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Dr. Muhammad Umar Lawan

Long ago when I was youngI recall walking with my father to the farm when he uttered a statement I will never forget. He saidwhoever wants to earn respect in his familycommunity or country should produce more food than his needs Muhammad Umar Lawan is from the Northern part of Nigeria. He grew up in a Tudun Wada meaningthe hill of wealth a town in Nigeria named so because of the farming activities of the inhabitants and now the food basket of the most populous state in Nigeria.Coming from this regionmy concern is not only how to feed the present and the future population but also to develop varieties that are environmentally friendlyfarmerschoice and consumer preferred. Lawan obtained a Bachelor s degree in Applied Biology at Bayero UniversityKanoNigeria (BUK) and proceeded for a one-year National Youth Service Corps in the south-eastern part of Nigeria. At the end of my serviceone of his neighbours passed away as a result of heart attack. Since thenhe started thinking about how to minimise such risks. CoincidentallyLawan read about an article in one of the national dailies which stated that the leavesstems and seeds of Cowpea have antimicrobial properties and that frequent consumers had lower blood pressure (BP) and total serum cholesterol levels. Consequentlyconsumers were less likely to be diagnosed with high BPdiabetes and other heart diseases.This was my motivation to pursue a Master s Degree in Botany specialising in the Genetics of cowpea Lawan Says. He was appointed the Trial Manager to oversee the first Confined Field Trial (CFT) on Maruca resistant Cowpea in Nigeria. He now works as a Gene Bank Curator at the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR)Ahmadu Bello UniversityZariaNigeria.Nigeria is the largest cowpea producer and consumer in the world. Howevercowpea is still imported to Nigeria. For his AGRA-sponsored PhD work at WACCILawan hopes to continue his work on Genetic Analysis of Cross-ability Traits in Landraces of Cowpea in Nigeria.I hope this research will increase the production level in order to feed and nourish the growing population in Nigeria in particular and Africa in generaawan declares