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NARO’s strategic contribution to agro-industrialisation and implications for plant health (CONNECTED Seminar One)

A re-focusing of the work of Uganda’s national agricultural research organisation (NARO) was the subject of a presentation by Dr Sylvester Dickson Baguma, Director of NARO-Bulindi Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute, at the inaugural CONNECTED Seminar.

NARO undertakes research in all aspects of the country’s agriculture. In a presentation entitled “NARO’s strategic contribution to agro-industrialisation and implications for plant health”, Dr. Baguma explained that the Ugandan government expects NARO to make a significant contribution to the transformation of communities from subsistence to middle-income status. A key part of this is shifting its emphasis to market and industry-oriented products.

He set out the way NARO’s work now has a greater focus on commercialisation. For example, whilst cassava, banana and coffee remain important to the Ugandan economy and to its citizens, NARO will also use them to produce:

  • instant coffee, rather just selling coffee beans
  • a range of cassava products, such as cookies, crisps, biodegradable paper, and ethanol, and
  • textiles and hair products from banana fibre.

He also outlined a series of examples of how plants are being used to improve human health.

Dr. Baguma also explained the implications of the new programme for plant health in the country:

  • Viral and fungal plant diseases are the most prevalent
  • Measures are being implemented to improve plant disease and pest surveillance
  • Building diagnostic capacity, with lab protocols and techniques and having the requisite human expertise in place to handle emerging issues
  • Seeking more resources for increased research and development.

He stressed the future role of the CONNECTED Network in helping those involved in agriculture in Uganda to share advice and solutions.

CONNECTED network members can watch Dr. Baguma’s presentation and the Question and Answer session which followed it, using this link. You will need to be logged in as a CONNECTED member on the device you are using.