Dr. Ndubuisi Damian Njoku

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At first Ndubuisi Damian Njoku's mother didn't understand why her son would bother studying agriculture in the university. She had always expected him to become a medical doctor. But when Ndubuisi who grew up in southeastern Nigeria started explaining how his work could improve the well-being /p
of people by giving them better access to nutritious foods her perspective changed. "Now she understands the benefits of my research " said Ndubuisi of his mother who grows cassava yam cocoyam and vegetables on her farm. "She's happy I am going into new areas to help mankind." He is the fourth of eight children in his family. His father a trader died two years ago. Ndubuisi 34 and married received his master's degree in crop physiology at Michael Okpara University of Agriculture in Umudike. He has worked for five years as a junior scientist in the cassava program at the National Roots Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) Umudike in Abia state. In his job he has worked on genetic improvement of root and tuber crops - using both conventional and molecular approaches - that aim to develop more drought-resistant varieties. He will focus on one such crop cassava as an AGRA scholar at the University of Ghana Legon. "I want to see if I can breed cassava varieties that will do well in areas of low rainfall in Nigeria " he said. "In Nigeria we have an abundance of unused land for agriculture but those lands are mostly in the semi-arid region of the north." From his perspective such projects are natural for Nigeria - Africa's most populous country which has an agricultural industry that hasn't kept pace with such growth. "We have to feed our people " he said. "We must work hard to feed others. I see this as contributing my own quarter to Nigeria nation building."