CCRP/McKnight Next Generation Profile: Prisila Mkenda

Published on:

October 1, 2020

Community of Practice:

East & Southern Africa, Farmer research network (FRN)

My research interest since I was studying master degree was on environmental friendly pest management options. During my masters’ research, I realized the importance of reduced chemical pesticide use to farm biodiversity and their relation in pest control and triggered my interest for further study in the area. My PhD research was focusing on the influence of farm biodiversity (particularly plant diversity) to potential predators and parasitoids of insect pests and their contribution in pest management in smallholder bean farming ecosystems. The study was sponsored by McKnight and Darwin Initiative Project that was focusing on “Harnessing agricultural ecosystem biodiversity for bean production and food security”.

What CCRP projects were/are you involved in, and how did you contribute?

I was involved in McKnight and Darwin Initiative projects where I was investigating the suitability of selected wild plant species located in field margins to support populations of natural enemies of common bean.  The aim of the research was to identify candidate species that can be used to enhance the control of bean pests through ecological interventions.  This research contributed to a successful completion of the projects.

How has CCRP/McKnight impacted your education/career, and how has that support affected you personally, as a leader?

McKnight Project was among my PhD funders, and through this project, I was able to achieve my dreams of becoming a PhD holder. Currently, I am a lecturer and supervisor of both undergraduate and post graduate students in the department of Biosciences, Solomon Mahlangu College of Science and Education (SMCoSE) at Sokoine University of Agriculture.

What are your next steps (future plans)?

My future plans are:

1. To disseminate the knowledge gained to interested people (including students under my supervision) in the research area for further studies
2. To write grant proposal  in the research area for more research and effective implementation by smallholder farmers
3. To look for post doctorial scholarship for further studies in the research area