written by Jeffrey Sachs for TIME
When Africa breaks free from the grip of poverty and famine—as it now looks poised to do—Monty Jones, 56, will have played a pivotal role. A native of Sierra Leone, Jones is the revered plant breeder who developed NERICA, the New Rices for Africa, a set of high-productivity rices adapted to West Africa’s growing conditions. Jones’ efforts in creating NERICA are legendary. He and his team painstakingly crossed varieties of Asian and African rices to find stable and fertile breeds that would combine the yields of Asia’s plants and the toughness of Africa’s. NERICA is now being taken up by farmers across West Africa, boosting food security and incomes. Jones’ work has also helped inspire other groups to support an African Green Revolution. The payoff will be a healthy, well-nourished continent on a path to economic development.
More about Monty Jones (Bio)
A citizen of Sierra Leone, who has spent the last 16 years of his career life working in international agricultural research for development. He had his BSc in Agriculture General from Njala University in Sierra Leone, MSc in Plant Genetic Resources and PhD in Plant Biology from the University of Birmingham in the UK. He started his career at the Rice Research station in Sierra Leone, where he worked as a breeder for 13 years. He started his international career with the CGIAR as co-ordinator of the IITA/USAID Cameroon rice program from 1987 to 1990. In 1991, he moved to WARDA(West African Rice Development Association) to become its principal breeder where he developed the world renowned NERICA rice. This has lead him to work with people at different levels i.e. with farmers during the dissemination of NERICAs through the Participatory Varietal Selection, to international scientists in developing the NERICAs, to development agents in helping out with the dissemination and to donors in letting them be actively involved in their own investment projects.
(read more about Dr. Monty here: 2004 world food prize laureate)
(SwitSalone Bloggers Note: This is how you make a country proud. But why is it I am only hearing of Dr. Monty today. He’s clearly been a genius for a while now. Hmmm….guess we need to add him to the list of 50 Sierra Leone Heroes…with Bai Bureh and Kailondo…and let our children know…that they too can be world renowned scientists)