Michigan State University’s contributions to agriculture are well-known. Talented researchers and graduates, their work and discoveries are reaching well beyond their inherent value and into the realm of societal change around the world. Professor Dan Clay’s research in Rwanda supports specialty coffee value chain development, which has become a large part of the country’s economic reconstruction post-genocide.
A fellow Spartan, alumna Gerardine Mukeshimana is the Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources in Rwanda. Mukeshimana was recognized in 2012 by the U.S. Agency for International Development for her significant contributions to the breeding of the common bean for drought tolerance and disease resistance. Mukeshimana earned her Doctorate in 2012 from MSU’s Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Biotechnology program.
Clay and his team partnered with other universities and organizations to create PEARL, the Partnership to Enhance Agriculture in Rwanda through Linkages, in 2000. The program helps Rwandan smallholder producers to increase the value of their harvest and, therefore, their profits, utilizing best production and processing practices and technologies to meet the demands of global specialty coffee markets. The end result is a specialty coffee purchased by companies around the world.
Feature Photo Image: Dan Clay, Michigan State University
The University Research Corridor showcases Michigan’s world class universities, economic competitiveness, and scientific breakthroughs being made every day in our state. This innovative partnership is creating jobs, fostering relationships with all types of businesses, from our largest corporations to smallest entrepreneurial businesses, and driving innovation in all sectors of our economy.
The URC is an incredible asset for our industry, state, and citizens in terms of the scale of R&D conducted at its universities in critically important areas. Medical and healthcare discoveries with the potential to improve and save lives position Michigan as a top state for innovation in the life, medical and health sciences.
I think certainly there has been an uptick in entrepreneurship in the state, and I think a lot of that is owed to the URC getting more involved in economic development in the last 10 years.