Zimbabwe’s Professor Sheunesu Mpepereki of the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) Soil and Environmental Sciences department Faculty of Agriculture was recently awarded the US$10 000 2009/10 Impressa award for outstanding impact oriented soya-bean research benefitting smallholder farmers in Africa.
The award was made by the Regional Universities Forum (RUFORUM) for Capacity Building in Agriculture in association with Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA),the African network for Agriculture,Agroforestry and Natural resources (ANAFE) and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA).
Fourteen Universities in East and Southern Africa constitute the RUFORUM.The 2009/10 Impressa awards ceremony was held in Ouagadougou,Burkina Faso during the FARA 5th Africa Science Week and General Assembly.
Professor Mpepereki was recognized for his outstanding soya bean research and outreach which has made significant contribution to food and income security in Zimbabwe.
“He ably linked university research process to private sector policy and other actors and used the research to train several scientists in Zimbabwe,” reads his citation.He received an Impressa trophy and US$10 000.
Mpepereki is credited with successfully integrating and popularizing soyabean as a food,soil improving and cash crop and Rhizobium Inoculant Technology as a low cost soil fertility intervention among black smallholder farmers across the whole of Zimbabwe through a sustainable, dedicated programme of applied research,stakeholder mobilization and farmer training in production,processing and marketing from 1995 to 2009.
“His work has inspired the adoption of soyabean across other sub-Saharan African countries,” the citation adds.
It says that by mobilizing and working with and through university and government researchers,extension,financial institutions,NGOs and private sector partners, Prof Mpepereki and his team at UZ pioneered the innovation platform approach to conducting integrated agricultural research for development long before the concept was articulated as a theoretical framework.
“He simply figured that for impact, all relevant stakeholders had to be involved and proceeded to mobilize them, concentrating on coordination, not control,” the award presenters say.