Makerere University (Uganda) – Veterinary Biosecuritymak Launches Facility to Support Dairy Technology & Infrastructure Improvement

The Korea Rural Community Corporation (KRC) on Thursday 25th August 2022 officially handed over a facility aimed at “Improving Productivity of Dairy Farmers by Supporting Dairy Technology and Infrastructure in Uganda” to Makerere University. Implemented under the Korea Uganda Dairy Project (KUDaP), the facility is housed at the Nakyesasa Incubation Centre, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB), on the fringes of the National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI) in Namulonge. The ceremony was presided over by the Chairperson Appointments Board, Counsel Innocent Kihika, who represented both the Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Thomas Tayebwa and the Chairperson, Makerere University Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara.

The facility was handed over to the Principal CoVAB, Prof. Frank Norbert Mwiine by the Vice President KRC, Hon. KIM Byung-Soo following a tour of the premises, where the investment in dairy technology and infrastructure was appreciated. Present were the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Uganda, H.E. PARK Sung-Soo, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, the Commissioner for Animal Health in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Dr. Anna Rose Ademun Okurut who represented the Permanent Secretary Maj. Gen. David Kasura Kyomukama.

Others were the Chairperson KUDaP Steering Committee, Prof. William Bazeyo, Executive Director, Dairy Development Authority (DDA), Dr. Michael Kansiime, KUDaP Project Manager, Prof. LEE Hak-Kyo, KUDaP Principal Investigator and Dean School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Resources (SVAR), CoVAB, Prof. Robert Tweyongyere, Assistant Commissioner Information and Communication, MAAIF, Ms. Consolata Acayo, Members of Makerere University Management, Officials from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), Jeonbuk National University (JNBU), Korea, Uganda Veterinary Association (UVA) President, Dr. Daniel Kasibule among others.

KUDaP came into force following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) Korea on 17th December 2018. The project that commenced in February 2019 is implemented by SVAR and the National Animal Genetic Resource and Data Bank (NAGRC&DB) in collaboration with JNBU. It is aimed at: Establishing a model farm to train students, dairy farmers, extension workers and Artificial Insemination Technicians; Establishing an elite dairy herd in Makerere University; and Promoting improved dairy production practices in Uganda.

The components of the KUDaP Project are;

  1. Construction of a Dairy Demonstration Farm Facility at Makerere;
  2. Provision of dairy cows, high quality semen and embryos to farmers;
  3. Capacity building in dairy feeds production; and
  4. Upgrading/supporting breeding laboratory capacity at NAGRC&DB as well as human capacity development in Dairying in Uganda.

In his remarks, the Guest of Honour, Counsel Innocent Kihika congratulated Makerere University and CoVAB in particular upon successfully commissioning the Dairy Development Project, especially during a year when both the institution and college mark 100 and 50 years of existence respectively, two years into the implementation of the ten-year strategic plan.

“The Council has continued to emphasise the need to align our research with the requirements of national development as articulated in the National Development Plan and various instruments of Government and the private sector” he said.

Counsel Kihika emphasised that agriculture remains a primary employer in Uganda and any improvements in the sector would directly contribute to the growth of decent jobs in the value chains. “I must say that right now people are very excited with what is happening with Uganda’s oil in the Albertine rift valley but when you go deep into that, you will see that agriculture is the core of our economy and the oil is just a catalyst to that.”

The Guest of Honour noted that the commissioning of the facility at Nakyesasa positions Makerere University for robust research and technology transfer in the dairy sub-sector as part of the institution’s continued contribution to national development. He extended an open invitation to Ambassador PARK Sung-Soo to be a part Makerere‘s plans to develop its seven square mile acre property in Kyankwanzi District as well as the Buyana Stock Farm in Mpigi District.

“I wish to pledge the Council’s commitment to continuously improving the framework conditions for research through policy making, facility linkages with the relevant government entities and mobilising the required human resources” he concluded.

Reiterating the emphasis of agriculture to Uganda’s economy, Ambassador PARK Sung-Soo admitted that the sector has been a pertinent issue in the Republic of Korea’s partnership strategy with Uganda. He added that the KUDaP project is very meaningful for the future of Uganda because as everybody knows, this future lies in rural development.

“Agriculture including livestock and dairy industry is the backbone of Uganda’s economy. The dairy industry is especially a promising sector in Uganda’s agriculture; it is growing at a rate of 8-10% every year” remarked the H.E. Park.

The Ambassador added that the new President of the Republic of Korea, H.E. YOON Suk-Yeol is desirous of strengthening his country’s relationship with African Heads of State, with a special Korea-Africa summit planned for the second half of 2024 in Seoul. “I am 100% sure that this event will create new momentum to open a new chapter in the Korea-Africa cooperation and I believe that Uganda will be a part of this history-making process.”

He congratulated Makerere University upon celebrating 100 years of existence and pledged to continue strengthening cooperation and knowledge exchange with the institution. “I really hope that through this dairy project, Korea and Uganda may strengthen our mutual understanding and trust and extend our cooperation and collaboration into other fields and areas.

Addressing the gathering, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe emphasised the readiness by Makerere and CoVAB to demonstrate that they are doing things differently especially as they celebrate their 100th and 50th anniversaries respectively.

“The facility was have launched today is a demonstration that we are ready to do things differently and that we are becoming more relevant to our community. As the top national university, we must address the challenges that face our country, whose population is growing exponentially” remarked Prof. Nawangwe.

The Vice Chancellor through the Ambassador thanked the Government and people of the Republic of Korea for the generous support that led to the establishment of the facility that will benefit not only Makerere but also Ugandan farmers in the dairy sub-sector.

“I wish to pledge our total commitment to ensure the proper management and maintenance of this facility. We will play the role expected of us, especially the recruitment of the necessary human resource and payment of all the utility bills” said Prof. Nawangwe.

Speaking on behalf of the Permanent Secretary MAAIF, Dr. Ademun Okurut noted that the Dairy Demonstration Farm will play an important role in improving the livelihood of approximately 1.7million Ugandan households who depend on milk for nutrition, food security and employment.

“Currently we are running the Parish Development Model (PDM) and our extension service is now going further to ensure that production reaches the remaining 35% of our population that are not in the money economy” remarked Dr. Ademun Okurut.

She further shared that the Government had developed and is actively promoting a strategy on food and animal feed security, aimed at responding to the two failed season and alleviating any foreseeable shortages both in the short and long-term.

Dr. Ademun Okurut congratulated Makerere University on the project milestone, noting that it was an indication of institutional commitment to address the needs of our community. She acknowledged the fruitful collaboration with JNBU and the financial support of KRC and pledged her Ministry’s commitment to continued partnership with Makerere University and the furtherance of KUDaP as well as other projects of national importance.

On behalf of KRC, Hon. KIM Byung-Soo congratulated the Ugandan Government, Makerere University the Project Manager Prof. LEE Hak-Kyo upon the successful completion of the project, noting that it was an affirmation of “cooperation based on the principles of reciprocity and mutual interest”.

“I hope that after this ceremony, the corresponding Ministries and departments in Uganda and Korea will make further efforts to promote our cooperation in order to take Korea-Uganda relations and strategic partnership to a higher level” he added.

As any proud father would the Principal CoVAB, Prof. Frank Norbert Mwiine could not help but speak with pride of what would be achieved through the Dairy Development Farm facility. “This opening ceremony marks the beginning of yet another and major phase of implementing successful dairy farming, and this will need optimum commitment from us as managers and sustained support of the University and Government as owners of the farm.”

Prof. Mwiine added that the facility is set to exhibit the desirable practices that will lead to increased milk productivity by Ugandan farmers and hands-on training for University students. He added that CoVAB strongly supports the establishment of the facility and would like to nurture it to grow into a self-sustaining training and research centre of the college.

He thanked JNBU represented by Prof. LEE Hak-Kyo for the excellent collaboration and support for the successful initiation and implementation of KUDaP. He appreciated Prof. William Bazeyo for the great guidance, astuteness and good eye as Chairperson of the KUDaP Steering Committee and Prof. Robert Tweyongyere for his dedicated work as KUDaP Principal Investigator.

Prof. Tweyongyere in addition to acknowledging the support from Korean Government, JNBU, Ugandan Government and the Leadership of Makerere University noted that the beginning of the implementation phase calls for the establishment of another phase of infrastructure. He noted that as a Demonstration Farm, the facility will need to put in place training facilities and housing for all prospective students.

“In the next phase, apart from maintaining a healthy vibrant herd of animals, we need to cater for processing and value addition, as well as research, training and knowledge transfer to the community. We have already enrolled into a partnership of the dairy network and we want to ensure that we can be beneficial to our partners” said Prof. Tweyongyere.

The Dairy Development Farm facility will receive thirty thousand doses of Korean Holstein Fresian semen and two hundred embryos of Korean Holstein Fresian cattle. It comprises an office block, Integrated Micro Organism (IMO) cattle shed, state-of-the-art milking parlour, cattle dip, spray race and silage making facilities as well as farm implements such as two tractors and two pick-up trucks. The structures are surrounded by fields planted with highly nutritious species of grass for hay and crops for silage production. A banana plantation has also been established to make the most of the manure produced by the cattle.

The event was moderated by Prof. Lawrence Mugisha, from the Department of Wildlife and Aquatic Animal Resources, SVAR, CoVAB and the Principal Public Relations Officer, Ms. Ritah Namisango.

At the same occasion, Makerere University presented appreciation awards to; Hon. KIM Byung-Soo, Prof. LEE Hak-Kyo, Prof. William Bazeyo and Norbrook (Uganda) Limited. In the same spirit, KRC presented appreciation awards to; Mrs. Lorna Magara, Counsel Innocent Kihika, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Prof. Henry Alinaitwe, Prof. William Bazeyo, Maj. Gen. David Kasura Kyomukama, Prof. Frank Norbert Mwiine, Dr. Michael Kansiime, Prof. Robert Tweyongyere and Dr. Clare Mugasa.