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The Faces of the Green Revolution in this publication

are just a few of the many farmers, scientists and


entrepreneurs who are changing the landscape of
African agriculture with the support of national
governments, the international community and
organizations like AGRA. This is what can be
accomplished when smallholder farmers work with the
tools of modern agriculture—robust, high-yielding seed,
practical integrated soil fertility and water management
practices, affordable credit and efficient markets.
These are the actual faces of Africa’s Green Revolution and these are their success stories.
They represent the many men and women whose potential, when unlocked, are driving the
transformation of Africa’s agricultural systems and development of Africa’s economies.
They show us that progress is being made; there is a way out of hunger and poverty.

But they need our active and focused support. If we are to meet the Millennium
Development Goals in 2015 and deliver on the world’s commitment to reduce human
suffering, we must accelerate this momentum. This is the goal of an African Green
Revolution and it is why we are gathering at this forum in Accra: to make real on our
commitments, to pool our resources, our experience and our best thinking to rapidly
advance a sustainable, uniquely African Green Revolution.

AGRA FACES | PAGE 1


Seeds Soils
Farming starts with a seed. Africa is facing a shortage in Africa loses roughly $4 billion in soil nutrients each year,
quality seeds suitable to African environments, local tastes costing farmers in lost productivity and eroding the
and consumer preferences. Closing the seed gap starts continent’s ability to feed itself. But simple solutions can
with training scientists to breed new crops for their people, reverse the trend. AGRA’s programs in soil health are
setting up local companies to multiply those seeds and working to restore 6.3 million hectares of degraded
then making them available at prices farmers can afford. farmland over 10 years. Whether it’s setting Africa’s first
Over 9,000 agrodealers have been trained to better serve digital soil map to monitor the problem and inform decision
farmers. AGRA’s support to breeders and local African making or promoting the use of lime to counteract western
seed companies has enabled 140 new varieties of seed to Kenya’s acidic soils or increasing the use of fertilizer
not just be developed but to get into farmers hands. Last microdosing by farmers in the Sahel, AGRA is focused on
year alone, 8,500 MTs of new seed was produced and that stemming the crisis and transforming Africa’s soils from a
amount will double by the end of this year. curse into blessing for smallholder farmers.

AGRA FACES | PAGE 2


Markets Policy
Farming is a business, not just a way of life. For decades, African Getting better seeds and inputs to farmers and ensuring they have
farmer’s had two choices at harvest time—sell immediately at a low access to markets and credit for requires a supportive policy
price to middlemen or let the crop go to waste. AGRA brings new environment. In Malawi, Tanzania and Rwanda, effective polices
solutions to old problems by using available technology like radio have eased farmers’ access to seeds and fertilizer to help produce
and mobile phone messaging to make sure farmers get a fair deal bountiful harvests and generate impressive economic growth.
and earn a profit. The establishment of warehouse receipt systems Changing policies that drive up the cost and reduce availability of
supported by commercial banks gives farmers an opportunity to fertilizer for the smallholder farmer has been one of AGRA’s big
store their crops when prices are low after harvest, and sell them successes. Such changes reflect an emerging consensus policy
later at a higher price when prices go up. AGRA supports a number support is essential to transforming Africa’s agricultural sector.
of projects to improve crop storage and post harvest management Farmers and agribusinesses also need affordable credit. Typically,
to reduce post harvest losses. It facilitates increased aggregation of Africa’s commercial banks extend less than 3% of their lending to
smallholder producers into farmers’ groups and associations agriculture—despite the major role it plays in African economies.
reducing farmers’ transaction costs. This has helped more than AGRA and its partners have mobilized $160 million in affordable
20,000 farmers in Uganda to more effectively market their produce. loans from local commercial banks through credit guarantees. This
is the new face of African agriculture.

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Maimouna Coulibaly
Thanks to the ingenuity and persistence of one Malian woman, Maimouna Coulibably, and AGRA support to allow
local, African entrepreneurs a chance to gain expertise in the highly specialized field of seed production and marketing,
for the first time ever, poor farmers in Mali can now purchase quality seeds for local food crops. Her independent,
private seed company, Faso Kabo, has brought more than 300 metric tons of improved seeds to smallholder farmers
so they can achieve high yield crops in key foods such as maize, sorghum, cowpea, rice and vegetables. This is
helping to address food security in Africa.

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Bassidou Samake
Upon his father’s passing, Bassidou Samake, a farmer in Sanankoroba Village in Mali, assumed leadership of his 42-person
family, and struggled with the huge challenge of feeding his many relatives. With just a 6thgrade education and no formal
source of income, Samake also looked for help from Faso Kaba, a local seed company supported by AGRA. Today, Samake
has three deals with Faso Kaba; he is one of 50 local farmers who produce seed for the company. Bassidou’s farm is also
used to demonstrate new technologies to other local farmers and he has started a small supply shop that sells improved
seeds and fertilizers to farmers in the neighborhood.

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Bino Teme
After years of diligent work, Malian sorghum breeders led by Dr. Bino Teme, the director of Rural Economic Institute (IER),
have finally broken the yield barrier of one of the country’s most important food crops. The hybrids—which stand to quadruple
the harvests of this drought-hardy staple—will be released to farmers across Mali. Teme expects up to 50 per cent of farmers
to adopt the new varieties within several years. Over the next year, the IER will train seed producers on the breeding
techniques and carry out demonstrations to promote the seeds among farmers. AGRA supports the breeding efforts of the
IER, extending a tradition of innovation at the Institute.

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Koptegei Widows Group
In 2007, 24 women farmers came together to form the Koptegei Widows Group and pool their meager earnings through an
informal savings arrangement. Group leader Christine Chebii Ngogi tells how the women struggled to generate income as they
faced a lack of capital and skill. But their subsistence farming received a boost from AGRA’s partnerships with Cereal Growers
Association (CGA), the World Food Program’s Purchase for Progress (P4P) and Equity Bank. Through these collaborations, the
women received valuable harvest production and business training, as well as financial backing, which eventually led them to win
a competitive tender with P4P to deliver 250MT of maize worth 6 million Kenya shillings.

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Dinnah Kapiza
Dinnah Kapiza transformed her used clothing business into a full-line farming supply store in rural Malawi. Opened with an investment
equivalent to just US$310, her agro-dealer shop now turns over US$36,800 worth of farm supplies every year. Kapiza got her start with
the assistance of AGRA grantee the Malawi Agrodealer Strengthening Program. It trains entrepreneurial men and women like Kapiza in
business management and provides a steady supply of farm products. Today her shop serves about 600 smallholder farmers within a 15
kilometer radius, selling seeds, farm tools, crop protection products and fertilizer—and dispensing crucial advice. Kapiza is one of
thousands of agro-dealers in eleven countries trained through AGRA support and now serving smallholder farmers.

AGRA FACES | PAGE 8


Leldet
After three years of toil, Janey Leakey, a founding director of Leldet Seed Company in Nakuru, Kenya, can rest assured that improved
varieties of underutilized crops like pigeon pea, sorghum, soya beans, chick pea and ground nut will finally be approved for production
by the Kenya Plant Health Inspection Services. Breeders have historically faced many financial and bureaucratic hurdles in getting new
crop varieties certified, and in the hands of farmers. But through an AGRA grant, Leldet has not only surmounted those hurdles, but
also conducted more than 600 demonstrations to tens of thousands of farmers across Kenya. Its sales of small seed packs—matched
to the size of farmer’s pocketbooks and acreage—is raising yields and spurring demand for high quality, certified seed

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Annet Mubiru
As an agro-dealer in rural Uganda, Annet Mubiru is gratified when farmers benefit from her farm products and advice. One of the
farmers she has helped is Sebulega John Bosco, who more than doubled the yield of beans on his diverse farm. Yet, many farmers still
don’t get the chance to work with well-stocked, well-informed agro-dealers like Mubiru. AGRA aims to train and certify 9,000 agro-
dealers by 2011, increasing farmers’ access to affordable inputs. AGRA is also making low-interest loans available to agro-dealers, so
they can fully stock their shelves, and to small-scale farmers so they can invest in their farm businesses. Then, like Sebulega John
Bosco, farmers will be able to boost their yields and incomes. Farms can be small, sustainable and profitable.

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Geoffrey Kananji
Bean farmers in Malawi have long battled with bruchid beetles which destroy crops in storage waiting to be eaten or sold. Geoffrey
Kananji, Ph.D., National Research Coordinator for Legumes, Fibres and Oilseed crops in Malawi, has dedicated his research to
developing bruchid-resistant bean varieties, a solution that would greatly help the country’s many smallholder farmers. Kananji is
also inspiring a movement to actively involve farmers in the plant breeding and research process. AGRA’s support of Kanaji and
other African crop breeders has led to the release of dozens of pest- and disease-resistant crop varieties that are well adapted to
their local environments.

AGRA FACES | PAGE 11


Joanina Kibuti

Peter and Joanina Kibuti, farmers from Kenya’s Embu region, took advantage of the AGRA-supported Citizens Network of Foreign Affairs
(CNFA) farm training programs in their community. They organized into groups of 15 farmers each, collectively purchased quality seed and
fertilizers and shared the cost of transporting those inputs to their farms. With these resources and better farming practices, group
members more than tripled their maize yields. They opened a cereal bank to store their surplus and used their collective bargaining power
to negotiate a good sales price. Now the group plans to start grinding and packaging their own maize flour to add value to their crop. With
AGRA support, Embu farmers are transforming the entire food value chain, to the benefit of their families and communities.

AGRA FACES | PAGE 12


Hadji Wanonda
In Namulonge, Uganda, Hadji Wanonda grows Nerica, a variety of rice so unique and productive that its breeders won
the World Food Prize in 2004. Nerica is not restricted to growing in paddies. Even without irrigation it can be grown in
places that no one before thought possible. Hadji’s willingness to invest in new crop varieties like Nerica has paid off
handsomely. He now makes up to US$800 in three months by selling his surplus and he is employing local men and
women to help with farm work. Hadji’s story is part of a larger effort supported by AGRA to boost African rice production
and achieve African food security.

AGRA FACES | PAGE 13


Elizabethi Justin
Elizabethi Justin lost her mother and her chance for a college education when she was 19. Today, at just 24 years of age,
Elizabethi has opened her third agro-dealer shop in Olmokea Village. And, she plans to open a fourth, all with the help of an
affordable loan made possible by AGRA, the National Microfinance Bank, and the Financial Sector Deepening Trust. Qualifying
for the loan took persistence, for bank officers looked at the young woman before them and questioned whether she would
make good on her debt. But Elizabethi triumphed. She received the loan and repaid it in just six months. Now she remembers
and repeats her mother’s words to her own four-year-old daughter, “Every woman can become anything they want in life.”

AGRA FACES | PAGE 14


Francis and Juliana Mutungi
Francis and Juliana Mutungi, two farmers in eastern Kenya, joined with 24 fellow members of a local farming cooperative to express thanks
to their friends and partners—plant breeders Clement Kamau and Joseph Kamau. The two AGRA-supported scientists had worked with the
farmers to develop a new variety of disease-resistant cassava which produces a crop in nine months instead of 16, ensuring an additional
harvest. Today, Francis and Juliana stand amid plants that are three-to-four feet high, with healthy green leaves. This year, they will have a
bumper crop—enough not only to eat, but to sell to the local bakery, which will grind it into flour to make breads and buns. With the
additional income, Francis will be able to pay the school fees for his ten children and buy more land to expand his farm and livelihood.

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Mildred M’mbasu
Mildred M’mbasu’s flourishing maize is a testament to a new farming practice in Majemo Village - the use of soil lime to
counteract acidic soils. Mildred is eager for her neighbors to take up the practice and proudly shows the results of this simple but
effective technique. Crops like beans, cassava and vegetables as well as maize are flourishing with the use of lime. Now, lessons
from their farms are spreading far and wide. An initial pilot project is being scaled up to restore the soils and diversify farming for
50,000 farmers in the region. It is the result of a broad program involving farmers, agro-dealers, researchers, two local fertilizer
companies, a local bank, civil society and AGRA.

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Paulo Ng’ondola
Paulo Ng’ondola grows maize and groundnuts and raises chickens. Not long ago, Paulo was a beneficiary of the government voucher
system which provides subsidized seed and fertilizer to resource-poor farmers. The system worked as it was meant to and today Paulo
buys his own inputs and markets his surplus through the AGRA-supported “Supermarkets in the Air” program run by the Malawi Agricultural
Commodity Exchange. Paulo embraced new agricultural technologies—improved seed and better soil management—acquired from agro-
dealer Dinnah Kapiza and now he owns a new house and holds a bank account. Paulo Ng’ondola, the 2008 winner of the Malawi National
Achiever’s Award, demonstrates the indisputable role of persons with disabilities towards food security and economic stability in Africa.

AGRA FACES | PAGE 17


Chrispus Oduori
When Chrispus Oduori was a child, he would watch his mother grind finger millet into flour, then mix and cook it into a porridge called ugali.
Today, Chrispus is the first plant breeder in all of Africa to have received a PhD in finger millet—a grain that feeds more than 100 million
people across Africa—despite its low yield. Chrispus earned his degree from the AGRA-supported African Center for Crop Improvement in
South Africa. Now, he is working with the Kenyan Agricultural Research Institute and farmers in his home district to develop high-yielding
varieties of the classic African grain. In one demonstration field, farmers planted a row of the commonly used variety, with two rows of
Chrispus’ improved seeds on either side. The old variety has barely begun to sprout, while the new seeds are green and vigorously growing.

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Ibrahim Benesi
In southern Malawi, farmers assess the yield of cassava by the number of plants a farmer must harvest to make a meal. In the past,
three plants grown from a local variety were needed to make a meal for a family of ten. Now, that arithmetic has changed thanks to
cassava breeder Ibrahim Benesi. Only one plant of a new variety developed by Ibrahim produces enough to feed the same size of family.
AGRA supports Ibrahim’s work at the Chitedze Agricultural Research Station. There, he is working closely with farmers to develop
another 10 varieties able to resist plant viruses, produce large tasty cassava in record time, and store and process well. “This is not the
end but just the beginning of research, and involving the farmer is the key to ending the food crisis,” says Ibrahim.

AGRA FACES | PAGE 19


Maria Andrade
Vitamin A deficiency is a leading cause of blindness, disease, and premature death for the world’s poor, affecting millions of children under
age 5 and pregnant women across Africa. In Mozambique, an unusual sweet potato that is coloured orange due to its high content of
Vitamin A is making a difference. It’s the brainchild of Maria Andrade, a researcher whose bright orange Toyota land cruiser is used as a
mobile billboard for the many benefits of sweet potato. Maria has spent the last few years traveling throughout Mozambique and several
other African countries encouraging people to grow and eat sweet potato and promoting the crop as a replacement for expensive vitamin
supplements for children in Africa.

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Chopi Lovemore
The last thing you’d expect a seed seller in Malawi to be talking about is building an empire. But Lovemore Chopi isn’t your average seed
seller. After a few months of selling vegetable seeds on the sidewalks of Blantyre, Lovemore decided it was time for a change. He enrolled
in a training course supported by AGRA on business and marketing for agrodealers. And the rest is history. Chopi recently purchased a
new BMW with profits from rapidly expanding business. Although a conversation with Chopi sounds a lot more like a conversation one
would expect from a budding hip hop mogul or a European football star, his dreams are just as big. With the right support in business
processes, African entrepreneurs are changing the face of the agriculture – helping farmers succeed and helping themselves succeed.

AGRA FACES | PAGE 21


Dr Henry B. Obeng
Dr. Henry Benjamin Obeng, Ghana’s first soil scientist, was, until his retirement in 1982, the Director General of the Soil Research Institute (SRI)
of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). Dr. Obeng is also the renowned for being the first African to get a graduate degree
in Soil Science. His contribution to the field of soil science, despite a less-publicized personal life has made him a global figure for over many
decades. Dr. Obeng strongly believes that to achieve agricultural transformation in Africa, African governments need to encourage the youths
to enroll in soil science and agronomy at all levels of education. AGRA is also helping to train the next generation of experts who can bring
smarter thinking to agriculture policies. So far, this support has added 130 graduates to the next generation of Africa’s scientists.

AGRA FACES | PAGE 22


Rukira Secondary School
Rukira Secondary School, a girl’s only school in Kenya, learnt about Tissue Culture (TC) bananas from another school in their
area. The students planted 300 stems with 291 surviving but not yet flowered. AGRA supports the introduction and diffusion of
TC banana in Kenya which is not only a reliable food security crop but also a major commercial option for cash-strapped
smallholder farmers. AGRA is now working to scale-up out the benefits of TC banana technology in Kenya across the whole
value chain Model. AGRA also actively supports agricultural activities and education in many schools across sub-Saharan Africa.
Young people are the future of African agriculture.

AGRA FACES | PAGE 23


AGRA remains dedicated to catalyzing a Green Revolution in
Africa. In partnership with others, we are supporting thousands
of farmers, small agribusinesses, current and future scientists
and policy makers across sub-Saharan Africa transform farming
from a mere subsistence livelihood to profitable operations. We
are already seeing the results of innovative intervention and
investment in the smallholder agricultural sector.
Bringing the Africa Green Revolution Forum to Africa gives all a sense that momentum is accelerating
and the massive change needed in the agricultural sector is within reach. Each success story you read
has an even wider circle of impact—improving the lives of thousands of families and communities. And
each of these men and women add to the legion of champions in the fields, in the research institutes
and in the corridors of power who see that a strong agricultural sector is the route out of poverty.

Going forward, we will build on these accomplishments and accelerate progress by assembling a
critical mass of resources in areas that hold the greatest promise of success—the “breadbasket”
regions of Africa. With smart planning and investment, these areas can achieve significant production
increases and make an enormous difference to a country’s food security. They will change from areas
of chronic food shortage to productive breadbaskets bursting with Africa’s staple food crops.

Working with partners globally and locally, we will continue our efforts to mobilize investments and
stimulate innovation in smallholder farming to bring about a uniquely Green Revolution in Africa.

Namanga Ngongi

AGRA FACES | PAGE 24


www.agra-alliance.org