Over the years, RUFORUM has championed transformative graduate research and training in agricultural sciences through supporting graduate research and training implemented under the Competitive Grants Scheme (CGS). One of the competitive grants that is routinely made available through Senior Faculty in member universities is the Graduate Research Grants (GRGs). The GRG supports the training of master level students under the mentorship of a research team drawn from within the university and outside the university. In 2014, Prof. Cugala Domingos from Eduardo Mondlane University was one of the recipients of a GRG to train two master students. RUFORUM takes the pleasure to introduce the two female beneficiaries undergoing training and mentorship.
Andreia Mahalia Maulide Massamby was born in Maputo, Mozambique. She obtained a Bachelor in Agricultural Engineering (Eduardo Mondlane University) in 2014. Upon completion of her undergraduate studies, Andreia commenced a two-year Master´s degree with a scholarship funded by the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) through its Graduate Research Grant (GRG) awarded to Prof. Domingos Cugala. Andreia is furthering her skills in the field of Crop Protection with particular emphasis in Entomology. Andreia’s research is focussed on the “Assessment of distribution and pest status of papaya mealybug (Paracoccus marginatus) and prediction of potential areas at risk of invasion using ecological niche model in Mozambique”. She anticipates that this research will provide information on both the pest status and distribution in Mozambique and contribute to increasing papaya production among smallholder farmer production systems through strategic reduction of P. marginatus population density and associated pest damage.
Olzura da Encarnação Miguel was born in Maputo, Mozambique. She has great focus and admiration for agriculture with a zeal to champion change among smallholder farmers in Mozambique as a mechanism to contributing economic growth, better livelihoods and sustainable development. Ms. Miguel holds a Bachelor of Agronomic Engineering (Eduardo Mondlane University). She commenced her postgraduate studies in 2015 through a scholarship funded by the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM). This scholarship was made possible through the RUFORUM Graduate Research Grant (GRG) awarded to Prof. Domingos Cugala of Eduardo Mondlane University. Ms. Miguel is pursuing a Master in Crop Protection. And her research is focused on “Establishment assessment and impact of exotic parasitoids on the population of the papaya mealybug, Paracoccus marginatus”. This study is founded on the recent outbreak of papaya mealybug with devastating impacts in Mozambique. The control mechanisms available at present such as the chemical control approaches are not economically feasible for the smallholder farmers that constitute the majority of papaya producers. The alternative approach of using natural and/or biological control has been seen as an economically and environmentally viable strategy for the suppression of this pest. It is this perspective that this study will seek to investigate so as to provide information for evidence based decision support.