KIGALI, Rwanda: October 26, 2021 – AGRA President H.E. Dr. Agnes Kalibata has today been
conferred with the Distinguished Award for Meritorious Service by the African Plant Breeders
Association (APBA) at the second Plant Breeders Conference (#APBACONF2021), currently taking
place in Kigali, Rwanda. The award recognizes Dr. Kalibata’s contribution to the transformation of
Africa’s agricultural and food systems.
In his citation, APBA President H.E. Prof. Eric Yirenkyi Danquah recounted Dr. Kalibata’s commitment
to fighting hunger and poverty in Africa, starting with her college days as a bachelor’s degree student
in entomology and biochemistry, to her time as Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture, and now as AGRA
President. “In the six years you were Minister of Agriculture, Rwanda’s poverty dropped more than 20%. You
grew the agricultural sector annual budget from US$10 million to US$150 million. Rwanda also
became the first country to sign a compact under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development
Programme. You are heralded as one of the most successful Agriculture Ministers in sub-Saharan
Africa,” read Prof. Danquah’s citation, in part.
Dr. Kalibata served as Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources from 2008 to 2014,
implementing a science-based approach to agriculture that greatly increased efficiency and
productivity, and transformed Rwanda into a largely food-secure nation.
Afterwards, she briefly served as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Institutional Advancement at the
University of Rwanda before joining AGRA as its President in September 2014. At AGRA, she leads
a team of more than 200 agricultural specialists across 11 priority countries to increase the access by
farmers to high-quality farm inputs, financial support and markets. This is achieved through, among
other ways strengthening agricultural policy development by governments and the establishment of
beneficial partnerships with the private sector.
The APBA recognition is the latest for Dr. Kalibata, who has been previously feted with the Yara Prize,
(2012), honorary doctorates from the Universities of Liège (2018) and McGill University in (2019), and
the Public Welfare Medal by the National Academy of Sciences (2019), amongst many others.
In 2019, she was appointed by the UN Secretary-General as Special Envoy to the 2021 Food Systems
Summit, which took place in New York, USA, last September. In this role, she worked with the United
Nations system and key partners to provide leadership, guidance, and strategic direction towards the
AGRA is a farmer-centered, African-led, partnerships-driven institution that is working to transforming
smallholder farming from a solitary struggle to survive to a business that thrives. In collaboration with
its partners—including African governments, researchers, development partners, the private sector
and civil society— AGRA’s work primarily focuses on smallholder farmers – men and women who
typically cultivate staple crops on two hectares or less. AGRA is now recognized across the continent
as a strong voice for African rural development, a prosperous agricultural economy, and for supporting
thousands of small African businesses and millions of African families to improve agriculture as a way
to ensure food security and improve their livelihoods.