In a bid to witness the operation, the level of research and available facilities in the University of Rwanda, Dr Emilia Molnar from Swedish Embassy paid a visit to the College of Agriculture, Animal Sciences and Veterinary Medicine-Busogo Campus located in the northern part of the country. The visit was also in line with Emilia’s mandate to oversee funded activities of the Government of Sweden through UR-Sweden Programme for Research, Higher Education and Institutional Advancement.
During the visit, Dr Laetitia Nyinawamwiza gave an overview about the College and noted that her College has a high stake in community engagement as it regularly reaches out to farmers to give them guidance on proper ways to handle their cattle and fields for better production. She also highlighted the need to give an impetus to creativity and entrepreneurship to ensure that research outputs are translated into innovation.
“We need qualified and experienced staff to work in research and innovation offices to be able to ensure that technology transfer can happen,” she said adding that the College is coming up with mechanisms to spur students’ mentorship programme with a view to maximize employment opportunities.
Dr Nyinawamwiza (right) giving an overview of the College to the visitors
Dr Emilia who is the Senior Programme Manager for Research and Higher Education at Swedish Embassy along with the Coordinators of UR-Sweden Programme witnessed the available facilities during the campus tour. Among the impressive laboratories visited were the Food Science laboratory which was very active and students showcased their ongoing and completed experiments. Tissue culture lab was equally remarkable and demonstrated outstanding skills in plant by technology practical and seeds multiplication.
In the course of the tour, lab technicians were urged to have a career grow in their own field like other academic staff. According to Nyinawamwiza, lab technicians should aim for PhD since they play a significant role in assisting PhD students, doing experiments and co-publish with other researchers without necessarily moving to academics positions.
visit to campus laboratories
The visit was sealed by research presentations dubbed “Science day” organized by the College with the support of UR-Sweden Programme. Five academics presented their research outputs including two ongoing PhD students in Sweden.
Presentations were kicked off by Prof Francois Naramabuye who is specialized in Soil Sciences. In his presentation on “Natural Resources and Land use Planning Tradeoffs Tool” Naramabuye proposed ways for proper management and well domestication of water resources available in the country. The next presenter was Olive Tuyishime who took the audience through her research on the “Impact of soil salinity on rice yield”.
Olive’s experiment is being conducted in the Eastern Province of Rwanda in Nyagatare District. She is a PhD student at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in Sweden. Among other presented topics was from Prof Charles Bucagu, an Associate Professor in Agroforestry & Dean of School of Agriculture and Food Sciences who presented on “Exploring tools for determining and managing maize yield gaps in Rwanda”. In his presentation, he expressed the urge for farmers to be enabled so that they can predict yield and timely find out factors likely to reduce yield and make informed interventions.
Research presentation; bottom right clockwise; Mr Ndahetuye, Prof Bucagu, Prof Naramabuye and Ms Tuyishime
Other presentations were made by Prof Srinivasan Thoppe, Professor in Entomology who presented on “Bioprospecting symbionts in soil pests, wood feeding insects and plants for potential bioactive molecules” as well as “Mastitis in dairy cows in Rwanda: characterization, prevalence, aetiology, and effects on milk quality” presented by Jean Baptiste Ndahetuye, also a student at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in Sweden.
In her remarks, Dr Emilia hailed the organization witnessed in the Campus as well as efficient utilization of limited available facilities. She also called on academics and researchers in general to keep up the culture of sharing their research by consistently organizing science days.
Part of College’s ongoing initiatives include encouraging PhD staff and researchers in general to conduct their research activities by harnessing available facilities in the college which will ultimately improve the research culture and boost laboratories in the campus.
By Darius Murangwa