Selected Profile from Directory

Photo of Margaret Kroma

Margaret Kroma

World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Assistant Director General, Partnerships & Impact

Sierra Leone

What most impressed the professional colleagues who nominated this role model?

Margaret Kroma provides one of Africa’s strongest voices on the importance of considering gender issues in African agriculture. In international fora, she offers consistently passionate, thoughtful insights about the gender dimensions of agricultural development.  She backs up this passion with her tireless efforts in helping to expand professional opportunities for a more diverse set of actors in farming, research, education and extension. 

She served as Program Manager for African Women Leaders in Agriculture and Development (AWARD) program and in a similar role with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).  Although women have long played a critical role on African farms, they are under-represented in professional positions in agricultural research, education and extension systems.  Margaret has worked to help remedy this imbalance and, in so doing, to help agricultural support institutions better identify effective ways of improving productivity and welfare of women in agriculture.

What motivated you to pursue a career in agriculture?

  • My father and mother came from rural areas, so I spent school holidays with my grandmother in the Moyamba area of southern Sierra Leone.  I saw how much time my grandmother spent producing food.  I became fascinated with agriculture as I began to wonder how it might be possible to reduce work requirements for people like my grandmother.
  • My father was educated in rural areas in the 1930s.  He became a civil servant in Freetown, and so I grew up in the capital city.  But my mother and father retained strong links to rural areas.  So I grew up straddling the two worlds. 

How can agricultural education institutions more effectively prepare African students for successful agribusiness careers? 

  • Move agricultural education and training (AET) beyond farm production.  AET needs to encompass all segments of the value chain and to focus more on agribusiness.  Both higher education and vocational education need to make this shift.
  • Highlight inter-regional trade and agribusiness opportunities.  Current curricula focus too narrowly on theory and on individual country markets.  Yet important regional markets often lie across national borders.  AET production and marketing curricula need to emphasize regional markets and growth corridors that link them. 

Career highlights

  • World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Assistant Director General, Partnerships &Impact, 2013 to present.
  • Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, Program Officer, for Gender, 2010-2013.
  • Project manager, African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD), 2008-2010.
  • Cornell University, Assistant Professor, Agricultural Extension, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, 2000 to 2008.

Educational background

  • Primary school:          Freetown Municipal Primary School.
  • Secondary school:      Freetown Secondary School for Girls/ Secondary Technical School.
  • University:                 
    • Njala University College of Agriculture, B.Sc. Agricultural Education, 1984.
    • Njala University College of Agriculture, M.Sc. Agricultural Education, 1986.
    • Iowa State University, Ph.D. Rural Sociology, 1999.