Governance & Leadership
Dr. Maria Isabel Andrade
Dr. Maria Isabel Andrade, a co-recipient of the 2016 World Food Prize, has 30 years of working experience in Africa. Her research interests include technology transfer, breeding seed systems and the amelioration of value chains for income-generation. Maria, from Cape Verde, has spent the last 21 years working in Mozambique. The first 10 of these, she served as a regional cassava and sweetpotato agronomist for the Southern Africa Root Crop Research Network, a program run conjointly by the International Potato Center (CIP) and International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA). From 2002-2006 she coordinated a five year IITA/CIP project on Accelerated Multiplication and Distribution of Healthy Planting Materials of the Best High Yielding Varieties of Cassava and Sweetpotato. Over one million farmers received improved planting material under this project in 98 of the 141 districts of the country with Maria collaborating with 124 partners to achieve this objective.
In 2006, she joined CIP to manage the SASHA Southern Africa Sweetpotato Support Platform bringing together sweetpotato breeders from Malawi, Zambia, South Africa, Madagascar, Mozambique and Angola, with a research emphasis on breeding drought-tolerant sweetpotato varieties. She has released 30 bio-fortified sweetpotato varieties of which 20 are drought tolerant. The Mozambican government recognizes bio-fortified sweetpotato as a food and nutrition security crop. These drought tolerant varieties have reached more than half a million farmers who have adopted them and are making profits selling the roots and vines. Maria is highly skilled in training other breeders, facilitating knowledge sharing and constructing communications platforms to heighten the visibility and impact of sweetpotato in Sub-Saharan Africa to reduce Vitamin A deficiency and improve markets and crop production.
Today, Maria serves as CIP’s country manager in Mozambique, over and above her scientific leadership role. Maria served as the vice president for fund raising for the International Society for Tropical Root Crops (ISTRC) global for five years. Key recognitions for her sweetpotato breeding work include: 2016 World Food Prize co-laureate and 2017 Swaminathan Award for Environmental Protection.
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