Melaku Worede

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Melaku Worede "was born in Ethiopia in 1936. After obtaining a PhD in Agronomy (Genetics and Breeding) from the University of Nebraska, USA, he returned to Ethiopia and became involved in the planning of the Plant Genetic Resources Centre in Addis Ababa, of which he became Director in 1979. He held this post until his retirement in 1993 to join the Seeds of Survival Programme of Ethiopia, which he founded with the support of a consortium of Canadian NGOs led by the Unitarian Service Committee (USC/Canada)...

"Worede retired from government service to continue and develop his pioneer work on a farming-based native seed (landrace) conservation, enhancement and utilisation. Growing without commercial fertilisers or other chemicals, the locally adapted native seeds developed in this way (e.g. durum wheat) have been shown to exceed their high-input counterparts on the averagge by 10-15% and the original farmers' cultivars by 20-25% in yield.

"In addition to Ethiopia, Worede is now promoting this to other developing regions of Africa and Asia as key promoter and scientific adviser of the Seeds of Survival programme. In this connection, he has been active in the training of several gene bank curators and many other young scientists. Several initiatives to support biodiversity conservation and utuilisation in Africa take the Ethiopian experience as their model and are thus attributable to Worede's path-breaking work.

"Also very active at the international level, Worede was the first Chair of the African Committee for Plant and Genetic Resources and has been instrumental in the setting up of the African Biodiversity Network. He has served as Chair of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization's Commission on Plant Genetic Resources and is currently a Board member of (among others) the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI) and the Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI)." [1]

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  1. Melaku Worede, , accessed January 9, 2009.