Dr. Said Silim

Said has more than four decades of experience in serving and leading African agriculture. He worked in ICRISAT from 1990 to 2013 (2 years in Asia and 22 years in Africa) in various capacities – from Principal Scientist (Cereals and Legumes), through Country Representative (Kenya), to Director, Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA). Said initiated and was deeply involved in the Pigeonpea Improvement Project in ESA, which was instrumental in substantially increasing the area of pigeonpea cultivation, productivity and popularity as a major export crop in Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda and Tanzania.

In his work, Said realized that one of the constraints to delivery of crop impact is to have availability and access to seed by small-scale farmers and particularly so are constraints associated with early generation seed. He realized that the national agricultural research system needed support for maintaining breeder seed.  On the other hand, the private sector was not keen on producing certified seed of dryland cereal and legume crops. He worked on modalities to overcome this predicament.

Said had two stints at ICARDA; a). 1984-1989 first as a postdoctoral fellow and later scientist in Food Legume Improvement Program, b). 2013-2016 Coordinator of Sub-Saharan Regional Program. He was given a number of tasks the major being: Establishment of the platform and its strategy, staff and resource mobilization. All were achieved. Developed SSA Regional Strategy which involved all stakeholders including the National Agricultural Research Systems, Sub-regional Organizations, CGIAR, donors etc.; staff increased, and led in funding three projects – Malt barley, chickpea and faba beans with focus on delivery of seed technology to farmers and market linkages. Linking early generation seed (breeder and basic) to production of certified and quality declared seeds.  He was able to source over $ 5 m for the Platform

He obtained his PhD from University of Nottingham in Crop Physiology and Seed Technology, his MSc from University of Khartoum in Vegetable Breeding and Physiology, and his BSc from Makerere University in Crop Science.

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