Dr. Kolawole Adebayo of the Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development and Mrs. Kofoworola Olatunde of the Department of Environmental Management and Toxicology have won the prestigious International Foundation for Science (IFS) grant, to be used for investigating ways of combating food insecurity through optimal cultivation and utilisation of cocoyam in Sub-Saharan Africa, using a multidisciplinary approach.

Dr. Adebayo, who is also the University’s Director of Grants Management, will explore farmers decisions on the potential adoption of recommended practices in rural-based cocoyam value chains, while Mrs. Olatunde is to co-ordinate the research, which will be carried out alongside Mr. JohnBosco Muhumuza of the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO), Kampala, Uganda.

The research covers the variability in proximate/anti-nutritive composition of cocoyam as well as the potential of different soil fertility amendments in reducing oxalic acid accumulation in cocoyam and would evaluate the agronomic performance of cocoyam accessions under upland conditions using a farmer-led participatory approach. It would also measure farmers’ decisions and potential adoption of recommended practices in the rural-based cocoyam value chains of Sub-Saharan Africa.

The research is a timely response to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP 2012) call for strategies to overcome food insecurity through agricultural productivity, nutrition, access to food, and empowerment of the rural poor. The grant is worth USD43,660 and is expected to cover 26 months.