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Researcher in Plant Breeding one of nine women on the African continent to receive acknowledgement for work in food security
2015-08-04

 
 Prof Maryke Labuschagne

Prof Maryke Labuschagne, Plant Breeding researcher in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of the Free State (UFS), is one of only nine women on the African continent to receive the prestigious ‘Country Lifetime Achiever Award’ from Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government Programme (MIW) this year.

During a breakfast event, CEO Communications recognised the Most Influential Women in SADC South who are Building Nations. The event took place at the Vodacom Dome in Midrand on 28 July 2015.

She received the award for her commitment and continuous contributions to food security. “I am concerned about this. We need to develop people who can go into Africa to work together for food security on the continent,” says Prof Labuschagne.

Prof Labuschagne
and her students’ research focuses on the genetic improvement of food security crops in Africa, including such staples as maize and cassava. “These crops are genetically improved for yield, drought tolerance, disease, and insect resistance, as well nutritional value.”

“Food security is one of the key factors for stability and prosperity on the continent,” she says.

Apart from the fact that her research is helping to provide food for thousands of people on the continent, she is also an NRF-rated researcher, and author or co-author of over 160 articles in accredited journals.

This is not the firstaward that Prof Labuschagne has received for her work. In 2008, she was chosen as the National Agriculturalist of the Year by the Agricultural Writers Association of South Africa. In 2012, she received the Researcher of the Year award from Grain South Africa, as well as the African Union’s Kwame Nkrumah Science Award for Life Sciences on the continent. 

The Country Lifetime Achiever Award is a prestigious award that recognises and honours the lifelong efforts, achievements, and contributions by individuals in their local communities. This recognition covers all sectors and countries, to create a platform where the work and involvement of extraordinary people can be displayed and noted.

About the award, Prof Labuschagne says: “It is always great to be recognised for your work.”

Elana Meyer (athlete) and Thuli Madonsela (Public Protector and advocate) have also received awards from the programme this year.

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