True to tradition, the Yara Prize ceremony took place after the Alliance for a Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), just completed this year in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
From left to right: Professor Mitiku Hailey (Yara Prize Committee), Eleni Gabre Madhim (Yara Prize Laureate 2012), Professor Tekalign Mamo Assefa (Yara Prize Laureate 2014), Jørgen Ole Haslestad (Yara’s CEO), and Sheila Sisulu (Yara Prize Committee).
A true agricultural giant
The 2014 laureate, Ethiopian Professor Tekalign Mamo Assefa, received the award at a prize ceremony featuring a keynote speech from 2012 Yara Prize winner, Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin - also from Ethiopia.
"I have admired his ability to quietly but effectively lead Ethiopian agricultural policy thinking, not only recently, but over many decades, and I consider him a true giant for agriculture, despite his somewhat modest stature," Dr. Gabre-Madhin said as she asked the audience to toast the winner.
"The Yara Prize was founded in Oslo in 2005. As we all remember, His Excellency (Ethiopian Prime Minister) Meles Zenawi received the inaugural award nine years ago," Yara CEO Jørgen Ole Haslestad told the prize gathering. "The prize ceremony has since moved to Africa, and it has now become an annual celebration of outstanding efforts for an uniquely African green revolution, outstanding efforts - and also, I am happy to say - outstanding results."
Professor Mamo's efforts have been pivotal in his country's agricultural growth. "Professor Mamo stands out for his remarkable effort across levels," the Yara CEO said. "His efforts are always rooted in a deep understanding of how transformation must always include the farmer."
Focus on agriculture
"The experience over the last 10 years of Ethiopia's agricultural economic history is that dramatic advances in technology adoption and fertilizer and other input use have been achieved, leading to what has been one of the fastest growing agricultural sectors on the continent," Dr. Gabre-Madhin said.
This year's AGRF conference took place from 1-4 September in the Ethiopian capital, and coincided with the tenth anniversary of the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program, which set a commitment by governments on the continent to increase their agri-sector expenditure to 10 percent of their national budgets.
The theme for the 2014 conference was "Beyond the Tipping Point: A new vision and strategies for inclusive and sustainable transformation" which included discussions of more active and prominent roles for women in the agricultural sector.