Akinde Halimat Afolasade #WomeninScience

Akinde Halimat Afolasade of Nigeria researches the production of glass noodles from cassava roots. She chose to share not only her passion for her subject but also encouragement to researchers with disabilities.

I want to use this opportunity to encourage the disabled that no matter what you put your mind to achieve, with determination and persistence, you can definitely achieve. I did all these tedious job with a walking stick as my walking aid. Disability is not inability! Thank you.
Harvesting, sieving and processing cassava roots

What excites you about your research?

What excites me most about my research is the fact that I had the opportunity of working with cassava roots! I fell in love with cassava as a young girl back in the 80s. Ever since, it has been my dream to carry out research on cassava. I am glad that this dream finally came to pass after 32 years! Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava in the world, according to FAO, and several products had been produced from cassava roots. However literature is scarce on the production of glass/starch noodles from cassava starch. My research therefore was based on the production of glass noodles from the starches extracted from selected cassava roots. I'm so excited because at the end of my research, I discovered some varieties of cassava roots that are suitable in the production of glass/starch noodles.

What challenges have you faced?

The challenges I faced were numerous. It would have been easy for me to surmount them, if not for my physical disability. Though, I eventually did. The major challenge I faced was mobility related as I need to support myself with a walking stick. All my field trips, travelling from one location to the other for data collection, were very hectic. It took me six years to complete my PhD research! But I eventually did despite the challenges.

What would your advice be to women and girls interested in going into your area of research?

My advice to women and girls who might be interested in going into my area of research is that, if I can do it, they can also do it. They should be hardworking and target-orientated. With determination, their goals will be achieved.