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Ronnie Coffman, Director, IP-CALS at Cornell University Wins First World Agriculture Prize

October 22, 2013 - Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

Director of International Programs (IP) at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at Cornell University and a long time close associate of Sathguru Management Consultants, Prof Ronnie Coffman has been honoured with the first ever World Agriculture Prize established by the Global Confederation of Higher Education Associations for Agricultural and Life Sciences (GCHERA). The richly deserved award recognized Prof. Coffman’s significant contributions to agricultural development and education across four continents in a career that has spanned over four decades.

As a rice-breeder in the early years in 1970s, Dr. Coffman contributed in no small measure towards ensuring food security in Southeast Asia ravaged by the devastations of war. Since then, he has been the guiding force for a number of agricultural development projects in Asia, Africa and South America. His course on Agriculture in Developing Nations at CALS is very popular and much sought after by an international student body keen to gain insights into challenges and scope for agriculture from one who effectively combines academic knowledge with real-life field level experience.

Professor Coffman is no stranger to India and Sathguru is proud of its long and close association with him. As coordinator for CALS, Cornell’s International Agriculture and Rural Development (IARD) 6020 course in India, Sathguru has worked closely with Prof. Coffman to ensure that enrolled participants receive a rigorous, intensive and informative learning experience.

“The world’s farmers need access to the best science that the many great institutions of GCHERA can deliver in order to produce crops that are nutritionally adequate and best adapted to future challenges,” Coffman said during his acceptance speech at Nanjing Agricultural University in China Oct. 20.

Under Prof. Coffman’s able guidance, Sathguru has coordinated a number of development projects in South Asia and Africa that have combined the talent and resources of a consortium of public and private enterprises and institutions towards a common good. These have included the Agricultural Biotechnology and Support Project II, which works to provide poor and marginal farmers with the benefits of biotechnology advances hitherto inaccessible to them; the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative, which continues the work begun by his teacher and mentor Dr. Norman Borlaug to ensure food security for an exploding world population by developing durable rust resistance in wheat; the Agricultural Innovation Partnership, which works to revolutionize agricultural systems in India by modernizing education delivery in agricultural universities, revamping curriculum to make them more relevant, improving university extension so that they become more relevant to the local community, and inculcating a strong tradition for constant innovation.

A large number of senior executives in the public and private sector in India have been beneficiaries of his deep insight into Indian agriculture and development primarily through the annual executive development programs such as Food and Agri-Business management Program, the Seed Industry Program, the Global Biosafety Management Program; the Global Food Safety Management Program and the Food Executive Program. These programs are delivered jointly by Sathguru Management Consultants and Cornell University in India.

A keen advocate for the advancement of women in agriculture Prof. Coffman has committed the USD 50,000 proceeds of the prize to AWARE (Advancing Women in Agriculture Through Research and Education), a new initiative to ensure that gender is considered in all IP-CALS activities, from events to funding proposals.

Women hold the greatest potential to make significant impacts in rural development,” said Coffman. “Colleges of agriculture and life sciences need to empower women as future champions around the globe so they can become the entrepreneurs of their own future as well as the planet’s.”

Sathguru Management Consultants is proud to have been a part of these historic engagements under the able guidance of Prof. Coffman and considers them a harbinger of a new agricultural revolution.

Source: Business Wire India


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