Coffee beans

Two African Visionaries Awarded Prize for Contributions to African Green Revolution

Jul 01, 2008
Ms. Wambugu and Mr. Mfinanga are the 2008 recipients of the Yara Prize for an African Green Revolution, presented annually by the Yara Foundation since 2005 to individuals making outstanding efforts to improve food security, particularly through increased production and improved availability of food, thereby reducing hunger and poverty in Africa. Ms. Wambugu, known as "Africa's Banana Mama," has contributed greatly to increased production on the East African staple crop banana, by improving cultivation techniques in order to improve yields and incomes of local farmers. Mr. Mfinanga improves the availability of nutritional valuable milk to urban dwellers in his native Tanzania through agricultural business development, linking producers and markets.
"Ms. Wambugu represents the proven track record of dedicated scientific work transformed to a holistic value chain approach, with a well documented effect from many years of hard work," Thorleif Enger, Chairman of Board of the Yara Foundation says. "Mr. Mfinanga represents the young generation's visions of entrepreneurship, establishing a small-scale business enterprise that is benefiting producers and consumers alike. Both laureates contribute to the development of the value chain, in their respective areas, through evolving and sharing knowledge, and in developing and opening markets. We believe this is the key to the African Green Revolution's ultimate success."
The award consists of a USD 100,000 endowment, a glass trophy, and a diploma, to be received by each laureate.  Ms. Wambugu and Mr. Mfinanga will receive their awards on 29 August 2008 at the African Green Revolution Conference in Oslo, Norway, to be attended by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and other government, business and NGO leaders looking to improve agricultural sustainability across Africa.
For further information about the winners of the 2008 Yara Prize for an African Green Revolution, the African Green Revolution Conference, or the Yara Foundation, please visit:
Florence Wambugu (born 1953) is a native of Kenya, residing in Nairobi. She is a trained scientist, and presently the Chief Executive Officer of Africa Harvest Biotech Foundation International (AHBFI).
Ms. Wambugu holds a Bachelor of Science in Botany from the University of Nairobi, Kenya; a Master of Science in Pathology from the North Dakota State University, Fargo, USA, and a Ph.D. in virology from the Biotechnology University of Bath, England. For several years she worked as a researcher with the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) and Monsanto Company, and Directors at the International Service for the Acquistion of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), since 2001 heading the AHBFI.
A major contribution towards African agriculture and society accredited to Ms. Wambugu, lies in the field of crop improvement, particularly with regards (cooking) bananas, which constitute a key staple in East Africa, and a major source of income for rural farmers, particularly women. Ms. Wambugu, affectionately known as "Africa's Banana Mama" has worked intensively on improving and introducing tissue culture banana, which, more resilient to diseases, have greatly improved yields and incomes, with documented benefits to society, for poor farmers as well as consumers.
Ms. Wambugu is credited with offering her experience, enthusiasm, and energy within several areas of research as well as networking, and with applying a holistic value chain approach, including a variety of partners in partnerships, all along keeping her focus on the need for grassroots community involvement and improvement. She is also credited with establishing the ISAAA Africa, the Africa Harvest (AHBFI), and the Tissue Culture Banana Enterprise Ltd., a farmers- and promoters-owned company.
Victor Mfinanga (born 1979) is a native of Tanzania, residing in Morogoro. He is a trained economist, and presently the Managing Director of Shambani Graduates Enterprises Co. Ltd.
Mr. Mfinanga holds a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural economics and Agribusiness from Sokoine Agricultural University in Morogoro, Tanzania. After graduating, he founded the Shambani Graduates Enterprises together with fellow graduates of the SAU, all being inspired by a strong desire to become entrepreneurs.
Established in 2003, Shambani is engaged in the business of collecting, processing and marketing of milk and milk products, and with a vision of being the most reliable source of quality milk in Tanzania. Fresh milk is collected from producers in rural areas, processed into different products, and sold to consumers in urban areas - thus finding market access for producers and securing milk availability for consumers. A considerable part of the milk is produced by Maasai cattle keepers, mainly women, who have few options to sell their milk and make an income.
Mr. Mfinanga and his company is credited with the initiative of forming a dynamic, demand driven company that addresses one of the fundamental problems facing dairy farmers. Through entrepreneurship and risk taking, he has broken new ground within agriculture and food security, and significantly improved the business opportunities of a group of farmers who have for a long time been neglected. Victor Mfinanga himself is credited by colleagues and cooperators as a gifted manager and an exceptional communicator, motivating others to strive for excellence.
The Yara Prize is awarded by the Yara Foundation for an African Green Revolution, established in 2005 by Yara International. The objective of the Foundation is to support former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's call for an African green revolution and the UN Millennium Project's goal of halving poverty and hunger in Africa.
The Board of the Yara Foundation, also serving as jury of the Yara Prize, in 2008 consists of:
  • Dr. Thorleif Enger, President and CEO of Yara International ASA, Oslo, Norway (chairman)
  • Dr. P. Hartmann, Director General of the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan, Nigeria
  • Prof Pedro Sanchez, Director of Tropical Agriculture, the Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York, USA
  • Hon Susan E. Whelan, Lawyer and former Minister for International Cooperation, Toronto, Canada
  • Dr. Abenaa Akuamoa-Boateng, Head of Nutrition Ashanti Region, Ministry of Health, Kumasi, Ghana

Yara International ASA is the leading global supplier of mineral fertilizers and the only international fertilizer producer with a significant presence in Africa. As part of its Centennial celebration in 2005 Yara established the Yara Foundation to implement action in support of the UN Millennium Development Goals and a green revolution in Africa.
Arne Cartridge, Yara Foundation
Cellular: (+47) 47 900 900
Sheila Redzepi
Phone: +32 02 235 65 69
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