Student Profile

Photograph of Lumbani Mwafulirwa

Lumbani Mwafulirwa

Graduated: BSc (Hons) Horticulture (Crop Production)
Nationality: Malawian
Occupation: Working as Farm Records and Research Officer for ExAgris Africa Ltd based at the Lilongwe Head Office, Malawi

My Writtle University College
The MSc Horticulture (Crop Production) course at Writtle College covers important trends, developments and production technologies in horticulture in addition to having a research oriented approach within a global context. I consider such a course necessary to agriculture/horticulture development of any country including Malawi. This is why I chose to study at Writtle College.

Studying at Writtle was really interesting. The campus is appropriately small enabling frequent contact with lecturers, student support staff, careers service advisors, and fellow students. I enjoyed social events at the College and regularly received support and advice from the international staff. Writtle College offers an environment where international students feel at home.

I will always remember the help and support from my lecturers’ at the College and their industry contacts that led to my first publication. My MSc dissertation has been published in the Journal of Medicinal Plants and I co-authored a paper presented at the 28th International Horticultural Congress held in Lisbon, Portugal, August 2010.

My Career Path
After graduating with my BSc degree in Horticulture from the University of Malawi’s Bunda College of Agriculture in 2006, I joined the government’s Department of Irrigation Services as Irrigation Water Users Association Coordinator before enrolling at Writtle College in September 2008. At the end of my studies and upon returning to Malawi I picked up a part-time lecturing position at a local college and, two months later, offered the current position of Farm Records and Research Officer for ExAgris Africa Limited based at the country head office. Both the lecturing role and my current job are horticultural based, hence my BSc and MSc degrees have all supported me in my career.

My Current Job
As Farm Records and Research Officer, I am basically responsible for designing and managing on-farm trials for various purposes such as crop production technologies and conducting market research as well as compiling various types of information and data from records kept at both head office and estate level for purposes of developing analytical reports encompassing technical and financial aspects of farm enterprise performance. This job gives me the opportunity to work as part of a team cooperating with others and at the same time independently. Often, I am work from my own initiative, which I greatly enjoy as it allows me freedom to use my own ideas.

Future Plans
Recently I received a new job offer as Research Associate at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Malawi Centre (commencing October 2010). This role will involve the development of new and improved crop varieties for Africa. Therefore, in a few years to come I might consider studying for a PhD in Plant Breeding to further support this role.

Hints and tips for Writtle students
Maximise the opportunity of being at Writtle College. Aim to use as many of the services available at the College, such as the career services, which will matter most when you have finished at College and in search of employment.