03 Dec 2014

2014 IPNI Scholar Awards

Three graduate students from sub-Saharan Africa receive the 2014 IPNI scholar award
Mr. Muhati (center) receiving his award certificate

Ms. Obianuju Emmanuel, Mr. Stephen Ichami Muhati and Mr. Yenus Kemal are among 30 graduate students from universities around the world who received the IPNI Scholar Award in 2014. The award recognizes excellence in academic and personal achievements of graduate students in science programs relevant to plant nutrition science and the management of crop nutrients including: agronomy, horticulture, ecology, soil fertility, soil chemistry, crop physiology, environmental science, and others.

Ms. Obianuju Emmanuel, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana, is working toward her Ph.D. degree in soil fertility. Her dissertation title is “Response of cowpea to NPK fertilizer and rhizobia inoculant in the Guinea savanna zone of Ghana.” This study is focused on improving the yield of cowpea using site-specific fertilizer recommendations and complementary use of fertilizer and rhizobia inoculation. The blanket fertilizer recommendation currently used in Ghana dates back to 1972 and does not consider the complexities of weather, soil and crop interacting to affect crop production. This study will help develop localized regional fertilizer recommendations for cowpea. For the future, Ms. Emmanuel wants to be actively involved in research, teaching and mentoring youth in the field of soil science.

Mr. Stephen Ichami Muhati
, Wageningen University, Netherlands, is pursing his Ph.D. in production ecology and resource conservation. His dissertation is titled “Refining fertilizer use recommendations for smallholder maize fields in African landscapes.” The main objective of this study is to develop and test a novel methodology based on the diagnosis of soil nutrient constraints for better targeting fertilizer use recommendations to local conditions rather than the current blanket recommendations. In this study, maize is being used as the test crop because it is a staple food in many sub-Saharan countries. Mr. Muhati has ambition to contribute to better understanding of the spatial and temporal aspects of soil fertility variability as a basis for improving fertilizer recommendation and crop productivity in smallholder farming systems.

Mr. Yenus Kemal
, Bahirdar University, Ethiopia, is working toward his doctorate degree in agronomy. His dissertation title is “Improving sustainable productivity of chickpea through supplemental irrigation and integrated nutrient management options in Vertisols of western Ethiopia.” The general objective of this proposed research is to improve chickpea yields sustainably through supplemental irrigation and integrated nutrient management strategies, which in turn will improve farmer profits. For the future, Mr. Kemal’s goal is to wide-scale dissemination of sustainable nutrient management options for higher crop yields in Ethiopia.