The African Union's animal production wing, Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) honoured top African animal geneticists for their contribution to a number of Pan-African initiatives and projects across the continent. Among them was Stellenbosch University's own Prof Kennedy Dzama, Faculty of AgriSciences Deputy dean: Research, Innovation and Postgraduate studies. Professor Dzama was recognized for his outstanding contribution to the development of the Animal Genetic Resources Characterization, Inventory and Monitoring (AnGR-CIM) tool for Africa, contributing to the new book on Status and Trends of Animal Genetic Resources in Africa. He serves on the Panel of Experts that advises AU-IBAR on matters relating to animal genetic resources. He has authored many technical reports and policy briefs for AU-IBAR. Professor Dzama is a leading authority on animal genetics in Southern Africa via the SADC Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources and CCARDESA. He is currently involved in the development of the regional strategic plan for sustainable utilization of animal genetic resources which is aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The Head of AU-IBAR's Animal Genetic Resources Project, Dr Edward Nengomasha, in his remarks during the awards ceremony outlined Prof Dzama's untiring efforts in his work in support of the various projects in this domain in Southern Africa in particular and on the African continent in general. Doctor Nengomasha emphasized the new approach championed by Prof Dzama where livelihoods, food security and innovation took center stage in African Animal Genetic Resources arena.
The presentation of the awards coincided with the launch of the Official State of Farm Animal Genetic Resources in Africa, at a gala dinner. Guest speakers at the gala dinner were the African Union's Commissioner of Rural Economy and Agriculture, H.E. Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, and the Kenyan Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation, Mr Mwangi Kiunjuri. The event was also graced by ministers of Agriculture and Livestock from several AU member states.