Yara and sustainability

The story of the Yara Prize

In 2004, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan challenged the world to contribute to creating an African Green Revolution. Yara’s direct response was to establish the Yara Prize in 2005 and the African Green Revolution Conference in Oslo in 2006.

The Yara Prize soon became an influential event for those engaged in the transformation of agriculture in Africa. In the decade from 2005 to 2015, the winners have ranged from ministers to smallholder farmers with one thing in common: a profound impact on African agriculture.

The challenge 

A large part of African farmers are smallholders, largely operating on a subsistence level – and a great number of them are women. With few assets, including title to their land, smallholders are vulnerable to changing environments, financial or climatic. Agriculture is still the sector employing most people, but output has lagged behind population increase, leaving Africa in a dire situation when it comes to food security. Key ways to rectify these imbalances are to make agriculture a profitable business and to help farmers become entrepreneurs.

The response 

After participating in the UN’s Hunger Task Force, Yara established the USD 60,000 prize as a way to encourage the development of African agriculture and food production – connected both to the call for an African Green Revolution and to the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. The Task Force recommended interventions aimed to increase food output and combat hunger, including the need to provide growers with inputs and improve their access to output markets.

The winners 

The Yara Prize was awarded annually in the years 2005–2009 and reinstituted in 2012 in connection with the African Green Revolution Forum in Arusha, Tanzania.


Dr. Ousmane Badiane (left) and Eric Kaduru (right)

Eric Kaduru, founder and CEO, KadAfrica and Dr. Ousmane Badiane, Director for Africa, IFPRI

The Yara Prize 2015 is being awarded to Dr. Ousmane Badiane and Eric Kaduru for their work related to African agricultural development, food security and the continent’s green revolution.


Professor Tekalign Mamo Assefa

Professor Tekalign Mamo Assefa, Ethiopian Minister of Agriculture

Professor Mamo stands out for his remarkable effort across levels, but always rooted in a profound understanding of how transformation must always include the farmer. As a scientist, leader and practitioner, Professor Mamo’s innovative and inclusive efforts have been instrumental in lifting millions of farmers’ income.


Nnaemeka C. Ikegwuonu and Dr. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda

Dr. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, CEO of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) and Nnaemeka C. Ikegwuonu, founder and CEO of the Smallholders Foundation in Nigeria

Both laureates have, through personal commitment and special efforts, translated ideas on the development of African agriculture into impactful results in their respective areas of work. They are both examples of the can-do spirit and drive that is playing a vital role in transforming agriculture in Africa.


Agnes Matilda Kalibata and Eleni Gabre-Madhin - Yara Prize 2012

Agnes Matilda Kalibata, Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Rwanda and Eleni Gabre-Madhin, former CEO of ECX (Ethiopian Commodity Exchange)

Dr. Agnes Kalibata is being awarded the prize for her great leadership in the transformation of food security and agricultural development in Rwanda in a relatively short period of time.

Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin is being awarded the prize for showing visionary and remarkable leadership in managing the transformation process toward an efficiently functioning market, especially for smallholder coffee producers in Ethiopia.


Yara Prize 2009 - Peter Munga and NASFAM

Peter Munga, Chairman of Equity Bank Ltd. and National Oil Corporation of Kenya Ltd. and NASFAM, the largest independent smallholder-owned membership organization in Malawi

The fifth annual Yara Prize for an African Green Revolution recognized Kenyan banker Peter Munga and the National Smallholder Farmers' Association of Malawi (NASFAM), for their profound contributions to the United Nations goal of halving poverty and hunger in Africa by 2015.


Victor Mfinanga and Florence Wambugu

Florence Wambugu, founder and CEO, Africa Harvest Biotech Foundation International (AHBFI) and Victor Mfinanga, founder and managing director, Shambani Graduates Enterprises Co Ltd

The fourth Yara Prize was shared by Wambugu, for her many distinguished achievements in research and networking in East Africa, and Mfinanga, for his determined entrepreneurship in establishing a dairy business in Tanzania.


Akinwumi Adesina and Josephine Okot

Akinwumi Adesina, interim Vice President, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, Kenya – The Rockefeller Foundation and Josephine Okot, founder and managing director, Victoria Seeds Ltd, Uganda

The  Yara Prize 2007 was shared by Adesina, for his efforts to develop agro-dealer networks in Africa, and Okot, for her contributions towards production and distribution of seeds.


Celina Cossa and Fidelis Wainaina

Celina Cossa, founder and President of the General Union of Agricultural Cooperatives, Mozambique and Fidelis Wainaina, founder of the Maseno Interchristian Child Self Help Group, Kenya

The second Yara Prize was shared by Cossa, for her efforts to organize women, and Wainaina, for her efforts to help children at risk because of hunger and poverty, both within the realm of small-scale farming.


Meles Zenawi, Prime minister of Ethiopia

Meles Zenawi, Prime minister of Ethiopia

The Yara Prize 2005 Laureate was Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia. The first Yara Prize was awarded to Meles for his political contributions towards improved agricultural productivity and food security in his own country, and the African Green Revolution at large.

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