Ngetta Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Ngetta ZARDI) is one of the 16 NARO institutes established by NAR Act 2005 with the mandate to carry out applied and adaptive research in all aspects of crops, livestock, fisheries and agroforestry.  The institute consists of two stations, the main one located Ngetta in Lira which 5 km on Lira-Kitgum road, and a satellite station located on the outskirts of Kitgum Municipality. It also has land in Aduku Town Council, Kwania District, which used to serve as Varietal Testing Centre.

Ngetta ZARDI developing and promoting up-to-date Agricultural technologies for improved food security and income in Northern Uganda.


Climate resilient, hunger-and Poverty-free farming communities of Lango and Acholi sub-regions.


To promote innovations for sustainable Agricultural transformation.


To undertake adaptive and applied research in all aspects of crop, livestock, fisheries, and agroforestry and disseminate improved agricultural technologies of specific importance to Northern agro-ecological zone.


The main station is located 5kms on the Lira – Kitgum Highway with a land area of about 221 hectares (550 acres) and a satellite station on the outskirts of Kitgum Town covering 70.8 hectares (175 acres). The Institute is mandated to manage and carry out applied and adaptive research relevant to the needs of farmers in the mid-Northern and Northern agro-ecological zone comprising of 17 districts.

Historical Background

Ngetta ZARDI started as cotton Research Centre under Serere around 1930s. From 1964-1998 it was upgraded into a District Farm Institute (Lango  DFI Ngetta) for training farmers in Lango District in improved agriculture practices. In 1999, it was transferred to NARO and upgraded to Agricultural Research and Development Center (Ngetta ARDC). It was later in 2005, upgraded into a Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Ngetta ZARDI) by Act of Parliament (NAR Act 2005). The institute operates in 17 districts, 9 in Lango sub region (Amolatar, Alebtong, Apac, Dokolo, Kole, Lira, Oyam,  Kwania and Otuke), and 8 in Acholi sub region (Agago, Amuru, Gulu, Kitgum, Lamwo, Omoro, Nwoya and Pader). It has a satellite station at Kitgum. 


The institute is a zonal office for national Agricultural research organization (NARO) and therefore is under the supervision of NARO governing council and NARO management headed by the Director General. At the institute level, the institute has Advisory committee that works hand in hand with Director of Research to advise and coordinate institute management. The heads of unit form the management committee which coordinates the activities of the institute. The technical wing of the institute is composed of three programs headed by Programme leaders who are part of management committee. The institute also has section specific committees such as science and budgets committee, disciplinary committee, land committee NTR committee etc to handle specific issues at the institute.

Promotion of up-to-date agricultural technologies to alleviate poverty and hunger in northern Uganda

As stated earlier, Ngetta ZARDI station has been in existence since 1930s serving communities of Lango and Acholi in modern farming. The current ZARDI is an upgrade from Lango District Farm Institute at Ngetta and Acholi District Farm Institute at Kitgum. These sites are still known as DFIs among the aged and middle aged population. With these years of existence, the institute is familiar with the challenges of the communities and how the communities struggle to address them. The institute has continued to support the farming communities with capacity building,  planting materials of improved and nutritious crop varieties, varieties that are resilient to pests and diseases and climate variability, post-harvest handling of the produce (30% food loss is after harvesting), value addition, improved livestock technologies, disease and pest management, soil fertility and water management etc.

The institute has achieved a lot in supporting its stakeholders in rehabilitating agriculture in the region since the end of the 20 year Lords Resistance Movement (LRM) war under Mr. Joseph Kony that significantly affected agriculture production in the zone. The few, but committed and reliable staff at Ngetta ZARDI has supported the region to increase Food Security, improved Nutrition and income, both at the household level and community level, through promotion and adoption of well packaged and appropriate improved agriculture technologies and practices. Ngetta-ZARDI’s research agenda is guided by a 10-year strategic plan that spells out research priorities over the period. Basing on this strategic plan, themed “Market-Oriented Research Spurring Agro-Industrialization” Ngetta ZARDI has developed and disseminated high value and impactful agricultural technologies to support the farming communities in the northern region through three research programs; Livestock research and development program, Crops and natural resources research and development program, and Technology Promotion and Outreach program.

Up-to-date agricultural technologies in Livestock Resources Research and development Program

This program coordinates development and dissemination of Dairy, goats, fish farming and poultry research and development activities. The main purpose is to increase productivity through feeding and management technologies and value addition.

Aquaculture Farming

This promotes improved pond fish farming to increase fish productivity for income and nutrition. The malnutrition rate in Northern Uganda is estimated at over 30% and is mainly due to lack of animal protein. Fish is one of the reliable and health source of animal protein and reliance on fish hunting in swamps is not sustainable.

Fish Hunting Unsustainable
Fish Hunting Unsustainable
Improved Pond Fish Farming

Dairy Farming

One major constraint to diary and generally cattle keepers in northern Uganda is dry season feeding. Northern Uganda is prone to prolonged droughts and therefore most of the animal pasture dry during drought.  Ngetta ZARDI has developed several dry season feeding and pasture conservation technologies.

Drought a major constraint to livestock feeding
Preparing silage for dry season feeding
Production of pasture planting materials (bracharia Mulato)
Drought a major constraint to livestock feeding

Other technologies in livestock program are poultry production and management technologies, pest and disease management practices.

Up-to-date agricultural technologies in Crop Resources Research and development Program

This program coordinates development and dissemination of crop technologies aimed at increased productivity, resilience to pest and diseases and climate variability, value addition and post-harvest processing. These technologies include high yielding pest and disease tolerant varieties, post-harvest processing prototypes, value addition technologies, climate smart and improved agronomic practices. The program also coordinates natural resources conservation and management.

Promotion of high yielding, pest and disease tolerant, and nutrient rich crop varieties and associate improved agronomic practices.

Promotion of micro irrigation to mitigate climate change effects.

Promotion of high yielding improved cassava varieties.

Outreach and Technology Promotion Program

This program acts as gateway for technologies developed by Crop and livestock programs. The program coordinates dissemination and promotion of improved technologies and practices as well as information. It not debatable that limited information or misinformation among farmers is one of the reasons for low adoption of improved agricultural technologies especially improved crop varieties and value addition.

This program coordinates on-farm demonstration of agricultural technologies, capacity building of extension workers, farmers and other stakeholders, dissemination of market information and information on production and postharvest practices.  One of the strategies to promote agriculture among the youth is training of students so as to look at agriculture as a profit making venture.

Outreach and Technology Promotion Program
Training of Students Encourages Youth to Participate in Agriculture

Work with us

Volunteers and Internship: Ngetta ZARDI offers a platform for young scientists or students interested in Agriculture to apply for placements either as Volunteers or interns through the office of the director of Research. Applications are addressed to the office of the human resource and administration officer. Terms and conditions for these placements are as per NARO’s Internship and Volunteer policy 2018.

Partnerships and Collaborations

Ngetta ZARDI works in partnership with other players in technology development and dissemination to enhance accelerated adoption of appropriate technologies in the zone. This helps in creation of from synergies with other key partners both in technology development and dissemination to galvanize individual resources and objectives.

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