Dr. Emmanuel Okogbenin

Director of Programmes and Commercialisation African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), Kenya

Emmanuel Okogbenin, a well-trained scientist in plant breeding, genetics, and genomics with good background in agronomy, and physiology, has experience spanning over 23 years working in and leading several research projects in cassava at both international agricultural research (IAR) centres and national agricultural research institutes (NARS). He holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics/Plant Breeding from the University of Ibadan. He conducted his thesis research as a Rockefeller fellow with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) Colombia. Emmanuel holds M.Sc. in Agronomy and B.Sc. in Agriculture (Crop Science) degrees from the same university. As part of his PhD programme, he took courses in statistical genetics at the North Carolina State University, Raleigh. Emmanuel, a pioneer scientist in cassava biotechnology research, led the CIAT team in QTL mapping studies on the crop. As a cassava breeder/geneticist at CIAT, he led the Marker-Assisted Selection (MAS) initiative for cassava mosaic disease (CMD) resistance resulting in the release of the first CMD resistant Latin American cassava varieties in Africa. He coordinated the activities of the CIAT Genetics Unit as part of his last duties in Colombia. Emmanuel has in the last few years pioneered Marker-Assisted Recurrent Selection (MARS) for drought tolerance and improved productivity of cassava in marginal drought prone ecologies in Africa, in addition to leading the cassava breeding community of practice in SSA under the platform of the CGIAR-Generation Challenge Programme (GCP). In the course of his career he has worked for IITA, Nigeria; CIAT, Colombia; NRCRI, Nigeria; CGIAR-GCP and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Nigeria. In the FMARD, he was a member of the ministerial core team for the cassava transformation agenda of the Federal Government of Nigeria. He has been a consultant and collaborator with the Donald Danforth Plant Science Centre, USA on international projects in Africa. Emmanuel’s publications include journal articles, book chapters and conference papers presented at international and national meetings. As the Director of Programme Development and Commercialization (PDC), Emmanuel identifies opportunities for agricultural technology interventions, assesses the feasibility and probability of success of project concepts, identifies sources of appropriate technologies, negotiates their access and deployment, and provides overall leadership in the implementation of AATF’s project portfolio. Emmanuel is a national of Nigeria.