In August 2022 government directed NARO to cultivate 10,000 acres for selected commodities as a means to boost food and feed production in the country. BuZARDI is one of the seven NARO institutes that was earmarked to contribute to this strategic intervention.
During a monitoring visit to the seed multiplication fields at BuZARDI from 6th-7th October 2022, members of the NARO Governing Council led by Mr. Kenneth Katungisa hailed the Institute for the incredible work.
“I send my sincere thanks to the Advisory Committee, Director and staff for the tremendous work in the field. You [BuZARDI] have exceeded what you are supposed to do. We [Council Members] are optimistic that you are going to have very good production,” Mr. Katungisa said.
Under the seed multiplication initiative, NARO was allocated to establish 10,000 acres. Of these, BuZARDI was tasked to produce seed on 350 acres. In that season, BuZARDI had planned to manage 132 acres. However, during field visits, the team was thrilled to ascertain that the Institute had cultivated 157 acres of soybean (Maksoy 3N), beans (NAROBEAN 1, 2, 3 and NABE 15) and maize (UH5051) on-station and in Kigumba satellite farm, Kiryandongo district.
Ms. Jolly Kateeba Masika, farmers’ representative on the Council suggested that institutes should have corporate social responsibility initiative, where seeds are produced and supplied freely to farmers in the respective agro- ecological zones. This, she said, will enable NARO to be more visible and felt in the community.
On his part, the Director of BuZARDI, Dr. Sylvester Dickson Baguma, who doubles as a representative of Public Agricultural Research Institutes on the Council, credited the promising work to teamwork, committed and proactive staff. He explained to fellow council members that NARO has developed good agronomic practices to accompany these technologies to the end-users to improve production and productivity.
Dr. Baguma also used the opportunity to highlight the challenges the Institute is facing, most notably understaffing, inadequate government funding and late release of funds.
Members of staff recommended that Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institutes (ZARDIs) should be empowered with adequate modern machinery to produce quality seeds and that funds be released on time.
Whereas the ZARDIs have a huge responsibility of taking the generated technologies to the last mile (end-user communities), Mr. Kenneth Katungisa attested that they are underfunded. As a member of both the finance and human resources committee of the Council, Mr. Katungisa, said that they will look favourably into the funding of the ZARDIs so that more resources are channelled to enable them fulfil their mandate.