A cross section of religious leaders from the Fort portal area gave the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) lauds of appreciation for its appropriate technologies that they commended as home-grown solutions to the challenges they faced in their farming. This was during an on-station tour and training of Kyembogo station of the Rwebitaba Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Insititute (ZARDI) in Fort portal that took place on Tuesday, 20th June 2023.
The groups that attended included Bishop Reuben Kisembo of Ruwenzori Diocese and his wife together with his office staff and the Diocesan Chancellor. Another team came from the Adventist Church in Fort portal led by Pastor Edson Kaahwa as well as a representative of the District Khadi.
The guests were awed by the work that was being done to domesticate Stingless bees and were even able to taste its unique honey. Mugume Ronald the Apiculture technician at the institute took them through the unique traits and products of the stingless bees, their species as well as the creative designs of their hives.
Mwesigwa Boaz, a research officer leading the seed and feed production drive at the institute shared with the guests on the on-going work of producing clean seed of maize, soybean, beans and other desirable commodities at the institute. The guests were also able to see and learn about the highly demanded export crops of Hass Avocado, Macadamia, Coffee and varieties of apples in the institute orchard.
Agronomists Douglas Mutebi and Faith Aharinta took the guests through the management practices of producing maize and potatoes while the Farm Manager Francis Kazigye shared on the banana varieties and their management. The guests were also amazed at the potential that lay in a variety of farmed pastures to increase milk yields. Innocent Gumoshabe, the Animal Health Technician trained the team in making nutritious combinations of feeds for animals and took them through techniques of pasture preservation.
The guests also toured the fish ponds at the institute guided by David Mununuzi the Aquaculture Technician.
Before planting a Hass avocado tree in memory of the day, Bishop Reuben Kisembo together with the team were taken through the value addition work that the institute has done on tea including the production of ready to drink flavored tea beverages, Green Tea, tea soap, tea oil and tea lotion. The institute also exhibited varieties of beans, rice as well as fresh products from the orchard like mangoes and guavas.
The tour was also attended by Edward Kasaija Maaci the institute Advisory Committee Chairman together with two of his committee members. Kasaija appreciated the institute management for the work done and appealed to the religious leaders to bring their faithfuls to the institute to be trained. He said that the institute would soon package its seed for distribution in a way of fighting counterfeits.
Speaking on behalf of management, Dr. Kenneth Akankwasa shared with the guests the zonal mandate of Rwebitaba in the Rwenozori region as well as its national mandate to generate and disseminate tea-technologies throughout Uganda. Bishop Reuben Kisembo, on behalf of the guests appreciated NARO and appealed to government to avail more land and funds for the work of agricultural research and technology promotion.