The President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Dr Agnes Matilda Kalibata has been awarded the 2019 Public Welfare Medal by the US-based National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for her work to drive Africa’s agricultural transformation through modern science and effective policy, according to an official statement obtained in Kigali on Thursday.Since 2014, Kalibata has been president of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), an African-led organization.
The organization was founded by former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to promote rapid, inclusive, sustainable agricultural growth and food security by giving farmers access to locally adapted and high-yielding seeds.
Among other missions assigned to the same organization includes encouraging judicious use of fertilizer, promoting policy reforms, and increasing access to structured markets to improve the livelihoods of farming households.
Prior to joining AGRA, Kalibata spent six years as Rwanda’s minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, implementing a science-based approach to agriculture that greatly increased efficiency and productivity and transformed Rwanda to a largely food-secure nation, the statement said.
Commenting on the award, the home secretary of the National Academy of Sciences, Susan Wessler, explained that throughout her career, Dr Kalibata has recognized that family farmers are the key to agricultural success, and she has consistently made them the focus of science-based policies and interventions.
“Under her leadership, a remarkable agricultural transformation is underway in Africa that will benefit many generations to come,” she said.
During Kalibata’s tenure from 2008 to 2014, Rwanda reduced its poverty by more than 50 percent, largely through targeted agricultural programs for family farmers.
Reports said that Kalibata contributed to the growth of the nation’s agricultural sector from an annual budget of less than $10 million to more than $150 million annually.