By Rachael Maza
Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) honoured Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina with an Award of Recognition recently in far away Johannesburg, South Africa.
A statement issued by the Director Information, Tony Ohaeri, indicated that the award was in recognition of the minister’s trailblazing work towards sustainable funding for African agricultural research and development and his inspirational leadership of agricultural development on the continent.
The Award was one of the main events that marked FARA’s 15th year anniversary titled Celebrate FARA: Delivering Africa’s future through science led agricultural transformation.
While presenting the Award to Dr. Akinwumi, Executive Director FARA, Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo said the Minister was being specially honoured for championing agricultural investments in one of Africa’s fastest growing economies and aggressively implementing bold policy reforms and pursuing innovative agricultural investment programmes to expand opportunities for the private sector thereby moving agriculture away from a development programme to a business issue.
Akinbamijo further disclosed that Dr. Adesina until his appointment as a minister was the Vice President responsible for policy and partnership at the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) where he fostered cooperation among African governments, donors, farmers’ organisations and the private sector to stimulate agricultural growth and unlock new opportunities for farmers.
Dr. Adesina had in the past received several awards including “Outstanding Black Agricultural Economist Award from the American Agricultural Economist Association; the YARA prize for his pioneering innovative approaches to improve access by African farmers to Agricultural Inputs; Distinguished Alumini Award from Purdue University, Borlang Council for Agricultural Science and Communication Technology (CAST), Award for his outstand contributions in influencing policy makers, the news media and public on path ways towards attainment of a green revolution in Africa, Forbs Africa Man of the year 2013, Leadership Nigeria Public Officer of the year 2014, Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON), Nigeria’s second highest national honour among others”.
Receiving the Award, the minister thanked the Executive Directors of FARA for the honour and promised to work with others to ensure that Africa achieves the 2030 target of food security in the continent.
He called for the creation of inclusive market for all practitioners in the agricultural sector stressing that there is need for a percentage of funding in agriculture to be set aside for women who constitute a majority of farmers in the rural areas and who research has proved pay back loans.
Adesina, said the issue in African agriculture is not the amount of money invested by the governments in agriculture. The issue he said is how the money is spent; adding that corruption in the public sector must be eliminated and replaced with efficiency. He called on banks in Africa to play a more active role in agriculture since agriculture is now done as a business. “To take care of the risk factors in agricultural business the minister called for the introduction of insurance and efficiency in the deployment of resources”.