Natural Resources and Environmental Studies. Under the project, the research team intends to address issues related to crop production, soil water management, soil fertility management, and the socio-economic aspects in regard to climate smart technologies in agriculture.

Prof. Henry Alinaitwe delivering his remarks.

Expected outcomes include; 8 MSc students and 5 PhD students in the South, one PhD funded by NMBU –MINA, two post-doctoral scholarships, strengthened research capacity at the participating institutions, about 30 peer reviewed joint scientific publications, scientific exchange stimulated by scholarships for two students or staff at each of the partner institutions in the South for short-term mobility from South-North, Curricula development, Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) innovations packaged into policy briefs and extension manuals, 1000 farmers trained in pigeon pea production in Uganda and Zambia, and 500 smallholders trained in biochar production in both Zambia and Uganda. In addition, methods and results for CSA and impact assessments will be integrated into academic curricula on sustainable agriculture in the partner universities.

Prof. Yazidhi Bamutaze, Deputy Principal CAES represented the Principal at the launch.

Project team and funding

The project is supported by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD). The overall Principal Investigator (PI) is Prof. Vegard Martinsen from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. The Ugandan PI is Prof. Samuel Kyamanywa from the Department of Agricultural Production, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Makerere University. Other researchers on the project are; Prof. Jackline Bonabana-Wabbi (Co-PI); Prof. Gorettie N. Nabanoga, Principal, CAES) and member of staff in the Department of Extension and Innovation Studies; Prof. Frank Kansiime from the Department Environmental Management, Mak; Prof. Majaliwa Mwanjalolo and Prof. Yazidhi Bamutaze from the Department of Geography, Geoinformatics & Climatic Sciences, Mak; as well as Dr Basamba Ali Twaha Ateenyi and Dr. Patrick Musinguzi from the Department of Agricultural Production, Mak.

Prof. Nelson Turyahabwe delivering remarks on behalf of the Dean, School of Agricultural Sciences.

Launch ceremony

Presiding over the launch ceremony, the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration (DVCFA), Makerere University, Prof. Henry Alinaitwe commended the research team for a well thought-out project that will largely address challenges presented by climate change. Commenting on the relevance of the project, the DVCFA emphasized the need to translate research into practical solutions. He appreciated the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation for supporting the project and many others at the University. Closing the International Summer School 2022 held between 24th May-24th June 2022, the DVCFA presented certificates of excellence to the best performing students. He also presented certificates of attendance to all participants. The International Summer School organized under the theme; Sustainable Adaptation to Climate Change through Climate Smart Agriculture aimed to increase awareness on climate change and climate-smart agriculture technologies. It was attended by 45 participants including 22 students from the partner Universities namely; the University of Juba, University of Zambia, University of Hawassa, Gulu University, Makerere University and Norwegian University of Natural Sciences.

International Summer School participants attending a practical training session in the BNF lab at CAES.

Representing the Principal, the Deputy Principal, CAES, Prof. Yazidhi Bamutaze explained the impact of climate change on agricultural production noting that the demand for practical solutions is real and that the project would greatly address some of the challenges. Commenting on the relevance of the summer school, Prof. Bamutaze informed participants that the College is committed to promoting practical training and research clusters as some of the measures aimed at resolving the issue of delayed completion.

One of the students who participated in the Summer School sharing her experiences.

In his remarks, the representative of the Dean, School of Agricultural Sciences, Prof. Nelson Turyahabwe implored students to use skills acquired in the Summer School to support agricultural production.

Details on the project at: https://news.mak.ac.ug/2022/03/mak-caes-research-projects-to-boost-food-security-through-climate-smart-innovations/

A male participant sharing his experiences at the launch ceremony.
The Ag. DVCFA presenting a certificate to one of the best performing students.


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