Uganda is one of the leading producers of Sweet potato in Africa. But research into this staple crop has been neglected with farmers recycling diseased and poor yielding varieties. Bionnovate has been working to improve the yield of sweet potato crops in East Africa.

Dr. Settumba Mukasa is the Bioinnovate project scientist at Makerere University and also a Principal Investigator on the RUFORUM Community Action Research Project (CARP) focusing on Developing a community-based cassava seed system for increased productivity and market linkages in Uganda.


Above: Dr. Irene-Annor Frempong: Director of Capacity Strengthening (FARA)

“In 2006, when I first got associated with RUFORUM, I was convinced that this network of highly committed individuals will make a mark in Africa’s history on capacity development and would turn the tide for this continent despite the odds. It has therefore been fulfilling all these years to have had the opportunity to contribute in my small way to the RUFORUM effort and vision both personally and from the FARA platform. Serving on its technical committee has been a most gratifying engagement for me. Today, I am proud to see RUFORUM grow and well positioned within the FARA fraternity to play a major role in driving the Africa Union commission (AUC) / NEPAD instigated Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa (S3A) within the CAADP and under the  auspices of the  Science Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA) of the African Union Commission (AUC)” said Dr Irene-Annor Frempong.

What most impressed the professional colleagues who nominated this role model?
Irene Annor-Frempong is a highly talented scientist and educational leader.  An animal scientist by training, she has conducted research, taught and mentored students at multiple universities across Africa.  An outstanding researcher, she developed the first prototype of the local-closed meat kiln in Ghana in collaboration with Food Research Institute, a product that was later patented by Cape Coast University.

Throughout her career, she has assisted a generation of students and served as a successful mentor and role model for many young men and women scientists.  Through her encouragement, many of her students have chosen to advance into higher education.  At FARA, she has applied her considerable energy and leadership skills to improving the quality of agricultural research and training institutions throughout Africa.

How can agricultural education institutions more effectively prepare African students for successful agribusiness careers?

  1. Place more emphasis on science. Agriculture is an applied science, so training should be built around science and its application.
  2. Make students understand the context of what they are learning and make them marry theory and practice in the learning.
  3. Impart industrial knowledge to students in multiple ways—student attachments, internships, incubations.
  4. Revise the curricula to match the requirements of the society being served including the private sector and rural communities
  5. Expand scholarships offerings for girls in order to correct the currently sharp gender imbalance in agricultural sciences and promote science training among girls.

Click here to read more on the featured profile of Dr. Frempong the Week in Modernization African Food Systems.

in a separate article, you can read about Dr. Irene-Annor Frempong  and why she deserves to be the Ambassador for the Science Agenda For Agriculture in Africa (S3A) by clicking here. An article written by Menesia Muinjo, Journalist from Namibia.

You can follow the online discussions at #MakeItHappen on twitter during the International Women’s Day on sunday 8th March, 2015.

“We should drop the notion that agriculture is a useless, unprofitable career: for those who are training and educated, agribusiness and agricultural science are profitable income earners.” Fredah Karambu Rimberia, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya

IFSAfrica needs more agricultural scientists, and in particular more women scientists. Since 2009, CTA, the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), IFS and other partners have jointly organised Africa-wide science competitions targeting women and young professionals in science to showcase their research and celebrate their successes. The 3rd Africa-wide Science Competitions held in 2012/13 brought to light 10 extraordinary African scientists – seven women and three men, seven of  whom were under 40 years old. They are inspiring individuals with a clear vision of how they will contribute to agricultural development and economic transformation in Africa.

The winners have travelled far and worked hard to achieve their early-career goals – some have come from small farms,through primary and secondary schools, to universities – and now have begun to reap the rewards of their efforts. For the women scientists, in particular, the journey has at times been arduous, breaking stereotypes of women’s capacity to engage in science and balancing their career aspirations with their family commitments. Many of the scientists started their journey with aspirations to become a doctor, lawyer or mathematician. But for various reasons, they changed course to pursue careers as agricultural scientists. They all enjoy their research and teaching assignments and they are thrilled every time they see farmers using the results of their research. They value their collaboration with colleagues and enjoy participating in international agricultural research networks, as well as the prestige gained in winning awards and gaining recognition for their research. Download the french version or the english version of the full publication.

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