PMB prof wins top science award

2007-11-23 00:00

Professor Albert Thembinkosi Modi (pictured), just 39 years old and the youngest professor in his department, impressed the selection committee of eminent scientists, technologists and engineers, with his “self-initiated research, his record of training postgraduate students and the potential contribution of his research to South African society”.

UKZN spokeswoman Vicky Crookes said that Modi’s most significant achievements have been in community engagement.

“For several years he worked in the Umbumbulu area in KwaZulu-Natal, researching indigenous agricultural systems and advising the community on how to improve seed quality and production outputs,” she said.

“In an effort to encourage farmers to use sustainable methods of production, he founded the Ezemvelo Farmers’ Organisation.”

This community-based organisation was the first group of small-scale subsistence farmers in South Africa to be certified as using organic methodology.

“It created a historic opportunity for these rural farmers to market their organic produce to mainstream retailers, such as Woolworths and Pick ’n Pay. A key component of Modi’s work in this area involved improving the self-sustainability of women farmers.”

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