Siphokazi Ngcinela off to the States

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Siphokazi Ngcinela, a second year masters student in Agricultural Economics  heads off to Los Angeles, America, to represent the University of Fort Hare at a post graduate international conference from the 28 to 30th October 2017 where she will present her dissertation on Agricultural Economics focusing on GM maize and livelihoods.


Ngcinela’s thesis is ‘Smallholder farmers’ selection criteria of maize varieties in Eastern Cape Province (Implications for adoption of GM maize): The case of Mqanduli, Port St. Johns and Flagstaff”.


Her study is a sentimental one as she was born and bred in the deep rural areas of Bizana in Transkei where agriculture is the mainstay of the community and maize is a staple food. This created much interest in her, growing up and she decided to venture into the agriculture field of study by enrolling for a BSc Agricultural Economics in 2009 at the University of Fort Hare.


This opportunity came when she submitted two papers upon receiving calls from international organisers of the event. “The papers went through blind peer review process and both were successfully accepted for oral presentations and for publication”. She believes that this is an opportunity to share the knowledge that she has gathered thus far, thereafter infuse it with materials that she will absorb from other students of her calibre so as to find solutions to the constraints the agricultural sector is faced with in the country and the world at large.


She is no stranger to such platforms, during the university’s centenary conference in 2016 she presented a paper titled “The viability of community project in rural areas of Bizana” Furthermore she had a privilege of attending 11th Annual Africa Young Graduates and Scholars Conference (AYGS 2017) which was hosted by the HSRC in Johannesburg, where she presented a paper on “The role of gender in adoption and intensity of adoption of GM maize in Port St. Johns”.


This is a great achievement for Professor Abbyssinia Mushunje who is a mentor and a supervisor to Ngcinela who hopes to be one of few black female South Africans with a doctorate in agricultural economics and grow as a researcher.


“I would like to improve rural livelihoods through research”, said Ngcinela.


By Akhona Mshiywa