Buginyanya Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute


Buginyanya ZARDI is a semi-autonomous Public Agricultural Research Institute (PARI) under the policy guidance of the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO). BugiZARDI was operationalised on 1st July, 2008 in compliance with the NAR Act 2005. The institute is composed of Buginyanya (95.0 ha) as the main station located in Masira Sub-county, Bulegeni (47.8 ha) in Kamu Sub-county, Bulambuli District and Ikulwe (86.0 ha) in Mayuge town council, Mayuge District. BugiZARDI spearheads Agricultural Research and Development work in Uganda’s South Eastern Agro-Ecological Zone (U’SEAEZ) that administratively comprise the districts of; Bukwo, Kween, Kapchorwa, Bulambuli, Sironko, Mbale, Bududa, Manafwa, Budaka, Kibuku, Pallisa, Tororo, Busia, Butaleja, Iganga, Bugiri, Namutumba, Mayuge, Jinja, Kamuli, Luuka, Buyende, Namayingo, Kaliro, Namisindwa, Butebo and Bugweri.


Given that an Agro-ecological zone’s definition relies on aspects such as land, climate, soil, topography, crop suitability and crop productivity, BugiZARDI has been conveniently sub-zoned into the highlands, mid altitude and lowlands.


BugiZARDI’s mandate is to conduct both applied and adaptive agricultural research on priority enterprises of importance in U’SEAEZ. In addition we conduct basic research on strategic highland enterprises and enabling innovations, management practices and cross cutting issues. BugiZARDI also conducts skills development programmes for intermediary agricultural research service providers, and provide them with technical backstopping. In addition, BugiZARDI produces early generation seed and breeding stock which is availed to uptake pathways that include
public and private sectors for multiplication and dissemination to end users. In executing the fore stated functions, BugiZARDI establishes and maintains regular contacts and collaboration with other research and technology generation institutions, both at national and international levels. BugiZARDI in executing its mandate continues to work with and explore new opportunities in agricultural research and development.


Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom (BKK) and NARO Bulindi ZARDI have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)…
Studies have shown that youths and women have lagged behind in accessing improved agricultural technologies…
BuZARDI uses learning visit as an avenue to disseminate its technologies to farming communities to…

Brief History

Buginyanya station started in 1969 on 95 ha of land as a field station for Coffee Entomology Research under the names Buginyanya Coffee Research Station headed by an Officer in Charge, Mr. Macnut a British National. Bugusege, a sub-station of Buginyanya at the time was mandated as a germplasm conservation centre for Arabica coffee.

In the year 1993, the station started conducting research in potatoes, which culminated into the release of two potato varieties namely Victoria and Cruza. The O/C at that time was Mr. J.B. Birikunzira, a pathologist who later in 1993 proceeded to Kawanda to head the tissue culture laboratory.  Between 1994 and 2000, Mr. Wobibi Stephen was the Acting O/C.

With the reforms in the agricultural sector in 1997/98, the station was changed to a satellite station under the Coffee Research Centre (COREC) until the year 2000. In the year 2002 to 2003, Buginyanya station was made an Agricultural Research and Development Centre (ARDC) with Bulegeni and Bugusege as its sub-stations. From 2003, Bulegeni together with Buginyanya became satellite stations under Nabuin ZARDI until 2008 when Buginyanya was elevated to a Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute (ZARDI) to cover Uganda’s South Eastern Agro-ecological Zone (U’SEAEZ) with Ikulwe and Bulegeni as its satellite stations under the pioneer director Dr. Wagoire, William Wamala. The two satellite stations were placed under the ZARDI with support from MAAIF supported by parliament, as a centre of excellence for agricultural research and innovations for the U’SEAEZ covering the sub regions of Sebei, Bugisu, Bukedi and Busoga.

High and mid-altitude zones

The high and mid-altitude zones consist of areas with altitude range of 1300 to 3000 metres above sea level (masl). It covers districts of Kapchorwa, Kween, Bukwo, Bulambuli, Sironko, Mbale, Bududa, Manafwa and Namisindwa. Soils of this zone are characterised by deep fertile soils of volcanic origin, well drained dark clay loam and red sand clay loam with sticky texture. This soil supports the banana – coffee farming system which is predominant in the area. The zone receives a bi-modal pattern of rainfall, with the wettest months being April and October, while July to August and December to February are relatively dry.

Lowland sub-zone

This sub-zone comprises districts of Budaka, Kibuku, Pallisa, Butebo, Tororo, Busia, Butaleja, Iganga, Bugiri, Namutumba, Mayuge, Jinja, Kamuli, Luuka, Buyende, Namayingo, Kaliro and Bugweri which generally lies in the altitude range of 1000 – 1300masl. The area has a well distributed rainfall pattern with an annual average of 1200m. The mean annual temperature ranges from 20-25⁰C with average minimum of 18⁰C and Maximum of 30⁰C. The subzone has generally fertile and productive soils of well drained sandy-clay loam and sandy-loam. The vegetation is a mixture of indigenous and exotic species of both timber and none timer tree species.

Farming and farming systems in the zone

Farming is the main stay of the people of U’SEAEZ with more than 80% of the households engaged in farming as a major source of livelihood. The farming systems in the zone are characterised by mixture of enterprises involving both crops and livestock. The population at the vicinity of Lake Victoria have a unique opportunity of capture fishery meanwhile there is an increasing interest in aquaculture in other regions e.g. Bukedi, Bugisu and Sebei.

Whereas crops like maize, beans, bananas, tomatoes, cabbages and onions are grown throughout the zone, others like Arabica coffee, wheat, Barley, potatoes and apples are specifically found in the high and mid altitude subzones. On the other hand, Robusta coffee, cotton, groundnuts, rice and cassava are more grown in the low altitude subzone. There is essentially a thin line between cash and food crops in the zone as the crops that were traditionally known as food crops now command high prices in the market. Other crops that are gaining popularity in all the sub-zones are horticultural crops like onions, tomatoes, cabbages and carrots.

Strategic thrusts of BugiZARDI

The strategic objectives of BugiZARDI take into account the thrusts and performance areas which will contribute to NARO’s overall outputs as follows:

  1. Develop technologies for improved food security and economic gains
  2. Disseminate technologies and knowledge to support scaling up/out of improved agricultural production in U’SEAEZ
  3. Build partnerships and linkages for development and promotion of agricultural Research products
  4. Produce and avail to uptake pathways basic/foundation “seed” planting /stocking materials) of key commodities in the zone
  5. Develop capacity, both human and infrastructure to support R & D in U’SEAEZ


The institute is managed by the Director of Research Dr. Lawrence Owere under the guidance of the advisory committee. These members include;

  1. Dinah Mutonyi Masaba – Chairperson
  2. David Kazungu Kantaale – Member
  3. Nelson Woira Kyagera – Member

The Director is supported by three programme leaders as follows:

  1. Programme Leader Crops and Natural Resources Research Program – Dr. Frank Kagoda
  2. Programme Leader Animal Resource Research Program – Dr. Brian Owoyesigire
  3. Programme Leader Technology Promotion and Outreach Program – Dr. Bosco Chemayek

i) Crops and Natural Resources Research Program

The major objective is to enhance sustainable productivity and value chain development in crop enterprises for improved food and income security. The program encompasses all priority and emerging crop Research and Development (R&D) at the institute which includes among others; crop breeding, agronomy, disease and pest management, value addition and product development, horticulture, soil fertility and integrated land management, climate change adaptation and mitigation measures.

ii) Technology Promotion and Outreach Program at Buginyanya ZARDI conducts the following major activities among others;

  1. Guide in the identification of challenges, priority setting, planning and demand articulation within the target populations in the zone
  2. Support the development/ strengthening of multi-stakeholder innovation platforms
  3. Implement selected joint adaptive research, demonstration and promotion activities
  4. Support and improve access to early generation quality seed and stocks
  5. Scale up utilization of sustainable land management with a landscape approach in target areas
  6. Develop strategic partnerships for agriculture development in the zone

iii) Animal Resource Research Program

The purpose is for enhanced sustainable productivity, profitability, value added and competitiveness in livestock and fisheries products in the zone. It encompasses all Livestock (small ruminants, dairy & beef cattle, poultry, piggery) aquaculture and capture fisheries R&D; breeding, nutrition and general management.

A. Mid-altitude and Highland research activities in pictures

i) Crops

ii) Natural Resources Management

iii) Livestock and aquaculture improvement

B. Lowland research and development activities

i) Fish for lowland ecosystems

Harvesting, selection and transfer of Nile tilapia brood (parent) stock at fish fry centre, Mbale

ii) Seed production activities at Ikulwe

iii) Technology dissemination and stakeholder engagement

Partners supporting our research and development activities

  1. Ministry of Science Technology and Innovations – Currently under president’s office
  2. Uganda Breweries Ltd – on Barley variety development and support for statutory release
  3. Uganda National Council for Science and Technology –Support wheat variety development to contribute to industrialization and import substitution
  4. KILIMO TRUST – Promoting rice production and productivity through increase of technologies, innovations and management practices
  5. Also working under AIRTEA Project managed by Abi ZARDI
  6. Hosting a number of trials for other institutes and demos for seed companies

Interested? Reach out to us

We always enjoy reading feedback about our activities, whether an idea for an article or a suggestion for something we should do…