May-Guri Sæthre

Deputy Director General Research for Development at IITA

I work as Deputy Director General Research for Development at IITA since May 2017. Before joining IITA I was a research professor (senior research scientist) at NIBIO – Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, Biotechnology and Plant Health Division.

My professional background encompasses research, development and teaching within plant protection and plant health, with a good balance between basic and applied research. Research focus has been on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and agricultural entomology for sustainable agro-ecosystems, research on ecology, population dynamics and natural enemies of arthropod pests in Norway and Africa. Another major activity at NIBIO was to develop and promote the Institute’s international dimension, to establish and enhance collaborative research with international partners, as well as providing technical assistance.

Research experience include studies of insect biology and behavior in fruit orchards; the use of sex pheromones as a tool for monitoring distribution and flight activity of insect pests, prognosis and forecasting for extension service and farmers based on trap-catches and degree-day models; use of dynamic models like CLIMEX, as a tool to assess (spatial and temporal distribution) bioclimatic potential for a given species; work on quarantine pests, pest risk assessments in relation to the WTO-SPS agreement. A greater part of my research is conducted in Africa: Rice in Nigeria, developing biological control options and IPM tools for management of the African rice gall midge in farmer’s fields in West Africa. Vegetables in Benin, IPM in urban and peri-urban horticulture. Banana in Tanzania (banana weevil). Alien and invasive species & urban landscapes in Norway and Africa. Other experiences include evaluation of national IPM-programme (Nepal); pesticide usage surveys in different crops (Norway and Benin); as well as teaching and evaluation committees at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB). Supervision of PhD (UMB) and MSc students at UMB, École Supérieure d’Agriculture d’Angers (France), University of Abomey Calavi (Benin), and Sokoine University of Agriculture (Tanzania). I represented Norway in EPPO/IOBC-panel on Biological Control Agents; and served in the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety.