West & Central Africa Program
Dr. John Rusagara Nzungize, a Rwandan national, joined as Project Manager and Technology Uptake Specialist, at ICRISAT-Mali in 2014, to work on the USAID supported project – Africa Rising: Large Scale Dissemination of Technologies for Sorghum and Millet Systems (ARDT-SMS).
John holds a PhD in Agricultural Sciences (Plant Breeding and Plant Protection) from the University of Liege Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, Belgium. He has a Masters degree in Plant breeding from the Gembloux Agricultural University (Faculté Universitaire des Sciences Agronomiques de Gembloux), Belgium and a BSc in Crops Production from the National University of Rwanda, Butare, Rwanda.
Prior to joining ICRISAT, Dr. Nzungize worked as Principal Research Fellow in Crop Production and Germplasm Conservation, Rwanda Agriculture Board and as Plant Breeder and Plant Protectionist, especially for common beans. His skills relate to agricultural development, both research and extension under Rwandan/East African conditions. His work has focused on improvement of varieties susceptible to various diseases for the National Bean Program. He has coordinated different research projects with specific emphasis on ensuring extension delivery to farmers. He was responsible for implementing, evaluating and fundraising for the Farmer Field Schools (FFS) program at the national level, which involved farmers’ mobilization, participatory gap analysis, development of training curriculum, organization and implementation of training of trainers (ToT) and training of farmers with specific attention on participatory evaluation of innovations by farmers organized in FFS groups throughout Rwanda.
In his position as principal scientist at the Rwanda Agriculture Board, he coordinated all crop-based research programs. He also coordinated an important development project funded by Belgium Development Agency (BTC) that involved market-oriented advisory services and quality seed. These experiences provided him a good opportunity to work closely with farmers.