MbaZARDI – Mbarara Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute



Mbarara Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute











About Us

Who We Are


Mbarara ZARDI is one of the 16 Public Agricultural Research Institutes (PARIs) under the policy guidance of the National Agriculture Research Organization (NARO). Specifically, it is one the nine Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institutes (ZARDIs). It is responsible for identifying constraints, developing and disseminating appropriate agricultural technologies in the South Western Agro-ecological Zone (SWAEZ).
PARI Directors visit MBAZARDI in 2023
PARI Directors visit MBAZARDI in 2023


Mbarara ZARDI started as a Livestock Breeding Centre for Western Uganda, established in 1926 as a Stock Farm. In 1996 the Stock Farm was handed over to NARO by the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal industry and Fisheries and has since become a fully-fledged agricultural research institute.

Our Mission

To innovate for sustainable agricultural transformation for SWAEZ  

Our Vision

A competitive SWAEZ supported by a dynamic agricultural research innovation system.

Our Mandate

Mbarara ZARDI is responsible for conducting adaptive and applied research in livestock, crops, agro-forestry and aquaculture of importance to the SWAEZ.

Latest News





Banana is a major food security and income generating crop grown by 65.1% of the households in the SWAEZ. However, challenges of low nutritional values, and postharvest losses of highland cooking banana are common due to climate change. Mbarara ZARDI is developing banana products (composite flours and wine) to minimize food and nutrition insecurity, postharvest losses and unstable household incomes. The composite flours are being developed from the local cooking varieties while wine is developed from improved banana varieties.

Coffee is a major cash crop in South Western Uganda grown by 38% of the households. This project focuses on addressing challenges affecting coffee productivity including pests and diseases, low soil moisture and fertility and poor management practices through developing zonal specific agronomic technologies. The project is also working on increasing local utilization and profitability through developing coffee based skin care products.

Technology Promotion and Outreach

This project aims at supporting the Multi Stakeholder Innovation Platforms around seed production through trainings in agronomy, quality control, post-harvest handling, group management and marketing.

Every calendar year, Mbarara ZARDI receives up to two hundred schools with O and A level students, tertiary institution, farmer groups and extension workers for research, internship and on farm training in livestock & crop husbandry, aquaculture and agriculture mechanization. This is one of the major ways Mbarara ZARDI technologies are promoted in the zone.

Planting materials of improved fruit trees, coffee, banana, cassava, beans, soybean and livestock pastures. Livestock feed production, grain milling, seed sorting, Holstein Friesian bulls, Mubende and Boer goats, Cambrough piglets and laboratory services.


Mbarara ZARDI is developing probiotic inoculants as feed additives for improved nutrition and health of dairy cattle in Uganda. Animals with higher genetic potential currently being adopted in the zone require a well-balanced diet of high nutritional value, with production of forages in sufficient quantity and quality throughout the year. This is however not commonly achievable. Use of additives such as probiotic (microbial) inoculants, that can breakdown the fibre to enhance digestibility and nutrient utilization, is critical in improving the use of silage, hay and forages in feeding of dairy cattle.

Mbarara ZARDI is focusing on isolating and commercialising starter cultures for yoghurt and ghee. Currently the country is depending on imported and the traditional non-standardized starter cultures. The Ankole Longhorn-derived starter cultures being developed by the institute improve food-safety, ease product standardisation and support the alleviation of ulcers and diarrhoea among yoghurt consumers and improve ghee processing productivity by 30%.

Porcine respiratory disease complex (PRDC) is an economically important health condition that causes abortions and piglet mortality. This lowers the reproductive performance of a herd leading to economic losses. Mbarara ZARDI is working towards reducing the impact of PRDC in Uganda’s piggery sector through development of in-feed probiotics to modulate the pig’s immune defenses against PRDC-associated pathogens. Based on PRDC pathogens collected from the Albertine Rift region of Uganda and working on estimating their associated economic impacts, the institute plan to develop an immune modulating in-feed probiotic to control PRDC in pig farms.

The Jersey is considered a much more feed efficient breed than the commonly farmed Holstein Friesian. The Jersey also has a higher protein and butterfat content in its milk and is well adaptable to the hot and humid weather of South Western Uganda and survives much better on low amounts of pastures.



The Institute is headed by Dr. Halid Kirunda as the Director of Research
supported by an Advisory Committee 

Dr. Halid Kirunda - Director of Research.
Prof. Johnson Nkuuhe – Chairperson
Prof. Dennis Mpairwe
Prof. Grace Kagoro
Rev. Sandra Mwebaze

Operational Areas


Mbarara city, Mbarara District, Sheema, Bushenyi, Mitooma, Rubiriizi, Buhweju, Ibanda, Kazo, Kiruhura, Lyantonde, Sembabule, Kyotera, Rakai, Isingiro, Rwampara, Ntungamo.


Livestock feed production, maize hulling, seed sorting, school trainings, tree seedlings for assorted fruits and coffee, foundation seed for beans and soybean, conference hall hire.

Other Services

School Visits, Feeds Mixing at the Feed Mill, Artificial Insemination, Grain Milling, Fruit and Agroforestry Tree Seedlings, Pasture grasses and legumes, Hall hire for events and trainings, Pathology and Hematology laboratory services.

Climate Smart Projects

Mbarara ZARDI is developing climate-smart agricultural technologies for improved productivity and support sustainable agro-industrialisation in Uganda.

Members of the NARO Governing Council monitoring the bean seed multiplication project at MBAZARDI


Crop and Natural Resources Research Program

Animal Resources Research Program

Technology Promotion and Outreach Research Program


Products & Services

Trainings Services in

Nursery Management
Pasture Conservation
Crop Agronomy
Animal Husbandry
Aquacultures Trainings

Achievements & Milestones

Development of New Crop Varieties
Development of New Pasture Varieties

Partnerships & Collaborations

Integrated Seed Sector
Development (ISSD)
District local Governments
Excel Hort Consult
Pearl Dairies

Volunteer & Internships

Application Procedure for Volunteers and Internships

Volunteers: Interested persons are advised to write and deliver applications to MbaZARDI on weekdays.

Internships: MbaZARDI runs one internship program annually. Students are advised to deliver applications and university recommendations to the Institute on weekdays.



Contact Information

  • Mbarara Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute - MbaZARDI
  • +256 414 668928
  • Mbarara City, The research station is located out of Mbarara City center, 6 km along Mbarara – Kasese Road.
  • P.O Box 389, Mbarara City