Food Security and Climate Change Student Scores a Hat trick


Ms Moreblessing Chimweta, a PhD student working on Flood-Recession Cropping in the Zambezi Valley scooped three research awards in 2018. The first award was the Association of African Universities’ Small Grants for Theses and Dissertations Award worth US$3500. This is a competitive award given to students studying at African Universities to assist them with writing their theses.

The second award was the International Foundation for Science (IFS) Award worth US$11653. The IFS award had an equipment component that enabled the University to acquire a modern portable leaf area meter worth £4605. The state of the art leaf area meter (LAM350, ADC-Bio-Scientific-UK) was procured from the United Kingdom. The precision instrument will directly benefit students and scientists in the University.

To cap a memorable year, Ms Chimweta received the prestigious International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) Award worth US$2000 in September 2018. This award is given to scholars who will have submitted proposal of high standing in the field of plant nutrient management. Ms Chimweta’s proposal was based on application of the four rights (4-R)-principle of nutrient management in floodplains. Among other treatments Ms Chimweta proposed foliar application of mineral nitrogen to improve nitrogen use efficiency and minimize nitrate accumulation in soils.

An IPNI award ceremony, funded by IPNI, was held at the Astra Campus at Bindura University on 15 November 2018. Ms Chimweta said she was delighted to have got the award. “It is out of hard work and never quitting. I didn’t get it at the first attempt”. Throwing a lighter moment after her presentation on the day, Ms Chimweta said, “The people from IPNI are very polite, when I failed to get the award in 2017, they replied with a message, ‘Dear Applicant’, and this time when I got it, they addressed, ‘Dear Moreblessing’, It is only at this point when my name was spelt out’. I didn’t give up on it and here I am.”

In recognition of outstanding scholastic record and in appreciation of contributions to the Agricultural Sciences, Dr. Shamie Zingore presented a certificate and congratulated Ms Chimweta. “It is a prestigious award, the competition is very stiff”. This year, only thirty one recipients got the award world over In Africa, only three people got the award and she was the only for Eastern and Southern Africa. “It is a well- deserved award for Ms Chimweta.” Dr Zingore encouraged participants to respond to the next call for proposals. He expressed gratitude to Bindura University for hosting the ceremony and suggested that this should be an annual event.

The Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Wilson Parawira, congratulated Ms Chimweta and encouraged other young scientists to follow her example. He thanked Ms Chimweta’s Supervisors for providing guidance to the student. Professor Mashingaidze

Professor Justice Nyamangara, who is now the Vice Chancellor of Marondera University of Agricultural Science and Technology, graced the occasion as the keynote speaker. Professor Arnold Bray Mashingaidze of Chinhoyi University of Technology was the master of ceremony. Dr Nyakudya, the Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Science presented on the potential of floodplains capillary rise to add nutrients to the root-zone and Professor George Nyamadzawo presented on integrating rainwater harvesting with nutrient management.

Ms Chimweta is working under the supervision of Dr. Innocent Wadzanayi Nyakudya, Dr. Luke Jimu and Professor Arnold Bray Mashingaidze. She is expected to submit her PhD thesis at the end of 2019. She has already covered tremendous ground and has two peer-reviewed publications in international journals of repute: Journal of Physics and Chemistry of the Earth (Elsevier), International Journal of Pest Management (Taylor and Francis).

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