Borlaug International Scholars Program

Story by Merritt Melancon, UGA CAES

Norman Borlaug, 1970 Noble Peace Prize laureate and one of the godfathers of the Green Revolution, dedicated his career to help ending food scarcity around the world.

In the fall of 2015, four agricultural scientists from Africa and Asia will take up that mantle and continue his work as part of the Borlaug Higher Education for Agricultural Research and Development (BHEARD) Program.

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.

These new BHEARD fellows will start their doctoral degrees under the guidance of UGA researchers. These BHEARD fellows will conduct the first three years of their degree program at UGA and return to their home countries in the fourth year to conduct in-country research, and to write and defend their dissertations. This model ensures an important link between UGA and the fellows’ home institutions. 

“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,” said Amrit Bart, director of the Office of Global Programs for CAES. “Being able to host this exceptional cohort of BHEARD fellows is a testament to the college’s reputation as a institution that is able to extend its reach to farmers and scientists working to address global challenges.” 

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 Bangledesh 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 in the Department of Horticulture on UGA’s Tifton Campus.

  • Emmanuellah Lekete, a research assistant at the Forestry Research Institute of Ghana in Kumasi, Ghana, holds a bachelor’s degree 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 Peanut Mycotoxin and Innovation Laboratory lead scientist Renee Arias at the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Peanut Research Laboratory (USDA NPL) in Dawson, Ga.
  • Marina Aferiba Tandoh, an assistant lecturer in human nutrition and dietetics at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana, also 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 study the nutritional needs of pregnant mothers and children living with HIV and AIDS and the development and efficacy of functional foods, those fortified with nutrients and micronutrients that are often missing from the diets of food insecure individuals. 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 Ondicho 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 India.

Moturi is pursuing his doctoral degree in agricultural economics with 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.