Catherine Nakalembe: The African Scientist Leading the Way in Food Security

When it comes to addressing food security in Africa, it can be a daunting task, but Catherine Nakalembe, a Ugandan female scientist, has been at the forefront of finding innovative solutions to address the issue. Dr. Nakalembe has been committed to supporting African farmers through her research, which is tailored to the unique needs of the continent.

Who is Catherine Nakalembe?

Catherine Nakalembe is a Ugandan scientist and a senior research fellow at the University of Maryland. She is a remote sensing specialist, and her major focus is on the use of Earth observation satellites to support food security and policymaking in sub-Saharan Africa.

She earned a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, and a Master of Science in Remote Sensing from Bonn University in Germany. She obtained her Ph.D. in Geography and Earth Observation Sciences at the University of Twente in the Netherlands.

Statistics on Catherine Nakalembe’s work:

  • Dr. Nakalembe is the recipient of the prestigious Women in Science Award from the Elsevier Foundation.
  • She has authored and co-authored over 50 publications in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters, and conference proceedings.
  • She has also served as a technical advisor on agriculture and food security for international organizations such as the United Nations, the World Bank, and the European Union.
  • In 2021, she was named as one of the top scientists in Uganda by the government of Uganda as part of their National Science Week celebrations.

Impact of Catherine Nakalembe’s work on Food Security in Africa:

Dr. Nakalembe has been working tirelessly to address the issue of food insecurity in Africa. Her work has been crucial in improving crop yields and identifying food insecurity hotspots in Africa. In 2019, she led a team of researchers from the University of Maryland, the International Food Policy Research Institute, and the Uganda National Agricultural Research Organization that used satellite data to create a digital map of Uganda’s agricultural landscape. The project aimed to help farmers and policymakers identify challenges and opportunities in the country’s agriculture sector.

Her work has helped farmers to improve crop yields, which in turn has led to an increase in food security in sub-Saharan Africa. Farmers are now able to use the digital maps to identify areas that require additional irrigation or fertilizer.

Dr. Nakalembe’s work has also helped policymakers to make informed decisions on food security. Through her research, she has identified food insecurity hotspots in Africa, which has enabled policymakers to create targeted policies that address the issue.


Dr. Catherine Nakalembe is a remarkable scientist whose work has had a significant impact on food security in Africa. Her research has been crucial in improving crop yields and identifying food insecurity hotspots in sub-Saharan Africa. Her commitment to supporting African farmers has been impressive, and she continues to be a role model for young African girls in the field of science.


  • The Gates Foundation’s profile on Catherine Nakalembe
  • Interview with Catherine Nakalembe by the Global Food for Thought blog
  • Interview with Catherine Nakalembe by the World Bank on her work with data and technology in agriculture
  • Nature article featuring Catherine Nakalembe’s work on using satellite data to track agriculture in Africa
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