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Molly Allen

Allen is a scientist based at the National Agricultural Research Organization in Uganda. She holds a Master of Science in Plant Breeding and Seed Systems and Bachelor of Science in Horticulture, both from Makerere University.

Her passion to address hidden hunger in Africa through plant breeding is evident in her previous research areas of focus. Her second-degree research initiated breeding efforts to combine β - carotene and tolerance to Cassava brown streak disease in Uganda. The final variety is expected to reduce  the prevalence of vitamin A deficiency in children under five and pregnant women in areas where cassava is a staple food. Subsequently, she joined the forage breeding Program at the National Livestock Resources Research Institute where she characterized the diversity of an amazing grass known as Brachiaria. Originally from Africa, Brachiaria grass is a valuable livestock feed reported to have transformed the Brazilian beef industry. She believes that if existing natural genetic diversity in Eastern Africa is harnessed, the grass can equally transform Uganda and Eastern Africa's Livestock Industry.

Low livestock productivity in Africa has been attributed to poor feed options of low nutritional quality. Shortage of forages in quantity and quality is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa, especially during the dry seasons. This could be further emphasized by the fact that feed accounts for 60 – 70% of the costs associated with Livestock production. Her PhD research seeks to develop highly nutritive drought tolerant Brachiaria varieties for use as livestock feed to increase milk and meat production ultimately reducing hidden hunger in Africa.