|Profiles of Harmonised Seed Security Project (HaSSP) Seed Elders
|25 November 2010
Seed Elder: Mr Obed Dlamini
Mr Dlamini, former Prime Minister of Swaziland, was born on April 4, 1937. In 1953 he went to school at Mhlosheni where he studied farming skills. After working as a teacher he worked for Robert Construction (later known as Murray &Roberts). Following this, he worked at Standard Chartered Bank. He was Secretary General for the Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions (SFTU). He played a leading role in the development of the Employment Act (1980), Industrial Relations Act, as well as the Workmen’s Compensation Act in Swaziland. In 1989 he was appointed Prime Minister of Swaziland. Following that he served as Senator and Member of Parliament for his constituency. His business is farming. In 2009 he was appointed His Majesty King’s Advisor to King Mswati III, “Liqoqo”.
Seed Elder: Mr Edson Musopole
Mr Edson Musopole has a Diploma and Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture from University of Malawi and an M.Sc. in Agriculture Development and Extension from Wye College of the University of London. In terms of career which spans from 1976 to 2010, he has worked for the Ministry of Agriculture as an Agriculture Extension Coordinator. He also worked at Action Aid Malawi as Smallholder Seed Development Coordinator; which involved collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, CIAT/Malawi Bean Programme, ICRISAT,CYMMT and IITA in facilitating multiplication and dissemination of improved open pollinated germplasm to improve crop productivity of smallholder farmers. He is currently Chairman of the Civil Society Agriculture Network (CISANET), Malawi’s FANRPAN Node hosting institution
Seed Elder: Dr Samuel Muchena
Dr Muchena did his undergraduate studies at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), after which he proceeded to study at Makerere University in Uganda. He proceeded to CIMMYT for 6 months, then went to Cornell University in USA where he was placed in an interdisciplinary team that was sent to Mexico to evaluate maize population improvement at CIMMYT. When he joined government in 1977, he initiated a pearl millet breeding programme and on the side he started to breed dwarf maize. In search of academic freedom, he joined the University of Zimbabwe. Soon after independence he joined the Ministry of Agriculture, where he was Deputy Permanent Secretary. He became involved in the International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC) and was tasked to set up the African Centre for Fertilizer Development (ACFD) by the African Union. Although their focus was resource development, marketing and management, Dr Muchena brought the maize programme to the Centre. He has released three dwarf maize varieties so far which have proved to be popular with farming communities.
Seed Elder: Mrs Thabile Gooday
Mrs Gooday studied at the Faculty of Agriculture in the then University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. She worked for the Government of Swaziland for 15 years and during this period she was trained in Horticulture in Ireland, Development Planning in Kenya, and Communication for National Development with San Diego University, California. In 1999, she retired early to pursue self employment.
She developed a poultry enterprise. Starting with a batch of 300 broilers, this enterprise developed over the next ten years to its present size, placing 10000 chickens per month. She has developed an abattoir with a capacity to slaughter more than 1000 birds daily, and with a freezer storage capacity of 2500 birds. Due to working with rural communities, she has kept close to their development in farming activities and her focus is on emerging young farmers who need encouragement and technical help. This year (in 2010) she joined a mentorship programme for young women who are guided by mentors in their proposed careers. The programme is helpful in preparing these young women for university life and developing confidence and passion for their chosen careers.
Seed Elder: Dr Samson Simbarashe Mundia
Dr Mundia studied up to A Level in Zimbabwe and then went abroad for further studies where he obtained his first two degrees in Medicine. He went back to Zambia to do his internship in 1969. After about 2 years of internship, he went back to the UK for further studies (MRCP). He went back to Zambia and he was appointed as a Consultant in the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka. At the same time he was appointed as a Lecturer of Medicine in Cardiology. Subsequently, after two years, he was appointed to the Ministry of Health as Deputy Director, Medical Services. He went into private practice where he remained for 20 years. In 1993, he was asked to become the Commissioner of Human Rights, and he served in that capacity for three and a half years. In 2004 the President of Zambia appointed him as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. He served in this office until 2008. In addition to supervising his medical practices, he runs an agro-processing and packaging business.
Seed Elder: Dr Liberty Mhlanga
Dr Mhlanga studied for a Bachelors’ degree in Biology and a Masters’ in Geography at Clark University in Worcester Massachusetts in the USA. He returned to then Rhodesia to teach Biology and Geography for 4 years before going back to the USA to study for a doctoral degree in Science Education dealing with Ecology and Environment at Columbia University in New York City. He graduated in June 1971. Soon after that he served in the secretariat of the United Nations on Environment and Development Conference that was to be held in Stockholm Sweden in 1972, and was then the only African in the secretariat. He was a part of this process which led to the formation of ENDATIERMONDE – “ENDAs”. There are now more than 20 ENDAs in Africa, Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.
At independence in 1981 he was invited to come back to Zimbabwe to take up a post as Permanent Secretary for Energy or put together TILCOR Agricultural Development Association (ARDA) and the agricultural projects of the Sabi-Limpopo Development Authority. He chose the latter. He went to work starting with nine farms the bulk of them located in the communal areas. Before very long they had increased agricultural production of wheat, tea, maize, vegetables, milk, beef, beans, groundnuts and sugar cane significantly.
In the late 1980s he became the Chairman of Vice President Joshua Nkomo’s 350,000-hectare Nuanetsi Ranch.
Seed Elder: Mr Winter Chibasa
Mr Chibasa studied agriculture in Sudan to the University of Khartoum which was the sub college of the University of London. On his return to Zambia in the early 1970s he joined the Ministry of Agriculture where he rose to the position of Director of Research. He was frustrated by his lack of practical field experience, and because he wanted to have some commercial farming experience he sought to get unpaid leave. When he was denied, he opted to resign. He went to work for a commercial farmer for two years, where he learnt to grow strawberries and tomatoes for export.
He then joined ZAMSEED where he rose through the ranks and ended up as Managing Director of the company. With support from USAID he participated in a project which trained staff working in research as well as members of staff from SCCI in which up to ten PHD holders, twenty masters and thirty bachelors and diplomas were trained. He has since retired from ZAMSEED and his business is farming.