Afuape Solomon Olufemi

Solomon Olufemi Afuape started his elementary education in a semi-urban centresome twenty-six kilometers from the city of AbeokutaOgun Statesouth-west Nigeria where agriculture was the main occupation.

Therehe saw the pleasure and pain associated with good and poor yield. Under the mentorship of his high school agricultural science teacherMr. Adesina Alliwho later won a national award for being an outstanding teacher in the countryhe developed passion for agriculture with the desire to help the farmers have permanent joy. Though he wanted to study Agricultural Economicstwo subjects he liked mosthis encounter with Prof. Oladeindethe then Head of DepartmentPlant Breeding and Seed Technology Department of the University of AgricultureAbeokuta modified his vision. That encounter influenced his desire and bias for breedingsuch that all he wanted to do after his university education was to work in a research institute as a plant breeder (my new passionhe added) so as to help the farmers whom he had watched at close range in my early childhood. Presentlyhe works with the National Root Crops Research InstituteUmudikeAbia StateNigeria as a sweetpotato breeder.  In the course of his jobhe has metand still meets with sweet potato farmers. The desire to help them fulfill their goals of having good root harvest with good root qualities that satisfy processors' quality requirements have been a daily fuel driving his passion to develop new farmer-preferred and processor-accepted sweetpotato varieties. The introduction of orange-fleshed (high beta-carotene) sweetpotato genotypes into Nigeriaand the increasing acceptance of it as food-for-health by both young and old is faced with the challenges of low dry matter and virus infection. His focus now is to help farmers develop new beta-carotene rich varieties that are high yielding with high dry matter to impact the society. This has the potential of reducing drasticallythe severity of vitamin A deficiency in both rural and urban centersespecially in school age children.  Knowledge is power. Through my WACCI scholarshipthe will and the way to help the farmers in particularand the society in general have merged.