This project seeks to develop an operation framework where universities can work with communities to enhance productivity and competitiveness of smallholder agriculture, as well as responsiveness and impact of universities in agricultural development. It will build on past experiences of FORUM and RUFORUM, by piloting the use of novel approaches (ICTs and others) to strengthen functionality of the multi-commodity value chains of rice, cowpeas and soybeans.
It is envisaged that through creation of knowledge and information centres, the University can proactively intensify its engagement with rural communities and make meaningful contributions to rural development. Developing strong partnerships long the research to development continuum will be the basis for enhancing functionality of the value chains on one hand and building the capacity of rural communities to utilise access, utilise and intensify the use on technologies on the other hand. Women groups will particularly be targeted because of their greater involvement in agricultural production.
The women groups will be supported through training to acquire skills to utilise information for innovatively improving agricultural value chains and hence sustaining their livelihoods. This project will also pilot experiential learning approaches for University students and staff, and review the Faculty of Agriculture curricula for potential inclusion of experiential learning modules.The Project outputs will include; 1 PhD and 3 MSCs, 30 farmers or their children trained on the use of ICTs for outreach,2 information centres established, and 3 ICT based approaches for technology dissemination developed.
The outcome of the project will be a responsive research, training and outreach programme piloted and packaged for dissemination. Attempts will also be made to scale up successful learning experiences to other universities by linking with the RUFORUM African, Caribbean and Pacific S& T (ACP) outreach and Innovations projects
To develop and operationalise partnerships between Makerere University, selected farmer communities and other critical stakeholders within the framework of action research, to enhance productivity, competitiveness, responsiveness and impact of University led research on smallholder agriculture and agricultural development in Uganda.
To pilot an experiential learning model to strengthen quality and better graduate training and engagement of Universities with farming communities
To develop and test the effectiveness of capacity development- information- based outreach model for disseminating university generated technologies and best practices to farmers and agribusiness communities
Build entrepreneurial capacity of smallholder farmers and students by strengthening legume andrice value chains in two regions of Uganda.
Develop an information and communication technology mechanism to enable farmers‟ to access information from a University information centre.