Iowa State University to Develop Training Program for Plant Breeders at African Universities

Walter Suza, an assistant professor of agronomy at Iowa State University in Ames is leading an effort to educate a new generation of plant breeders in Africa. The Iowa State team is developing online educational materials for master’s degree students in plant breeding at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana, Makerere University in Uganda, and the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. The program is funded by a three-year, $1.6 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Dr. Suza notes “the world population is projected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050, and most growth is expected to occur in the developing world where there are food shortages already. Committing to the education of plant breeders is a long-term approach to fighting hunger in Africa.”

Professor Suza grew up in Tanzania and will tailor the curriculum specifically for Africa. “Corn and soybean, obviously a strength at Iowa State, will be involved,” said Dr. Suza, “but also crop plants commonly grown in Africa like sweet potatoes, cassava, and rice.”

Dr. Suza earned a Ph.D. at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

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