Recipients of Honours

2014 Honours

Development Agriculturist of the Year

Professor John Witcombe: During a lifetime of work, John Witcombe has developed novel strategies for breeding crop varieties.  He advocated client-oriented breeding, developed from participatory varietal selection and participatory plant breeding, with farmers and end users consulted throughout the programme.  He applied theory to propose a low risk, cost effective ‘smart cross’ method that he tested in rice, in which breeders need to make fewer, carefully-chosen, crosses to obtain the required traits; in maize and in pearl millet they only require a single base population. John’s two Ashoka rice varieties have better drought tolerance, higher grain quality (hence market price) and yield 30 – 50% more than landraces (an extremely difficult combination). By 2012 they were grown by more than 270,000 farmers in eight States of Eastern India.  Farmers like the superior grain quality of his GM-6 maize, which out-yields landraces by 29%. It has improved the livelihoods of 300,000 of the poorest farm households in Gujarat, and is grown on over 2 million ha.

Young Development Agriculturist of the Year:

Richard Bliault. This award recognises Richard Bliault’s extension work in Tanzania, where he has managed the certification with the Rainforest Alliance of the first coffee supply chain in Tanzania, encompassing 7,500 farmers.  He has demonstrated his commitment to development and his persistence to work in rural Africa.

TAA Award of Merit:

John Russell. This award recognises John Russell’s contributions to the Tropical Agriculture Association through his service as Chairman of the Tropical Agriculture Award Fund (TAAF) Committee, Convenor of the SW Group, and a Trustee of the Bicton Overseas Agricultural Trust (BOAT).  During a successful career with the World Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), John has also provided a lifetime of service to agricultural extension and training worldwide.

Antony Ellman.  As Chairman of the Tropical Agriculture Award Fund (TAAF) Committee since 2006, Antony has developed links with UK Universities, established evaluation criteria, and ensured that awardees receive competent mentoring.  As a result, the TAAF has become a major feature of the TAA.  In addition, Antony has for 20 years promoted Artemisia cultivation by small farmers, for the extraction of the antimalarial drug artemisinin.  Some 100,000 small farmers now grow the crop in China, Vietnam, Madasgascar and East Africa, and about 400 million artemisinin treatments are dispensed annually.

2013 Honours

Development Agriculturist of the Year

Hugh Harries: "In recognition of dedication to bringing together workers in research, development, business and policy-making to identify and disseminate information to support agriculture for development”.

Young Development Agriculturist of the Year

James Brockington: "In recognition of his contribution to international agricultural development and greater understanding of issues of poverty reduction and natural resource management through work with the Best Practices Foundation, Karnataka, India and the Erasmus Mundi Sustainable Tropical Forest Programme , Budongo Forest Reserve, Uganda".

2012 Honours

TAA Award of Merit

Tony Reynolds - "In recognition of his demonstration and promotion of transformational change in agricultural production".

Hugh Brammer - "In recognition of his many years of service to TAA’s publication and advisory work, and his wide ranging professional contribution to agriculture for development".

2011 Honours

Development Agriculturist of the Year:

Dr Nazmul Haq "in recognition of a lifetime’s work on under-utilised crops for the alleviation of poverty, improved nutrition and the enablement of women in poor rural communities”

TAA Award of Merit:

Garry Robertson "for his exemplary service to TAA in his capacity as Chief Editor and Trustee”

John Landers OBE "for his outstanding contribution over many years to the science and practice of conservation agriculture for development”

2010 Honours

Award of Merit

FARM Africa: In recognition of the organisation's contribution to agriculture since 1985 through training and support for poor rural communitiesin improving their food security and livelihoods.

African Fellowship Trust and Royal Agricultural College: in recognition of their contribution, through the African Land and Food Fellowship programme, to the development of leadership in African agricultural development 

Amir Kassam: in recognition of his contribution over many years to the sustainability of smallholder agriculture through research, teaching, advocacy and public education.

2009 Honours

Award of Merit

Ian Hill: for his work in the development and analysis of the TAA re-branding questionnaire;

Francis Shaxson: for his work as convenor of the land husbandry group and contribution to conservation agriculture

Development Agriculturalist  of the Year

Phillip Thornton: In recognition of his contribution to international agricultural development through greater understanding of tropical agricultural systems in informing policies to address climate change, land use and poverty alleviation

Young Development Agriculturalist of the Year

Jonathan Stern: In recognition of his contribution to international agricultural development and to greater understanding of issues of poverty reduction and environmental sustainability through work as a Professional Support Volunteer to Asociación de Pequeňos Productores de Talamanca, Costa Rica May 2008 to July 2009.

Awards for Service to the TAA Executive-Committee 

Mike and Mollie Long, Ted Wilmot and Henry Gunston for all their support with the Royal Show Stand