The Katikkiro of Buganda, Charles Peter Mayiga, on Tuesday toured four institutes of the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), during which he expressed admiration at the array of advanced research products.
From liquid soap, hand wash gels, pesticides, and animal feeds, all produced from cow dung, to facial and body scrubs, as well as body creams derived from coffee, the tour unveiled a remarkable spectrum of innovations.
Accompanied by a delegation of Ministers and Kingdom officials, the Katikkiro’s visit was part of an official tour of NARO facilities, aligning with a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the research body and the Kingdom last year. The partnership focuses on collaborative efforts to leverage NARO’s expertise in advancing transformative agriculture in the Buganda region.
“If we aim for socio-economic transformation, we must concentrate on our country’s comparative advantage, which lies in agriculture,” remarked the Katikkiro, adding that it’s important to embrace scientific and research-based approaches to agriculture in today’s era.
“With the population explosion and the growing list of needs, we need the expertise of NARO, and when you visit you realise we have everything we need,” He said.
The Katikkiro visited the National Coffee Research Institute (NaCORI), where he witnessed NARO scientists showcasing innovative products like coffee powder, yoghurt, wines, chocolate, cookies, cakes, and various non-dietary prototypes including lip balm, aftershave, facial scrub, and body lotions and creams.
The visit also marked the launch of the annual Royal Coffee Day, to be celebrated every 30th January, highlighting the role of traditional institutions in promoting coffee production and fostering technology and value innovation.
At the Mukono Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MuZARDI), the Katikkiro explored adaptive research results aimed at promoting local poultry farming, vegetable and legumes cultivation, fish farming, quality seeds, and proper agricultural management practices.
Impressed by the Zero Waste farm management practices at the National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI), the Katikkiro observed how farm waste was utilized to produce various items, including biogas, Bio-briquettes, Biomethane, Bio-liquid, Bio-pesticides, bio-fertilizers, Animal feeds, Bio-electricity, Carbondioxide, and Sulphuric acid. The institute also showcased high-quality cattle breeds recommended for zero grazing as well progress in developing an anti-tick vaccine, among other technologies.
At the National Agricultural Research Laboratories (NaRL) in Kawanda, the Katikkiro visited the biotechnology laboratory, witnessing the generation of banana plants through tissue culture. The laboratory also showcased soil analysis for the greater Masaka region, while in the industrialization sector, the scientists demonstrated the transformation of banana fibers into quality hair extensions.
The institute’s exhibition extended to agro-mechanization, with the display of motorized and manually operated maize shellers and a motorized forage cutter, among other technologies.
Dr. Yona Baguma, the NARO Director General, suggested promoting four key technologies—coffee, banana, livestock, and local chicken farming—through the Buganda Cultural and Development Foundation (BUCADEF) to drive socio-economic change within Buganda.
He further advocated for the widespread adoption of high-density beans and sweet potatoes, specifically designed to address nutritional deficiencies in children and breastfeeding mothers due to their high Vitamin A content.
He urged the Kingdom to spearhead a purposeful initiative promoting the annual cultivation of a minimum of 100,000 trees in each county. This, he emphasized, would play a pivotal role in transforming Buganda into the jewel of Uganda.
Dr. Baguma proposed collaborative efforts with BUCADEF and Mutesa 1 Royal University to conduct outreach programs, facilitating the dissemination of NARO technologies throughout Buganda. Furthermore, he suggested exploring the integration of these technologies into cultural events as a means of enhancing their visibility and impact.
The Minister of State for Agriculture, Trade, and Cooperatives in the Buganda Kingdom, Hajji Amis Kakomo, hailed the partnership with NARO as a monumental step. He expressed confidence in NARO’s ability to propel Buganda towards significant socio-economic development.
In response, the Katikkiro directed BUCADEF to initiate a program that disseminates NARO technologies to communities, aiming to spark rapid socio-economic transformation.