Monday, October 21, 2013

Dr Therese Gondwe wins top poster prize

Dr Gondwe (right) wins "Best Poster" award
Dr Therese Gondwe, Technology Dissemination Specialist under the MIRACLE Project based at IITA-Zambia, is the recipient of the first prize for the “Best Poster” category of the 11th African Crop Science Society Conference held in Entebbe, Uganda on 14–17 October.
   The poster entitled “Scaling up soybean production for sustainable soil fertility management, income, and nutrition of smallholder farmers in Zambia: The case of the MIRACLE project” was adjudged the best among more than 50 posters displayed at the conference. The prize also came with a US$500 cash award.
   The announcement was made by Prof Rubaihayo, Chair of the Organizing Committee, during the closing ceremony of the conference, which was attended by more than 300 participants. Prof Rubaihayo said that the poster “showed excellent balance and connection between scientific research and on-the-ground development efforts related to improving the lives of people affected by HIV and AIDS.”
   Dr. Gondwe’s poster best suited the conference theme of “Sowing for innovations for sustainable food and nutrition security in Africa.” It featured the importance of soybean in the continuous maize cropping system in Zambia especially among households affected by HIV and AIDS, MIRACLE’s target beneficiaries.
   The poster presented the results of trials conducted during the 2011/2012 planting season in which different soybean varieties treated with phosphorus fertilizers and rhizobia inoculants were compared to those that were not. The results showed much better yields for the former than the latter. The poster also showed the soybean traits that farmers preferred, with big grain size as top priority and high yield as second.
   The research results have far-reaching implications on the cultural management of soybeans as well as on the breeding considerations when developing new varieties in Zambia. Additionally, the poster also highlighted the importance of training on the scaling up of soybeans in the country and the empowerment of rural women.

   Dr. Gondwe credited the award to SIDA for funding the MIRACLE project, her co-authors Laston Milambo of the Zambia Agriculture Research Institute and Jim Ellis-Jones of UK-based consultancy firm — Agriculture for Development. She also thanked Jeffrey Oliver, IITA Communications Specialist for Southern Africa, for the help in developing the winning poster, and her supervisors Dr David Chikoye, Dr Steve Boahen, and Melba Mussagy for the support during the field research work.

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