Doctor Yona Baguma has been appointed the new Director General of the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) replacing Dr Ambrose Agona who retires this week from the position.
The Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries Hon Frank Tumwebaze confirmed the appointment in a Thursday tweet and said Dr Baguma takes over the reins at NARO immediately.
“Glad to announce to the agricultural research community, & all stakeholders of the Ministry of Agriculture, that in accordance with the NARO law, I have appointed Dr Yona Baguma as new DG NARO to replace Dr Ambrose Agona who retires on April 21, 2023,” Tumwebaze noted.
Tumwebaze thanked outgoing DG, Agona for his efforts in leading the agricultural research agenda. He also thanked the organisation for conducting a transparent recruitment exercise.
“I wish to thank Dr. Ambrose Agona for his efforts in leading our agricultural research agenda. NARO continues to develop highly resilient seed varieties that sustain our production. I thank the council of NARO for conducting a transparent recruitment process.” the minister remarked.
NARO is an agency under the Ministry of Agriculture with the mandate to coordinate and oversee all aspects of public funded agricultural research in Uganda.
Dr Yona Baguma holds a BSc Agric (Mak) MSc Agric (Mak), PhD Molecular Cell Biology (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences), with over 33 years of experience, 25 years practicing research science, 8 years of research management, 67 journal publications, 10 books, 19 corporate documents among others.
Prior to his appointment, Dr Baguma has been serving as the Deputy Director General of NARO in an acting position.
According to his profile on the Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st Century (GCP21) website, Dr Baguma is described as a Molecular Biologist who, since his appointment in 1988, has tirelessly worked on cassava research and made significant contributions towards food security and increased income through the restoration of cassava production, development of natural resource use, and disease (CMD and CBSD) management practices.
He has designed and implemented research on highly nutritious cassava with enhanced beta-carotene and starch in Uganda as a contribution towards improved human health and income for the poor.
Until his elevation, he has been involved in research on drought-resilient cassava to mitigate the effects of climate change and to adapt cassava to new agronomic and economic conditions, and development of double haploids in cassava to usher in a new approach to cassava breeding for desired traits.
In addition to cassava research, Dr Baguma has been a key team player in developing and implementing biosafety regulatory guidelines and systems in Uganda and beyond.