Eliminating hunger and food insecurity is top on Africa’s development Agenda because it is perceived to be a key factor in promoting economic growth. Africa continues to experience food shortages due to a mismatch between crop productivity and population growth. Reduced crop productivity is attributed partly to weed interference related crop losses and climate change and variability.This calls for more understanding of pertinent issues that affect crop production through multidisciplinary research in order to combat food insecurity challenges. To contribute to this effort, a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, who in the past worked on a related topic, is working with a mentor and other senior researchers at the University of Zimbabwe as well as a team of graduate students to address some of the related research issues. Specifically, the Post-Doctoral Fellowship sought to 1) to promote resilient seed systems for adaptation to climate change by smallholder farmers in semi-arid agroecological regions of Zimbabwe, ii) to evaluate the agronomic potential of currently underutilised crops under harsh conditions of climate change and parasitic weeds, and to evaluate the antifungal effect of botanical extracts against late blight of tomato (Phytophthora infestans). The Post-Doctoral Fellowship has led to a series of lesson learning and experiences that are summarized in this paper. Research activities conducted during the Post-Doctoral training led to the identification of small grain genotypes that are resilient to witchweeds. The study also revealed the nutritional benefits and recommended agronomic practices for the production of an indigenous underutilised crop called Livingstone potato (Plectranthus esculentus). A new environmentally friendly and economically feasible innovative strategy of managing late blight of tomato using botanical extracts was developed.
Date of publication:
836 - 845
RUFORUM Working document series
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