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CIMMYT trustee receives Yara Prize for agricultural improvement in Africa

Photo courtesy of Yara

By Brenna Goth/CIMMYT

A member of CIMMYT’s Board of Trustees received the 2013 Yara Prize, an award that honors people who have significantly contributed to African agriculture. Dr. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, CEO of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), was honored for her work with African farmers. The prize this year focused on agricultural innovators and entrepreneurs. Award winners are chosen by a committee considering their work improving sustainable agriculture and food security.

Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu, founder and CEO of the Smallholders Foundation in Nigeria, also received the Yara Prize. The two were honored this month at a ceremony in Oslo by Jørgen Ole Haslestad, President, CEO and Chairman of Yara and the Yara Prize Committee. Both Sibanda and Ikegwuonu are entrepreneurs, spread knowledge to smallholder farmers and youth and are “true examples of the can-do spirit and drive that plays a vital role in transforming agriculture in Africa,” according to a Yara Prize report on the award ceremony.

Sibanda, a trained animal scientist and practicing commercial beef farmer from Zimbabwe, became CEO of FANRPAN in 2004 and has been a researcher and advocate in southern Africa for years. FANRPAN focuses on food and agricultural policies to reduce poverty, improve food security and foster sustainable development in Africa. Sibanda developed the organization’s current strategy and has helped FANRPAN grow as a policy research and advocacy organization with a global voice, focusing especially on female farmers and youth.

In addition to being a member of CIMMYT’s Board of Trustees, she chairs the International Livestock Research Institute Board of Trustees. “Advocacy is something that is close to my heart and I’m passionate about it,” Sibanda told the publication Africa Green Media after winning the award. “I am an animal scientist by training, but this passion for policy advocacy developed when I realized that we were failing to put research into use.”