Celebrating Excellence in Action at the Inaugural Excellence in Agronomy Initiative Awards
CGIAR Initiative on Excellence in Agronomy
Can Tho, Vietnam – The stage lights dimmed, anticipation buzzed in the air, and a hush fell over the audience as the emcee, Mandlenkosi Nkomo announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the inaugural Excellence in Agronomy Excellence in Action Awards!” This momentous celebration ceremony, held during the Annual Learning Event, was more than just an awards ceremony – it was a celebration of dedication, ingenuity, and the unwavering pursuit of excellence.
The Vietnam Use Case: Snatched the Key Result Story of the Year award. Their innovative approach to mechanized direct-seeded rice, tackling challenges with creativity and leaving a lasting impact on farmers and the environment, resonated deeply with the judges.
Theresa Ampadu-Boakye: Crowned Organizer of the Year, earned applause for her exceptional leadership in Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning and Impact Assessment (MELIA). From crafting the Theory of Change to steering the entire system, Theresa played a pivotal role in EiA’s success.
Kazuki Saito: The ever-reliable and organized Innovator of the Year impressed everyone with his dedication to keeping R&D projects on track and anticipating needs before they arose.
Meklit Chernet and the AgWise Team, Hailed as Transformers of the Year, captivated the audience with their groundbreaking solution – a generalizable decision
support system based on modular analytics. AgWise promises to empower farmers with increased productivity, optimized planting dates, and resilience against climate shocks.
Deliver team of the year – Ethiopia Harmonized Decision Support Team: Recognized for scaling quickly, incorporating critical elements including human-centered design, scaling plans, add-on surveys, gender, and typology. The team is moving towards a harmonized decision support tool for Ethiopia.
The spotlight shifted to Team Vietnam, who stood together as champions of collaboration and cross-continental impact. Their dedication to the “One million hectares of increased productivity, quality, and reduced carbon footprint in the Mekong River Delta” project garnered thunderous applause.
Each award reflected EiA’s core values: innovation, transformation, delivery, and organization. The stories behind each winner reminded the teams of the power of dedication, collaboration, and pushing boundaries to make a real difference in the lives of farmers and the future of agriculture.
Beyond the trophies and accolades, the evening served as a catalyst for inspiration and growth. The air crackled with the energy of shared passion, a renewed commitment to cultivating excellence in agronomy, and a collective belief that our global agronomy village can transform the future of food and farming.
As the curtain closed on the inaugural Excellence in Agronomy Excellence in Action Awards, one thing was clear: the spirit of innovation, collaboration, and dedication burns bright within the EiA global agronomy community. And with each award bestowed, a seed of inspiration was planted, promising an even more fruitful harvest of excellence in the years to come. We look forward to the Oscars in 2024.
Winners in Summary:
The Key Result Story – Vietnam Use Case
This award celebrated exceptional achievements that embody innovation and commitment within the agronomy community. It spotlights innovations addressing agronomy challenges, showcasing tangible benefits for our community and the broader agricultural landscape. Amidst climate change trials, these solutions have pioneered transformative approaches, leaving a lasting imprint on farmers and the environment. The winners have demonstrated exemplary alignment with EiA’s objectives, propelling progressive methods resonating across geographies and crops. Their measurable impact on farmers’ lives and the environment is commendable.
ORGANIZER of the Year – Theresa Ampadu-Boakye
Theresa plays a pivotal role within the ORGANIZE domain and across the entirety of EiA. Her outstanding leadership in steering MELIA—from crafting the Theory of Change and results framework to overseeing EiA’s MELIA processes and systems—sets a high standard.
INNOVATOR of the Year – Kazuki Saito
Kazuki’s meticulous management of R&D projects, submitting reports promptly, even pre-emptively, showcases his exceptional dedication and proactive approach.
TRANSFORMER of the Year – Meklit Chernet and the AgWise Team
Meklit Chernet and the AgWise team’s groundbreaking work in developing a decision support solution incorporating modular analytics, crop modeling, and machine learning is a transformative achievement. This solution spans maize, potato, rice, and soybean cultivation, offering invaluable support to farmers, optimizing practices, and building resilience against climatic challenges.
Deliver team of the year – Ethiopia harmonized Decision Support Team: Recognized for scaling quickly, incorporating critical elements including human-centered design, scaling plans, add-on surveys, gender, and typology. The team is moving towards a harmonized decision support tool for Ethiopia.
The CGIAR centers supporting the EiA represent a global force for agricultural transformation and include AfricaRice, Alliance of Bioversity and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), the International Potato Center (CIP), the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), International Water Management Institute (IMWI) and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). Their collective expertise and unwavering commitment are driving positive change, not just in Vietnam but across the globe.
About the CGIAR Excellence in Agronomy Initiative
The CGIAR Excellence in Agronomy Initiative was launched in 2020 to improve outcomes for smallholder farmers amidst climate change. EiA is supported by the CGIAR Big Data Platform and will combine big data analytics, new sensing technologies, geospatial decision tools, and farming systems research to come up with scalable agronomic innovations for agricultural development. The initiative is not only responding to demand from the public and private sector but will also help increase efficiencies through stronger collaboration and cross-learning among CGIAR centers and within the broader agronomy R&D ecosystem. More information can be found on the CGIAR Excellence in Agronomy website. Follow the CGIAR Excellence in Agronomy (EiA) Initiative on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter for updates and information.
Barbra Sehlule Muzata
CGIAR Excellence in Agronomy Initiative