By Our Reporter
The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga on Monday led d a team of 30 leaders from Busoga region to the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) Crop & Livestock Resources Research Institutes in Namulonge and Nakyesasa respectively on a learning mission of smart agricultural practices.
While at the Livestock Research Institute, Kadaga toured the vaccine evaluation platform where clinical trials for NARO produced (4) tick vaccines are being conducted in line with the World Health Organization procedures for release of a new drug.
“Rt. Hon. Speaker, once on the market, this vaccine will save this country over Shs3.2 trillion which is the current expenditure on imported ticks and acaracide treatment for livestock,” said Ambrose Agona, the NARO Director General.
Agona said the model is available for interested commercial farmers to adopt and replicate on their own farms. “As a Research Organization, we pride ourselves in bringing the smartest agricultural practices closer to the people for increased production and productivity,” he said.
Kadaga said, “is possible for us to move the 68% of our Ugandans into the cash economy and I implore my colleagues the elected leaders to make use of the knowledge resources available to us through the Zonal Agricultural Research Institutes to enlighten our people.”
The NARO vaccines being produced include three tick-specific vaccines and one cocktail vaccine that has the potential to protect Ugandan cattle and beyond from the three most prevalent ticks.
NARO is applying biotechnology tools in the development of potato varieties tolerant to potato blight disease, maize varieties tolerant to drought, maize stock borer and the fall army worm, banana varieties enhanced vitamin A content.
NARO has embarked on a campaign to promote research partnership and collaboration; improve research quality and increase total research funding for research by mobilising funds from farmers, industry and other sources.
Dr. Godfrey Asea, the Director of Research at the Crop Research Institute said that annually, Ugandan farmers lose an estimated Shs100 billion to major cassava virus diseases.