Soil scientist, Dr. Oudho Homenauth, dies
Dr Oudho Homenauth, soil scientist and former head of the National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute (NAREI), has died, his family has confirmed.
Dr Homenauth was 66. He went for an afternoon walk and collapsed just outside his home.
His many accomplishments made him a massive contributor to the field of agricultural research in Guyana. He served as Chief Executive Officer of NAREI for two decades.
Born and raised in the Corentyne as the eldest child to a farmer and the village’s “Milk Lady”, Homenauth rose to incredible heights professionally, but it was his kindness and humility that defined him in the eyes of most.
At age 11, he left his family’s Number 67 village home and headed for Georgetown after securing a spot at Queen’s College—he would be the first person in his family to accomplish this feat.
He once recalled how his parents, Fred and Jasoda, sold the surplus of the produce from their kitchen garden, milk and meat from cattle to provide for their seven children.
After graduating from Queen’s College, he taught a year at Manchester Secondary in Corentyne. He opted to teach there because it was close to his home and he wanted to be close to his family since he had already been away for a number of years.
As he was teaching, Homenauth sought to receive a scholarship to do medicine since he couldn’t afford it on his own. After that didn’t pan out, he decided to go to the University of Guyana (UG) where he pursued a degree in Chemistry.
He attended the university from 1975 to 1976, and from 1977 to 1978. He then joined the National Service, which had become a home away from home for him. He would return to the university in 1978 where he spent two years finishing off his degree.
Later, he taught at the Faculty of Agriculture from 1980 to 1983. Thereafter, he received a scholarship to do a Master’s in Agronomy at the Mississippi State University to specialize in soil fertility.
He returned to Guyana in 1985 and in 1988, he took up a position as Lecturer 1 in Agriculture and he was later promoted to Lecturer 11.
He went back to study in 1988, this time at Cornell University, Upstate New York, on a scholarship to do his PhD.
Dr. Homenauth came back to Guyana in July 1992. He returned to the University of Guyana until 1999. He was a senior lecturer and Dean for the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry during that time.
In 1999, while on sabbatical leave, Dr. Homenauth had applied for an attachment at the National Agricultural and Research Institute (NARI). He was familiar with the Institute through being a Board Member, a responsibility that comes with being the Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture.
Providing consultancy services to NARI allowed Dr. Homenauth to identify areas that needed improvements. It was in March 2000 that he was appointed the Director of NARI, and when NAREI (National Agricultural Research & Extension Institute) came into being in May 2000, he was appointed as its Chief Executive Officer.
During his early days at university, he met his wife Usha and they got married on September 19, 1982.
Between 1986 and 1992, Oudho and Usha had four children. Ravi, now a doctor, was born in 1986; Arun, also now a doctor, was born in 1989 and the twins (Esha and Navin) were born in 1992.