9 November 09, Cotonou, Benin – Amos Onasanya, a Nigerian national from the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice), has just received the 2009 Japan International Award for Young Agricultural Researchers, for his contribution to the molecular and pathotyping characterization of major rice diseases and insect pests in Africa.
He is one of the three recipients of this prestigious award this year, according to the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS).
The Japan International Award for Young Agricultural Researchers is given by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), Government of Japan, in recognition of the contribution of young agricultural researchers to technological development for the improvement of food security and the environment for developing countries.
“This is a tribute to our Crop Protection Unit,” said AfricaRice Director General Dr Papa Abdoulaye Seck, thanking MAFF and JIRCAS for the recognition. “We are immensely proud of Amos Onasanya’ achievement, particularly his excellent publication record in refereed journals.”
In Africa, highly destructive diseases and insect pests, such as blast, rice yellow mottle virus, bacterial leaf blight and African rice gall midge, severely affect rice production in rainfed and irrigated ecologies. The use of resistant varieties is the most economical and effective way of addressing these constraints in resource-poor farmers’ fields.
As part of the overall effort of the AfricaRice Crop Protection Unit carried out with financial and technical support from Japan (MAFF and JIRCAS), Germany (BMZ/GTZ), United Kingdom (DFID) and France (Agropolis), Amos Onasanya helped characterize the population structures of these diseases and pests, which is a prerequisite for the development of rice varieties with efficient and durable resistance.
The Award ceremony was held on 4 November at the University of Tokyo, Japan, with presentations by the award winners on their work.