Call edition 2012
A new edition of the Prize of the Belgian Development Cooperation has been launched. This call is open until March 31st, 2011. You can read in the regulations whether you comply with the criteria for participation.
Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa, located on the borders of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda – three of the world’s lowest ranking countries in terms of economic development. The sites studied in this D.Sc. thesis are located to the north (Mayuge District) and northwest Rakai District) of the lake, and are inhabited by poor farmers and fishermen (monthly family expenditure about €54), more than half of whom are under the age of 15. In this context, typical of Uganda and other developing countries, Dr. Isabirye’s doctoral research contributed to the knowledge about the eutrophication phenomenon in Lake Victoria, with particular attention to interaction between agricultural systems and the lake.
This doctoral study is highly relevant to the development, as evidenced by the fact that it was carried out within the context of the Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project. This regional project, in which the three countries concerned join forces, covers a broad range of elements relevant to the local environment and to the development of the local inhabitants: reforestation, management of natural, industrial and municipal land use, water (eco)system management, water quality monitoring, control of the invasive water hyacinth, fisheries research and management, small development projects for the local population and support for the universities located around Lake Victoria. The contribution from Dr. Isabirye, an employee himself of the National Agricultural Research Organization and the Kawanda Agricultural Research Institute, focuses on land use in Uganda. He not only diagnosed the environmental risks posed to the lake by small farms, but also created a scientific basis for land use management with the lowest possible risk of polluting the lake.
In general, the author’s assessment is that the areas studied are under pressure to produce crops, fuel and wood for the rural populations and that this pressure is unlikely to diminish. On the other hand, the author believes that farming is highly unlikely to contribute to eutrophication and changes in the lake, in terms of agrochemicals (rarely used), herbicides (low retention time in soil and water) and erosion (inhibited by mulching or by the structure of the agricultural fields and wetland vegetation). Certain aspects require further research, however, and Dr. Isabirye proposes a series of themes relevant to development for scientific research and policy.
The only remaining task for the author is to publish his scientific results in peer-reviewed journals, in order to vouch for the high quality of this study.
report: Dr. F. Dahdouh-Guebas, Biocomplexity Research Team c/o General Botany and Conservation, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium