Makerere University has scooped US dollar 250,000$ grant an equivalent of Uganda Shs 950,000,000 to help the institution enhance its agricultural research capabilities.
The grant was from OR Tambo Africa Research Chairs Initiative funded by the South African government, targeting competent scientists that can supervise research on innovations that can help to solve agriculture challenges in Africa.
The grant was internationally advertised and Professor Noble Banadda of Makerere University Agriculture and Bio systems was selected for the grant to lead the research on sustainable agriculture.
According to Prof Banadda, the research will look at sustainable agriculture to solve issues around food security through creating systems that can recycle agricultural wastes.
He adds that they want to ensure that food productivity increases without using artificial fertilizers by using the wastes from the farm as organic fertilizers.
Banadda explains that farmers are facing challenges of accessing fertilizers yet they have a lot of wastes from their farms. He notes that using this fund a research will be developed on how this waste can be turned into manure for high productivity.
According to some scientists artificial fertilizers are made from chemicals that destroy the mineral nutrients in the soils and as a result productivity becomes low.
Banadda also highlights that soils in Africa are over dug and they need to be restored, adding that this can easily be achieved by adding value to the farm residues to make natural manure.
Banadda notes that all wastes from the agricultural products can be recycled and be used as manure that can again fertilize the soils. He mentions crops like maize, cassava and sugarcane as having a big potential of making good manure with value added.
Banadda indicates that the OR Tambo Research chair is providing the 250,000 USD for five years renewable twice to make it 15 years.
He says they are going to advertise internationally for the students across Africa to apply and participate in finding solutions to agriculture in Africa for more productivity, technology and efficiency.
He explains that he intends to work with 15 PHD holders, nine Post doctorate and 27 Masters Level researchers.
He notes that they already have a number of issues in the communities that affect farmers but with this grant they want to get to the farmers and let them identify the challenges they face for a solution.
Meanwhile Banadda is also to receive 100,000Euros from Wageningen University per year for the next fifteen years, and he is going to use this fund still to enhance the work of solving pending problems in agriculture in Africa.