The Yara Prize 2013 has been awarded to Mr. Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu, founder and CEO of the Smallholders Foundation in Nigeria, and Dr. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, CEO of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN).
The Yara Prize 2013 was awarded to the two prominent laureates for their work for African farmers and for the continent's green revolution. The award recognizes their effective entrepreneurial work which has spread knowledge and inspiration to improve the lives of smallholder farmers and youth; and their policy dialogue and advocacy campaigns which have enabled change in the African agricultural sector.
Both laureates have influenced results in their respective areas of work by translating ideas about the development of African agriculture. They are true examples of the can-do spirit and drive that plays a vital role in transforming agriculture in Africa.
In a fully packed ceremony hall, where distinguished guests, government officials and representatives from civil society were present, the laureates were honored by Yara President, CEO and Chairman of the Yara Prize Committee, Jørgen Ole Haslestad.
"Through this prize Yara wants to encourage improvements in the food systems, sustainable agriculture and the development of markets," Haslestad said. "We use the prize to highlight outstanding efforts by organizations or individuals to increase food productivity, security or availability."
"This year we put a specific focus on young women and men who are making a particular effort within agriculture, paying attention to innovation and entrepreneurship," he added.
Agricultural radio broadcast
Award-winner Nnaemeka C. Ikegwuonu has combined his two passions through the establishment of the Smallholders Foundation, namely – farming and journalism. Using the Future Farmers radio program, Mr. Ikegwuonu has communicated sustainable agricultural, environmental management, entrepreneurship and financial management skills to young people by establishing the School and Community Gardens in secondary schools and rural communities across Nigeria.
"Agriculture gives youth a great opportunity to be employed as quickly as possible," said Mr. Ikegwuonu. "And we need to tell the world that I have been employed through agriculture - and that the same opportunity is open for millions of other young people."
Advocacy for better farming
Dr. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda has over 20 years of transdisciplinary experience in rural development, public sector reforms and private sector management. Since 2004 she has held the position of Chief Executive Officer for the Africa Region Food Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN). Under Dr. Sibanda’s leadership, FANRPAN has been transformed in five years from a small sub-regional network to a global player on the food security agenda, giving voice to Africa’s position in the Green Revolution, Climate Change and CAADP.
“In the business of policy advocacy for a food secure Africa for African's green revolution there are three significant stakeholders who contribute; there are the researchers, who generate the evidence that we need for advocacy purposes; there are the messengers, the advocates who need to be equipped with that message and they include our journalists, they include our farmers and the very people who are affected by the problems but they lack the evidence to articulate the challenges they face. The third category are the people who provide the platforms, the partnerships such as this one provided by Yara and AGRA,” said Dr. Sibanda.
“I want to thank you for everything you have done but more importantly for amplifying the voice of the youth through my co-winner who is sharing the stage with me today,” she added.
The Yara Prize
The Yara Prize for an African Green Revolution seeks to contribute to the transformation of African agriculture and food availability, within a sustainable context, thereby helping to reduce hunger and poverty.
Read more about the Yara Prize here: www.yaraprize.com