23rd Feb, 2024 2:14pm
The Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU) hosted a delegation from UTAMSI GmbH on Friday, February 2, 2024, at the main campus in Mbale. The distinguished guests were welcomed by the Rector of IUIU Assoc Prof Ismail Simbwa Gyagenda, Vice Rector in charge of Academic Affairs Dr. Jamil Serwanga, Vice Rector in charge of Finance Prof Abdul Kaziba Mpaata, the Academic Registrar Dr. Halima Wakabi Akbar, Prof Mohamed El Nour Taha, Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture Business and Natural Resource Sciences, and Mr. Shaban Okurut the Dean of Science.
The purpose of the visit was to explore potential collaborations between IUIU and UTAMSI GmbH, a food production company specializing in cocoa, coffee, macadamia, and vanilla. The focus of the collaboration is to offer internships to students, providing them with a practical overview of their theoretical coursework and fostering a connection between academia and industry.
Prof Mohamed El Nour Taha, Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture Business and Natural Resource Sciences, provided an overview of the faculty, stating that curriculum preparation for some departments was complete. He highlighted the uniqueness of studying agriculture at IUIU, emphasizing value addition, organic production, use of indigenous knowledge, biodiversity maintenance, and community engagement.
Mr. Aline, the CEO of UTAMSI GmbH, outlined the company's commitment to training farmers in organic farming practices, ensuring a sustainable and high-yielding crop. He added that the company pays a fair price to farmers for their produce, contributing to their well-being, and fostering collaborations to enhance the living standards of farmers.
Mr Shaban Okurut encouraged the UTAMSI representatives to test the products to ensure that farmers are following guidelines for the production of organic coffee. In response, the company representative assured the gathering that UTAMSI GmbH has a quality control department in place to ensure the adherence of farmers to production guidelines.
Dr. Halima Wakabi Akbar commended UTAMSI for bringing forth the initiative and commended the Dean for his efforts. She urged both entities to expedite the collaboration process, emphasizing the importance of getting into details and returning to the drawing board promptly.
Dr. Jamil Serwanga highlighted IUIU's commitment to contributing to the collaboration with the existing farmland resources. He urged the need to move beyond discussions and translate collaboration ideas from paper to practice once the partnership is signed.
Prof Abdul Kaziba Mpaata mentioned that the government encourages universities to emphasize collaboration with industries, which would not only shape the curriculum but also provide valuable internship opportunities. He appreciated UTAMSI's offer for internships, emphasizing its potential impact on the faculty.
The Rector Assoc Prof Ismail Simbwa Gyagenda emphasized the need for Africa to transition from being exploited to obtaining more value for products made within the continent. He expressed the hope that through deliberations, a partnership could be formed where all parties involved, including farmers, UTAMSI, and the community, would benefit.