MaRCCI, Makerere University, and Uganda’s NDP
This mandate is part of the Uganda National Development plan (NDPIII) theme “Sustainable Industrialization for inclusive growth, employment and wealth creation.”For Agriculture, the NDPIII targets “Increased rate of growth of the agricultural sector from 3.8 percent to 7 percent. For employment, the plan seeks a reduction of youth unemployment from 13.3 percent to 9.7 percent. Makerere University has responded to these directives by focusing on research and development. It has adopted the vision to be research led and set the target to increase graduate student enrollment from the current 6% to 30%, along with internationalization of training. As one of the strategic actions to achieve this, the University supported the creation of the Centre of Excellence (CoE), the Makerere University Regional Centre for Crop Improvement through recommending to Government to underwrite the loan to fund the creation of MaRCCI.
The role of MaRCCI is to support training in two graduate programs, the PhD in Plant Breeding and Biotechnology and the M.Sc. in Plant Breeding and Seed Systems. MaRCCI supports Uganda’s NDPII through the output of trained breeders who release higher-yielding crop varieties that are climate resilient and tolerant to biotic and abiotic stresses, leading increased volumes of crop produce that feeds into the agro-industrial sector. Since its inception, the annual enrolment of graduate students in these two programs rose several fold to the extent that it has supported the training of 150 M.Sc. and 70 PhD students who have completed their degree programs and took up roles in plant breeding programs in Uganda and the region. Stakeholders have commended highly on the performance of graduates of MaRCCI whom they employ. The Centre derives strength from the wide range of partners who participate in various ways to support the training of students. (see partners of MaRCCI _link).
Other arms of the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries (MAAIF) are set to support adoption of the improved varieties by farmers. Such adoption leads to higher crop yields and supports the goal of the NDPIII toward “Increased Household Incomes and Improved Quality of Life of Ugandans”.