Borlaug LEAP Alumnus Dr. Boniface Massawe has been using his skills to train farmers and students for most of his professional life. He also has used his knowledge to develop decision support tools for farmers and policy makers. Currently on leave from his position at Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), Dr. Massawe is pursuing his PhD in Environment and Natural Resources at Ohio State University. Upon completing his degree, he intends to return to his home country of Tanzania and to continue to be a leader both in furthering the educational goals of a new generation of agronomic researchers and in his own research.
Dr. Massawe’s goal for his PhD research was to develop a model for land evaluation and crop suitability for rice using GIS and predictive soil mapping techniques in Tanzania’s Kilombero Valley. The Kilombero Valley is one of the largest seasonal wetlands in East Africa and the Tanzanian government, with technical and financial support from USAID, has targeted the Valley for increased rice production. Dr. Massawe’s research is expected to contribute evidence-based knowledge needed to make informed decisions on land resource usability as well as sustainability for rice crops.
Dr. Brian Slater, Associate Professor of Soil Science at Ohio State University, supervised Dr. Massawe’s thesis study and provided mentorship both academically and on-the ground in Tanzania. The Borlaug LEAP Fellowship also enabled Dr. Massawe to collaborate with CIAT in Nairobi. His CGIAR mentor, Dr. Leigh Winowiecki, is the East Africa Regional Scientist for Africa Soil Information Service project at CIAT. Dr. Winowiecki helped support Dr. Massawe’s research, encouraged collaboration with ongoing research initiatives, and provided analytical backstopping. Dr. Massawe completed his PhD in Soil Science in August 2015.