AGRA

Expert Panel highlights how youth will be pivotal to transforming Africa’s agrifood systems and unlocking the continent’s job, growth, and health goals through innovative policies

February 14, Kampala, UGANDA – Africa’s agrifood sector holds significant untapped potential to deliver jobs and livelihoods for the continent’s rapidly growing youth population, according to a new report.

 The latest publication from the Malabo Montpellier Panel highlighted how 11 million young people join the African labor market each year, yet only 3.7 million jobs are being created. At the same time, the African agricultural economy is now the fastest growing across all continents, powered by a rapidly rising processing sector, with combined food and beverage markets forecast to triple in value to US$1 trillion by 2030.  With the right innovative policies, African governments can stimulate new employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for young people along agribusiness value chains, while equipping and incentivizing youths to join the sector, the authors found. 

“YOUTH AHEAD: Policy Innovations to Create Opportunities for Young People in Africa’s Agrifood Systems” argues that agrifood systems provide an important channel for solving the unemployment and underemployment challenges facing African youth and strengthening them will reduce poverty and bolster food security on the continent. 

“Africa’s agrifood sector offers extraordinary potential for attractive, profitable, and sustainable jobs for our rising youth population, that will in turn help address the continent’s food security challenges,” said Dr. Ousmane Badiane, Executive Chairperson, AKADEMIYA2063, and Co-Chair of the Malabo Montpellier Panel. 

“Innovative strategies to attract and support Africa’s youth to succeed with the right skills, technology, and policy environment would boost the pace of employment creation to meet the growing labor demands in the decades ahead. Our report recommends policies to help create these opportunities, including targeted education, training, enterprise creation and growth support, and technology infrastructure.”

 Launched at the 13th Malabo Montpellier Forum in Kampala, Uganda, the report reviews four systematically selected African countries – Ghana, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe – as case studies of how innovative policies and institutional reforms can shift the needle on youth empowerment in food systems.

 This report provides examples of successful and emerging interventions being implemented across the continent to empower youth and facilitate a thriving environment for their leadership and engagement in sustainable food systems transformation.

 It identifies opportunities to unlock decent jobs and livelihoods along the agri-food value chain, from crop breeding and research and development to harvesting, processing, and trade. The authors make a critical recommendation for African governments to diversify education and training programs to develop and upgrade skills that facilitate entrepreneurship and employment for young Africans in agriculture and agribusiness.

 In Ghana, initiatives such as the Youth Employment Agency Bill and the National Youth Policy were cited as examples of efforts to upskill and support youth to enter the agri-food sector. As part of its plan to industrialize agriculture, increase food security and employment opportunities, and lower poverty rates, the country launched the Youth in Agriculture Programme (YIAP), which deployed youth-focused initiatives to change the negative perception of farmers as uneducated, unskilled laborers with low economic returns.

 The authors found that youth-focused institutions and programs in Uganda, such as the Presidential Zonal Industrial Hubs, the Uganda Industrial Research Institute Innovation Centre, and the Youth Livelihood Programme are providing young people with marketable skills in agri-food processing and product development, ICT, agricultural mechanization, and entrepreneurship. To further support digital transformation, the government launched the Digital Skills Acceleration Program and the Digital Transformation Program, which aim to increase access and usage of ICT by vulnerable groups, including small-scale farmers.

 In Zambia, the government set up the Skills Development Levy to mobilize resources that can be invested in youth empowerment, notably in strengthening the infrastructure of technical and vocational training institutions. Through the Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA),  the TEVET bursary enables vulnerable youth to benefit from skills training, including courses in general agriculture, food and beverage production, automotive mechanics engineering, electrical engineering, and computer studies.  

The report also looks at policy interventions in Zimbabwe, highlighting the innovation hubs in higher education institutions that provide technical and research-based solutions for skills enhancement in the country’s labor force. Introduced under the framework of the country’s Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Policy, these hubs equip students with specific industrial skills to enable them to operate entrepreneurially with the capacity to incubate any businesses they create. Beneficiary sectors include agriculture, energy, and mining.

“Attracting youth to the agrifood sector and enabling them to play an active role in shaping African food systems must go hand-in-hand with leveraging the potential of new technologies for the industry,” said Eng. Dr. Dorothy Okello, Dean, School of Engineering, Makerere University, and Malabo Montpellier Panel Member.

“Harnessing the entrepreneurial spirit of Africa’s youth alongside developments such as AI and emerging technologies while investing in transferable skills training in areas such as computer programming and embedded systems, data science, and business studies, will maximize the potential of young people to advance Africa’s agrifood and economic transformation.” 

Other recommendations to support African governments in empowering youth in agrifood systems include addressing trade barriers and investing in technology infrastructure for jobs, involving youth in policy formulation and decision-making, and addressing green growth and employment agendas with youth as investors.

“The active involvement of young people in Africa’s agrifood systems is essential for the continent’s economic development and peace,” said Prof. Joachim von Braun, Distinguished Professor, Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, and Co-Chair of the Malabo Montpellier Panel.

“Reaping the full benefits of the enterprising spirit of Africa’s youth will require access to finance, skills and land, and respect for youth voice in political decision-making processes”.

Applications are now open for AGRA’s 2023 VALUE4HER Women Agripreneurs of the Year Awards -WAYA

NAIROBI, March 9, 2023 –AGRA has launched a call for applications for the 2023 Women Agripreneurs of the Year Awards (WAYA) that recognise African female agripreneurs demonstrating remarkable Innovation and business excellence in agricultural value chains.

The winning agripreneurs, who will be unveiled during the 2023 AGRF Summit, will receive a total of $85,000 in grant funding. To be eligible for WAYA, businesses must be operating in an agriculture or agribusiness value chain, be a legal entity registered in a country that is a member state of the African Union, and at least 51% owned and managed by one or more women who are citizens of one of the 55 African countries. Entries are submitted online on this link until May 31, 2023.

Applications are being received in three categories: Young female Agripreneur (for those under the age of 35 years and have demonstrated innovation and leadership in business); Outstanding Value Adding Enterprise (for female-owned agribusinesses that are increasing the economic value and/or consumer appeal to agricultural products); and Female Ag-Tech Innovator (those championing technological advancement in agribusiness); and an Overall Grand Prize winner will be determined as the candidate that demonstrates the best potential for scale.

Speaking at the launch event, AGRA’s Vice President for Strategic Partnerships & Chief of Party, Vanessa Adams said: “Women’s participation and recognition in this agriculture sector has been historically overlooked. That’s why we believe it’s essential to shine a spotlight on women who are making a significant contribution to the agricultural industry through their innovation, leadership, and entrepreneurship. By recognising the undeniable contribution of women to African food systems, we hope to inspire and encourage more women to pursue careers in the agricultural sector”. 

Last year, Oluyemisi Iranloye, the Managing Director of Psaltry International from Nigeria, scooped the Overall Grand Prize for her cassava processing initiative. Fatou Manneh, the Founder of Jelmah Herbella, from The Gambia, won in the Young Female Agripreneur category; Uwintwari Liliane, the CEO of Mahwi Tech from Rwanda, won the Female Ag Tech Innovator; and Célia Chabi, the CEO of KIEL BIEN-ÊTRE from Benin won in the Outstanding Value Adding Enterprise category.


About AGRA

Founded in 2006, AGRA, is an African-led African-based organization that seeks to catalyse Agriculture Transformation in Africa. AGRA is focused on putting smallholder farmers at the centre of the continent’s growing economy by transforming agriculture from a solitary struggle to survive into farming as a business that thrives. As the sector that employs the majority of Africa’s people, nearly all of them small-scale farmers, AGRA recognizes that developing smallholder agriculture into a productive, efficient, and sustainable system is essential to ensuring food security, lifting millions out of poverty, and driving equitable growth across the continent.

About WAYA 

The VALUE4HER Women Agripreneurs of the Year Awards (WAYA) is an AGRA led recognition initiative launched in 2021 under AGRA’s flagship VALUE4HER initiative that seeks to strengthen women agripreneurship in Africa. The Women Agripreneurs of the Year Awards (WAYA) recognizes African female agripreneurs who have excelled in the agricultural value chains and have demonstrated remarkable innovation by contributing positively towards food security, climate resilience, women and youth empowerment. The awards aim to create visibility for successful women and promote them as positive role models, trigger innovation, and spur ambition among women agripreneurs.

For media interviews and enquiries: 
Contact Jean Kiarie
Head of Communications
AGRA
+254 722 719 070
jkiarie@agra.org 


For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Mejury Shiri, VALUE4HER Coordinator and WAYA Lead: mshiri@agra.org.

AGRA’s President, Dr. Agnes Kalibata feted by Prince Albert II of Monaco

Monaco, November 26, 2022 – AGRA’s President, Dr. Agnes Kalibata has been celebrated by Prince Albert II of Monaco for leading efforts towards Africa’s food security and prosperity through inclusive and sustainable agricultural growth to secure livelihoods of millions of smallholders farmer since 2014.

Dr Kalibata was a laureate at the 15th annual Awards for Planetary Health by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation. The awards honor personalities and organisations who have shown remarkable commitment to the preservation of the Planet.

Speaking after receiving her award, Dr. Kalibata expressed her gratitude for the recognition. 

“We are not on track to achieve the SDG Goal of “Zero Hunger” by 2030. This is made more difficult by climate change. Agriculture is a major part of the climate problem. It currently generates 19–29% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Without action, that percentage could rise substantially. I am honored to receive this award today. But it is not just for me. It is also an award acknowledging that we must continue our push to support African smallholder farmers – as they look to increase their agriculture production for more food security and increased incomes, they must do this while having choices to use modern technologies and practices that take care of environment.”

In his opening address at the award ceremony, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco emphasised that while the Foundation’s Awards for Planetary Health reward inspiring personalities for their work in favour of water, climate, and biodiversity, they also reward the paths they have chosen. Those of “politics and collective action; science and research; industry and innovation. Three areas that we must constantly mobilise, for it is with them that we make progress”. The Sovereign Prince underlined the importance of the 2022 laureates’ commitment: “At a time when our planet is once again experiencing open conflicts that tend to push environmental issues aside, there has never been a better time to give a voice to those who seek to protect it”.

The other laureates in the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation’s 15th annual Awards for Planetary Health were: Professor Dame Jane Francis, Director of the British Antarctic Survey, a research centre of the Natural Environment Research Council; and Dr. Ido Sella, the CEO and  co-founder of ECOncrete Tech, whose mission is to change the gold standard, transforming the way our concrete coasts look and function, so that where the ocean meets the shore, life thrives – above and below the water.


Ends…

About AGRA

Established in 2006, AGRA is an African-led and Africa-based institution that puts smallholder farmers at the center of the continent’s growing economy by transforming agriculture from a solitary struggle to survive into farming as a business that thrives. Together with our partners, we are working to sustainably grow Africa’s food systems. AGRA strengthens seed systems, develops and promotes sustainable farming practices, helps unlock trade and markets, and supports governments who lead their countries’ development. We work with farmers to adapt to climate change, increase soil health, and protect the environment.  AGRA believes deeply in the urgency of reducing the inequality that women face in agriculture, and to unlocking the power and innovation of youth.     

More information: https://agra.org/

The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation’s 15th Awards Ceremony for Planetary Health

“I wanted to create these awards to show my support to exceptional men and women who are committed to saving our planet.”

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco

On Friday November 25th, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation held its 15th annual Awards Ceremony for Planetary Health in the Salle Garnier at the Monte-Carlo Opera House. Since 2008, the Foundation’s Awards have honoured personalities and organisations who have shown remarkable commitment to the preservation of the Planet.

In His opening address, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco emphasised that while the Foundation’s Awards for Planetary Health reward inspiring personalities for their work in favour of water, climate, and biodiversity, they also reward the paths they have chosen. Those of “politics and collective action; science and research; industry and innovation. Three areas that we must constantly mobilise, for it is with them that we make progress”. The Sovereign Prince underlined the importance of the 2022 laureates’ commitment: “At a time when our planet is once again experiencing open conflicts that tend to push environmental issues aside, there has never been a better time to give a voice to those who seek to protect it.


The Sovereign Prince then welcomed the three laureates on stage to present them with their distinctions. 

Dr. Agnes Kalibata, former Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources of Rwanda and President of AGRA, where she has been leading efforts to ensure Africa’s food security and prosperity through inclusive and sustainable agricultural growth to secure the livelihoods of millions of smallholders since 2014. Upon receiving her award, Dr. Agnes Kalibata expressed her honour for this recognition. “We are not on track to achieve the SDG Goal of “Zero Hunger” by 2030. This is made more difficult by climate change – the challenge of our time. Agriculture is a major part of the climate problem. It currently generates 19–29% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Without action, that percentage could rise substantially (…) I am honored to receive this award today. But it is not just for me. It is also an award acknowledging that we must continue our push to support African smallholder farmers – as they look to increase their agriculture production for more food security and increased incomes, they must do this while having choices to use modern technologies and practices that take care of environment.”

Professor Dame Jane Francis, a geologist by training, is Director of the British Antarctic Survey, a research centre of the Natural Environment Research Council (UKRI-NERC). She is involved in international polar organisations, such as the Antarctic Treaty and the European Polar Council, and serves on several advisory boards of national polar programmes. “It is a great honour to receive this award and I do so on behalf of all the excellent scientists who work with me at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge and many colleagues around the world who are dedicated to understanding the changes happening to the polar regions. I am sure that we are all aware that the polar regions are changing fast (…) What happens in these regions affects us all, even as we sit here today. As the ice sheets melt the sea level is rising across the planet, affecting billions of people who live near the coasts, affecting cities and business supply chains.”

Last but not least, an award was presented to Dr. Ido Sella, on behalf of ECOncrete Tech, an interdisciplinary scientific company made up of biologists, ecologists, environmental engineers, designers, concrete technology specialists among others. ECOncrete’s mission is to change the gold standard, transforming the way our concrete coasts look and function, so that where the ocean meets the shore, life thrives – above and below the water.

Dr. Ido Sella, CEO and Co-founder, thanked the Sovereign Prince and His Foundation for the recognition of ECOncrete’s work to develop marine biodiversity in the coastal environment. “With the majority of human population residing along coastlines, and the intensive process of coastal armoring due to increased storminess and prediction to sea level rise, an increased focus should be given to the neutral marine resources that are supporting precious ecosystem services – such as biodiversity, carbon sequestration, nursery grounds, and many others. (…) Today, as we work with cities, governments, industries and communities to change the way future waterfronts will look and function, and make marine life thrive where it couldn’t before, we are more committed than ever to this quest.”

Following the presentation of the Awards by the Sovereign Prince, a short documentary film was shown to the public, “The Church Forests of Ethiopia” produced by WaterBear, the first interactive streaming platform dedicated to the future of our planet. The film shed light on the forests that surround churches in Ethiopia, offering pockets of lush biodiversity in the middle of desert plains. The screening echoed the new Forests & Communities Initiative (FCI) launched in 2022 by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation alongside founding partners IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law, the International Federation of Rangers and the Global Forest Coalition with the aim of actively and sustainably protect forests and their biodiversity through the actions of indigenous peoples and local communities.  

The ceremony followed with a round table discussion with the laureates and Ellen Windemuth, founder of WaterBear. The discussion allowed participants to share their views and expertise on the environmental upheavals we are facing today and the means we have to address them.

The award ceremony marked the end of an eventful day for the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, which had earlier in the day held a meeting of its Board of Directors and Branch Presidents.


The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation

Founded by His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco in 2006, the Foundation is a global non-profit organisation committed to progressing planetary health for current and future generations by co-creating initiatives and supporting hundreds of projects across the world. The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation focuses its efforts on three main areas of action: climate change, biodiversity, and water resources, in the following main geographical areas: the Mediterranean basin, the polar regions and the least developed countries. The Foundation has so far granted + 92 million euros to finance more than + 720 projects that focus on limiting the effects of climate change, promoting renewable energy, protecting the oceans, preserving biodiversity, managing water resources, and combating deforestation. More information on www.fpa2.org

Contact :

Nadège Massé

Communication Director

Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation

nmasse@fpa2.org

AGRA, Barbados Government sign MoU for collaboration on Africa-Americas agri-food system transformation

The MoU facilitates the collaboration of AGRA and the government of Barbados in championing solutions for agri-food systems transformation and climate action in Africa and the Caribbean

KIGALI, Rwanda: November 11, 2022 –  The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados, The Hon. Kerrie Symmonds and the President of AGRA, Dr. Agnes Kalibata have today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for collaboration and the promotion of food systems transformation in Africa and the Caribbean Community.   

The partnership will strengthen cooperation and advocacy in areas of common interest in food systems and climate change adaptation between relevant stakeholders in Barbados and Africa. 

The MoU also allows for partnership in knowledge and experience sharing on technology and innovative approaches. These include but are not limited to: last mile delivery of sustainable inputs, value chain models, digital technology and access to finance models.

Additionally, the MoU seeks to promote the mobilization of public and private investments for food systems transformation. AGRA and the Government of Barbados will work together to develop solutions for increased public and private investments in food systems transformation and the development of innovative finance mechanisms. 

AGRA President, Dr. Agnes Kalibata said: “.With this MoU, we see an opportunity to advance our South to South partnership to include Island States.  We will focus on a unified fight against climate change, [and] support to functional food systems that advance the role of trade in feeding the world while minimizing its negative impacts on health and nutrition. Furthermore we see an opportunity to continue advancing partnerships that promote skills and expertise on both sides.  The MoU is an opportunity for the Government of Barbados to connect to all 15 countries AGRA is working with across the continent, and to connect with the wider continent through AGRF. We are excited about this partnership with the Caricom countries with  Barbados as our first direct engagement.

  AGRA shall facilitate exchange of experiences and knowledge between Barbados and African countries where best practices exist, and vice-versa. 

Barbados’ Minister of Foreign Affairs, The Honourable Kerrie Symmonds, added: “Today we have made a major step towards improving  the food systems in our two regions. The reality is that many African countries share similarities with Barbados, and through this partnership with AGRA, we can now work together to draw on our shared heritage and identifying areas of common interest for knowledge and experience sharing, and advocacy in global and regional platforms to strengthen investments in agri-food systems.”

-ENDS


About AGRA

Established in 2006, AGRA is an African-led and Africa-based institution that puts smallholder farmers at the center of the continent’s growing economy by transforming agriculture from a solitary struggle to survive into farming as a business that thrives. Together with our partners, we are working to sustainably grow Africa’s food systems. AGRA strengthens seed systems, develops and promotes sustainable farming practices, helps unlock trade and markets, and supports governments who lead their countries’ development. We work with farmers to adapt to climate change, increase soil health, and protect the environment.  AGRA believes deeply in the urgency of reducing the inequality that women face in agriculture, and to unlocking the power and innovation of youth. 

More informationhttps://agra.org/ | Rebecca Weaver, rweaver@agra.org 

About the AGRFThe AGRF, Africa’s Food Systems Forum, is the premier forum for African agriculture, bringing together stakeholders in the agricultural landscape to take practical actions and share lessons that will move African agriculture forward. The AGRF Partners Group is made up of 26 leading actors in African agriculture all focused on putting farmers at the center of the continent’s growing economies. The AGRF is designed to energize political will and advance the policies, programs, and investments required to achieve an inclusive and sustainable agricultural transformation. Learn more at www.agrf.org.

Nestlé partners with Africa Food Prize to strengthen food security and climate change resilience

VEVEY, Switzerland: November 9, 2022 – Nestlé announced today that it is partnering with the Africa Food Prize to help accelerate the transformation of food systems in Africa, as a way of strengthening the continent’s food security and building greater climate change resilience. 

The Africa Food Prize awards USD 100,000 to individuals and institutions that are pioneering agricultural and food systems transformation in Africa. The Prize puts a spotlight on uniquely impactful agri-food initiatives and technological innovations that can be replicated across the continent to increase food security, spur economic growth and development, and eliminate hunger and poverty in Africa. The Africa Food Prize is hosted by AGRA, an African-led and Africa-based institution that puts smallholder farmers at the center of the continent’s growing economy by transforming agriculture from a solitary struggle to survive into farming as a business that thrives. AGRA is headquartered in Kenya and works in 15 African countries.

This year, Dr. Eric Yirenkyi Danquah, a plant geneticist from Ghana, was awarded the prestigious prize during September’s AGRF Summit in Kigali, Rwanda. Dr. Danquah was celebrated for his outstanding expertise and leadership in establishing the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) and developing it into a world-class center for the education of plant breeders in Africa.

Nestlé will contribute CHF 100,000 (USD 100,000) (Note 1) to the Africa Food Prize, which will be awarded in 2023. Part of the contribution will go to the main award and part to a special category focusing on innovations that advance regenerative food systems.

Remy Ejel, Chief Executive Officer of Zone Asia, Oceania and Africa, Nestlé S.A. said, “Transforming agriculture to be more productive and sustainable is key to reducing hunger and improving livelihoods for the long term. We aim to support and amplify efforts that spearhead regenerative agriculture and food systems to enable better productivity, better nutrition and better incomes for people in Africa.”

Commenting on the partnership, Dr Agnes Kalibata, President of AGRA said, “We are happy to be partnering with Nestlé to recognize Africa’s best in food systems. The Africa Food Prize is a great opportunity to shine a bright spotlight on Africa’s outstanding minds, giving the rest of us a chance to learn and replicate their good work that is moving us closer to sustainable, inclusive and resilient food systems and achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2 on Zero Hunger.”

Nestlé’s partnership with the Africa Food Prize builds on its years-long work in Africa to improve the continent’s nutrition and agriculture. The company has taken great strides to expand access to affordable nutrition in many communities, for example, by fortifying Maggi bouillon cubes with iron in Central and West Africa. It is also pioneering regenerative dairy farming with the establishment of the first net zero dairy farm in Skimmelkran, South Africa.

In early 2022, Nestlé launched an innovative income accelerator program, aimed at addressing child labor risks and closing the living income gap for cocoa-farming communities in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. Recently, Nestlé announced an investment of CHF 1 billion by 2030 under the Nescafé Plan to transition to sustainable coffee farming, including in Côte d’Ivoire.

Entries in the Africa Food Prize are evaluated by a judging committee comprising some of Africa’s greatest food system leaders. Winners are selected based on proven results and scalable efforts. 

Submissions for next year’s Africa Food Prize will be open from January 2023 and winners will be announced at the AGRF, Africa Food Systems Forum, in September.


Click here for more information on the Africa Food Prize.

For Media Enquiries contact:

Nestlé: Maxine Lim, Communications Manager, Zone Asia, Oceania and Africa

Maxine.Lim@nestle.com 


Africa Food Prize: Boaz Keizire, Head of the Africa Food Prize Secretariat 

BKeizire@agra.org
Note 1: USD converted via www.oanda.com  on November 8, 2022.  Rate of 1 CHF =  1.008 USD

Ghana’s Seed Experts Draft New Seed Sector Strategy and Investment Plan

Nearly 60 Seed system experts will come together to revise the existing National Seed Plan (2015)

ACCRA, Ghana: November 7, 2022 – Officials from Ghana’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), the National Seed Trade Association of Ghana (NASTAG) and The African Seed Access Index (TASAI), and other seed sector stakeholders will meet from November 7 – 10, 2022 at the 3rd National Seed Forum, in the country’s capital, Accra, to revise the country’s Seed Sector Strategy and Investment Plan.

The Seed Sector Strategy and Investment Plan is expected to strengthen Ghana’s seed industry by promoting the adoption and utilization of certified seed by the country’s farmers. Given the current economic crisis in Ghana, which is affecting the lack of fertilizer and seed inputs for farmers, strengthening the seed sector and increasing the use of improved seeds is expected to boost crop yields, and transform the food system that feeds the country.

The four-day workshop follows a successful deployment of the Seed Systems Analysis Tool (SeedSAT), to analyze the functioning of eight (8) key thematic areas of the national seed system and make prioritized recommendations for interventions to support a robust seed sector. Under the theme, “Facilitating the Seed Industry through Knowledge, Collaboration and Strategic Planning”, the delegates at the National Seed Forum will revise the National Seed Plan (2015) and incorporate the recommendations from the SeedSAT exercise. The workshop will also allow industry players to network and receive updates on pertinent seed sector issues and strengthened business linkages.

This effort is spearheaded by The Alliance for the Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) working with the support of the U.S. Government through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) under the Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa (PIATA) umbrella.

Ghana’s seed sector has made tremendous growth in the past few years, with the development and availability of improved and locally adapted seed varieties. However, the adoption is still marginal, with just about 30% of the farmers using the improved varieties. The slow pace of adoption is linked to inadequate compliance with seed legislation by various key seed value chain operators, and the disregard of the rules and procedures of the Seed Certification and Standard Regulations.


About AGRA

Established in 2006, AGRA is an African-led and Africa-based institution that puts smallholder farmers at the center of the continent’s growing economy by transforming agriculture from a solitary struggle to survive into farming as a business that thrives. Together with our partners, we are working to sustainably grow Africa’s food systems. AGRA strengthens seed systems, develops and promotes sustainable farming practices, helps unlock trade and markets, and supports governments who lead their countries’ development. We work with farmers to adapt to climate change, increase soil health, and protect the environment.  AGRA believes deeply in the urgency of reducing the inequality that women face in agriculture, and to unlocking the power and innovation of youth. 

More information: https://agra.org/ | Rebecca Weaver, rweaver@agra.org 

About PIATA

AGRA, together with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and other partners, have constituted an innovative partnership dubbed Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa (PIATA) which is driving integrated delivery within agro-economic zones and across value chains, enhanced in-country coordination to leverage wider investments and deliberate engagement with private sector to build sustainable systems that will transition agriculture from subsistence into a business that works. To achieve its objectives, PIATA leverages a wide complement of tools, systems, knowledge, and resources of partners to catalyze an inclusive agricultural transformation in Africa that will see increased incomes and improved food security for 30 million smallholder farm households.

Press Release: AGRA and Grow Asia enter Collaboration Agreement to drive South-South Cooperation between Africa and Asia

  • AGRA and Grow Asia, the leading multi-stakeholder platforms for sustainable agriculture in Africa and Asia respectively, have entered a collaboration agreement to enhance South-South Cooperation between the two regions.
  • The agreement outlines pathways for Afro-Asia collaboration around capacity development, research, information exchange, and the pooling of skills and resources.
  • The agreement was announced during the Grow Asia Forum last week, Grow Asia’s annual summit hosted with the World Economic Forum.

Singapore – 25 October 2022: AGRA and Grow Asia have signed a collaboration agreement to accelerate food system transformation in Africa and Asia. Grounded in the spirit of South-South Cooperation between the leading agri-food platforms in Africa and Asia respectfully, the agreement will pave the way for the co-development of knowledge exchange and training programs, joint case studies, and research, and, where appropriate, the pooling and sharing of tools and resources.

South-South cooperation is characterized by technical collaboration by developing countries in the Global South. It is a tool most typically deployed by international organizations, civil society, and the private sector to share knowledge and skills in specific areas such as agricultural development and climate change mitigation. 

This collaboration agreement between AGRA and Grow Asia was announced during the Grow Asia Forum in Singapore on Tuesday 18 October, Grow Asia’s annual summit co-hosted with the World Economic Forum.

“Grow Asia provided us with the opportunity to bring our continents [Africa and Asia] together to take advantage of the best they each have to offer. This is the perfect time to strengthen South-South Cooperation and to learn from each other. We are going to demonstrate that international cooperation continues to be an important pillar to help us feed more people and take better care of our planet. This meeting serves as the launch pad for a series of commitments between our two institutions and countries across continents in the south,” said Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President of AGRA.

“South-South Cooperation is at the heart of how Grow Asia operates, bringing together over 600 partners across Southeast Asia to co-develop, pilot, and scale solutions to some of the region’s most pressing food system challenges,” says Beverley Postma, Executive Director of Grow Asia. “Food systems in Africa and Asia share many similarities and challenges. We know that intra-regional cooperation serves as an important enabler of economic development, resulting in increased trade, technology transfer, foreign direct investment and, critically, trust. We welcome AGRA’s partnership and look forward to the many synergies this agreement will bring.”

Dr. Agnes Kalibata – President of AGRA, and Beverley Postma – Executive Director of Grow Asia, at the signing of the collaboration agreement.

ENDS


Media contacts:

AGRAGrow Asia
Rebecca Weaver 
Pranav Sethaputra / Fanny Perdu
T: +254 727 484 850 T: +65 9725 3411
E: rweaver@agra.org E: pranav@growasia.org
E: fanny@growasia.org
E: communications@growasia.org 

About AGRA:

Established in 2006, AGRA is an African-led and Africa-based institution that puts smallholder farmers at the center of the continent’s growing economy by transforming agriculture from a solitary struggle to survive into farming as a business that thrives. Together with our partners, we are working to sustainably grow Africa’s food systems.

AGRA strengthens seed systems, develops and promotes sustainable farming practices, helps unlock trade and markets, and supports governments who lead their countries’ development. We work with farmers to adapt to climate change, increase soil health, and protect the environment.  AGRA believes deeply in the urgency of reducing the inequality that women face in agriculture, and to unlocking the power and innovation of youth. 

More information: https://agra.org/

About Grow Asia:

Grow Asia is a multi-stakeholder platform established in 2015 by the World Economic Forum and the ASEAN Secretariat to cultivate more inclusive, resilient and sustainable food systems in Southeast Asia. Grow Asia does this by brokering commercial and non-profit partnerships between the global and regional public, private, civil society, academic and farmer organizations that make up the Grow Asia Network, creating an ecosystem that supports knowledge sharing, collaboration, innovation and policy change. 

Grow Asia comprises the regional Grow Asia Secretariat in Singapore; 6 Country Partnerships; and 44 Working Groups, organized around specific cross-cutting issues (e.g., agritech) or value chains (e.g., corn). Today, Grow Asia engages over 600 partner organizations through its Country Partnerships in Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Viet Nam, reaching close to 2.5 million smallholder farmers.

In 2020, Grow Asia was accredited as an Entity Associated with ASEAN due to the important role Grow Asia plays in the region, particularly in facilitating multi-stakeholder partnerships for sustainable agriculture development.

Learn more: www.growasia.org  

Press Release: AGRA announces 2022 WAYA awards winners

Women agripreneurs from the Gambia, Rwanda, Benin and Nigeria receive US85,000 in grants at the annual Women Agripreneur of the Year Awards 2022

Kigali: September 7, 2022 – AGRA, the African alliance for inclusive agricultural transformation, today announced the winners of the 2022 Women Agripreneur of the Year Award 2022 (WAYA) at the AGRF summit held in Kigali, Rwanda.

A total of US85,000 in grant funding was awarded to the four winners announced during a live ceremony, in the categories: Young Female Agripreneur, Female Ag Tech Innovator, Outstanding Value Adding Enterprise, and Overall Grand Prize.

An important part of AGRA’s VALUE4Her program, WAYA recognizes women agripreneurs from across the continent who have excelled in different segments of the agricultural value chain and shown remarkable innovation in their businesses. Launched in 2018, the awards aim to promote female success stories and role models, trigger innovation and spur ambition among women agripreneurs.

This year, the competition has grown, welcoming applications from a total of 1,478 women from 38 countries across Africa. A shortlist of 15 finalists from seven countries was drawn up following several rounds of rigorous evaluation which appraised the candidates’ vision, innovations, business impact on the community and their growth potential.

The awards were judged by an esteemed panel comprising: Irene Ochem, Irene, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF); Marieme Esther Dassanou, Manager of the African Development Bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa programme (AFAWA); Betty Kiplagat, the Lead of Government and Industry Affairs, Africa and Middle East at Corteva; Everlyn Musyoka, Smallholder Strategy Lead for Africa at Bayer Crop Science, Robynne Anderson, President and CEO of Emerging ag inc; and, Binta Toure Ndoye, Independent Non-Executive Board Director within the Attijariwafa Group in Senegal.

Dr. Agnes Kalibata, president of AGRA said, ‘I would like to congratulate our 2022 WAYA winners. Each is a remarkable role model to the thousands of women across Africa working to make their mark on African agriculture, and embodies the ambitions of VALUE4Her. Although women comprise around 40% of Africa’s rural workforce and contribute up to 70% of food production, their efforts are still significantly under-recognised when it comes to business opportunities and investment. The unique stories of our four winners will help us to inspire and enhance advocacy for female agripreneurs across Africa, to build an environment that supports women to catalyse the needed transformation of Africa’s food systems.”  

The winners of the Women Agripreneurs of The Year Awards 2022 are:

Young Female Agripreneur (Rising Star) – Fatou Manneh – Founder, Jelmah Herbella (The Gambia)

The award recognizes high potential young females (below 35 years) demonstrating innovation and leadership in agribusiness. See more information about why Fatou Manneh won the award: https://agra.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Value4HER_YFA_Fatou-Manneh.pdf

Female Ag Tech Innovator – Uwintwari Liliane – CEO, Mahwi Tech (Rwanda)

The award recognizes female agripreneurs championing technological advancement in agribusiness. See more information about why Uwintwari Liliane won the award:  https://agra.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Value4HER_FAT_Uwintwali-Lilian.pdf

Outstanding Value Adding Enterprise – Célia Chabi – CEO, KIEL BIEN-ÊTRE (Benin)

The award recognizes female-owned agribusinesses that are increasing the economic value and/or consumer appeal to agricultural products. See more information about why Célia Chabi won the award: https://agra.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Value4HER_OVE_Clia-Chabi.pdf

Overall Grand Award – Oluyemisi Iranloye – Managing Director, Psaltry International (Nigeria)

See more information about why Oluyemisi Iranloye won the award: https://agra.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Value4HER_FAT_Oluyemisi-Iranloye.pdf

(www.value4her.hivebrite.com/page/waya-awards)

About WAYA

The VALUE4HER Women Agripreneur of the Year Awards (WAYA) recognises women agripreneurs who have excelled in different segments of the agricultural value chain and shown remarkable innovation in their businesses. Launched in 2018, this award aims to create visibility for successful women, trigger innovation and spur ambition among women agripreneurs and promote successful women entrepreneurs as positive role models. The Award goes to women who have achieved significant recognition and business success in the field of agriculture and agribusiness with great impact on food security in their communities or countries. 

About VALUE4HER

VALUE4HER is AGRA’s continental initiative aimed at strengthening women’s agribusiness enterprises and enhancing voice and advocacy across Africa. The initiative aims to increase the performance of women entrepreneurs through access to markets and trade, access to finance and investments , through tailored online and offline match making activities, learning, networking, and global advocacy aimed at addressing some of the key barriers for women’s business growth and market participation in agriculture.

About AGRA

AGRA is a farmer-centered, Africa-led and partnerships-driven institution that is transforming Africa’s smallholer farming from a solitary struggle to survive to businesses that thrive. The goal is to increase incomes and improve food security for 30 million smallholder farm households in 11 African countries by 2021.

More information:

Mejury Shiri, mshiri@agra.org Rebecca Weaver, rwearver@agra.org

For the AGRF online press room: ewangui@hudsonsandler.com

Press Release: Africa Food Prize Winner 2022 Announced

Kigali: September 7, 2022 – Eric Yirenkyi Danquah was today announced the winner of the 2022 Africa Food Prize at the AGRF2022 Summit in Kigali, Rwanda.

The Africa Food Prize is the preeminent annual award that recognizes outstanding individuals or institutions that are leading the effort to change the reality of farming in Africa.

Eric Yirenkyi Danquah has been celebrated for his outstanding expertise, leadership and grantsmanship skills that led to the establishment and development of the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) as a world class centre for training plant breeders in Africa for Africa. Danquah is a Ghanaian plant geneticist, professor, founding director of the WACCI and former director of the Biotechnology Centre at the University of Ghana.

Danquah founded the WACCI in 2007 at the University of Ghana, with the “aim of training a new generation of plant breeders to develop improved varieties of staple crops in West and Central Africa”. Through his leadership, WACCI attracted more than $30M US dollars of research and develpment funding and trained more than 120 PhD and 49 MPhil students in Seed Science and Technology from 19 African countries. This led to more than 60 improved seed varieties, including superior maize hybrid varieties, which will help boost yield for farmers and contribute towards food and nutrition security.

Today, the institution boasts of a new molecular biology/tissue culture laboratory, a bioinformatics platform, and cutting-edge university farms including a US$300,000 ultra-modern screen house for controlled experiments.

This year’s winner selection is a reflection of the importance of promoting science and technology as tools to develop solutions for sustainable food systems.

The winner was chosen by a preeminent judging panel of leaders in African agriculture, comprising Africa Food Prize Committee President H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo (outgoing Chair), Dr. Vera Songwe, Dr. Eleni Z. Gabre- Madhin,  Dr. Kamau-Rutenberg, Mr. Birama Sidibé and Prof. Sheryl Hendriks, Dr Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli.

H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo said:

“It is a great privilege to be able to honour and shine a spotlight on the truly remarkable achievements of Dr. Danquah. His leadership in genetic innovation inspires the future of food security and nutrition in Africa has made a tangible difference to how a new generation is working to improve African food systems. He has been, and continues to be, a true inspiration for many young minds. On behalf of the African Food Prize Committee, I would like to extend my warmest congratulations and appreciation for his continuing endeavors.”  

The Africa Food Prize 2022 was sponsored by Corteva, Kenya Commercial Bank, UPL and AGRA.

About The Africa Food Prize

The Africa Food Prize is the preeminent award recognizing an outstanding individual or institution that is leading the effort to change the reality of farming in Africa—from a struggle to survive to a business that thrives.

The US $100,000 prize celebrates Africans who are taking control of Africa’s agriculture agenda. It puts a spotlight on bold initiatives and technical innovations that can be replicated across the continent to create a new era of food security and economic opportunity for all Africans.

The Prize Committee considers the following criteria for the Prize:

  • Contribution to reducing poverty and hunger and/or improving food and nutrition security in measurable terms
  • Contribution to providing a vital source of income and/or employment in measurable terms
  • Potential for transformative change through scalability, replication, and sustainability
  • Increased awareness and cooperation among African audiences and organizations

for details and any inquires, please contact:

Boaz Blackie Keizire
Head of the Africa Food Prize Secretariat
+254733733445
BKeizire@agra.org 

To register for virtual attendance at the AGRF 2022 Summit visit: https://summit2022.agrf.org/en/registration

For enquiries to AGRF virtual press room: ewangui@hudsonsandler.com