David Byrnes

2015/2016 Kirchner Food Fellow

David Byrnes is a PhD Candidate in Plant Biology and Pathology at Rutgers University in the Plant Breeding and Genomics track. Byrnes’s dissertation is on selecting African leafy green vegetables as a delivery mechanism for problem micronutrients.

Byrnes has three years of experience contributing to projects in East and Southern Africa using agriculture as a tool for economic growth and improvement of nutritional status for smallholder farmers. Byrnes was named a Borlaug Fellow in Global Food Security in 2013-2014, has authored AgriSETA registered training materials for farmers in Zambia, and has assisted in the planning and installation of low-cost drip irrigation kits for community farms.

While in East Africa, Byrnes observed that the majority of food producers are unable to adopt cost-effective technology due to their inability to access financing, resulting in unstable regional production. This led Byrnes to recognize the fundamental role of capital management on the food supply. By bridging the gap between technology and capital, Byrnes hopes to have a meaningful impact on food security.