23 January 2013

Cameroon: Prof. Ayuk-Takem Is No More!

He died on Monday, January 21 at the University Teaching Hospital in Yaounde.

Prof. Jacob Assam Ayuk-Takem, Board Chairperson of the National Institute of Cartography and former Minister of Scientific and Technical Research from 1992 to 1994, passed away at the University of Yaounde 1 Teaching Hospital on Monday, January 21, 2013. Family sources say he had been hospitalised for two weeks following an illness.

Prof. Ayuk-Takem's life was marked by a multitude of achievements in cereal production research, especially maize. He gained national and international prominence as plant breeder and researcher in the processing of at least eight maize varieties in the country, especially those with improved protein contents. The maize could be grown in 90 days to give about three yields per year. He coordinated maize research in the Central African Sub-region for the Semi-Arid Food Grains Research and Development (SAFGRAD) project.

Prof. Ayuk-Takem's rich professional career also saw him as Director of the then Institute of Agronomic Research and as Adjunct Professor of Agriculture in the University of Maryland in the United States of America (USA).

Born on December 23, 1944 in Besongabang in Mamfe Subdivision, Manyu Division of the South West Region, Prof. Ayuk-Takem's academic itinerary ran through Besongabang, Bali and Bambili before higher education in agronomy in the Universities of Oregon and Illinois in the USA between 1966 and 1971. Between 1977 and 1982, he pursued studies at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria where he obtained a Doctorate Degree in Agronomy with emphasis on maize breeding. In recognition of his work, he was winner of the best Ph.D. thesis in Agronomy in 1982 in Africa; a prize awarded by the Association of Faculties of Agriculture in Africa based in Rabat, Morocco. He was a widower and father of five.

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