KAMPALA - Ugandan scientists tackling various diseases affecting crops have been told to handle crop diseases so that farmers improve their livehood.
Dr. Yona Baguma, the deputy director general of the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), made the call in Kampala at the launch of CONNECTED, a community network for vector-borne plant viruses.
“It is one thing to have a project and it is another to deliver. I want results, I want to see impact on the African people," he said.
Baguma highlighted a myriad of problems that had to be solved, including low scientist base, climate change, low mechanisation and a virus-like white fly that transmits cassava brown steak disease.
“These present a big burden to the sector."
CONNECTED, a UK government-funded research programme looks at tackling plant diseases caused by vectors. Through a network, members will apply for grants ranging from between £30,000 and £90,000 for research.
Explaining the aim of CONNECTED, Prof. Neil Boonham, connected network co-director at the University of Newcastle, said such collaboration provided the UK with the opportunity to play a leading role in tackling some of the problems facing the developing world.
He said they would take a multidisciplinary approach involving social scientists and policy makers to tackle vector-borne disease.
Uganda and other countries have of recent seen a surge of plant diseases caused by vectors, including the fall armyworm and necrosis ravaging maize fields.
The British are channeling the £1.5m through the University of Bristol and University of Newcastle University.
Neil revealed that researchers interested in funding should visit the organisation’s website to apply. However, he highlighted the requirement of having a British scientist onboard as a core requirement.
He said outcomes would be shared among the members. The project has funding for training, such as on grant proposal and research awards.