Dr. Albert Chiteka
Experience & Activities
Empowerment is at the Centre of vision pursuit in personal, local, national, and indeed development in all its forms. As such, therefore, my passion is in the empowerment of farmers and stakeholders in the value chain towards the achievement of food and nutrition security. I achieve this through contribution to the training of plant breeders whose work is to influence the potential of planting materials used by farmers. I derive satisfaction out of enlightening the path of the researcher in the quest for new knowledge and clearly, investment in training of the youth has long and lasting effects. My career, therefore, has revolved around training, beginning with my first formal employment as a lecturer in agronomy. This was at a college of agriculture in Zimbabwe, that trains versatile cadres to work in various capacities from agricultural research, commercial production, private sector agribusiness through to engagement with farmers on the field. I believe that engagement should target processes focused on success in a holistic manner. As charity begins at home, so shall it transcend and pervade all processes in pursuit of peace and prosperity for humankind. Above all, the well-nurtured family is the bedrock of food and nutrition security and peace of all nations.
I have principally been involved with empowerment for agricultural development for the achievement of food and nutrition security, income generation towards socio-economic stability. My first occupation after my undergraduate was that of Lecturer in Agronomy at Chibero College of Agriculture in Zimbabwe 1979-1982. This versatile college takes young men and women through the National Diploma in Agriculture, a versatile program that prepares candidates for commercial agricultural production, extension, and for supporting research in agriculture. I mentored candidates who became successful commercial farmers, extension agents with many who became leaders in civil society and play leading roles in the agribusiness sector. My quest for improved agricultural production led me to the position of Groundnut Breeder at the Crop Breeding Institute in Zimbabwe in 1982 where I served until 1994. During this period, I released improved groundnut varieties and published widely on groundnut research. This period provided wide opportunities for engagement with the smallholder sector, an exciting time that brought me to the very core of smallholder sector livelihoods that carry more than 70% of the people of Zimbabwe. I obtained my MS degree in Agronomy at the University of Florida in the USA. This ushered in the international experience through wide visits and research exchanges in the region and at international fora. The urge to empower young people and to strengthen human capital for research and agricultural development saw me join the University of Zimbabwe as a Lecturer in Plant Breeding and Genetics during which I completed my Ph.D. in Agronomy (Plant Breeding and Genetics in 1997, University of Florida). I engaged in the national policy debate and I took up the position of appointed Constitutional Commissioner in 1999 and later appointed Principal Director for Agricultural Services in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, and Rural Resettlement. In this position, I led the directorates of Agricultural Engineering, Agricultural Research, Agricultural, Technical and Extension Services (AGRITEX), and Animal Production and Veterinary Services. I later worked as Director of the Biotechnology Institute at the Scientific and Industrial Development Research Centre in Zimbabwe. My hobby is basketball and has a passion for farming. I am married to Juliana, and we believe in a well-nurtured family and have six children that are our pride.