As a part of an Africa RISING project, in conjunction with USAID's Feed the Future initiative, Vine Mutyasira is working on exploring the challenges faced by smallholder crop-livestock farmers in the Ethiopian Highlands. As a Fall 2015 Borlaug LEAP Fellow, he was able to further identify improved technology and management practices that will help increase productivity among the farmers, which will, in turn, help improve food security in the area. The main goal of his research is to identify to what extent existing farms are sustainable on a variety of levels, and then develop a model that can simulate different sustainable intensification scenarios that can then be used to educate the public and inform policy makers. He then hopes to use what he learns and extend that information in his home country of Zimbabwe. Vine feels that the best work is accomplished when a team of people is dedicated to accomplishing a common goal, and so he is looking to gain more experience in leadership as he meets and works with an inter-disciplinary team of people who are all committed to improving the lives of others.
Vine worked with his current mentor and advisor at Colorado State University, Dr. Dana Hoag. Dr. Hoag is a well-respected professor and researcher in the field of Agricultural Economics, with many years of international experience, including in sub-Saharan Africa. He worked with Vine to refine his research data and finialize his thesis. Vine also collaborated with CGIAR mentor Dr. Girma Kassie, a senior scientist and socio-economist at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). He has experience working in Africa and the Middle East and he helped Vine with the hands-on research needed for his project. Vine expects to complete his degree by the end of 2016.