Jerry Nboyine, a Senior Research Scientist and Entomologist at the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) is a testament to the power of curiosity and dedication in the world of agricultural science. As one of the key figures behind the development of Pod Borer Resistant (PBR) Cowpea across Africa, he has carved a remarkable path in his career.

Nboyine’s journey through the world of agriculture and entomology has been nothing short of remarkable. Armed with a first degree in Agriculture, with a specialization in Crop Science, and later earning a second degree and a Ph.D. in Entomology and Ecology, respectively, he has demonstrated an insatiable thirst for knowledge and an unwavering commitment to his field.

In a recent interview, Nboyine shared, “This area of specialization makes me generally interested in anything that has to do with pest management, as well as conserving important ecosystem functions and services.” His passion for his work is palpable, and his expertise is evident.

Interestingly, Nboyine’s academic journey took a few unexpected turns. Initially considering biochemistry and later contemplating genetics and plant breeding, his path ultimately led him to entomology. He credits his undergraduate student supervisor, a plant pathologist, for steering him in this direction. Looking back, he has no regrets, stating that studying entomology has earned him recognition among breeders.

For Nboyine, working in the field of entomology has deepened his connection to farmers. He expressed his heartfelt desire to see farmers increase their yields without resorting to toxic chemicals, all at an affordable cost. This genuine concern for the well-being of farmers has become a driving force in his career.

However, it was in 2012 that Jerry Nboyine’s career took a momentous turn. His introduction to PBR Cowpea marked a turning point. What started as an initial involvement in the project evolved into him becoming the Principal Investigator for the PBR Cowpea project in Ghana.

Recalling those early days, Nboyine said, “My first contact with PBR Cowpea was when the first Principal Investigator in Ghana, Dr. IDK Atokple, made a presentation on research highlights of the project at the institute’s In-House Review meeting.” His inquisitiveness and engagement in the project caught the attention of senior scientists, and he soon found himself deeply involved in rearing and infesting efficacy trials and collecting vital entomological data.

However, in 2014, Nboyine temporarily stepped away from the project to pursue his PhD. After completing his doctorate, he took on a leadership role in the Entomology program in the Upper West region, a role he held until June 2020.

In 2020, a significant opportunity arose when Dr. Mumuni Abudulai, the immediate past Principal Investigator, retired. Despite the challenges and sensitivities surrounding the genetic engineering of crops in Ghana and other African countries, Nboyine was selected to lead the PBR Cowpea project.

Reflecting on his journey, Nboyine said, “I think they were happy with my outputs those days. I must say Gloria Adazebra and Dr. Emmanuel Chamber, our current IBC chair, played a major role in my appointment to lead the project.” His appointment has positioned him to address challenges associated with genetically modified crops while advocating for a diligent and evidence-based approach.

Beyond personal fulfillment, Nboyine views his role in the PBR Cowpea project as an opportunity to contribute significantly to food and nutrition security in Ghana. His vision includes making cowpeas readily available and affordable across the country. He is also determined to mitigate pesticide poisoning due to insecticide-sprayed cowpeas and ensure the project leaves a lasting legacy.

As he nears his fourth year in this pivotal role, Nboyine’s dedication remains unwavering. His dream is to “demystify genetically engineered crops and make everyone know there is nothing mystical about consuming them.”

Jerry Nboyine’s story is not just one of scientific achievement; it’s a testament to the positive impact that dedicated scientists can have on agriculture, food security, and the well-being of communities.