Norman Borlaug 1970 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and one of the leaders of the Green Revolution dedicated his career to help ending food scarcity around the world.
This fall four agricultural scientists from Africa and Asia are taking up that mantle and continuing his work as part of the Borlaug Higher Education for Agricultural Research and Development (BHEARD) Program at the University of Georgia.
The program’s goal is to equip scientists and scientific institutions with the tools they need to develop technologies to increase food security in their home countries and around the world.
This semester four new BHEARD fellows started their doctoral degrees under the guidance of UGA researchers. These BHEARD fellows will conduct the first three years of their degree program at UGA. In their fourth year, they will return to their home countries to conduct in-country research and write and defend their dissertations. This model creates an important link between UGA and the fellow’s home institution.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) selects potential BHEARD fellows through a competitive application process. UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences also had to apply to host the USAID-funded BHEARD fellows through a similarly competitive process.
The fact that UGA has been selected to train four BHEARD doctoral fellows is evidence of the strength of the research programs and growing international reputation of UGA, said Amrit Bart, director of the Office of Global Programs for CAES.
“The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has a long history of working internationally on research and outreach projects aimed at building food security around the world,” Bart said. “Being able to host this exceptional cohort of BHEARD fellows is a testament to the college’s reputation as an institution that is able to extend its reach to farmers and scientists working to address global challenges.”
UGA was able to attract more BHEARD fellows this year in part because of their work with 2014 BHEARD fellow Afia Karikari, who is studying plant breeding with D.W. Brooks Distinguished Professor Peggy Ozias-Akins at UGA’s Tifton Campus.
This year’s BHEARD fellows include:
- Yamin Kabir, an associate professor at Khulna University in Khulna, Bangladesh, has a master’s degree in horticulture from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University in Bangladesh and a master’s degree in molecular biology from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium.
Before coming to UGA, Kabir taught agrotechnology at Khulna University. He is pursuing his doctoral degree in horticulture and plans to study better cropping systems for tomatoes in Bangladesh. He is working with Professor Juan Carlos Diaz-Perez and Assistant Research Scientist Savithri Nambessan in the Department of Horticulture.
Emmanuellah Lekete, a research assistant at the Forestry Research Institute of Ghana in Kumasi, Ghana, holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from the University for Development Studies in Tamale, Ghana, and a master’s degree in crop protection from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana.
At UGA, she is pursuing her doctoral degree in plant pathology and wants to reduce carcinogenic aflatoxin contamination in peanuts, which reduces the marketability of farmers’ peanut crops and threatens the safety of the food supply. She is working with Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Peanut Productivity and Mycotoxin Control (PMIL) lead scientist Renee Arias De Ares at the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Peanut Research Laboratory (USDA-ARS NPRL) in Dawson, Georgia.
Marina Tandoh, an assistant lecturer in human nutrition and dietetics at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana, holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and a master’s degree in dietetics from the University of Ghana in Accra, Ghana.
She is pursuing her doctoral degree in foods and nutrition to micronutrient supplementation and Nutritional education of school age children who are infected with parasitic infections to improve their growth status and cognitive performance. She is working with Associate Professor Alex Anderson in the Department of Foods and Nutrition in the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences.
Walter Moturi, a project administrator at Egerton University in Njoro, Kenya, holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education and extension from Egerton University and a master’s degree in agricultural and applied economics from the National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management in Kenya.
Moturi is pursuing his doctoral degree in agricultural economics pursuing the goals of working with Kenyan farmers to strengthen the business models of their farms and helping subsistence farmers to become more food secure. He is working with Professor Wojciech J. Florkowski in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at UGA’s Griffin Campus.
For more information about the international programs offered by CAES, visit global.uga.edu.
(Merritt Melancon is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)
Walter Ondicho Moturi, Emmanuellah Lekete, Marina Aferiba Tandoh and Yamin Kabir are studying in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and College of Family and Consumer Sciences as part of the Borlaug Higher Education for Agricultural Research and Development fellowship program.Download Image