Amuru District Gives Land to Gulu University for UPCHAIN Research Project

Gulu University (GU) has received land from the Amuru District Local Government to boost its efforts in the research, production, and promotion of charcoal from agricultural waste, also known as green charcoal.

On October 13, 2023, the LCV Chairman, Michael Lakony, handed to the university close to an acre of land in Pabbo Town, with the promise to donate more land if required for the same purpose.

Gulu University’s Dr. Collins Okello (l), shares a copy of the MoU with Mr. Lakony

The land will be used to set up a facility where members of the community can learn about green charcoal and how to produce and use it.

Through the UPCHAIN project, GU is researching and promoting the adoption of briquettes produced from agricultural waste as an alternative to black charcoal and firewood.

This research is expected to contribute to stopping deforestation (in response to environmental degradation and Climate Change), reducing smoke-induced health issues as well as creating local employment.

Amuru CAO Mr. Otai (l), Pabbo Mayor Mr. Camhara (m), and Town Clerk Ms. Adum display a copy of the MoU

Pabbo is among the potential commercial-scale production centres of briquettes identified by the team managing UPCHAIN, especially because it generates a lot of waste from rice, in the form of rice husks.

“We have not seen research that gives tangible outcomes as this project. Most research projects are merely scholarly, but in this one, you are even producing machines, and you will keep modifying them for the betterment of the environment,” said Lakony during the handover ceremony held in the meeting hall of Pabbo Town Council.

Dr. Collins Okello, the UPCHAIN Co-Principal Investigator (PI), who represented the Vice Chancellor, Prof. George Openjuru Ladaah, said environmental degradation had become a major concern for the university especially when northern Uganda became the main producer of charcoal for Uganda’s urban markets. Dr. Okello is also the Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment.

L-R: Mr. Otai, Mr. Lakony, Dr. Agatha Alidri, Dr. Okello and Prof. Charles Okumu holding a conversation beside the land

Stressing the importance of the UPCHAIN initiative to the Amuru community, the Amuru District Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Charles Otai, said: “We are responsible for our destiny. The district will play its part, and the town council (of Pabbo) will play its part, but we expect you [GU] to take the lead. And where you need any support from us we are more than willing to work with you. The district council, as a planning authority, when it takes a decision, it is in the interest of the community, and the decision we are making now is to solve the issue of environmental degradation.”

Amuru District leaders and leaders of UPCHAIN pose for a photo after inspecting the land

The function was attended by several local government leaders, including the Mayor of Pabbo Town, Richard Camhara, and several leaders of the UPCHAIN project, including the Project Coordinator, Dr. Agatha Alidri, and the Secretary of the UPCHAIN Advisory Board, Prof. Charles Nelson Okumu. Both Camhara and Lakony are members of the advisory board.

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