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Photo of Eugene R. Terry

Eugene R. Terry

Senior Technical Advisor, TransFarm Africa

Sierra Leone

What most impressed the professional colleagues who nominated this role model?

Eugene Terry has devoted his career to raising the productivity of smallholder African farmers through advances in the biological sciences.  In the early decades of his career, he focused on technology development, most notably at IITA and WARDA.  At a later stage, in helping to found AATF, he pioneered efforts to negotiate high-level technology transfers from large international agribusinesses for the benefit of small farmers in Africa. 

Very few African scientists have demonstrated the breadth of vision, the scientific discipline, the managerial skills and sheer audacity in channeling the power of scientific research to make improved technologies available to the majority of African people, who currently work in agriculture. 

What motivated you to pursue a career in agriculture?

  • Love for biology.
  • Inspiring secondary school science teacher who demonstrated the extraordinary power of plants.
  • Grew up in the city but nonetheless came to see the exceptional power of biological research to raise farm productivity and incomes.

 How can agricultural education institutions more effectively prepare African students for successful agribusiness careers? 

  • Highlight money-making opportunities in agriculture.
  • Develop new curricula and approaches to agricultural training: smallholder commercial farmers need new sets of skills in business, agricultural sciences, marketing.
  • Tap Africa’s vast natural resource riches to fund investments in agricultural education, research, rural roads, rural electrification.

 Career highlights.

  • African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), founder and director, 2002-2010.
  • World Bank, Senior Agricultural Advisor, 1998-2002.
  • West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA), Director General, 1987-1996.
  • Fellow of African Academy of Science since 1990.   
  • International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Dir. Intl Cooperation, 1973-87.
  • Njala University College, lecturer, 1970-1973.
  • International Center for Research on Agroforestry (ICRAF), Chair Board of Directors.

Educational background.

  • Primary school:               Freetown Model School
  • Secondary school:           Church Missionary Society (CMS) Grammar School
  • University:                       B.Sc. Agriculture, McGill (1964)
                                            M.Sc. Plant Pathology, McGill (1966)
                                            Ph.D. Plant Pathology, Illinois (1970)