Leaders in Africa’s agricultural economic development honoured

Leaders and visionaries in promoting a Green Revolution in Africa were honoured at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) Awards gala dinner in Arusha, Tanzania.

The Awards recognize Africa’s top leaders working to create awareness of public-private initiatives to build a sustainable African agri-business industry, inspire a Green Revolution in Africa and make Africa food and nutrition secure.

The highlight of the event was the YARA Prize – the Grand Prix for outstanding contributions to enhancing agricultural growth and food security in Africa, and driving an African-led Green Revolution in Africa.

Yara International awarded the Yara Prize 2012 to Dr. Agnes Kalibata, Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources in Rwanda and Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin, outgoing CEO of the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) in Ethiopia.

Dr. Kalibata was recognized for her outstanding leadership in the transformation of food security and agricultural development in Rwanda, whilst Dr. Gabre-Madhin was honoured for her remarkable stewardship in the transformation process toward an efficiently functioning market, especially for smallholder coffee producers in Ethiopia.

The AGRF Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Dr. Namanga Ngongi for his contribution to the transformation of Africa’s agricultural sector.

Dr. Ngongi has had a diverse career in both agriculture and security, beginning in his native Cameroon, where he worked as an agricultural extension officer for the Ministry of Agriculture, helping farmers to improve yields and to diversify and market their crops.

After leaving this position, he served in a number of portfolios: he was attached to the Cameroon Embassy in Rome, served as Deputy Executive of the World Food Programme, and was appointed as Undersecretary-General and Special Representative and Head of the UN Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Dr. Ngongi was the first full-time President of the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), retiring in 2011.

Other individuals and organizations recognized for their commitment and excellence included Media and Journalism – Joshua Kato, Uganda; Private Sector Organizations – Neema Agricole du Faso (Nafaso), Burkina Faso; Farmer Organizations – Faso Jigi, Mali; Academia & Research Institutions –The African Centre for Crop Improvement, at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa; and Makerere University, Uganda.

The rest are Advocacy Organizations – Rural Urban Development Initiatives (RUDI), Tanzania; and Youth & Women – Africaworks, Mozambique.

The African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) focuses on promoting investments and policy support for driving agricultural productivity and income growth for African farmers in an environmentally sustainable way.