Prof Joseph Baloyi, HoD of Animal Science and former Vice Dean of the School of Agriculture, who is attached to the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Agriculture at the University of Venda (UNIVEN) is currently in the USA as a recipient of Fulbright Fellowship hosted by the University of Georgia (UGA) in Athens, Georgia. He is in the USA for a short term and anticipated to return end of the year 2021.
Prof Baloyi said he applied for a Fulbright Fellowship to enable himself to interact with fellow animal nutritionist in developed world, particularly at University of Georgia (UGA) in Athens, Georgia. He said this will help improve his research skills and output in this field with his students at the University of Venda upon his return. “Our research approaches are not the same. Back at UNIVEN we are still doing more traditional and applied research. At UGA they are doing basic research that uncovers animal science”.
Baloyi’s main research interests with both the senior undergraduate and postgraduate students are in animal nutrition, particularly evaluating forages, browses and agricultural by-products as potential supplementary feeds in the dry season for livestock. During the dry season the natural pastures declines in both quantity and quality, and this is the main challenge of animal production in the tropics. Animal loss weight in the dry season and productivity drops significantly. To date, Prof Baloyi has successfully supervised 21 senior undergraduate, 16 MSc and promoted two PhD students who graduated.
So far, Prof Baloyi has published over 33 research papers and presented 46 papers at both national and international conferences.
Prof Baloyi was tenderly welcomed by his UGA host, Dr Todd Riley Callaway, a Ruminant nutritionist in the Department of Animal and Dairy Science. He has already been involved in some research projects. Baloyi joined in some of the research activities that Dr Callaway was doing with his students.
He explained that Dr Callaway has a well-equipped laboratory. “He is working mostly on microbiology in the animal gut as it is affected by feeds. His research approach is close to what I intended to do, but much more detailed than my proposal”, added Prof Baloyi.
As per the Minister Counsellor for Public Affairs at the US Embassy, Frank Whitaker, the Fulbright South African Research Scholar Programme is a fully funded opportunity for South African university-faculty or research-institute professionals to conduct research and teach in their field of expertise at an academic or research institution in the United States for a period of three to nine months with the intention of strengthening academic programmes and expanding the US/SA higher-education network. This programme forms part of the range of Fulbright scholarship opportunities available for South African students and academics. Since 1953, more than 2 100 South African students and scholars have pursued studies and research in the United States through the Fulbright programme.
“Small-scale and subsistence farming often supports the livelihood of communities, and we believe the results of Dr Baloyi’s research may significantly contribute to the quality and health of livestock in Thohoyandou and beyond,” Frank Whitaker said. “Dr Baloyi’s experience and research will also broaden the exposure of his students at the University of Venda, which will certainly impact the depth of their academic and practical experience as future agricultural scientists.”
The Fulbright programme currently operates in South Africa and in more than 150 other countries worldwide. For more information, please visit www.za.usembassy.gov/fulbright.
Prof Baloyi said when he returns to South Africa, he would have improved his research skills, knowledge and he hopes to also increase his research output and produce well-grounded postgraduate students in animal science. He further said that, through the proposed MoU between the two universities, he looks forward to encouraging some of his students and colleagues to come and carry out some of their research at UGA and vice versa.
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Date: 04 August 2021