Admire Shayanowako is no stranger to agriculture or the problems that smallholder farmers in Africa face. The 31-year old maize researcher grew up on a small farm in Zimbabwe where his family was constantly plagued by parasitic weeds. Now based at the University of Kwazulu Natal in South Africa, he is working on biocontrol agents and maize genetic resistance against Striga, also known as witch weed. He was recently recognized for his innovative research as one of the winners of the 2019 Maize Youth Innovators Awards Africa, in the category of researcher at an awards ceremony in Lusaka, Zambia on May 9.
These awards, an initiative of the CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE), recognize the contributions of young women and men below 35 years of age who are implementing innovations in African maize-based farming systems. This is the second year of the awards, and the first time to be held in Africa. We recently sat down with Admire to discuss his research, inspiration and plans for the future.