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Mbarara University Student Wins Climate Resilient Chicken Value Chain Competition

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In an effort to support climate-resilient agriculture and enhance the ability to thrive in changing climates, the National Agriculture Research Organization (NARO) Mukono chapter in collaboration with University of Burundi and Gudie Leisure Farm, organized a climate-resilient competition in the chicken value chain that attracted numerous applications from young innovators across the country.

Dubbed “Greening the Chicken Value Chain,” the project aimed to help youth involved in the chicken value chain to be both profitable and climate-resilient.

Etyang Aaron, an electronics engineering student from Mbarara University, emerged as the winner with his “Smart Kuku Brooder” idea in a stiff competition against nine other finalists.

According to Aaron, the brain behind the idea, their goal is to solve the problem of poor temperature regulation in poultry brooders, especially during the birds’ early stages, with a cheaper and eco-friendly solution.

“In our field study, we realized that farmers sleep in the same breeding room with chicks and stay awake the whole night trying to regulate temperatures. Additionally, some farmers couldn’t even afford charcoal and wood used in brooders. This idea is indeed a solution for all those farmers who thought of quitting poultry because of hardships in brooding,” he asserted.

Aaron further highlighted that this system, which uses solar power to regulate temperatures, has been tested by seven farmers across the country. They are currently expanding their production to make it available to every farmer who needs it in Uganda and beyond.

Amid several challenges, including limited resources and funds, Aaron remains hopeful about the future of the project and extended gratitude to NARO for granting them the opportunity to advance.

Prof. Naiga Basaza, the managing director of Gudie Leisure Farm and one of the judges, expressed appreciation to all the youth participants. She noted her excitement to see farmers involved in conserving the environment with innovative ideas.

Basaza called on the government to provide a platform for innovative youth and highlighted that the three winners will be supported in not only advancing the science behind their projects but also in commercializing their ideas.

Owen Singura, research officer and project coordinator of Greening the Chicken Value Chain, encouraged youth with ideas in the chicken value chain to refine them as NARO is ready to support them from the prototype stage to becoming a company.

“We think there is a limit to what we can do as NARO, which is why we don’t limit the projects and innovations from the youth. We want to help them patent their ideas, protect them, and develop them for the market,” Singura noted.

Among the nationwide scope, 52 innovations that met the criteria of climate resilience were selected, and 10 finalists were chosen to present their ideas to the judges and fellow youth, who carried a popular vote on Monday.

The overall winner of this competition received UGX 2 million, the second-place winner received UGX 1.5 million, and the third-place winners received UGX 1 million for their biogas innovation.

According to the organizers, all 10 finalists will be invited to an incubation boot camp to refine their ideas and connect them to other opportunities.

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Mbarara University Student Wins Climate Resilient Chicken Value Chain Competition

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