West African Forum on Precision Agriculture – Presenters

Dr. Kwame Frimpong, University Cape Coast; WAFPA Co-Chair

Dr. Kwame Agyei Frimpong is an Associate Professor and Researcher in Soil Fertility at the Department of Soil Science at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana.

Dr. Frimpong holds a PhD in Plant and Soil Science obtained from the University of Aberdeen (2011); an MSc in Physical Land Resources from Ghent University, Belgium (2001); and a BSc (Honours) in Agriculture from the University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana (1992).

Dr. Frimpong has previously worked with Prof. Warren Dick, Ohio State University as Norman Borlaug Fellow, Prof. Bernd Marschner, Ruhr University of Bochum, Germany as a TWAS-DFG Fellow, and Dr. Martin Blackwell as a RIFS fellow at Rothamsted Research, UK.

Kwame loves music, reading and soccer. He hopes to acquire sound technical knowhow and sharpen his skills in Precision Agriculture, and most importantly, establish research collaborations and long-lasting friendships.

Dr. Steve Phillips, African Plant Nutrition Institute; WAFPA Co-Chair

Dr. Steve Phillips holds a PhD in agronomy from Oklahoma State University in the USA. He is currently employed as Principal Scientist for the African Plant Nutrition Institute, headquartered in Benguerir, Morocco.

Dr. Phillips has over 25 years of experience in leading applied agronomic research and educational outreach programs focused on improving the performance of diverse cropping systems around the world. Dr. Phillips has worked in both academia and industry, most recently for the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) as Director of the North American Program.

As a university professor, Dr. Phillips led an internationally recognized research program in precision agriculture (PA) and developed the first crop sensor algorithms for nutrient management in the eastern USA. At IPNI, he served as organizer and chairman for the InfoAg Conference, the premier PA event in the world. He has authored over 200 scientific publications and his recognition as an expert in the field of PA is evidenced by his numerous invitations to provide keynote lectures at events in over 20 countries. Dr. Phillips was honoured in 2017 with the Agronomic Industry Award from the American Society of Agronomy.

Dr. Nicodeme Fassinou, University of Abomey-Calavi

Dr. Vodjo Nicodème Fassinou Hotegni obtained the degree of General Agronomy in 2006 from the University of Abomey-Calavi (Benin). From 2006 to 2007, he specialised in Plant Sciences and obtained the Agricultural Engineer degree with honour. In October 2008, he started his PhD research at the Centre for Crop Systems Analysis at Wageningen University and Research. During his PhD, he conducted long-term field experimentation, farmer surveys, value chains studies, and research on quality issues in agri-food in supply chains. He graduated in September 2014 at Wageningen University.

From 2015 to 2017, he worked as Visiting Scientist at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Benin Station, where he helped improve the monitoring and evaluation scheme of a cowpea seed system project implemented in Ghana, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal. Since 2016, he has been a lecturer-researcher at the School of Crop Sciences, University of Abomey-Calavi where he teaches courses such as Crop Physiology, Post-Harvest Physiology, Horticulture, Cash crop agronomy, Scientific writing, Scientific English, Project writing, and Technics of crop experimentation.

His research work focuses on (i) the improvement of quality and yield of agricultural products through precision and sustainable agronomic practices (ii) the study of biotic and abiotic effects on crops such as neglected horticultural crops in Benin and (iii) the improvement of post-harvest performance of agri-foods products through agronomic practices.

He is currently involved in many research and development projects such as PROLAIT project (Improving the productivity and quality of local cow milk through the characterization, domestication and valorization of milk-inducing plants) -CREAVARS project (Creation, agro-morphological, genetic and nutritional characterization of new varieties of Amaranth resistant to salinity and OFSP project (Improved Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato Value for Chain Food and Nutrition Security in Benin, Niger and Nigeria). So far, he has published about 22 technical sheets related to horticultural crops production and about 10 scientific articles in high impact journals such as Frontiers in Plant Science and PLOS one. He has supervised 17 students to date.

Dr. Idriss Serme, INERA

Dr. Idriss Serme is the Head of Biometry Division of the National Institute of environment and agricultural research of Burkina Faso (INERA).

He holds a Ph.D. in soil science in Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. He has conducted many works on Soil Fertility management issues and Fertilizer Systems. He was a Borlaug research fellow at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. During the past 3 years he has worked closely with IFDC on the harmonization of fertilizer recommendation approach in West Africa. He has also worked closely with fertilizer industries, the blenders, and the agro dealers on promoting fertilizer use in Burkina Faso. He has coordinated several research projects on integrated soil fertility management and soil and water conservation issues. He is the co-PI of an ARES funded project (MICROFERTI) working on modelling and upscaling of fertilizer micro dosing technique in Burkina Faso. He has published over 40 articles in international journals and has supervised more than 15 postgraduate students.

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Dr. René Akanvou, CNRA

Dr. René Akanvou is a Cropping Systems Agronomist and Head of the Department of Statistics at the National Center for Agronomic Research (CNRA) in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

Dr. Akanvou obtained his MSc in genetics and developmental biology, and his PhD in production ecology and resource conservation from Wageningen University and Research Centre, (Netherlands).

René has worked as a consultant in research development and technology transfer, and has been a cropping system agronomist at the CNRA in Côte d’Ivoire for over 20 years. His main focus is on food crop production; system analysis and modeling cropping systems, and soil fertility management.

Dr. Martin Bosompem, UCC

Dr. Martin Bosompem is a Senior Lecturer Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, University of Cape Coast with over 12 years of experience in Agricultural Extension, Entrepreneurship, and Community Development research.

His Ph.D thesis entitled “Prospects and challenges of precision agriculture in cocoa production in Ghana” and his contribution to Precision Agriculture research won an outstanding Graduate Student Award in Precision Agriculture from the International Society of Precision Agriculture (ISPA) at the 13th International Conference on Precision Agriculture (ICPA), in St. Louis, Missouri, USA in August 2016. He is currently a ISPA member and Country Representative for Ghana.

His Ph.D thesis entitled “Prospects and challenges of precision agriculture in cocoa production in Ghana” and his contribution to Precision Agriculture research won an outstanding Graduate Student Award in Precision Agriculture from the International Society of Precision Agriculture (USA) at the 13th International Conference on Precision Agriculture (ICPA), in St. Louis, Missouri, USA in August 2016. He is currently a member and Country Representative for Ghana for the International Society of Precision Agriculture (ISPA), USA.

Dr. Christogonus Daudu, Ahmadu Below University

Dr. Christogonus Kayode Daudu is a Professor of Soil Science and the Assistant Director, Research, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation at the National Agricultural Extension & Research Liaison Services, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Nigeria.

He is engaged in extension research and teaching and holds a joint academic appointment with ABU’s Department of Soil Science. He holds a PhD in Soil Fertility Management from ABU Zaria and has a wide range of training, extension and research experience in agriculture from specialized trainings on fertilizer recommendations, use of agricultural models and participatory approaches, as well as research in extension methodologies.

Professor Daudu was a 2017 Visiting Senior Fulbright Research Scholar (African Research Scholar Program) at the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Nebraska. He was also a South Africa’s National Research Foundation postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Fort Hare, Alice, South Africa between 2006 and 2008. He has contributed to the execution of a broad range of international and multi-partner donor-support projects related to development and dissemination of improved and sustainable soil fertility and productivity management practices. He is a member of the National Fertilizer Technical Committee and is co-editor of the manual on fertilizer Use and Management Practices for Crops in Nigeria. He has several publications in reputable journals and has presented papers at both local and international conferences. His major research interests are in soil fertility management for sustainable agriculture, farming systems, intersection of climate change and agriculture, biosafety and risk assessment.

Prof. Daudu is an active member of several Professional Academic Associations, including the All African Soil Science Society, African Network for Soil Biology and Fertility, Soil Science Society of Nigeria, Nigerian Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services and Agricultural Extension Society of Nigeria. He is a Fellow of the African Scientific Institute and also serves as a member of the International Plant Nutrition Council.

Dr. Alfred Tine, ISRA/CNRA

Dr Alfred Kouly Tine attended the Cheikh Anta DIOP University in Senegal where he supported his Doctorate in 2004. He was trained in Germany in integrated water resources management (2001-2002) and in the Agronomic Institute of Florence (Italy) in geomatics and natural resources evaluation (2008-2009).

From 2006 to 2016, he worked at the National Institute of Pedology of Senegal where he held positions as Head of Laboratories and the Cartography and Agricultural Cadastre Division.

He joined the Senegalese Institute for Agricultural Research in 2016 and his research activities relate to the evaluation and improvement of techniques for recovering organic waste by composting and the evaluation of the environmental impacts of salvage land recovery and development techniques.

Dr Tine has solid experience in the field of natural resource management and is very involved in carrying out the Senegal soil fertility map for the generation of fertilizer formulas according to agro-ecological zones and varieties.

Dr. Jean Sogbedji, ESA - University of Lomé

Dr. Jean M. Sogbedji received his Ph.D. in Soil Science–Agronomy from Cornell University, New York, U.S. in 1999. He is currently a full Professor of Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition and the Director of the Soil, Climate and Crop Sciences Interface Laboratory at the University of Lomé, Togo.

Professor Sogbedji was the Dean of the School of Agriculture of the University of Lomé from 2014 to 2019. From 2006 to 2014, he worked at IFDC (International Fertilizer Development Center) – Africa Division as senior researcher with duties including among others coordination of several international, regional and national research-development agricultural projects dealing with soil fertility, nutrient use efficiency and capacity building. Jean was a Research Associate at Cornell University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the U.S. with focus on precision agriculture. His current research focuses on promoting precision, resilient and sustainable agriculture using the soil-climate-crop sciences interface research approach.

Dr. Kokou Amouzou, APNI

Dr. Kokou Amouzou, a native of Togo, is Program Coordinator (West Africa) for the African Plant Nutrition Institute (APNI) based in Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire.

Kokou received his Diploma of Agronomist Engineer (B.Sc.) and M.Sc. from Ecole Supérieure d’Agronomie (ESA), University of Lomé, Togo. He obtained is Doctor of Agricultural Science from the Faculty of Agriculture/University of Bonn, Germany. Dr. Amouzou has worked as for ADA Consulting Africa as both Research and Capacity Building Officer, and Vice General Director. Kokou was also a Junior Researcher for the Center for Development Research (ZEF) at the University of Bonn.

Prior to joining APNI, Dr. Amouzou was Agronomist for the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI), West Africa Program where he focused on implementation, development and dissemination of site-specific nutrient management practices for sustainable crop production intensification in a range of crops. He also coordinated the development of nutrient management decision support tools, managed agronomic trials and agronomic data and developed scientific publications and extension products. Dr. Amouzou’s research continues to focus on cropping systems analysis and modelling, integrated soil fertility management, site-specific nutrient management, nutrient- and water-use efficiencies, sustainable intensification, climate change and agriculture, and food security.

Mr. Thierry Roger Bayala, Fasodrone

Thierry Roger Bayala is a software engineer and holds a Master degree in Artificial Intelligence (AI), precisely in the field of Natural Language processing.

Thierry has worked in several software development companies based in Burkina Faso as a web and mobile developer. During these years of experience, he managed teams of developers and also participated in the modelling of complex databases for big companies such as RoxGold and Essakane. He was also the main developer of several mobile applications for the localization of health institutions in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Congo Brazzaville.

In addition to these experiences at the local level, Thierry has also carried out short term trainings in Japanese companies such as YAMAHA Motors and Hitachi Solutions East (HSE). In 2018, when he was still in Japan, he co-created FasoDrone with Issouf Ouattara an aerospace engineer. Today, Thierry Bayala is the COO of FasoDrone and leads the team in charge of development of data processing application using AI techniques.

Mr. Aboubakar Karim, Investiv

Aboubakar Karim is CEO and founder of INVESTIV, an Ivorian start-up established in 2017 specialized in precision agriculture. As pioneers in the use of drones for agriculture in West Africa, INVESTIV provides farmers with information on soil quality, plant phyto-sanitary conditions, land measurement and monitoring of crop development through an online platform.

As of 2019, they are using drones to spray crops with granulated or liquid fertilizer. Over the past two years, INVESTIV has mapped and monitored over 30,000 ha of plantations, improved the management of 30 farms, created more than 20 jobs, raise 400k USD and has won 6 awards including and being named as one of Côte Ivoire’s most promising young companies – all this while making a big impact on improving the lives of rural communities. In Côte d’Ivoire INVESTIV works with big companies like OLAM in Cotton or SIFCA in Sugarcane.

Mr. Solomon Allavi, Syecomp

Solomon Elorm Allavi is a co-founder and CEO of SyeComp and its subsidiary US Corporation fintech, mfarmpay Inc.

He is a Remote Sensing Expert and adept in deploying adaptive digital solutions impacting millions of African smallholder farmers and agribusinesses. He leads the business operations of SyeComp and mfarmpay Inc. in Accra and Nairobi.

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