Makerere University has a new programme. Recently approved by the university council, the three–year Bachelor of Industrial Livestock Business is Makerere’s answer to transforming farmers into critical contributors to the economy.
According to the principal of the college of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Bio-Security (Covab), Prof John David Kabasa, the programme is aligned to six industrial value chains, previously considered as independent courses. These include the dairy, poultry, feeds, leather, commercial insects, and the meat industry.
“Our target is to see that all graduates can start their own jobs in their home areas without necessarily coming to Kampala to look for jobs,” Prof Kabasa said.
He explained that students on this programme will have an opportunity to acquire skills in all industrial value chains in their second academic year. He added that the programme was an upgrade on their initial efforts as many of their graduates had failed to translate their lessons into hands-on skills.
“We have trained enough supervisors of farmers but we have failed to make meaningful impact in the area of adding value to what we produce as a country,” he said.
“The time to train and churn out professional farmers who can cause the real change we want is now.”
Reflecting on the development, vice chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe commended Covab’s new teaching mode. He advised university graduates, pursuing various programmes, especially the humanities to delay getting jobs, before pursuing a two–month hands-on programme in Covab.
Prof Nawangwe said although many graduates dream of joining the civil service, not all of them would be absorbed.
“There is a lot of competition in the job market today and it requires one to have additional skills to survive. If one trains as a teacher, he loses nothing if he gets skills in shoemaking or ice cream making.” he said.
Currently, the Africa Institute for Strategic Animal Resource Services and Development, under Covab, runs certificate and diploma short courses in which students can acquire skills in processing high-quality dairy products like yoghurt, butter, ice cream as well as poultry.
Recently, the university council scrapped 32 courses deemed a duplication of others, in order to offer holistic training to students.