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PhD successfully completed by Festo Richard Silungwe

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18.12.2019

PhD successfully completed by Festo Richard Silungwe

On 10th December 2019, Mr. Festo Richard Silungwe defended his dissertation at the Faculty of Life Sciences at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and is now entitled to bear the title “PhD”.

Globally, there is enough volumes of food produced yearly to feed the entire population, however, 11% of world population dwells in chronic hunger. The Major challenge remains to uniformity in terms of production and food availability spatially. Large percent of the hungry population is found in semiarid sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Large population of SSA are low income small holder farmers who depend on rainfed agriculture, which is performing poorly. Aggravated by lack of good set of farming practices reffered to as crop upgrading strategies (UPSs), the main agricultural production challenges in SSA are frequent drought, scarce and highly variable in rainfall, and degraded soils. Apart from employing suitable UPSs to enhance yield in SSA, biophysical models are required for finetuning their potential in improving food security and for addressing uncertainities under climate change for sustainable production. In his cumulative doctoral thesis, Mr. Silungwe applied a novel methodological approach of combining literature, experiments and modeling to integrate the UPSs in modeling for enhancing yield of pearl millet and improve food security for low income smallholder farmers in semia-arid SSA. At ZALF, Mr. Silungwe has been affiliated with the SUSLAND working group since 2016.

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