The 2012 Louis Malassis Young promising Scientist Prize was awarded to Dr. Matty Demont at the Second Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD2) on 29th October 2012.
This award is given to an exceptional young scientist who has carried out original and promising work in the field. Dr. Matty Demont is an Agricultural economist who is particularly interested in African markets.
Based in Senegal, Matty has worked with the private sector and more than 1,600 women consumers throughout Africa using the participatory approach, which has provided him unique insights into the bottlenecks in upgrading the rice value chain in the region. Had Matty not used this approach, he would not have been able to obtain this information through surveys or working with farmers alone.
During the award ceremony, we had the chance to talk to Matty, who shared some of his experiences with us.
According to Matty, one of the biggest challenges he has faced as a young scientist in Africa was being a young researcher. “The older you are, the higher status you have. No one listens to you when you are young”, says Matty.
In addition to this, it is more difficult for a young scientist to get funding for his research. Therefore, Matty told us that he is not afraid of getting old in Africa. It brings more opportunities!
During his work, the most memorable moment for him was when the theory he had in mind was actually put into practice. He explained that in 2010, it was thought that the solution for self-sufficiency in rice lies only at production level, but this was not the case. To increase self-sufficiency in any commodity, we need to look at the whole value chain, and this is what Matty has focused on. According to him, value-chain productivity comes from buyers and importers.
Matty highly encourages other young scientists in agriculture to be as open as possible. Look at the big picture, get deeper into it and this is how it can make more impact!
Today youths are getting away from the agricultural sector and this prestigious award is definitely an encouragement for those who are in the sector and to continue striving to contribute to Agricultural Research and Development and make a positive impact on the society!
Blogpost by Nawsheen Hosenally, one of the GCARD2 Social Reporters.