Friday, December 13, 2013

Forbes Award: IITA alumni congratulate Dr Adesina

Dr Adesina holding the Forbes prize
Former and current staff of IITA have congratulated Dr Akin Adesina, the Nigerian Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, for winning the prestigious award—Forbes Africa Person of the Year.

Dr Olumuyiwa Osiname, Chair of the Local Organizing Committee of the 2014 IITA Alumni Reunion, described the award as a well-deserved victory.

“It demonstrates and supports the need for African governments to use technocrats in government for better results… I think this is the message,” Dr Osiname said.

Dr Adesina was selected for his bold reforms in Nigeria’s agriculture sector. Other nominees included Aliko Dangote of Dangote Group; Chairman of the Zenith Bank Group, Jim Ovia; Strive Masiyiwa, founder of the global telecoms group, Econet Wireless in Zimbabwe; and South African mining magnate, Patrice Motsepe.

His reforms in the agricultural sector are empowering Nigerian farmers and have ended the protracted mess in the procurement of agricultural inputs, including fertilizers.

Dr Nteranya Sanginga, IITA’s Director General and a former colleague of Dr Adesina, describes the award as a victory for smallholder farmers and agriculture in Africa.

“It shows that things are beginning to take shape in Africa,” Dr Sanginga said.

Dr Adesina is a passionate defender of smallholder farmers, and has been instrumental in unlocking opportunities for farmers and changing Africa’s narrative on agriculture away from poverty reduction to wealth creation.

He was a program leader in the IITA Resource and Crop Management Division based in Cameroon from 1992 to 1998.

 As host, Dr Adesina’s government has been very supportive of CGIAR in general and IITA in particular and its programs that are directed at alleviating poverty, enhancing health and nutrition, and improving the quality of life of the poor, including women and the youth, in Nigeria, sub-Saharan Africa, and other tropical regions.

In his acceptance speech, Dr Adesina said, “I am truly honored and humbled by this prestigious award, which I dedicate to Africa’s farmers and the new cadre of young business entrepreneurs who have discovered the hidden gem for sustainable wealth creation on our continent – Agriculture.”

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