Harnessing the Spirit of L'Aquila: Improving Agricultural Productivity in Africa
A conversation with
Executive Director, Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA)
Johanna Nesseth Tuttle
Co-Director, CSIS Task Force on Global Food Security
Following the announcement at the G-8 Summit in Italy of a major commitment to global food security, CSIS hosted Dr. Monty Jones from the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa to discuss FARA's work and reforms in African agricultural practice. In describing emerging opportunities for international collaboration in African agricultural development, Dr. Jones emphasized priority areas for win-win U.S.-Africa partnerships.
Monty Jones is the Executive Director of FARA and Co-winner of the prestigious 2004 World Food Prize, awarded for his discovery of the genetic process to create the New Rice for Africa (NERICA) which gives higher yields, shorter growth cycles and more protein content than its Asian and African parents. Dr. Jones, a Sierra Leonean, has spent the past 22 years of his career in Africa working on international agricultural research for development institutions. His work on NERICA has increased rice production in West, East and Central Africa and created savings for many African governments. In September 2001, he received the National Order of Merit of Côte d'Ivoire given by the Ivorian president. In 2004, he also received the Insignia of the Grand Officer of the order of the Rokel from the Sierra Leone president for his work on NERICA. Since joining FARA in 2002 as its Executive Director, Dr. Jones has mobilized key decision makers including the African Union and NEPAD, as well as major investors in African agriculture development to work together towards the achievement of Africa's vision. He was listed as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine for 2007.