Following the announcement of a second Ph.D. scholarship from the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA) to The West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), get to know the student awarded. This SFSA donation commemorates ten years of partnership between the two organizations.
The Syngenta Foundation created its first WACCI scholarship for 2015-2018. The inaugural scholarship for the 2015-2018 Academic Period was awarded to Leander Dede Melomey, a Ph.D. candidate in Tomato Breeding, whose work focuses on the development of high yielding tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) variety with resistance to Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Disease (TYLCD). A year later after her graduation, the planned activity for her project is to make hybrid crosses between the parental lines that are tolerant to Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Disease in Ghana and those with high yield and good fruit quality. This will be followed by a multi-locational evaluation of the hybrids to identify those that will have good fruit quality, high yield and tolerant to TYLCD. This will lead to the release of high performing hybrid varieties.
Leander is now working as a Research Fellow at WACCI, the University of Ghana under the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) – SNV – Hortifresh project (Ghana Agricultural Technology Evaluation project). The objective of this project is to operate a professionally coordinated, systematic and independent variety evaluation service towards enhancing smallholder access and uptake of quality seeds of a wide range of farmers preferred improved varieties of key vegetable crops.
The second scholarship
It has been awarded to Jacinta Adoma Opoku. Jacinta obtained her BSc. in Agriculture and her MPhil in Agronomy (Plant Breeding) all from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). Her research was sponsored by the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). She characterized tomato germplasm using their morphological features and also Simple Sequence Repeat (SSR) markers during her MPhil. This scholarship will help her to pursue a PhD. in Plant breeding at WACCI, University of Ghana. Her research interest is in molecular and quantitative breeding of vegetables, the most neglected food crops in her country. Her Ph.D. research will be in Genetic Variability and Drought Tolerance in Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus L Moench). She aims to acquire the requisite knowledge to help curb the food and nutrition insecurity issues in sub-Saharan Africa.
Jacinta mentioned that she “aspires to become one of the renowned female vegetable breeders in the world. I wish to improve vegetables especially, the indigenous vegetables to help enhance the nutrition of the vulnerable (pregnant women and children”. She also wishes to impart knowledge that she acquires to future plant breeders through consultations, advocacy, and lecturing.
About the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI)
WACCI is a Centre of Excellence established in June 2007 as a partnership between the University of Ghana and Cornell University, USA, with funding from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa. Working with national, regional and international partners, WACCI trains plant breeders and seed scientists to address challenges in African agriculture.
About the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA)
SFSA creates value for smallholders in developing countries through innovations and the activation of value chains. SFSA focuses on Access to Seeds, Agriservices and Risk Management. A major thrust of its R&D program is Demand-Led Breeding.
Main Picture: (from l to r: Jacinta Adoma Opuku, Vivienne Anthony, Leander Melomey)