Novus program aids African women in ag

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ST. CHARLES, Missouri – Novus International, Inc. announced its second year of partnership with the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) program.

The AWARD program is helping to fast-track the careers of outstanding African women agricultural scientists by providing premier opportunities to research specific nutrition solutions to food security issues in their home countries and regional economic communities.

AWARD is a professional development program implemented by the Gender and Diversity Program of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) that strengthens the research and leadership skills of African women in agricultural science, empowering them to contribute more effectively to poverty alleviation and hunger in sub-Saharan Africa. Novus is the first private sector company to partner with the AWARD program.

Novus is hosting and underwriting its second AWARD Research Fellow, Dr. Salome Mutayoba, a poultry nutrition scientist from Tanzania whose work focuses on improving the nutritional value and availability of affordable chicken in the diets of rural Tanzanians. 

Dr. Mutayoba, a professor of undergraduate and graduate level Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine in her native Tanzania, joined Novus’s Research and Development team in January 2011. She is one of 20 African women scientists who successfully competed for the prestigious AWARD Research Placement.

 “Nutritional quality is the biggest issue with poultry in Tanzania,” says Dr. Mutayoba.  “The quality and availability of our feed ingredients varies greatly, and we have unpredictable droughts that stress the birds and feeds alike. My work at Novus is designed to help Tanzania’s growing segment of small commercial poultry farms and feed mills utilize better feed compounds to improve the appearance, taste and protein value of the poultry we eat while also improving the birds’ digestive process and overall performance.”

Dr. Mutayoba’s research at Novus is based on ingredients available in Tanzania. She will soon ship samples of the feed she develops for Tanzanian poultry diets back to her country so that they can be tested in local conditions. She hopes to one day make a big difference in building an economically sustainable poultry market that links to improving the availability of chicken for Tanzanian consumers.

 “Good quality chicken is viewed as an expensive delicacy in Tanzania,” she says. “I believe that with better feeding programs, the perception and availability of poultry can be changed dramatically. Increasing the demand and consumption of affordable and higher quality poultry will lead to better diets and new employment opportunities in food production for young people.”

Dr. Mutayoba says that while developing solutions to food security are important to her, the challenges facing women scientists in Africa are an equal consideration.

“Women are not widely viewed as credible sources of scientific knowledge and educational information in Tanzania,” she says. “The AWARD program provides training in communications, leadership and career development to women with advanced education in agricultural sciences. This helps build awareness and professional networks for us, which in turn nourishes the talent pipeline for other aspiring African women scientists.”

Upon her return to Tanzania, Dr. Mutayoba will also mentor other women scientists and will be a role model for young people. In addition, she plans to continue teaching and providing consulting advice to Tanzania’s poultry production sector.

Strengthening the voice of African women on farms, and in education, business and policy, is crucial to designing and implementing solutions that positively impact African households. The AWARD program’s 180 participants are currently from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia and have completed a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree in selected disciplines.

AWARD is a US$15 million, five-year project with plans to expand to a second phase to include French-speaking countries on the African continent, starting in 2013. It is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and USAID. The CGIAR also contributes financially through cost-sharing and indirect support such as staff salaries.

Novus is committed to hosting and underwriting a total of nine AWARD Research Fellows through 2013, with a total investment of approximately $400,000.  Each Research Fellowship lasts nine months. More than 75 national agricultural research institutions and companies are participating, including Novus, Dow AgroSciences and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.

About Novus International, Inc.

Novus International, Inc. is headquartered in metropolitan St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A. and serves customers in more than 90 countries around the world. An industry leader in animal nutrition and health, Novus’s products include ALIMET® and MHA® feed supplements, ACTIVATE® nutritional feed acid, ACIDOMIX® preservative premixture, ADVENT® coccidiosis control, MINTREX® chelated trace minerals, SANTOQUIN® feed preservative, MERA™MET aquaculture feed additive, AGRADO® feed ingredient and many other specialty ingredients. The ARENUS™ brand (www.arenus.com), a division of Novus Nutrition Brands, focuses on developing performance products for the equine and companion animal markets. Stratum™ Nutrition, also a division of Novus Nutrition Brands, focuses on human nutrition through specialty and functional ingredients for manufacturers of foods, beverages and dietary supplements. Novus is privately owned by Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.), Inc. and Nippon Soda Co., Ltd. For more information visit the Novus International Web site


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