Jemima Adepehin has a vision for agricultural research and development in Nigeria to become a versatile sector that sparks the nation’s economy, and directly impacts the lives of citizens by meeting demands for food. She dreams of a Nigeria where everyone is fed and foods are locally sourced, instead of relying on costly imports that disturb and weaken internal markets. By making Nigerian agricultural markets more competitive, she hopes to help Nigeria overcome its dependency on petroleum exports and turn agriculture into a major foreign export. Jemima presently works as a Program Officer for the Upline Research Foundation, facilitating development programs and engaging in development projects targeted toward farmers. In addition, she recently completed a fellowship with the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD).
Jemima’s research contributes directly to her dreams of a more economically viable and independent Nigeria. Since her time as an undergraduate student at the Federal University of Technology in Akure, she has been studying the use of different flour supplements as a means of making bread. Her current topic is, “sourdough fermentation of three Nigerian cereals supplemented with soybean flour for bread-making” based on the fact that soy is a popular crop in Nigeria and it may provide better support for farmers than wheat, as much of the wheat in Nigeria is imported. Jemima will be working on collecting and analyzing data with Dr. Odeny Damaris of the International Crops Research Institute of Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), who is a specialist in biotechnology, and a 2010 Fellow of the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD). Jemima is currently at the University of California, Davis, executing her experiments with Dr. Glenn Young of the Plant Pathology Department. He heads a team of researchers studying food-borne diseases and bacterial pathogens through plant genetics and molecular biology at the University. She expects to complete her degree in December 2015.