With the support of SARD-SC Wheat, Bashir Alhaji Baba from Nigeria is currently pursuing a Ph.D at the University of Maiduguri, Borno State-Nigeria, specializing in 'Farm to Table-Fork Wheat Value Chain Analysis of Nigeria’s Wheat System.'
“Wheat has been produced in Nigeria for many years, however the demand for locally produced wheat has for long been low and this has affected local production leading to over reliance on imports which has meant loss of up to USD 5 billion annually in foreign currency, job opportunities and income,” explains Bashir.
Bashir's area of study will help to understand why this has been the case and to offer practical solutions that will lead to higher demand for local produce, create employment and higher income for farmers and all other stakeholders in the wheat value chain. So far Bashir has completed class work and is undertaking his field research. He is expected to go for his external supervision outside Nigeria and then graduate later in 2017. Bashir Alhaji is one of the nine (9) wheat scientists from six (6) African countries who were offered full scholarship by SARDSC to pursue their Masters or Ph.D in various segments of the wheat sector ranging from breeding, seed production, agronomy, disease and pest management, value chain analysis among others. The scientists are undertaking their studies in various top level universities across Africa, backed by practical field experience and learning exchanges to other countries in the continent.
Two of these students, Bruce Mutari from Zimbabwe and Mala Kachalla from Nigeria graduated in September 2016 from the University of Fort Hare (UFH) Alice, South Africa and the University of Maiduguri respectively, while the others are expected to graduate later in 2017.
Through these scholarships, the project builds human capacity of the next generation of wheat scientists and researchers who will help the continent address challenges to wheat production and support countries to raise productivity, curb imports and improve food security and livelihoods. The scholarships are comprehensive and include stipend, publication, research costs, tuition, travel and insurance.