Celebrating the life of Prof. Joseph Mukiibi, ASARECA founding Member
By Ben Moses Ilakut--One of the founding members of the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), Prof. Joseph Mukiibi has died. Also the founding Director-General (DG) of the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO)—Uganda’s AR4D apex body, which he served for 15 years, Prof. Mukiibi passed away on Tuesday March 2, 2021 in Kampala, according the NARO Director General, Dr. Ambrose Agona. Prof. Mukiibi was also the founding chairman of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), the continental agriculture apex body.
“It is with great sadness that I have learnt and relay the news of the death of Prof. Joseph Mukibi, the first-ever NARO DG,” NARO’s Dr. Agona announced on his twitter account.
Prof. Mukiibi as well served as Makerere University’s leading Plant Pathologist and Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry for over 20 years. He has an elaborate career in improving livelihoods on the Continent. Together with nine other Director Generals of Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa, Mukiibi in 1994 birthed the idea of an agricultural research for development umbrella body in Eastern and Central Africa that led to the establishment of ASARECA.
He provided ASARECA its first office space, a room next to his office at NARO and also lent it furniture and stationery. More or less a loose Association at the time, ASARECA would later become a powerful non-profit sub-regional, inter-governmental body, now of 14 member countries. These include: Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Prof. Mukiibi, often referred to as one of ASARECA’s “10 wise men”, obtained his Ph.D. in Mycology and Plant Pathology from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, among other qualifications.
Reacting to Prof. Mukiibi’s death, ASARECA’s Executive Director, Prof. Jean Jacques Mbonigaba Muhinda said, “The death of Prof. Mukiibi is a great loss to concerted efforts to transform Agricultural Research in the Continent. However, we are consoled by the fact that he passed on his knowledge and skills to the younger generation and produced many scientists, and leaders for our region. Bravo Prof!)
He worked at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Nigeria and served on many boards including IITA, the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Colombia, the Commonwealth Agricultural Bureau International (CABI), and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA).
He also led consultations on institutional reforms in African agricultural research and chairs boards of several community-based organizations. Recently, he worked in South Sudan on a project for establishing and aligning the young nations’ National Agricultural Research system to its peers on the Continent.
Prof. Mukiibi will be both missed and celebrated by the AR4D fraternity. May God Rest his Soul in Eternal Peace!