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Grantees Profile

Celimphilo Shakes

Country (Nationality)


Grantee Title

Project: Harnessing Plant Biotechnology Techniques for the Upliftment of Smallholder Agripreneurs in Eswatini

Grantee Description

Research Area:

Plant Biotechnology

Host Organisation and Country:

University of Eswatini (UNESWA) – Eswatini


African countries continue to face shortages of vegetables and fruits leading to high importation. In order to reduce this importation, intensified domestic production is essential to cushion prices of fruits and vegetables during the post Covid-19 pandemic. The subsistent low technology mode of fruit and vegetable production can be stimulated through the application of plant biotechnology production techniques to enhance smallholder agriculture productivity. Dr. Celimphilo’s research will investigate how plant biotechnology techniques can be harnessed to enhance smallholder agripreneurs.

Grantee Description

Dr. Celimphilo Shakes Mavuso is a Lecturer in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Eswatini in the Kingdom of Eswatini. He obtained his Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Plant Science from National Pingtung University of Science and Technology (NPUST), Taiwan in 2017 after successfully conducting field and laboratory experiments focusing on genetic diversity analysis of Jatropha curcas L. and improvement using plant tissue culture techniques to support the productivity initiatives of the biodiesel industry in Taiwan.

The plant biotechnology project by Dr. Celimphilo Shakes Mavuso aims to fully utilize plant tissue culture and available equipment from the University of Eswatini, Horticulture Department in integrating its activities to boost rural production of clean planting materials of clonally propagated and micro propagated plants. In the long term the project aims to support and encourage Eswatini’s smallholder farmers participation commercially through reduced high quality seedlings costs.

Project: Harnessing Plant Biotechnology Techniques for the Upliftment of Smallholder Agripreneurs in Eswatini

The seedling production project will delve into the prioritization and promotion of plant tissue cultured vegetable seedling production and supply to Eswatini smallholder vegetable and fruit farmers. The Principal Investigator (PI) will promote the adoption and use of technological tunnel production which uses smart agriculture practices like automated scheduled irrigation. In the long term the project will also focus on development of science of both genetic reserve and on in situ conservation while ensuring that its implementation is sensitive to the needs of local communities and is also linked to the requirements of the germplasm user community specifically in native seed supply and re-introduction of endangered and extinct plant species that support human and animal health. The project will also look into floriculture improvement in Eswatini and focus on micro propagation of local flower species for commercial production and export. Through the project, UNESWA will promote establishment of certified commercial plant tissue culture laboratories in Eswatini.