Leading agri-science expert who served in British Guiana passes away

(Trinidad Express)     Academics in the region are today mourning the passing of Prof Emeritus Nazeer A Ahmad, who was one of the last associates of the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture (AICTA).

Ahmad was Prof Emeritus of the Department of Food Production in the Faculty of Food and Agriculture at the time of his passing on June 6.

Principal of the University of the West Indies (UWI) St Augustine Campus, Clement Sankat, in a statement on Friday, noted that Ahmad’s distinctive service included the development of the Faculty of Agriculture from a fledgling campus.

“He was the leading expert in the region in this area of our agriculture, and was often called upon to give expert advice on matters of this nature,” said Sankat, who, along with the UWI, has extended condolences to Ahmad’s family.

“He trained several undergraduate and postgraduate students to follow in this path. I am pleased he was able to complete his monumental book on soil science, published by Ian Randle, before his passing, so that we were able to launch it here and in Guyana.”

Ahmad was born in 1932 and was an undergraduate from 1949-1952 (DICTA) and a postgraduate student (AICTA) from 1952-1953. He went on to do his MSc in Canada (McGill University and the University of British Columbia), and then his PhD in the UK.

In 1957 he returned to the then-British Guiana and took up the position of agricultural chemist and head of the Division of Soil Science in the Ministry of Agriculture.

In 1961, Ahmad assumed the position of lecturer at UWI, St Augustine, and became a professor of soil science in 1969.

He was the founding warden of Canada Hall of Residence.

He was well loved by the residents, also known as the Hermits, and was a father figure to many who lived there, the UWI’s statement added.

“Prof Ahmad’s work in tropical soil is internationally acclaimed,” the statement added.

“He was awarded the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA) Gold Medal for his contribution to research in soil science in the Caribbean and Latin American region.”


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