NAIROBI, Kenya: Agriculture Sector Network Chairman and Elgon Kenya Managing Director Bimal Kantaria has been awarded the Productive Business Civility Award by US-based iChange Nations Organisation in recognition of his role, investment and impact in agriculture, education, health and social services.
The award is set aside for the Top World Civility Leaders who are making a global impact with their businesses, innovations and initiatives.
“I am honoured and humbled to receive the 2021 Productive Business Civility Award along inspirational great business leaders across the globe who have committed their time and effort to make the world a better place,” said Dr Kantaria in his acceptance.
Last year, Dr Kantaria was elected chair of the Agriculture Sector Network (ASNET) the umbrella organisation of agribusiness organisations and stakeholders seeking to steer the industry into the required transformation into the driver of Kenya’s economic development. The body was formed on realisation that the important sector is not as productive as it should be despite its massive potential in food security, industrial development and job creation.
ASNET brought together the national government, county governments, development partners, non-governmental organizations and agriculture sector value chain players to craft a joint strategy to refocus and grow the industry into a global force.
Given his involvement in agriculture sector initiatives developemnt and support, Dr Kantaria was naturally picked by his peers to steer the structural formation of ASNET. The network has since gone regional, following the establishment of the Agriculture Confederation of East Africa, which seeks to negotiate with governments and businesses in the East Africa region to formulate a policy to support a seamless movement of goods across borders to spurr agriculture development with the EAC borders. This effort, despite the EAC Heads of State Summit pledging since 2011 to spearhead a regional approach to agriculture development has not taken off but with ACEA, the dream is close to becoming realized. Dr Kantaria is the chair of ACEA.
Among international organisations working with ASNET is the SDG Partnership of the UN – Food Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD).
At the height of Covid-19 last year, Dr Kantaria working with the Kenya Private Sector Alliance, Rotary International and the Kenya Flower Council formed the Caravan of Hope Initiative that delivered flowers to caregivers in Kenyan hospitals and the UK, to encourage first-line health workers as the virus crushed the world. Kenya’s flower industry was among the most hit by global lockdowns and the flower donations were meant to give hope the world would bloom again. For his efforts, President Uhuru Kenyatta named him with among the Uzalendo Award honours, given to exemplary supporters of the war against Covid-19.
Elgon Kenya donated food rations, hand sanitizers and masks as its contibution to containing the spread of the virus.
Dr Kantaria is the patron of the annual National Farmers Awards that seeks to reward the country’s farming champions ranging from small enterprises to large commercial entities. The all-inclusive scheme recognises women, persons with disabilities and the youth. Winners have become icons, mentors and model farmers, demystifying agribusiness as a career of choice. The awards have been recognised and earned a Presidential trophy. The scheme is supporting the recently revived 4K Clubs movement that seeks to reintroduce farming initiatives in Kenya’s primary schools and young farmers in secondary schools. Dr Kantaria is also the patron of the newly formed Agriculture Media Society of Kenya that seeks to support the training of agriculture journalists in reporting about the sector.
I Change Nations was founded by Dr. Clyde Rivers, the acting Representative to the United Nations – New York for the Interfaith Peace-Building Initiative (IPI) and the United Nations Department of Public Information. Dr. Rivers is also the Spokesman Worldwide for World Civility Day.
“I am honored to be able to work alongside such amazing people, who. are changing the world and creating a culture of honor and civility. Each one is an icon and a difference maker,” said Dr. Clyde Rivers.
Dr Kantaria has supported health, education, and the homeless among many other initiatives.