A new paradigm for African agriculture is needed, if we are to feed the growing population and improve food security. Up to 80% of the food consumed in Africa is provided by the smallholder farmer and yet the small holder farmer faces challenges in feeding his/her family, due to increased drought, pest infestations resulting in reduced or nutrient loss of crops. There is need to invest in African Research and Development in order improve agricultural productivity. Agri-biotech serves as a student based innovative lab for generating scientific solutions in using technology to de-risk the agricultural value chain. This involves using biotechnology tools to increase seed resilience, targeting the small holder farmer. Our ambitious goal is to provide not only Zimbabwe but Africa with, clean germ plasm through tissue culture techniques mainly in sweet potato, potato, cassava and maize.
Food production remains well below its potential in Africa. Tackling hunger, malnutrition and poverty while at the same time protecting and improving the environmental base on which millions of peoples’ livelihood depends, in the face of severe resource constraints and global warming will require human ingenuity, creativity and innovation. From the application of ecological knowledge to increase the resilience of agricultural systems to the revolution in biotechnology made possible by the discovery of DNA, science, both fundamental and applied, can bring about transformations in the way we produce and access food. I am Nyasha Mudukuti from Zimbabwe together with Tendai Bere from Zimbabwe. We both are biotechnology students at Chinhoyi University of technology. I grew up in the rural areas were l spent most of my childhood there. I remember vividly waking up in the morning attending the field first before going to school. Watching the yields go down every year, this meant going to school on an empty stomach. Spending several hours weeding only to harvest so very little, l never liked farming yet from that small field we were to eat, feed and clothe so we worked very hard. As a biotechnology l feel its my responsibility to help my sisters, mothers and grandmothers in my village to produce better, taking advantage of technology. I am a member of the Truth about trade and technology Global Farmer Network and participated at the 2014 World Food Prize. Selected also to participate at the launch of Open Forum for Agricultural technology in Zimbabwe (OFAB). Tendai is passionate about improving the challenges that African women face in agriculture, since they are 80% labour providers in the fields. Hence using biotechnology techniques can reduce their weeding time, provide them with quality seeds, through innovative breeding techniques. Women can help feed their families better and profit from agriculture. Our dream as Agri-biotech is to one day help our nation realise the importance of biotechnology in improving the agricultural sector.