Inagural Message of Dr. Yona Baguma, Director General NARO, to Staff
Firstly, for my new position as Director General of the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), I am incredibly grateful to God. Serving this remarkable and varied organisation in a new capacity humbles and delights me. I want to express my sincere gratitude to the Honorable Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) and NARO Governing Council for their confidence in me to steer NARO to the next heights.
As you are aware, Dr. Ambrose Agona, my predecessor, led the organisation for the last nine years. I would want to express my gratitude to him for his leadership, wisdom, and direction in bringing NARO to this point as a potent research brand on a national and international scale. You have always been an inspiration to me and a lot of other people, Dr. Ambrose Agona. From the bottom of my heart, I genuinely appreciate your support and mentorship. In the same line, I want to express my gratitude to the whole NARO workforce for your help and support over the last nine years, which allowed me to successfully carry out my duties as the Deputy Director General for Research Coordination.
By being given the chance to lead NARO and serve as the voice for agricultural research and development in Uganda, a duty and responsibility I do not take lightly, I am genuinely humbled by the opportunity. It is an enormous honor and inspiration to oversee such an organisation and its people. Being your DG is an honor, and I can guarantee you that our mission will always serve as our compass. We all work for the same objective — to help humanity. With a focus on improving total factor productivity, NARO's aim is to innovate for sustainable agricultural transformation. This should always spur us on to innovate and work exceedingly hard in order to increase our effect.
We should keep in mind NARO's contribution to Uganda’s socioeconomic transformation as we travel together on this journey. Our commitment to realizing our vision of "a competitive society supported by a dynamic agricultural research innovation system" will remain firmly rooted in the NAR Act 2005, our strategic plan, and other legal and legislative frameworks.
My top priorities will be making sure NARO is in a strong position to support Uganda's agro-industrialization agenda, which includes focusing on new research frontiers, switching from commodity-based to product innovation hubs, enhancing our ICT capabilities, strengthening our partnerships and collaborations with the private sector, development partners, universities and cultural and religious institutions, and aligning research to meet the two formidable challenges of this generation, climate crisis and high population growth rates that both hit sustainable development goals hard!
The field of agricultural research is rapidly evolving due to influences from technologies and methodologies including, among others drones, genome editingtechnology, precision agriculture, big data mining, robotics, satellite imaging systems, and artificial intelligence. We cannot afford to fall behind as a research group. I commit to leading us and directing us toward conducting research that is impactful, timely and provides solutions that can be applied to scale by our varied population. We need to reassess any element of our culture or organisation that hinders our ability to act in this way and serve.
Together with NARO's executive team, I will put an emphasis on creating resilient and sustainable food systems while keeping in mind SDGs 1 (No poverty), 2 (Zero hunger), 3 (Good health and well-being), and 13 (Climate action). As a result, NARO will help create a national sustainable food system that is accessible to all population demographics and secure, dependable, resilient to factors like climate change, nutrition, energy efficiency, globalization, trade, population growth, etc., while being inclusive, targeting any minority groups that could comprise of women, youth and refugees.
I want to concentrate on transforming NARO research institutes into centers of excellence and innovation hubs, enhancing ZARDIs into agro-skilling hubs for inclusive rural transformation, developing and retaining the critical expertise needed for talent deployment along product nodes, and fostering stronger collaborations with other National Agricultural Research Institutes (NARIs), universities, Consultative Group (CG) Centers, and the private sector.
The future of agricultural research is promising and will only get more promising if we deliberately put ourselves in a position to respond and offer solutions to fully realize the agricultural potential of our nation.
Let me conclude by, once more, expressing my gratitude for all the work you do in your many roles. I look forward to working with you on more creative and productive programmes in the future. Since each of us is only as strong as our weakest link, I beg of you to join forces with me in assisting Uganda's social and economic transformation.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported NARO over the years and ask them to keep doing so.
I am truly grateful and honored to be your Director General.
Dr. Yona Baguma
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