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Agricultural Revolution is the Way Forward

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Africa’s Food Challenge

Oslo, May 09, 2009

“Africa is the only region of the world where hunger continues to persist. We can change this, we have the science and moral responsibility to do so, society will never forgive us if we don’t.” This challenge comes from Akin Adesina, one of the rising stars of African development and a Yara Prize laureate. Yara has worked in Africa for three decades and is playing a vital part in transforming its agricultural sector.

Today Africa is taking decisive steps to combat poverty and hunger, and agriculture is at the heart of the change process. The African Green Revolution is underway.

"We can change this”

Yara Prize laureate, Akin Adesina

In 2004, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan challenged the world community to partner with Africa in creating a uniquely African green revolution. He particularly urged the private and public sectors to unite with NGOs and civil society in halving hunger and poverty.

In 2005, Yara was one of the first companies to heed Annan’s call. Building on three decades of experience in Africa, Yara decided to expand its role in transforming the continent’s agricultural sector.

Our first move was to establish the Yara Foundation to coordinate our efforts to support the African green revolution and the UN Millennium Project's goal of halving poverty and hunger in Africa. Two leading lights within African development, Nobel Prize laureate and ‘father of the Green Revolution’ Norman Borlaug and Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-general, Jeffrey Sachs, quickly became endorsers of our work.

We presented the first Yara Prize, which supports outstanding contributions to African agriculture, in 2005. To date, seven Prizes have been awarded to a wide range of African entrepreneurs, grassroots activists and a head of state.

In 2006 we initiated the African Green Revolution Conference, bringing the public and private sectors together with international donors to focus on African agriculture. The third AGR Conference, convened in Oslo in 2008, was attended by Kofi Annan. The next will most likely be held in Africa.

Yara also supports two Millennium Villages, in Kenya and Malawi – trial projects that promise to become a model for community-led sustainable development in African villages. 

Yara’s latest step is to invest in key infrastructure, such as ports and storage facilities, and to spearhead private-public projects that can resolve the bottlenecks preventing agricultural development. This initiative, which Yara calls Agricultural Growth Corridors, has gained wide support from African governments and the world development community.

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