The Champion Award and Partnership Award were presented by FAO director-general QU Dongyu at a ceremony held during the organisation’s 170th Council meeting.
The FAO director-general said, “Our awardees have demonstrated through their accomplishments that we have the tools, knowledge and capacity to make positive changes, and to make a difference in people’s lives.”
The FAO Champion Award, the UN agency’s highest corporate award and carries a prize of US$50,000, was given to the Brazilian Agriculture Research Corporation (Embrapa) whose “widely recognised and well proven track record in research and development, providing innovation, training and agritech solutions,” was acknowledged by the FAO Awards Selection Committee.
The Netherlands' Wageningen University and Research (WUR) and the Foundations for Farming (FfF) of Zimbabwe, shared the US$10,000 Partnership Award.
The FfF “has engaged with local communities and relevant stakeholders to improve people’s lives by responding to their needs and rights,” the Selection Committee noted. It pointed to how initiatives led by the FfF demonstrated evidence of impact, helping nine million Zimbabweans achieve household food security for less than US$1 per week and how FfF has developed its Pfumvudza concept which involves farming significantly less land and increasing natural soil fertility, and improved management and farming standards.
The Awards Selection Committee cited the WUR’s partnership with FAO “which puts innovative collaborations and enhanced coordination at its centre. It sets a new joint vision with the two organizations bridging the science-policy interface, linking research staff and policy-makers, and working through agile actions to efficiently tackle challenges in a rapidly changing world." This includes developing and sharing knowledge and harnessing science, technologies and innovation for transforming agrifood systems.
Matthew Mbanga, CEO of the Foundation for Farming Zimbabwe said, “We look forward to continuing our partnership and holding hands to equip and inspire young Africans across the continent to become champions of agriculture”.
“Their achievements lift our spirits, inspire action and encourage greater collaboration,” QU added in his closing remarks.