The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Dr. Leonard Akwilapo, has received the Plant Mutation Breeding Award presented to a Tanzanian researcher, Mr. Salum Faki Hamad, of the Zanzibar Agricultural Research Institute (ZARI).
The award was granted to Mr. Salum as recognition for his contributions to Plant Mutation breeding from 28 researchers and research teams of institutions from across 20 countries.
The award was presented yesterday, September 20, 2021 by the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mr. Rafael Mariano Grossi, at the 65th meeting of the IAEA General Assembly taking place at the Vienna International Center (VIC), Austria.
Mr. Faki was awarded the prize after conducting research that produced rice seed that yields more than 60 percent of the original seed and that is drought tolerant and resistant to various diseases.
The IAEA, in cooperation with Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), assists experts worldwide in using nuclear techniques in agriculture, including support with irradiating seeds or other plant material in order to develop plant varieties with superior characteristics
This process, called plant mutation breeding, uses the plant’s own natural genetic resources to mimic the spontaneous process of mutation in the evolution of plants. It increases the pace of genetic change and allows plant breeders to select the most desirable ones from many mutant lines.