Wednesday, November 23, 2011

AfricaRice Scientist wins 2011 Japan International Award for Young Researchers

Dr. Jonne Rodenburg, Agronomist with special focus on weed science at the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) has won the 2011 Japan International Award for Young Agricultural Researchers for spearheading the development of integrated weed management strategies for resource-poor rice farmers in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

The Japan International Award for Young Agricultural Researchers recognizes outstanding performance and research achievements in agriculture, forestry, fisheries and related industries in developing countries.

Dr. Rodenburg, who is a Dutch national, is among the three recipients of this year’s award, which was presented recently in Tsukuba City, Japan, by Dr. Eitarou Miwa, Chairman of the Japan Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Research Council (AFFRC) in the presence of Dr. Masa Iwanaga, President of the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS).

“It is the second time our young researchers have won this prestigious award. We are proud of them and honored by the recognition they have received from Japan for their work,” said AfricaRice Director General Dr. Papa Abdoulaye Seck.

In collaboration with national and international research partners, Dr. Rodenburg has identified effective (genetic) mechanisms to achieve resistance against the most important parasitic weeds in rain-fed rice systems and a number of highly resistant and tolerant varieties for immediate use in farmers’ fields. He has also identified varieties with good weed competitiveness that can be recommended for use by farmers.

 “The results of his research on resistance of rice varieties to parasitic weeds will be very useful for rice breeding programs,” said Dr. Marco Wopereis, AfricaRice Deputy Director General, Research for Development.  “If resource-poor farmers can fight against such weeds through their choice of seed – that would be a major breakthrough because to date only crop management approaches are available to combat these weeds.”

According to AfricaRice experts, the losses in rice production in SSA due to weeds equate to half the current rice imports in the region and smallholder farmers have a limited range of effective and affordable weed management technologies.

Dr. Rodenburg supervises many MSc and PhD students from a wide range of nationalities and has built up a large network of research partners around the globe and within Africa. He is a prolific scientist and also contributes to the generation of farmer training material such as videos, radio-scripts and technical information sheets.

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