This programme handles three critical research areas; genetic resources conservation, biological control and biotechnology tools applications to agricultural development in Uganda. The programme
Plant genetic resources : http://www.pgrc.go.ug are one of the most important assets for achieving Uganda’s development goals including poverty eradication, food security, medical and industrial advancement. They are hence a key ingredient in the nation’s transformation process. These resources are however threatened by expanding human activity like agriculture, herbal industry, deforestation and mining but also climate change leading to loss of precious plant diversity. There is strategic need to secure, study and make readily available these resources for sustainable use.
Biological control as an environmentally safer option of managing crop pests and disease vectors: The use of biological agents as an alternative to chemical pesticides to control insect pests, vectors, plant diseases and noxious weeds in crop production systems is an area we are already taking very seriously. Use of synthetic chemical pesticides in intensive crop production has caused socio-economic problems. There are increasing reports of pesticide resistance and residue in export commodities. Some of the problems related to pests and diseases can only be effectively tamed through application of biotechnological tools to improve the commodities or contain the causal organisms thereby increasing prospects for food and income security in Africa.
Biotechnology refers to the exploitation of biological resources in a wide range of novel processes to modify living organisms for products and services needed for human use. Biotechnology tools for plant disease testing, tissue-culture and genetic transformation are being developed to enhance agricultural production in areas where traditional methods have not been successful. The development of enzyme and DNA based testing methods in for crop diseases; plant tissue culture systems for a range of crops such as banana, coffee, potato, and high value spices have been
Project 1. Conservation, enhanced management and sustainable utilization of plant genetic resources
Specific expected outputs:
Plant genetic resources sustainably conserved and utilized
The potential of key plant genetic resources for economic benefit in Uganda including food, pharmaceaticals and crop improvement documented and promoted
In-situ conservation of crop diversity through the development os community seed banks and use of variety mixtires in reducing pest challneges on farm developed
Major traits, molecular markers and genes for resistance to environmental stress (temperature, moisture), disease, pest resistance and other productivity and nutrition improvements in plant genetic resources
Project 2 : Development and promotion of biocontrol and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) systems for control of major pests, plant diseases and noxious weeds for increased productivity, novel products and environmental protection.
Specific expected outputs:
Entomopathogens and insect spp. for insect pest control in maize, rice, cassava and citrus.
Novel IPM and bio-control strategies for management of the mango fruit flies and false codling moth (FCM) in capsicum (hot pepper).
Bio-control systems for management of invasive plant species such as the water hyacinth, Salvinia molesta (Kariba weed) and Parthenium hyterophorus
Conservation and evaluation of microbial and insect genetic resources through a functional microbial collection and insect museum at NARL
Molecular biology tools that enhannce the utilisation of crop and microbial resources including t ools for detecting pathogens
Transgenic ground nuts with resistance to a flatoxin causing Aspergillus and Fusarium species
In-Vitro collection, cryopreservation, regeneration, cell and tissue culture systems and transformation systems for important genetic resources in Uganda
National Plant Genetic Resource conservatory (genebank and botanical garden) with 4700 accessions of 510 species
National Plant Genetic Resource Policy and Strategy
Three community seed banks in Kabwohe, Nakaseke and Rubaya
Biological control of the cereal stem borer (Busseola fusca) with egg parasitoids
Mango fruit fly integrated pest management
Plant transformation systems for millet, groundnut and passionfruit
Low cost tissue culture protocols and procedures to enhance the seed system of banana, coffee, and other high value crops
Tissue culture for domestication of two native medical plants and a seed system
To be a centre of excellence generating and promoting appropriate agricultural technologies
To generate and promote agricultural technologies and improve productivity, value addition, income and food security