Borlaug LEAP fellow Dr. Lydiah Gatere grew up in the Murang’a district of Kenya and began her college education with Agricultural Studies at Egerton University. As the daughter of a small-scale Kenyan farmer, the virtues and challenges of this field inspired her to pursue a PhD, working with small-scale stakeholders in sub-Saharan Africa. Her background in Horticulture (BS) and Agricultural Extension (MS) gave her a unique perspective as she pursued her PhD in Soil and Crop Science at Cornell University.
Dr. Gatere’s doctorate research focused on conservation farming as an approach to climate change and mitigation strategies, and the conservation of biodiversity and increasing food security in Zambia’s game management areas that serve as buffers zones to National Parks. Specifically, she targeted improved crop yields through soil fertility management and soil conservation measures using locally available resources and capacity. Her research concentrated on biodiversity conservation as a strategy for alleviating poverty through rural development that links markets, agriculture and natural resource management in a way that addresses core needs of poor, food insecure families.
Dr. Gatere began her Borlaug LEAP Fellowship in the fall of 2009 and was mentored by Dr. Johannes Lehmann, a professor at Cornell University and Dr. James Kinyangi, a researcher at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). Her research was also connected to a COMACO project of the World Conservation Society that seeks to improve livelihoods of agricultural communities around the Luangwa National Park.