How Happiness is breeding plants for Africa’s future


Happiness Oselebe, geneticist and mother of six, one of 29 senior plant breeders from around Africa attending the African Plant Breeding Academy in July 2016 at ICRAF. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre/Catharine Watson

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 harvestedRead more…