Impact of agricultural development scholarship evident across Africa

Impact of agricultural development scholarship evident across Africa

Graduates of last year’s record intake of Marshal Papworth scholarship in sustainable agriculture at Harper Adams University have made huge progress in improving the lives of over 1,150 smallholder farming families in their communities through agricultural development projects, less than a year since completing the 10-week course and finalising their projects during their studies. 

In Burundi, East Africa, Prosper Ndayiziga – a Project Manager with Marshal Papworth Fund partner charity Ripple Effect – has implemented a ‘Climate Resilience and Thriving Smallholder Farmers in Burundi (REST)’ project for which he is the Project Manager. Prosper explains: “We have installed plots for testing four varieties of maize which are ZM 605, ZM 621, MUGAMBA and ISEGA, installing 14 trial plots on the land of farmers who are the project beneficiaries. They were happy to be involved after I explained to them that by implementing trial plots we can help them discover for themselves which variety is the most productive on their conditions, and then promote that in their communities with the support of Ripple Effect.” 

Prosper in one of the trial plots 

So far, 1,164 smallholder farming households have taken part in the trials across 40 self-help groups and cooperatives, with women making up 75% of those taking part in the trials that will help them to discover the best maize variety to realise better yields and therefore increase food security and additionally, provide households with a crop to market and increase the household income.  

Prosper explains: “The activity we implemented seeks to help farmers to increase agricultural production and be resilient to climate change. The success will be evaluated by measuring these two outcomes of the project: Outcome 1: Healthy farm systems that are resilient to changing weather patterns, and Outcome 2: Long-term increased and more equally distributed smallholder income – from subsistence to surplus crops.” 

It was during his Marshal Papworth funded scholarship at Harper Adams University (HAU), at the bespoke 10-week course in sustainable agriculture that the agricultural development charity, managed by the East of England Agricultural Society, hosts at HAU, that Prosper found the inspiration for his project. 

“I came up with this idea after visiting trials of barley and wheat installed for research purpose at Harper Adams University. I was working with many farmers in crop production for several years, but I had never thought about testing different varieties of crops to realize varieties which are more productive to help farmers to increase agricultural production by planting crops that can give better yields.” 

Prosper concludes: “Thank you, Marshal Papworth Fund, for organizing the short course. The skills and knowledge gained on it and with my fellow scholars have significantly contributed to open my mind.” 

In Ghana, Isaac Vanderpuye, a Project Co-ordinator with ADRA Ghana, another partner charity of the Marshal Papworth Fund, is training farmers to produce biochar with organic feedstocks on their farms in the Kwahu Afram Plains district of the Eastern Region of Ghana. Isaac says: “Fifteen people have so far been trained in the biochar production. The farmers have started gathering feedstocks to produce their own biochar on their farms to apply to their crops. I will monitor their production, application, and productivity.” 

Biochar production in Ghana 

Sandra Lauridsen, Marshal Papworth Fund coordinator, said: “Projects such as those undertaken by Prosper and Isaac are great examples of the kind of work our scholars carry out day in, day help their communities grow out of hunger. This was the vision of our late founder, Marshal Papworth, and is a torch our 250+ students carry with them. Well done to Prosper and Isaac on these life-changing projects.” 


The Marshal Papworth Fund, an agricultural development charity that provides life changing scholarships for students from developing counties at leading UK agricultural and horticultural universities and colleges, celebrated the arrival of its 250th student in 2023 – a landmark milestone for a charity that initially aspired to provide scholarships for just a handful of farmers 20 years ago. In May, the Fund will welcome a new intake of short course scholars at Harper Adams University. 

The Marshal Papworth Fund provides scholarships for students from developing countries, including year-long Masters MSc scholarships to leading UK agricultural universities and colleges, and a bespoke 10-week short course, developed with Harper Adams University.  

To find out more about supporting the Marshal Papworth Fund, please contact Sandra Lauridsen on 01733 961024 or email for more information.  You can also visit our new website at      

Impact of agricultural development scholarship evident across Africa

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