Dr. Eleni Z. Gabre Madhin, founder and the outgoing CEO of the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) received the 2012 Yara Prize at the African Green Revolution Forum held at Arusha Tanzania on September 27.
Dr. Eleni was recognized for her visionary leadership in managing the process to establish a market for agricultural produce as the founder and chief Executive of the ECX.
The modern market that became a benchmark for other agriculture trading in other African countries has created a sustainable market system for small-scale farms that were affected by traditional trading systems in the past years.
The Yara Prize is not new for Eleni. The exchange and its founder received several international recognitions and awards in the past years for the achievement since the formation of ECX in 2008.
ECX fosters trading of several agricultural commodities. Coffee, the major export item of the country, sesame, haricot bean, maize and wheat are some of the products trading on exchange, while the facility is still expanding its capacity to include others.
Now that the government of Ethiopia has seen the effectiveness of the electronic market, it is considering undertaking an exchange for other industrial commodities like sugar and leather. The new trading that solves the market risk not only for farmers but buyers and exporters and has registered rapid growth in transaction and trading capacity.
Under Eleni’s leadership, ECX’s growth has seen a strong increase in volumes every year, from trading 138,000 tons in the starting year 2008/2009 to 601,000 tons in 2011/2012. The value of ECX trading reached USD 1.2 billion in 2011/2012, representing almost USD 20 million per day.
With a transparent and efficient market, the share of the final export price for coffee has risen from 38 percent to 65 percent, having a positive impact for 15 million coffee farmers in Ethiopia. At present, 12 percent of ECX membership is made up of farmer cooperatives, representing 2.4 million smallholder farmers.
According to Yara International’s statement, the Yara Prize Committee selected Dr. Eleni and Dr. Agnes Kalibata, Rwandese Minister for Agriculture and Animal resources for their work on ground breaking sectors in the African Green Revolution and contributing to effective public policies to support agricultural development and for profound innovation in agricultural markets.
“Both women leaders have shown that transformation can be achieved in a highly complex and challenging environment, applying innovative approaches and partnering with other stakeholders in new ways,” noted the committee on the statement released in early September.
The Yara prize is based on nominations of candidates, carefully evaluated by the prize committee. The prize consists of a trophy, a certificate and USD 60 thousand which will be shared by the laureates.