Patricia Nanteza explains why she nominated scientist, Dr.Jerome Kubiriba as her Food Hero:
What does Dr Kubiriba’s job entail?
Dr. Jerome Kubiriba heads a team of over 100 staff – scientists, technicians and support staff at the National Banana Research Program in Uganda. This program spearheads all research on bananas in Uganda from breeding hybrids, GMOs to agronomic practices that boost banana production.
He also leads a number of banana breeding partnerships in the region and internationally – with the banana breeding teams in Tanzania, IITA and Bioversity International.
Why is he a Food Hero?
Dr. Jerome Kubiriba consistently reiterates the importance of assisting farmers via scientific research. Jerome always reminds us that our target is the rural farmer, hence we should always have the farmers’ perspective at the fore-front of what we do – be it research or communicating that research. He has a heart for the well-being of the farmers and it is evident in his work ethos.
Once, we visited a banana plantation in northern Uganda – a region recovering from a 20-year civil war. Farmers shared how bananas have changed their livelihoods, helping them build houses or send their children to school. “That is why we breed bananas. That is why we do toil and do research over 10 years, so that the farmer’s life is changed,” Dr. Jerome stressed.
It is heartwarming to work with someone who has people at the center of all his research work. And because he talks about the farmer and the final consumer all the time, he is raising a team of future scientists that will carry forward this legacy of farmer-centric and consumer-centric research. That is why I nominate Dr. Jerome Kubiriba as a food hero.