“We have arrived at the tipping point and are not taking Africa’s Green Revolution to scale,” said Kofi Annan during the opening session of the 2012 African Green Revolution Forum which took place in Arusha, Tanzania, from 26-28 September. The forum gathered 1,000 participants from ministries of agriculture, industry, and the international donor community. CIMMYT was represented by Wilfred Mwangi. Melinda Gates of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Kanayo Nwanze, president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of Tanzania, also attended the event.
During the forum, Annan called on governments to invest more in agricultural development, as did Gates who urged for a much more ambitious investment in agricultural research and development for the next 10 years. “This was a great event for networking especially with key partners and policymakers in countries where CIMMYT works in Africa,” said Mwangi, who participated in a number of plenary sessions and side events including one on ‘Embarking on a Journey to Enable Private Sector Investment’. Among the panelists of the session were the Minister of Agriculture, Food Security, and Cooperatives of Tanzania and Isaka Mashauri, managing director and chief executive officer of TANSEED International Ltd. Mashauri attended an intensive maize breeding and variety release course organized by CIMMYT in 2005 and during the event he praised CIMMYT for helping him to build his seed company by providing maize germplasm and technical backstopping. The drought tolerant maize germplasm provided by CIMMYT allowed him to release four drought tolerant maize varieties to local farmers in Tanzania, the first to be released by a local seed company. According to Mashauri, his partnership with CIMMYT is a very good model for helping to build the local private sector that should be emulated by others (for more information on CIMMYT’s work with TANSEED International Ltd, visit the BMGF website and the CIMMYT website).