By Nathan Ngobi
Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) in a bid to develop quality human resource with a capacity to increase Africa’s agricultural productivity.
Prof. Adipala Ekwamu, the Executive Secretary of RUFORUM signed on behalf of his Universities’ organization while David Obong, the Permanent Secretary (PS), Minister of Science , Technology and Innovation signed on behalf of the government of Uganda, at an event that took place on Wednesday at the ministry’s board room located on Rumee building along Lumumba avenue in Kampala.
During the signing, PS Obong, said that the core objective of the partnership will be achieving a capable human resource to intensify and increase agricultural productivity, adding that the knowledge developed through university research comes down to value chain actors in agri–food system for transformation.
He said that with the partnership, the ministry will benefit from transforming Ugandans to adopt appropriate technologies and innovation skills.
On his part, while addressing the members after signing the memo, Prof. Adipala hailed Government of Uganda for improving on the youth employment and entrepreneurship skills.
He said that at this rate, Uganda would lead in science and innovation in Africa and in the future, be able to host African heads of states on science, technology and innovation.
Below is part of Prof. Adipala’s speech,
I thank the Government of Uganda for Initiating a number of programs , I would like to plead with the Government of Uganda to either create or expand an innovative fund for promoting innovativeness amidst of all these challenges you had from Covid 19 but even before and you watch what the youth and others are doing , the sort of innovation, creating these testing equipment where you don’t need to come close to the machine, a youth telling you, I have able to take power to my village and then you can see now the development of this and that our scientists can go up to that level, you see the development of these automated sanitizers but sir these is a lot more that our youths are able to do, we need to really put this as a priority action in our country but that means and am very pleased that you have a specific officer dealing with it.
The issue of intellectual property rights needs to be strengthened. Finally, my prayer to the Government and am really very grateful on the efforts already done, the issue of promoting youth employment and entrepreneurship skills development. I think these are very critical areas that your ministry in collaboration with other ministries need to give emphasis.
Now to my over role remarks, I think I would like to start that we really appreciate the Government of Uganda to for accepting to host the RUFORUM secretariat in Uganda, .
When we started, we were a membership of 10 universities and there was a bidding process led by then the former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Eriya Kategaya and the Ministry of Education and Sports, Namirembe Bitamazire, and others and we had the bid to host the secretariat of the forum.
We are very grateful for that support and continued support we have received from the president and first lady and now your ministry; I want to thank the Government of Uganda for that.
But I also want to congratulate the Government of Uganda current through your ministry you are chairing the African Union commission specialized committee of Education, science, technology and innovation. This indeed is a great honor for the country, but we need to take it further that we need to enhance that leadership role that has been given to us to promote development of science, technology and Innovation in our country but also throughout Africa.
I have a dream which sometimes is not quite agreed. I have a dream that one day Uganda should host a summit on building science, technology and innovation ,a summit of African heads of states and I see no other better country to provide that leadership than Uganda, not because am from Uganda but I have seen what the country has been done and I pray that one day that can be materialized.
The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), established by ten Vice Chancellors in 2004, is a consortium of 129 African universities operating within 38 countries spanning the African continent. RUFORUM is coordinated by a Secretariat hosted by Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. The organization evolved from its predecessor, the Forum on Agricultural Resource Husbandry (FORUM) program of the Rockefeller Foundation. RUFORUM is registered as an International Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) and has mandate to oversee graduate training.