Ugandans have unanimously lauded a decision by the Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Frank Tumwebaze to pick Dr. Yona Baguma as the new Director General (DG) of National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO).
Baguma who has been serving as Deputy DG replaces frail Dr Ambrose Agona who’s also nursing the loss of his dear mother last year in November.
Baguma’s appointment was confirmed Thursday.
“Glad to announce to the agricultural research community, and all stakeholders of MAAIF, that in accordance with the NARO law, I have appointed Dr Yona Baguma as new DG,” 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.
HE DESERVES IT
Following the announcement, Ugandans have expressed their node of approval in the new boss whom they expect to do wonders at NARO.
Among those who received the news with excitement is former URA publicist Ian Rumanyika.
Veteran scribe Micheal Wambi also approved the minister’s decision: “I wish congratulations to Dr. Yona Baguma and kudos to Dr. Ambose Agona. That said, I think we need to get those agricultural technologies to farmers for adaptation to climate change.”
Balaam Barugahara, known for his generous comments on twitter especially those praising Gen Museveni and son aka standby generator Gen Muhoozi, could not miss out also: “He deserves the appointment thank you Hon Min for that best pick at NARO.”
Scientist and Makerere University CoNAS (College of Natural Sciences) don Arthur Tugume could not hide his excitement also. “Congratulations to Dr. Yona Baguma upon this appointment for steering NARO. As part of the NBC of Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST) we are indeed happy for your appointment. The School of Biosciences of Makerere University CoNAS (College of Natural Sciences) looks forward to enhanced partnerships with NARO on matters of Bio innovations.”
Ojara P’Okot describes Dr. Baguma as very pragmatic and result oriented.
“Congratulations Dr. Yona! Much deserved. Your exceptional career in agriculture sciences is deserving of this appointment! Great choice by Hon. Minister Frank Tumwebaze,” said Jonan Twine.
Sales Guru Arinanye Noowe John Mary lauded MAAIF bosses for the good but was quick to remind Yona to do something about GMO’s which “are risking our indigenous plants /seeds.”
Varsity don, Tom Omute also joined the congratulatory order: “Bravo, Dr. Ambrose Agona! You led a team that greatly expanded NARO’s influence and contributions to the National Economy through cutting edge research and innovations. Dr. Yona Baguma is another great team player and excellent achiever. Very high hopes for the NARO Team!”
Academician Edgar Tumwesigye (PhD Scholar) added: “Best wishes to Dr. Ambrose Agona in his retirement & congratulations to Dr. Yona Baguma for the well-deserved appointment. You are a blessing to Uganda Hon Frank. A minister who allows a due process to take place is rare in our current Uganda systems. Thanks very much.”
“Congratulations, Dr. Yona Baguma on this well-deserved appointment,” Flavia Zabali Musisi noted.
Josephat Musinguzi hopes Dr.Baguma “will take NARO higher and lead it to more research projects.”
For Alfred Afeku Njoroge, in Dr. Baguma, NARO is now in the hands of the finest brain in agricultural research. “We have trust he’ll steer agricultural research in Uganda to improve the wellbeing of our people and sustainability. Million thanks to Dr Ambrose Agona, a great leader of his time.”
HOPE FOR STAFF
NARO has also been facing internal challenges like demoralized staff, job wars, witch hunt, sex wars, and unfair recruitment policy and audit issues among others.
Some staffers at NARO now have hope that with Baguma—who is aware of these issues—at the helm, all this will be history.
NARO is mandated to undertake research in all aspects of agriculture including crops, livestock, fisheries, forestry, agro-machinery, natural resources and socio-economics.
Established as a body corporate by the National Agricultural Research Act of 2005, NARO comprises a Governing Council, a Secretariat and 16 Public Agricultural Research Institutes (PARIs) spread across the country.
Dr Baguma has been described as a Molecular Biologist, who, 1988, has tirelessly worked on cassava research and made significant contributions towards food security and increased income through 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.
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.
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