Friday, 21 September 2001, M’bé, Bouaké, Côte d’Ivoire — Five staff of the West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA), including Director General Dr Kanayo F. Nwanze, received high honors from the Government of Côte d’Ivoire for their commitment and competence, which have helped make WARDA a center with an international reputation for excellence.
The honors were presented in the presence of His Excellency Mr Pascal Affi N’Guéssan, Prime Minister of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, on behalf of His Excellency Mr Laurent Gbagbo, President of the Republic, during the opening ceremony of the Association’s 30th Anniversary Celebration. During the presentation ceremony, His Excellency the Prime Minister said: “Côte d’Ivoire, WARDA’s host country, feels it a duty to express its recognition on behalf of all the member states.”
Dr Kanayo F. Nwanze, Director General, was conferred with the title of “Commandeur dans l’ordre du mérite Ivoirien” (“Commander in the Ivorian Order of Merit”) for services to West and Central Africa through his leadership of WARDA since 1996.
Other staff were honored with the title of “Officier dans l’ordre du mérite Ivoirien” (“Officer in the Ivorian Order of Merit”):
Dr Monty Patrick Jones, Deputy Director for Research, Rainfed Rice Program Leader and Upland-Rice Breeder, for his leadership in the development of the ‘New Rice for Africa’ (NERICA)—upland rice varieties developed from crosses between African and Asian cultivated rice species, and poised as the major component of a rice-based agricultural revolution in West and Central Africa.
Dr Kouamé Miézan, Irrigated Rice Program Leader and Irrigated-Rice Breeder, for his long service to rice research and development through his work at WARDA since 1983.
Dr Sitapha Diatta, Soil Physicist, for his contribution to the selection of the WARDA site in Côte d’Ivoire, WARDA’s establishment there, and service within WARDA since 1986.
Mr Mark Etsiba, Senior Accountant, for dedicated service since 1980.
In addition, rice farmer Delphine Koudou, of Gagnoa, center-west Côte d’Ivoire, was awarded the honor of “Chevalier dans l’ordre du mérite Ivoirien” (“Knight in the Ivorian Order of Merit”), for representing farmers who have been involved in WARDA’s participatory varietal selection (PVS) program. In particular, Mme Koudou played “Bintu” in WARDA’s 1998 video Bintu and Her New African Rice, which tells the story of the PVS program and the early acceptance of the ‘New Rice for Africa’ (NERICA) by upland-rice farmers in West and Central Africa.
The awards were bestowed in front of an audience of WARDA staff, representatives of the international donor community, representatives of the diplomatic community in Côte d’Ivoire, local village chiefs, and representatives of the extension services and non-governmental sector.