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Regional Head, East and Southern Africa
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AGRA is a dynamic partnership working across the African continent to help millions of small-scale farmers and their families lift themselves out of poverty and hunger. AGRA programs develop practical solutions to significantly boost farm productivity and inco... more.
AGRA | Program for Africa's Seed Systems | Board and Staff
Dr George Bigirwa
Senior Program Officer, Program for Africa's Seed System Dr Bigirwa, a Ugandan national, holds a PhD in Plant Pathology. He has worked in various disciplines including crop breeding that resulted in the release of six maize and five rice varieties widely grown in Uganda and the neighboring countries of Tanzania, Rwanda, DR Congo and Southern Sudan. Prior to joining AGRA, Dr Bigirwa worked for 22 years with Uganda's National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO). He served as NARO's National Coordinator of Maize and Rice Research, a post he held for 8 years. Dr Bigirwa has chaired the Maize and Wheat Network for Eastern and Central Africa (ECAMAW) and the East and Central Africa Rice Research Network (ECARRN), and has been instrumental in linking private seed companies to public research institutions throughout the region - linkages that are critical to expediting smallholder farmer access to new varieties.
We hope to draw on that experience as we collaborate with all stakeholders involved in the MLN mitigation effort to ensure that Africa's farmers continue to access quality, MLN-free seed to safeguard their livelihoods and food security," said Dr. George Bigirwa, AGRA's Head of the Regional Team for East and Southern Africa.
According to Mr. George Bigirwa, AGRA's Pass Program Associate Director, as of last year, Pass invested US$13.5 million.
Of these, US$ 0.9 million was spent on the training of scientists, US$ 4.1 in research development, US$ 2.9 million in supporting seed enterprises and US$ 5.6 million in the development of agro dealers.
Although sunn hemp was introduced in Uganda from Latin America, it has adopted well to the soils here, according to Dr George Bigirwa, senior programme officer, Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (Agra).
He led stakeholders from different parts of Africa on a tour of Naseco's multiplication fields. "Like we advise farmers to carry out crop rotation using other crops such as beans, groundnuts, green gram, sorghum and millet, which contain root nodules for nitrogen fixation, the same applies to the sunn hemp which has even more ability to fix nitrogen in the soil because its capacity to produce the nodules is high'" Dr Bigirwa explains. He adds that farmers in the developed countries have been using this crop for a long time as a measure to increase on soil fertility. So, he urges Ugandan farmers to do the same to increase on their output.
Ugandaâ€™s bet on rice begins to payoff
Mr George Bigirwa, a crop scientist and also the programme officer of Alliance for Green Revolution who was also instrumental in steering rice production in Uganda as a researcher at National Agricultural Organisation (Naro), said upland rice makes rice growing much easier as opposed to traditional varieties that mainly grow in paddies.
"Rice was previously a low priority crop but due to innovative research at Naro we were able to come up with adaptable varieties," he said.