By Ogova Ondego
Published September 11, 2016
An exhibition of photographs on the achievements of an organisation that empowers small scale farmers across Africa to produce ample food for their communities opens daily at Nairobi National Museum in the Kenyan capital through September 30, 2016.
The show, titled Shared Success: An Agriculture Transformation @ 10, opened on September 6, 2016 and celebrates the achievements of an initiative created by Rockefeller Foundation and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2006 called Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa.
The photos on display were taken in Kenya, Burkina Faso, Mozambique and Tanzania by Kate Holt, Mwangi Kirubi, Sam Wolson and Karel Prinsloo of Arete agency on behalf of Rockefeller Foundation and AGRA.
AGRA and Rockefeller Foundation say the pictures “showcases the triumphs of the men, women, and communities that have benefited from the steady transformation taking place in Africa’s agricultural sector.”
“For more than a century, innovation in agriculture has been integral to the Rockefeller Foundation’s efforts to improve the quality of life for millions of people, including sparking the Green Revolution, which has fed one billion people,” said David Rockefeller Jr, former board chair of Rockefeller Foundation, during the opening of the exhibition.
AGRA was created a decade ago with the aim of “developing pioneering solutions to the challenges facing Africa’s farmers to achieve a uniquely African Green Revolution that assures food security and lifts millions of individuals out of poverty.”
Judith Rodin, President of Rockefeller Foundation, said AGRA has over the past 10 years “helped millions of farmers adopt technologies that double their yields and move from subsistence to profitability. AGRA has strengthened the market, vastly increasing the number of seeds and agro-dealers, and spurring private sector interest and investments. AGRA has educated and trained many of the next generation of agricultural leaders, who will carry this work into the future.”
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David Rockefeller Jr paid tribute to people he referred to as ‘Rocky Docs’, saying “Their talent and vision are transforming agriculture in Africa as research scientists, university lecturers, directors of foundations, ministers of agriculture. Rocky Docs are the vanguard of the African Green Revolution; and living proof that an investment in one person can yield exponential benefits for many.”
Shared Success: An Agriculture Transformation @ 10 show was one of the various activities planned around the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) that was held in Nairobi, Kenya, September 6-9, 2016. It brought together global players in agriculture “to help advance policies and secure a better life for millions of Africa’s farmers and families; and realise the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS).”
Speaking elsewhere, Strive Masiyiwa, the Chair of AGRA that organises AGRF, said AGRF “brings together government leaders, agriculture policy experts, banks, donors, business leaders, farmers’ organisations, farmers, NGOs, and entrepreneurs” every two years “to discuss how we can improve agriculture and increase food production across the continent.
Masiyiwa, who is originally from Zimbabwe, said the agenda for for AGRF in 2016 was “not only to discuss progress made since we last met in Lusaka, Zambia, but specifically to focus on ways to get more investment and financing into agriculture. To this end, we asked the key players to come to the meeting with actual financial commitments.”
So what did the week-long AGRF gathering in Nairobi achieve?
Masiyiwa says that though Africa’s agriculture needs more than US$100 Billion, more than US$30 Billion was pledged by players during the Nairobi meeting.
He lists the following as some of the successes of AGRF:
- Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta, pledged to invest an additional US$250 Million to help support young farmers
- US President Barack Obama confirmed that US would invest more than US$6 Billion to secure livelihoods through agricultural development
- Bill Gates said that he would commit another US$5 Billion to African development over the next five years, with some of it being used for agriculture
- The Rockefeller Foundation, represented by its President, Dr Judith Rodin, and the great grandson of its founder, David Rockefeller Jr, put in another US$180 Million
- Kenya Commercial Bank pledged US$400 Million
- The World Food Programme said it would buy US$110 Million of produce from African farmers, every year
- OCP, a big fertilizer company from Morocco, announced it will build fertilizer factories across Africa over the next five years at an estimated US$1 Billion
- The African Development Bank pledged US$24 Billion over 10 years — an increase of 400% on its current support for agriculture
- International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) pledged to put an additional US$3.6 Billion into African agriculture over the next six years. Dr Kanayo Nwanze of Nigeria, who heads IFAD, won the inaugural Africa Food Prize for what is described as his lifetime dedication to promoting African agricultural development.