Thirteen first degree holders from Makerere University have been chosen to pursue masters degrees in agriculture related fields at the prestigious Chonbuk National University in Korea.
The 12-men and one-woman team will travel to Korea in January 2016 to start their two-year fully sponsored programme that was made possible with support from Chonbuk’s Piggery and Diary industry through Chonbuk University and as well as collaboration with Makerere University.
A team of experts from Chonbuk University led by Prof. Lee Hak Kyo was in Uganda this week to meet with the students for an orientation exercise into Korean culture and ways of life. The three-day orientation programme was held at the National Farmers Leadership Centre (NFLC) at Kampiringisa, Mpigi district. The centre was also financed and built by Koreans with the view to inculcating among farmers and leaders the spirit and need of mindset change for development.
The National Farmers Leadership Centre (NFLC) is a joint partnership between Uganda’s ministry of Agriculture and the Korean government. Uganda contributed the 50 acres on which it is located while the Korean government contributed US$3.5m (Approximately Ushs11bn) to raise the infrastructure that will support the training of future farmers leaders across the country. The centre is currently headed by Dr. Jee Hyeong-Jin. He told The Sunrise that besides training future leaders, the centre will act as a centre for technology transfer as well as acting as a place for sensitizing Ugandans about the need for mindset change.
Prof. Lee told The Sunrise that the 13 lucky Ugandans will have a unique opportunity to enhance not just their theoretical knowledge about confronting challenges in the animal sector, but also get the grips of Korea’s agricultural industrial sector that includes a range of processes such as food processing, disease and farm management.
“This is a unique programme for the students because students spend only one Semester at campus and three semesters in industries, farms and other agricultural facilities getting practical experiences,” said Prof. Lee.
He added that the 13 students are the first batch of what he and his colleagues back at Chonbuk will grow into a 200-strong group of well trained champions and leaders that will transform Uganda’s agricultural sector from a subsistence to commercial production.
Internet research by The Sunrise shows that Chonbuk is a diverse university with up to 15 campuses that specialise in different fields of agriculture. Located in the South of the Country, Chonbuk enjoys the proximity of South Korea’s biggest food processing industries.
At the NFLC in Kampiringisa, the students underwent training on the Saemaul philosophy – which was an ideological movement that powered Korea to rise from the ashes of war to a first-world country in just 50 years. Korea’s transformation from a subsistence to developed world has been recognised world wide as the fastest in the history of human development.
The students were told that the training they will undergo is primary meant to enable them lead others from subsistence livelihoods to better ways of life.
Prof. Lee noted that in the coming years, South Koreans will invest in Uganda’s agricultural sector seriously and could take advantage of the acquired knowledge and experiences of Ugandans.