The Korean Government recently bestowed a certificate of excellence on Mr. Michael Kwabena Osei, a Strengthening Capacity for Agricultural Research and Development in Africa (SCARDA) scholarship recipient at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) who graduated in 2010 with a Master of Science (MSc) Degree in Plant Breeding. Michael won the Korea Africa Food and Agriculture Cooperative Initiative (KAFACI) award on the 26th of November, 2015 with a certificate of outstanding project and other RDA Souvenirs. The tomato research project led by him with funding from the Korean government under KAFACI was adjudged by the donors as the outstanding project among 14 African member countries of KAFACI after evaluation of the country project from November 2011 to November 2014.
A plant breeder currently working on vegetable improvement with emphasis on tomatoes and funding from SCARDA, his research activities focus on identifying farmers’ constraints in the field and designing experiments to find solutions to those problems. Michael Osei’s award winning project looked at “developing and transforming vegetable technologies in Ghana: the case of tomato”.
The SCARDA, is a Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) co-ordinated programme formulated to respond to recommendations made during a National Agricultural Research System (NARS) assessment commissioned in 2005 by FARA. The purpose of SCARDA was to strengthen the institutional and human capacity of African agricultural research systems to identify, generate and deliver research outputs that meet the needs of poor people.
One of the components of SCARDA was to support Master of Science (MSc) training to address areas of highest priority determined by the SROs and their stakeholders. SCARDA was funded by DFID.
Among other activities, Michael is currently engaged in the evaluation of germplasm of some tomato to select suitable ones for production in Ghana and particularly to feed a tomato processing factory. He has published 19 papers in refereed journal papers out of which he is the lead author of nine of the papers and has also edited (4) conference papers, (10) abstracts, (4) disease notes, a chapter in a refereed book, a manual and (13) technical reports including (3) approved consultancy reports.
He won the Best National young scientist Award at the first National Science Congress held in Accra in 2011 with five other awards to his credit. He was a member of the team of scientists who developed and released (2) pepper varieties at the Crops Research Institute (CRI) Ghana. Michael has offered consultancy services to the Wenchi Tomato Factory and the Young Professionals in Agricultural Research for Development (YPARD) chapter in Ghana; and has also organized trainings through Farmer Field Schools to over 100 tomato farmers in the Ashanti, Brong Ahafo and Upper East regions. Furthermore, three extension leaflets for tomato and cabbage growers have been published by him and he has also used the radio to educate farmers on good agricultural practices for pineapple cultivation.
Mr. Michael Osei is currently the Head of the Horticulture division of CRI Ghana and the first Ghanaian scientist to have reported the discovery of three new distinct tomato virus strains associated with Tomato Yellow Leaf curl Virus (TYLCV) disease in Ghana. He is indeed an exceptional icon of FARA’s Capacity Strengthening Programme.