Dr.Melaku Worede, Gaia Associate, receives the Herman Warsh Memorial Award.

For his outstanding service to the genetic resources community and in preserving the genetic wealth of Ethiopia, Dr. Melaku Woredehas been awarded the Herman Warsh Memorial Award.

Throughout his career – and life – Dr. Melaku has won international admiration and recognition for his commitment to the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources – not only in Ethiopia and Africa but around the world – and his commitment to Farmers’ Rights and the vital role of peasant agriculture in conserving and strengthening crop genetic diversity.

The award was announced in Bali, Indonesia, in March, by the governing body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA). It was presented to Dr. Melaku for his many contributions to the goals of promoting the conservation and sustainable use of agricultural genetic resources and the protection of farmers’ rights.

A scientist who puts the farmer first, Dr. Melaku’s work has helped foster global recognition for the vitally important role farmers play in increasing and conserving on-farm biodiversity. Dr. Melaku is Board Chairman of our Ethiopian partner organisation Melca-Ethiopia, and is contributing greatly to the growth of the African Biodiversity Network‘s programme on Climate-Seed-Knowledge.

The award is presented in the name of Mr. Herman Warsh who supported the conservation, sustainable use, and equitable sharing of genetic resources since 1981. He and his family have donated more than $5 million to community-based in-situ and ex-situ seed conservation and to the related policy issues including Farmers’ Rights. Warsh passed away in April 2006, fully aware of the importance of this Treaty to humanity.