Lotta Lassila, 35, is working on her Masters’ thesis in FoodAfrica work package 2 focusing on sustainable dairy production in Senegal. She’s one of five students involved in the work package and the only one from Finland.

Lotta Lassila and Finnish dairy cattle.
Lotta Lassila and Finnish dairy cattle.

The title of Lotta Lassila’s thesis is Predicting Lactation Records from Test Day Samples in Indigenious and Crossbred Dairy Cattle in Senegal. She studies Animal Breeding at the University of Helsinki and is supervised by Doctor Jarmo Juga, who is also supervising WP2’s doctoral student Patrick Ngono.

How did you end up working in FoodAfrica?

– I heard about the programme in 2013 and also about the possibility of working on my thesis in it from my supervisor Jarmo Juga, who is the representative of the University of Helsinki in the FoodAfrica work package 2. In September 2013 I visited Senegal and the WP2 team at EISMV in Dakar. I also had the chance to meet the enumerators who collect data from Senegalese dairy farms, Lotta Lassila says.

What is your thesis about in a nutshell?

– I am trying to predict the milk yield based on the samples collected from Senegalese farms. I recently got the material for my thesis collected by the enumerators in Senegal. I am also analyzing the present state of Senegalese dairy production. Based on the information I will try to predict how much milk the animals produce.

How can the Senegalese farmers benefit from your thesis?

– Once I have analyzed the current state of the Senegalese milk production based on the data collected from the farms, I will be able to see, which cattle breeds are the most productive. This information together with Patrick Ngono’s doctoral thesis can help the farmers choose the best possible breeds for dairy production in the future.

What are your plans after graduation?

– I will be done with my thesis this fall. I am very interested in working on FoodAfrica and on developing African agriculture also in the future. I feel very fortunate for having met all the people from the partner organizations and I hope we can keep cooperating also in other future projects, Lotta Lassila says.