Plant breeders are improving food plants and building a more food-secure future for Africa. One has been working at it all her life despite early challenges.
A plant breeder called Happiness spent 17 months trying to study a herbaceous vine prior to breeding.
‘It is found in the thick forest. But when I tried to domesticate it, it never flowered. This indicated that it may be plastic in its floral ontogeny requiring certain environmental signals/stimuli to trigger flowering’, she said.
Undeterred by this, the Nigerian scientist turned her attention to bananas, yams, rice and a myriad of other crops. But Happiness Oselebe has a lingering regret about the vine, called Dioscoreophyllum cumminsii from where the ‘serendipity berry‘ is harvested.