Jul 19, 2005
The Yara Foundation Board recognizes Prime Minister Meles' decisive steps towards increasing food production and reducing poverty in one of the poorest countries of the developing world. He has brought about political change in Ethiopia, and placed the rural poor first in the country's development strategies.
Ethiopia sees agriculture as the entry point for investments in rural development, with particular focus on women, and the creation of agro-industries. Budget allocation to the agricultural sector in Ethiopia is above 15 %, exceeding the goal of 10% established by the African Union.
The Yara Foundation has evaluated and emphasized the progress to date, and realizes that there are still many unsolved challenges and shortcomings to be addressed. A 21st Century African Green Revolution is much more than just producing more food. It also involves providing an enabling policy environment, securing ownership rights, improving child nutrition, making markets work for the poor and doing all this in ways that protects and enhances the rural environment. It is a revolution to end hunger that also empowers people with a voice, and the opportunity to create their own future.
Ethiopia has reformed its public sector, has strengthened its human resource capital, has trained over 45,000 paraprofessional "barefoot" extension workers who now live and work in over 15,000 villages across the country, and has provided microcredit to over 4.5 million smallholder farm families.
The results are among the most promising for achieving the Millennium Development Goal of cutting world hunger in half by the year 2015. During the past decade Ethiopia has more than doubled its food production; from 6.3 million metric tons in 1993, to 14.3 million tons in 2004. Ethiopia's GDP grew at an average of 5.8 % annually, with agriculture growing at an average rate of 3.1 % in spite of the severe droughts of 1998 and 2001. During the last three years, agricultural production has grown at 8 % per annum. In spite of the fact that about 40% of the population is chronically malnourished, Ethiopia's food security program aims at enabling 4-5 million chronically food insecure to attain food security within 3-5 years, a major step towards accomplishing the Hunger Millennium Development Goal.
Meles Zenawi has, as one of Africa's young leaders and senior statesmen, made major contributions also on the international arena, including his membership in the Commission for Africa.
The Yara Prize 2005 is awarded to Meles Zenawi, for his dedication and inspirational leadership, for the results achieved in improving food security for his people, and for Ethiopia's response to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's call for a uniquely African green revolution for the 21st Century
The Yara Prize committee:
Dr. Thorleif Enger, President and CEO of Yara International ASA, Oslo.
Professor Pedro Sanchez, Director of Tropical Agriculture, the Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York.
Dr. Marco Quiñones
Regional Director for Africa, Sasakawa Global 2000, Addis Ababa.
Joan Holmes, President, The Global Hunger Project.
Dr. Peter Hartmann
Director General of the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Nigeria.
Arne Cartridge, Media Relations
Telephone (+47) 24 15 73 01
Cellular (+47) 47 900 900
Ingegerd Rafn, Media Relations
Telephone (+47) 24 15 72 46
Cellular (+47) 91 84 06 20
The Yara Prize is established in order to commend outstanding efforts to increase food production and availability in Africa - as a contribution to the economic and social development of the continent, for the benefit of its people. The Yara Prize shall contribute to the transformation of African agriculture and food availability, within a sustainable context, as an essential contribution to end hunger and reduce poverty. The Yara Prize shall recognize outstanding contributions to food availability, and serve as an inspiration and challenge in the continuous strive towards improved agricultural output.
Yara International ASA is the world's leading supplier of mineral fertilizers with particular strength in nitrogen based fertilizers. Yara has a local presence in 50 countries worldwide. Yara sells more than 20 million tonnes of mineral fertilizers in more than 120 countries. Yara offers fertilizers meeting the nutrient needs of local crops supported by agronomic advice to make farming more profitable and agriculture more sustainable. Yara has a strong position in industrial markets in Europe as a supplier of nitrogen based chemicals and is the leading supplier of liquid CO2.