ICGEB fellow Paidamoyo Mataranyika receives the Cinzia Vitale 2023 Award for her work on biofertilisers

WE-STAR fellow Paidamoyo Mataranyika from Zimbabwe, who is working at the ICGEB Trieste Bacteriology Lab headed by PI Vittorio Venturi, has received the “Ears of Wheat” award by the Cinzia Vitale Onlus association.

The award, conferred annually, recognises the success of men and women who have taken their future into their own hands, forging their own way forward with determination and entrepreneurship and who have contributed to world solidarity through their everyday work. An ear of wheat symbolises the spring, nature awakening and fending off the winter slumber. Who better to receive such a prize than a young woman scientist working on providing plants with strength and nutrition?

Working on developing sustainable agricultural products for use in semi-arid and arid lands, Paidamoyo focuses on biofertilizers, harnessing useful bacteria to improve fertility of nutrient-poor sandy soils. This, she says, is a major concern in Namibia, where she is a PhD candidate – a country where only 1% of all land is arable.

Paidamoyo received the award at the Great Spring Gala organised in Trieste on 23 March, 2023 by the Cultural Association Cinzia Vitale Onlus with the patronage of the Italian Chamber of Deputies and the presence of Ambassador Fabio Cassese, Chief Advisor to the President of Italy on foreign policy, as guest of honour.

The motivation of Paidamoyo’s award states: “Research scientist in the field of plant microbiology and sustainable agricultural practice, working at the International for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, who has successfully identified and characterised several possible bioinoculant bacterial strains for the development of biofertilisers”.

Other awardees include Maria Eugenia Mulina Jack from Spain, a researcher from the National Institute of Oceanography and Applied Geophysics – OGS, Cosmano Lombardo, the CEO & Founder of the Search On Media Group, Nicola di Meo, dermatologist and Professor at the University of Trieste and Russian – American journalist Maria Kochetkova, editor of the InTrieste magazine.

Regarding her own future ambitions, Paidamoyo states: “I would like to research all the various applications of biofertilisers to the African continent, in order to exploit available resources to the fullest and contribute towards fighting hunger among the general population and attaining Sustainable Development Goal 2.”