Students selected for projects in Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Nepal, Cambodia

UC Davis graduate student in a demonstration garden with amaranth plants
As a UC Davis graduate student, Belinda Richardson (left) worked on a Trellis Fund project with the Development in Gardening (DIG) team in Kenya, seen here in a demonstration garden with amaranth plants.

Editor’s note: After this original announcement, two changes were made to student assignments and are reflected below. 

The Horticulture Innovation Lab team has selected nine graduate students to support Trellis Fund projects in Africa and Asia in 2017.

Through their work on the Trellis Fund projects, the graduate students will apply their agricultural expertise to support local organizations as they work together to help smallholder farmers better grow fruits and vegetables.

The selected students are studying agricultural sciences in master’s and doctoral programs at the University of California, Davis; University of Florida; University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa; and North Carolina State University.

Students selected from UC Davis


  • Nicholas Reitz, a doctoral student in Food Science, will support a project in Ghana with the Methodist University College Ghana. The project will focus on home‐based processing and marketing of mango.
  • Yao Guan, a master’s student studying International Agricultural Development, will support a project in Kenya focused on using mobile technologies to extend potato production information to farmers with Growing Star Agri Ventures.
  • Karin Albornoz, a doctoral student in Horticulture and Agronomy, will work on a project in Uganda focused on improving postharvest handling and increasing market linkages, with the Ndibwami Integrated Rescue Project.

Students selected from UF

  • Sadikshya Sharma, a master’s student in Environmental Horticulture, will support a project in Nepal focused on improving vegetable storage with Himalayan Pearl Enterprise.
  • Ibukun Timothy Ayankojo, a doctoral student in Soil and Water Sciences, will support a project in Ghana with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Crops Research Institute on improving tomato production.

Two students selected from UH Mānoa

  • Tiare Silvasy, a master’s student in Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences, will support a project in Nepal with the Center for Agricultural Research and Development, focused on integrating plant nutrient and pest management practices.
  • Brad Reil, a doctoral student in Entomology, will work on a project in Uganda with the National Forestry Resources Research Institute on fruit fly management with mangoes.

Student selected from NC State

  • Pete Nelson, a doctoral student in Entomology, will work in Kenya with the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service on best management practices for food production.

Training, partnerships, travel

This year, the students are participating in a seminar together to better prepare for their work abroad. After the seminar, each student will work closely with their partner organization on a 6-month project to help address horticultural challenges for smallholder farmers.

In addition to at least 100 hours of remote work, the student will travel for a 2-week trip to Africa or Asia to work directly with their partner organization and local farmers.

The Trellis Fund is managed by the Horticulture Innovation Lab at UC Davis, in partnership NC State, UH Mānoa and UF. The Horticulture Innovation Lab is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, as part of Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative.

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