Meet University of The Gambia’s Professor Sidat Yaffa

He is a Professor of Agronomy and has global recognition for his work on climate change and its impacts on agriculture production, especially in The Gambia. Professor Yaffa obtained a Doctorate degree in Plant and Soil Science from Alabama A&M University in the United States of America in May, 2005. While serving as a Graduate Research Assistant at the same university, he collected and analyzed soil and plant tissue samples for his Dissertation research work to determine nitrate-nitrogen, ammonium, and total nitrogen, respectively. His results confirmed that hairy vetch (Vicia villosa, Roth L.) could be an alternative source of nitrogen for vegetable (tomato) crop production.

He is currently the Coordinator of UTG Post Graduate Diploma Program in Meteorology & Hydrology, Acting Director of UTG/WASCAL Doctoral Research Programme on Climate Change & Education, and Dean of School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. He lectures and supervises Master’s Thesis and Doctoral Dissertation work, respectively, of graduate programmes and also supervises undergraduate student research work at University of The Gambia.

He has published over twenty (20) scientific journal articles as author and/or co-author on a wide range of research topics ranging from agriculture, food security, environmental challenges, to climate change. Professor Yaffa was also an Agriculture & Climate Change Columnist for Foroyaa Newspaper of The Gambia in 2014. In an effort to raise awareness on climate change and agriculture production in The Gambia, Professor Yaffa produced and hosted a weekly live radio Talk Show on West Coast Radio of The Gambia called Let’s Talk Agriculture from 2011 to 2014. On this platform, he gave information on the impacts of climate change on agriculture and vice versa and different crop and livestock production technologies, respectively. He also invited climate change, agriculture, and livestock experts as Panelists on the live Talk Show to engage the public on diverse topics of importance to Gambian farmers and the general Gambian public as well. He served as Coordinator of Agriculture negotiations for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from 2011 to 2017.

He is currently working with The Gambia Ecosystem-based Adaptation Project staff to review the curricula of The Gambia Rural Development Institute and The Gambia Forestry Training School, respectively, by incorporating climate change and ecosystem-based adaptation practices in those respective curriculum.

Professor Yaffa uses wisdom from his unique story to serve as a mentor to young Gambian academicians, who are either UTG students or non-UTG students, by providing them with guidance and counselling as they find their path on the academic ladder. He had offered and he still continues to offer one-year scholarships to both UTG and non-UTG students starting from 2011 to date.

Owing to his wealth of experience coupled with his interest in climate change and agriculture production, Professor Sidat Yaffa has served as Guest Speaker, Panelist, or Moderator at major Scientific Conferences and Seminars across the world – from The Gambia, Kenya, Germany Nigeria, Poland, Qatar, Togo to the United States of America. Professor Yaffa has consistently delivered insightful presentations to diverse audiences.

His work has earned him numerous accolades and certificates including the Outstanding Service Award, Student Advisory Council, University System of Georgia, USA; Outstanding Lecturer of The Year (2014/2015) Award, UTG; University of The Gambia Students’ Union Outstanding Service Award; and Outstanding Leadership Award of Student Government Association, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, Tifton, Georgia, USA.

Currently, he is a member of professional organisations around the world such as The Gambia National Climate Committee, the African Group of Negotiators Expert Support (AGNES), National Science Committee for Wetlands Management, and the American Society of Agronomy and Soil Science Society of America.