Frank Tumwebaze, the Minister for Agriculture, Animal
Industry and Fisheries has tasked the National Agricultural Research
Organisation to do research that solves problems or risk closure.
While speaking at the inauguration of the fifth Governing Council for NARO at the ministry’s
head office in Entebbe today, Tumwebaze said NARO must do research that will
solve problems in the agriculture sector, more so food and feed security.
The governing Council chaired by
Professor William Olaho Mukani has 14 members including the Permanent Secretary ministry of
agriculture Maj Gen. David Kasura Kyomukama and Dr. Ambrose Agona, the Director
General of NARO.
Other members are Professor James Kajete, Dr. Sylvester
Dickson Baguma, Sharon Akullo Atoo, Joly Masika Kateeba, Olivia Nankunda
Mpuuga, Rev.Dr. Susan Awino, George Edward Onya, Rehema Nanvuma Wandera and Dr.
Samuel Mugasi who is the Executive Director of the National Agriculture
Established in 2005, NARO is charged with guiding and coordinating all
agricultural research activities in the country. It is currently
carrying out a number of projects like climate smart agriculture and Feed the
Future which aims at promoting the use and commercialization of improved
technologies with yield and nutritional characteristics amidst threats from
diseases and pests for crops and animals.
NARO is overseen by the council as its governing body, whose new members
started their term on Monday.
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Tumwebaze has now tasked the new council members to ensure
NARO’s research is useful to farmers. He also wants NARO’s research made accessible
to the farmers so that they can grow food throughout the year instead of
relying on the two rainy seasons in most parts of the country.
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Tumwebaze says NARO and its 16 research institutes across
the country should be more available to the farmers and also advise the
ministry of agriculture on various policies that will eventually result in food
and feed security.
THe minister cited the example of NARO making fertilizers since the Sukulu
Phosphate factory in Tororo has failed to produce results.
“After all, it was initially NARO’s idea and
NARO can produce the fertilizers themselves,” he said.
Last month, President Yoweri Museveni said the 620 million
US Dollar phosphate project collapsed due to corruption.
Tumwebaze says NARO can take over the factory and make the fertilizers,
since government expected it to generate 300,000 metric tonnes of organic fertilizer
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Professor William Olaho Mukani, the incoming chairperson of
the NARO Governing Council, says the team with the management will work hard
and ensure farmers benefit from the organisation’s research. He added that the
government and other key stakeholders including NARO must address climate
change, population explosion among other challenges to the agricultural sector.
The 70-year-old Olaho boasts over 30 years in the agricultural
sector including ten years at the agriculture ministry and six years at NARO.
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Most of the council members are either agricultural economists led
by Professor Dr. James Kajete or farmers like Sharon Akullu Atoo, Jolly Masika
Kateeba, Kenneth Katungisa and George Edward Onya.
Onya is the former Resident District Commissioner for Serere and Kaberamaido and representing Uganda
National Farmers Federation.
Meanwhile, Olivia Nankunda Mpuuga a teacher, representing Uganda Local Governments Association –ULGA and is a former Speaker of Gomba
district for ten years.