As the director of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), Kyetere knows that rural communities thrive when smallholder farmers prosper.
To that end, he and AATF are helping farmers in sub-Saharan Africa access practical technology solutions that have increased yields 100-300% across several crops.
“This has contributed to their increased income and improved their well-being,” explains Kyetere, whose passion for agriculture is rooted in a childhood spent tending livestock and crops on his family’s homestead. “We have demonstrated how progress is possible when companies, governments, NGOs, researchers and farmers work together to develop technologies that address specific production challenges.”
Under Kyetere’s leadership, AATF and its partners are collaborating on the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) project. They’re developing maize (corn) varieties that can withstand the double impacts of drought and pests, including attacks by the destructive Fall Armyworm, which can ruin an entire field in just a few days.
Kyetere is especially interested in maize because it’s an essential food and cash crop for Africa’s smallholder farmers. His PhD research identified and mapped the first gene that confers tolerance to the devastating maize streak virus disease (MSVD). He sees real value in using technology to improve staple crops.
“Biotechnology is an approach that can complement conventional crop improvement methods, address huge food deficits and reduce poverty in Africa,” Kyetere says. “I am proud that AATF is contributing to wealth creation and the health of smallholder farmers.”
“Biotechnology is an approach that can complement conventional crop improvement methods, address huge food deficits and reduce poverty in Africa. Biotechnology is one tool in the toolbox that contributes to food production with precision and speed.”