By: Lorna Calumpang
2 September 2014
Winner of the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award, often considered Asia’s Nobel Prize, Ganesh Thapa is best recognized for his work favoring the small farmers’ plight to achieve food and income security in Asia and the Pacific region.
Dr. Ganesh Thapa during CURE's 12th Steering Committee Meeting, Lombok, Indonesia.
For CURE in particular, Dr. Thapa has been instrumental in furthering its advocacy on rural poverty reduction in unfavorable areas of Asia and the Pacific region. His policy recommendations for CURE to anchor its teeth on the ground by showcasing its impact in terms of increases in productivity and income, the number of men and women farmer-beneficiaries, the volume of seeds produced and distributed, and scaling up of impact to larger groups of rice farmers in unfavorable areas have become CURE’s guideposts as it lunges towards the second phase of implementing another series of technology generation through adoption projects in Southeast Asia.
He works with national and regional partner organizations and professionals in understanding the impact of emerging socioeconomic issues on the rural poor. He has led various projects and groups in formulating strategic development priorities for IFAD with the main objective of making the arena for small farmers more conducive to micro-enterprise building.
“Gentle, helpful, and accommodating but is tough in getting the work done on time and efficiently,” these are how a colleague, Dr. William D. Dar, current director general of ICRISAT remembers Ganesh.
Dr. Thapa is the regional economist of Asia and the Pacific Division of IFAD based in Rome, Italy. He has a PhD in agricultural economics from Cornell University, USA. Before joining IFAD, he worked as country director in Nepal for Winrock International Institute for Agricultural Development. Prior to this, he was senior economist of the Ministry of Agriculture in Nepal.
The Ramon Magsaysay Award was established by the trustees of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund based in New York City in 1957 with the concurrence of the Philippine government. It was set to honor and perpetuate the late president’s example of integrity in public service and pragmatic idealism within a democratic society. He was well-loved for his simplicity and humility, his passion for justice, particularly for the poor, and his advancement of human dignity.