In Memory of Dr Hannington Odame (1956-2023)

It is with great sadness that I must report the tragic loss of our dear friend and long-time collaborator Dr Hannington Odame, who passed away after a sudden illness on the evening of 20 June 2023.

Hannington was the Founder and current Executive Director of the Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurship (CABE), Kenya, and the Regional Coordinator for East Africa of the UK FCDO-supported Africa of the Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) Programme and the Future Agricultures Consortium (FAC), with which he had a long and fruitful collaboration.

An agricultural scientist by training (with a BSc in Agricultural Economics from the University of Guelph, Canada, and an MSc and PhD in Agriculture and Rural Development from the Institute of Social Studies, the Netherlands), his research covered a range of interconnected themes over the past 30 years, including Agricultural Innovation Systems (AIS), agricultural extension and advisory services, agricultural policy processes, food marketing and commercialisation, governance of agricultural biotechnology, small and medium enterprise development, and the role of rural producers’ organisations in agricultural development. Prior to embarking on his academic career and after completing a Diploma in Farm Management from Egerton University, he served as an Agricultural Extension Officer for six years for the Ministry of Lands and Settlement, Kenya, gaining valuable first-hand knowledge of the challenges facing smallholder farmers and extension providers in remote rural settlement schemes.  

From his base in CABE, which he founded in 2004, Hannington used this extensive technical and academic experience to serve as an advisor and policy analyst for a wide variety of local and international organisations, including: the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS), the Alliance for a Green Revolution for Africa (AGRA), the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the East African Community (EAC), the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the International Service for National Agricultural Research (ISNAR), the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development (MoALD), Kenya, the Partnership for African Social and Governance Research (PASGR), the Rainforest Alliance, Self-Help Africa (SHA), the STEPS Centre, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the University of Amsterdam (UA), the University of Greenwich (UG), Utafiti Sera, Wageningen University and Research (WUR), the World Bank, and many others. This work took him from Kenya to Malawi and from Ethiopia to Ghana, where he led a diverse array of baseline studies, feasibility studies, impact assessments, performance evaluations, social enterprise development studies, and value chain studies.

In addition to serving as the Regional Coordinator for East Africa for Future Agricultures, a position he held for over a decade, Hannington played a leading role in the Consortium’s Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) agenda, contributing to several comparative, multi-country studies on agricultural extension, agro-processing and inclusive rice system development, integrated seed sector development, the political economy of agricultural policy processes, STI for agricultural transformation, and the effects of COVID-19 on local food systems and rural livelihoods.

Hannington had a particular passion for supporting young rural entrepreneurs and served as a mentor, trainer and advisor to several initiatives focusing on youth employment creation in agricultural value chains. He was also directly involved in several schemes in Kenya to assist young people to start their own small-scale enterprises in horticulture, dairy and poultry production.

Hannington put his heart and soul into his work and was always a capable and considerate colleague.

We will miss his generosity of spirit and his infectious laughter.

May he rest in peace.

We have set up a memorial page in Hannington’s honour, which you can find at: https://www.remembr.com/hannington.odame. Please add your condolences and photos to the site and we will share them with his friends and family.

John Thompson,

On behalf of the Future Agricultures Consortium and the Agricultural Policy Research in Africa Programme