After graduation from University of Khartoum, Department of Horticulture with a B.sc. (Agric.) Honours Degree, I was selected as a teaching assistant in the Department of Horticulture and started my post graduate studies in 1977 at Cornell University, USA, Department of Vegetable Crops where I earned my M.sc. and PhD in 1979 and 1982 respectively. My major specialization for the M.sc. was Vegetable Crops and the minors were Plant Physiology and Soil Science – Nutrition. For the PhD the major was Vegetable Crops and the minors were Plant breeding and Crop Physiology.
Since 1982 I have been involved in the narrow specialization of Olericulture and Horticulture at large through applied research geared for vegetable crops’ improvement, training and human resources development at the Diploma, B.sc., M.sc. and PhD levels, planning and management and consultancies with Development Organizations and private sector in the area of Horticulture.
Specifically, research area targeted raising productivity and improving quality of vegetable crops. Within this context production constraints were addressed via:
i. Testing, evaluation, identification and recommendation of superior cultivars taking into consideration producers’, consumers’, and, if necessary, processors’ interest as much as possible. Activities comprised sweet potato, potato varieties from Dutch and Irish seed companies, tomato, onion, cabbage, cauliflower.
ii. Determination of crops’ optimum input requirements of soil fertility, irrigation water, cultural practices……..etc under natural stresses (biotic and abiotic) prevailing in different agro ecological production environments. Integrated pest management of vegetable crops in open fields and protected green houses has been a top priority.
iii. Utilizing high genetic diversity and adaptability of land-race populations to prevailing environment. During an ADB(June2002-May 2004) and BADEA(June 2004- May 2007) funded consultancies to the Eritrean National Agricultural Research Institute, the following were achieved:
a) One potential variety and nine inbred lines of onion were developed, where premature bolting and splitting were reduced to <7% and 5% respectively. b) Three dry and two potential fresh populations of chilli peppers were developed. c) Grape fruit and sweet orange varieties adapted to the central highland and both eastern and western lowlands were identified. d) Funds were raised from the Humanitarian Assistance Recovery Program (HARP) – USAID in Eritrea to plan and implement a local seed potato multiplication project. The above activities have been geared to insure food security and alleviation of poverty. Consequently contributing to increasing availability, affordability and consumption of diverse, safe, nutritious foods and diets ultimately paving the way to improvement of farmers livelihood and rural development. The vision has been to incorporate horticultural crops’ promotion and education around food and sustainable food systems that build on existing local knowledge, attitudes and practices. Human resources’ development is considered as the power house for any development. I have been involved and have contributed significantly to the training of technicians (for private sector), and horticulture graduates at the levels of B.sc., M.sc. and Ph.D. Being advisor to important local and regional private enterprises and a member of their boards of directors, planning, coordination and management aspects were part and parcel of my duties as extracurricular activity. Membership of projects’ formulation and review missions (mostly multidisciplinary and multicultural) with such organizations as FAO, IFAD and World Bank has, no doubt, enriched my interpersonal skills, experience and capabilities to interact effectively with other professionals in a team-work spirit External funds were obtained from the Ministry of Finance (Sudan) for the development of research infrastructure at the Department of Horticulture, University of Khartoum. Moreover, funds were raised from the Humanitarian Assistance Recovery Program (HARP) – USAID in Eritrea to plan and implement a local seed potato multiplication project. All of the above professional activities have been documented in the form of published scientific papers, progress and terminal reports. Based on the above professional records, I earned my professorship title in September, 2000.