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UW Soil Scientist Receives Borlaug Award for Leadership in Agriculture

June 30, 2009 — A soil science doctoral student at the University of Wyoming has received a prestigious Norman Borlaug award for leadership in agriculture.

Eusebius Mukhwana of Kenya was notified of the honor from The Borlaug Leadership Enhancement in Agriculture Program (LEAP). Nobel Laureate Norman E. Borlaug was the driving force behind the establishment of the World Food Prize in 1985. That award is given annually to recognize outstanding human achievements in the fields of food production and nutrition.

Mukhwana, in the College of Agriculture's Department of Renewable Resources, already has a list of accomplishments for his efforts to bolster agricultural production in Africa. In 1997, he helped found the Sustainable Agriculture Centre for Research and Development in Africa (SACRED Africa). He was head of the center for 10 years then decided to study at UW.

Mukhwana said arid Wyoming with its high elevations is a test platform similar to conditions in Africa. His research at UW involves working with nine wheat farmers in the Slater and Albin areas of southeastern Wyoming and five sugar beet producers near Powell in the northwest. Mukhwana and his adviser, Assistant Professor Jay Norton, are tracking the long-term effects of producers using a variety of cropping systems and irrigation methods.

"It is a prestigious award, a fantastic opportunity to extend his Wyoming research to needs of Kenyan farmers, and a reflection of the caliber of his work with NGOs (non-governmental organizations) in Kenya," said Norton of the Borlaug notification.

Mukhwana hopes the Borlaug honor, which carries a $20,000 monetary award, enables him to apply his research to help farmers in Kenya. He had worked as a veterinarian in Kenya before turning to soil science and said he is keenly aware of how privileged he's been to receive an education.

The Borlaug LEAP ( is a fellowship program funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to enhance the quality of thesis research of graduate students from developing countries who show strong promise as leaders in the field of agriculture and related disciplines, according to its Web site. LEAP is part of the overall Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellows Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Ph.D. student Eusebius Mukhwana, third from left, of Kenya visits with retired UN Secretary General Kofi Annan during his visit to a research center in Africa, which Mukhwana started. Mukhwana recently received a Norman Borlaug award for leadership in agriculture.




Posted on Tuesday, June 30, 2009

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