Technology & Innovations
While agriculture is one of the key sectors in Uganda’s economy accounting for about 25% of the GDP and 65% of total export earnings while employing about 70% of the population, it remains largely subsistent.
In fact, the rate of growth of the sector is no longer in tandem with that of the population. One of the major reasons is the limited application of technologies in agriculture. As such, NARO continues to emphasize the increased utilization of improved technologies and innovations in agriculture.
This is one of the four strategic results of the current strategic plan, whose overall desired result, in the end, is to ensure that different segments of the Ugandan community are practising transformative agriculture, spurring markets and contributing to industrial development.
Generation of Agricultural Technologies
Crops Research Interventions
New varieties/ prototypes submitted to Variety Release Committee for release
Seven (7) rice varieties have been submitted to the NVRC. These varieties include; NARO Rice 1 also known as Kafu (Code PR 107), NARO Rice 2 also known as TOCI (Code MET 12), NARO Rice 3 also known as Ayago (Code AGRA 55), and NARO Rice 4, also known as Oraa (Code ARU 1189), NARO Rice 5 also known as Achomai (Code IR 1052). The following varieties were released: Arize Gold 644, and Chiga-1. The developed varieties have a yield potential ranging from 4.9- 6.5 tons/ha.
Their key attributes include; maturing within 95-135 days with a good aromatic taste, texture that extends and soft on cooking and non-pasty preferred by majority of women. Unlike existing varieties, all the new varieties are aromatic and yield more by 1 tonne per hectare. All these varieties are resistant to Rice Yellow Mottle Virus, Rice Blast and Bacterial Leaf Streak. These varieties will be most beneficial to farmers within the low land areas in Uganda. Figures 1- 4 show different rice varieties with their special attributes.
Four (4) Drought Tolerant Maize Varieties with yield potential averaging 8.5 tonnes per hectare have been submitted for release. These are; ADV2309W, ADV2310W, UH5961, and UH 5962. The varieties were developed to respond to biotic and abiotic stress, increase in the seed sector competitiveness for both regional and domestic market demand for exclusive variety promotion in addition to enhancing on-farm grains. The ADV239W and ADV2310W (Figure 5) are tolerant to foliar disease of Grey Leaf Spot (GLS), Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease (MSN), Turcicum and common rust disease.
The special attributes for ADV2309W and ADV2310W include 110-130 days to maturity and yield 6-8 t/ha, while the UH5961 and UH5962 (Figure 6) are bred for mid-altitude DT with maturity period of 120-130 days and yields of 7-8t/ha. In maize farming, women and youth are more involved in weeding and harvesting. These early maturing varieties will require less weeding time hence giving women and youth more time for household activities.
Two candidate sorghum varieties were submitted to the NVRC.. The released NARO sorghum hybrids varieties are; PAC 501 and PAC 537. The special attributes of Variety PAC 537 are; medium maturing 110-120 days, high yield potential of 3200-3500kg/ha, tolerant to shoot fly and stem borer, tolerant drought and lodging. Six (6) low tannin sorghum lines are under NPT (other key traits are; striga and stem borer resistant, tolerant to drought). Women prefer the low tannin sorghum for food and the shorter plant height makes it easy to harvest by all.
During the FY 2019/20 livestock research in NARO focused on vaccine development, forage seed and feed production, maintenance of elite livestock herds, and relocation and operationalization of Nakyesasa and Maruzi campuses. The approach is from production to product support by circular research interventions.
Vaccine Research and Development
NARO has constituted a Vaccinology Research programme at NaLIRRI under which all vaccine research and development is being undertaken. The team has embarked on developing three vaccine products (Anti-tick, FMD and ASF vaccines research). Developing livestock vaccines will enhance food and nutrition security, household incomes and household insurance. Ticks are the most economically important livestock pests, which affect livestock health. The death of an animal affects the stability of a household. Hence, women are safe and secure where their animals are healthy.
Key achievements are as follows: –
Four candidate anti-tick vaccine candidates namely Rhipicephalus appendiculatus (NARO-RA), Amblyomma variegatum (NARO-AV), Rhipicephalus decoloratus (NARO-RD) and a cocktile vaacine (NARO-CV) were formulated and evaluated on 50 experimental cattle comprising of indigenous and Friesian crosses in an on-station evaluation trial at Nakyesasa.