Ismael Mayanja never intended to work in agriculture, but knew he wanted to make a positive impact on his country. The 23-year-old engineer was recently awarded the 2019 MAIZE Youth Innovators Award – Africa in the category of “researcher” for his work developing a bicycle-powered maize cleaning machine that reduces labor time and improves the health of school children in his native country, Uganda.
These awards, an initiative of the CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE), recognize the contributions of young women and men below 35 years of age who are implementing innovations in African maize-based farming systems. This is the second year of the awards, and the first time to be held in Africa. The award ceremony took place in Lusaka, Zambia during the annual Stress Tolerant Maize for Africa (STMA) project meeting May 7-9, 2019.
Admire Shayanowako is no stranger to agriculture or the
problems that smallholder farmers in Africa face. The 31-year old maize
researcher grew up on a small farm in Zimbabwe where his family was constantly
plagued by parasitic weeds. Now based at the University of Kwazulu Natal in
South Africa, he is working on biocontrol agents and maize genetic resistance
against Striga, also known as “witch weed”. He was recently recognized for his
innovative research as one of the winners of the 2019 Maize Youth Innovators
Awards – Africa, in the category of “researcher” at an awards ceremony in
Lusaka, Zambia on May 9.
The control of crop pests has long been linked with chemical products like pesticides and insecticides. However, chemicals are often too expensive for smallholder farmers and require careful, appropriate use to ensure effectiveness. What if we could take advantage of natural ecological processes to suppress unwanted organisms, lessening our reliance on external inputs? This is the topic addressed in “Hide and seek: management and landscape factors affecting maize stemborers, Busseola fusca, infestation levels in Ethiopia,” the recent Ph.D. thesis by Yodit Kebede, completed at Wageningen University, Netherlands with support from the CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE) and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). The implications of the research hold significance for prominent pest control challenges like fall armyworm in Africa and beyond.
LUSAKA (Zambia) – The CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE) has officially announced the winners of the 2019 MAIZE Youth Innovators Awards – Africa. These awards recognize the contributions of young women and men under 35 who are implementing innovations in African maize-based agri-food systems, including research-for-development, seed systems, agribusiness, and sustainable intensification.
Award recipients will attend the upcoming Stress Tolerant Maize for Africa (STMA) project meeting in Lusaka, Zambia, May 7-9 where they will receive their awards and have the opportunity to present their work. The project meeting and award ceremony will also allow these young innovators to network and exchange experiences with MAIZE researchers and partners. Award recipients may also get the opportunity to collaborate with MAIZE and its partner scientists in Africa on implementing or furthering their innovations.