16 December 2003, Rome/Abuja --President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria has received the Agricola Medal, struck in his honour by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for his role in bringing peace and boosting agricultural and social development in Africa's most populated country, FAO said on Tuesday.

FAO Director-General Dr Jacques Diouf presented the medal to President Obasanjo during a ceremony in the capital, Abuja.

The Agricola Medal honours distinguished personalities for their commitment and support to the promotion of sustainable food production, world food security and international cooperation.

FAO conferred the medal as "as a token of its esteem and respect for President Obasanjo's tireless efforts to fight hunger and poverty and to achieve food security and prosperity not only in his own country, but in the entire continent and the world at large," Dr Diouf said.

Dr Diouf said Mr Obasanjo had played an important role in strengthening agricultural and social development in Nigeria and paid tribute to his personal commitment to the launch and implementation of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).

In his capacity as Chairman of the Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee of NEPAD, President Obasanjo played a pivotal role in bringing agriculture and food security to the forefront of the political agenda of the continent, by encouraging leaders of African countries to work together to bring their populations out of hunger and poverty through democracy, sustainable agricultural and rural development, Dr Diouf said.

Prior to President Obasanjo, several world leaders have received the award, including: President Johannes Rau of Germany, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar, President Jacques Chirac of France, King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, President Jiang Zemin of China and President Jerry Rawlings of Ghana.
Stephanie Holmes
Information Officer, FAO
(+39) 06 570 56350