Sh10.2 million Africa Food Prize awaits top pioneers in farming - Daily Nation

Sh10.2 million Africa Food Prize awaits top pioneers in farming

Saturday January 20 2018

Former Nigerian President and chief Africa Food Prize judge, Olusegun Obasanjo, reads a congratulatory message to 2017 award winner, Prof Ruth Oniang'o.

Former Nigerian President and chief Africa Food Prize judge, Olusegun Obasanjo, reads a congratulatory message to 2017 award winner, Prof Ruth Oniang'o of Kenya during her awarding ceremony. The award recognises individuals or institutions that are leading in efforts to change the reality of farming in Africa. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

By BRIAN OKINDA
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The search is on for the winner of 2018 $100,000 (Sh10,285,500) Africa Food Prize that seeks to reward individuals and institutions that are pioneering efforts to create prosperity in Africa. 

The award recognises individuals or institutions that are leading in efforts to change the reality of farming in Africa, from a struggle to a thriving business.

It acknowledges Africans who propel the continent’s agriculture agenda, putting limelight on initiatives and technical innovations that can be replicated across the continent to create a new era of food security and economic opportunity.

Now in its third year since inception, the prize has grown in importance and popularity. About 643 outstanding personalities were up for consideration in 2017 when it was jointly won by Kenya’s Prof Ruth Oniang’o, a campaigner of nutrition, and Mali’s entrepreneur and agro-industrialist, Madame Maïmouna Sidibe Coulibaly, for their efforts in driving Africa’s agriculture transformation.

The two were recorgnised for persistent advocacy for the availability and affordability of diverse and nutritious crops across the continent and the mission to produce and supply improved and high-yielding seed leading to improved incomes and nutrition for millions in Mali and other West African countries .

Nominations then came from over 20 countries within and outside the continent with Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Mali and Botswana having the highest number of nominees per country.

Prof Oniang’o and Mme Coulibaly succeeded 2016’s inaugural winner, Dr Kanayo F Nwanze, former President of Rome-based International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), who received it for his visionary leadership and passionate advocacy to place African smallholder farmers at the centre of global agricultural agenda and for his established success in advancing programmes, policies and resources that improved lives of many across the continent.

This year’s winner will be chosen by the Africa Food Prize Committee chaired by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, and other committee members Dr Vera Songwe, Dr Eleni Z. Gabre-Madhin, Prof Joachim von Braun and Ambassador Sheila Sisulu.

“The past year’s prizes show that the continent has strong agricultural leaders in all sectors. We are grateful to the public for helping us to identify and recognise the best among us this year,” said Obasanjo.