The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) has honored Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (Afdb) with a leadership prize for advancing agriculture, science, technology and innovation in Africa.
Dr. Adesina is the first laureate of the FARA award which was bestowed on him at the just ended 7th Africa Agriculture Science Week (AASW7) and FARA General Assembly held in Kigali, Rwanda from June 13 -16 2016.
The FARA leadership prize is the organisation’s highest award presented to deserving individuals who have demonstrated outstanding contributions to the advancement of agricultural research for the development of Africa.
It is a merit and personal achievement based award in recognition of contributions by distinguished individuals at national regional and continental levels with significant geographic sphere of influence.
FARA decided to institute the award, which it launched in 2015, to recognise excellence in the African agricultural science, technology and innovation towards the advancement of the continental agricultural transformation agenda.
A citation to the award described Dr. Adesina as a distinguished and an accomplished development economist and an agricultural development expert with 25 years international experience. He is the immediate past Nigerian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development during which time he implemented groundbreaking and bold policy reforms in the fertilizer sector and also pursued innovations to expand agricultural opportunities in the private sector.
As a minister of Agriculture, he implemented electronic wallet systems for farmer subsidy input which saw an increase in use of the system by 40.5 million farmers in the first four years of use of the system.
Dr. Adesina changed the perception of agriculture in Nigeria from subsistence farming to a viable business which attracted an investment of $5.6 billion. He also impacted the youth positively and worked across several sectors of the economy in Nigeria to lift millions of people out of poverty.
Dr. Adesina dedicated the award to all farmers and fishermen and all the people who have been working so hard in every part of the continent to make Africa live free of hunger. He also renewed his commitment to score more goals in the agriculture sector for Africa.
Earlier in an address at the opening ceremony, The President of the African Development Bank Group said “We must go beyond simply importing existing technology, and rather focus on developing our own, which is adapted to our local context, linking closely agriculture research to the users’ needs through agricultural extension system.”
He commended FARA for its excellent leadership, mobilizing the research community to work for the development of scientific innovations to drive agricultural growth and the Rwandan government and its people for hosting the Africa Science Week and the Kigali Round Table to call for action on agricultural science and innovation.
Dr. Adesina said Africa needs to invest more in science and technology to become more efficient and competitive in agriculture – and to rapidly diversify its economies. This he said require a change in the environment in which agricultural research feeds into; to raise the level of investments for agriculture.
He announced that the African Development Bank plans to invest $2.4 billion per year, representing a 400% increase in financing to the agricultural sector by the Bank, over ten years, to help drive the agricultural transformation of Africa.
He pledged the Bank’s increased support for FARA to enable the forum strongly impact the science, technology and innovation agenda for Africa.