The 2012 Louis Malassis Young Promising Scientist Prize was presented to Dr Matty Demont, agricultural economist at the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) on 29 October for his ground-breaking research in the field of rice value chain development in Africa.
Named after Louis Malassis, a renowned French agronomist and agricultural economist who was an ardent supporter of farmers’ cause, the International Scientific Prize recognizes exemplary and promising contributions of scientists in the field of agriculture and food. It consists of two categories – Distinguished Scientist and Young Promising Scientist.
Through pioneering research – conducted in close association with public and private sector partners – and by building much needed research capacity in value chain research, Dr Demont has made important contribution to the development of Africa’s rice sector, which is of crucial importance to food security and poverty reduction across the continent.
“Dr Demont is truly a worthy recipient of this highly prestigious prize and we are immensely proud of him,” said AfricaRice Director General Dr Papa Abdoulaye Seck, who is himself a specialist in agricultural policy analysis and strategy.
Dr Demont’s research has shown that to become competitive, Africa’s rice sector needs to place much more emphasis on rice quality and marketing than done in the past. Based on this analysis, he has designed a policy framework for the sustainable development of rice value chains in Africa to enhance the competitiveness of domestically produced rice vis-à-vis imported rice.
Through innovative ‘experimental auctions’ conducted with close to 1600 women in major capitals in West and East Africa, Dr Demont has shown that high quality local rice can outcompete imported rice. His work has raised the awareness of public and private sector partners in Senegal to move away from a purely ‘productivist’ approach to a more holistic approach to rice sector development.
Dr Demont has an excellent publication record in peer-reviewed international journals. He has also guided many students and trained national research partners across the continent in value chain research techniques.
Accepting the Louis Malassis Prize from Dr Henri Carsalade, President of Agropolis Foundation, and from Dr Guido Gryseels, Chair of the Jury, Dr Demont said, “This Prize is extremely important to me and I am deeply honored. It marks a milestone in my research career and I am grateful to AfricaRice to have given me a great opportunity to do this work over the last few years with many of our partners across the African continent.”
The award ceremony was held during the 2nd Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD2) in Punta del Este, Uruguay.