Olusegun Obasanjo, Former Nigerian President who chairs the Africa Food Prize Committee, has launched the new prestigious US$100,000 Africa Food Prize award in Accra, Footprint to Africa reports.
Africa Food Prize award is designed to celebrate individuals and institutions that are changing the reality of farming in Africa from a struggle to a business that thrives.
Due to the increasing rate at which agriculture is emerging as Africa’s best bet for increasing food security and expanding economic opportunity, high-level officials across the continent assembled in Accra for a critical agricultural meeting under the aegis of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), in search of new sources of investment and financing for African farmers and agriculture business.
The Food Prize Award has come as a wakeup call against the backdrop that farmers in eastern and southern Africa are wrestling with severe drought, and this needs bold thinking and technical innovation to overcome this and an array of other challenges.
The Africa Food Prize began as the Yara Prize, which was established in 2005 by Yara International ASA Norway to honour the achievements in African agriculture. The Yara Prize has in the past recognised individuals from Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Malawi, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Mozambique for their success in making African farms more productive, profitable and resilient.
The Yara Prize moving to Africa in 2016 and christened the Africa Food Prize in 2016 has given the award a distinctive African home, African identity, and African ownership.
Past winners include Professor Tekalign Mamo Assefa, a world-renowned soil scientist credited with revitalising depleted lands in Ethiopia; Akinwumi Adesina, the former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in Nigeria who is now President of the African Development Bank; and Dr. Agnes Kalibata, the current President of AGRA who rapidly improved food security and farm production during her tenure as Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, to name a few.
The Prize itself and the cadre of winners it creates signals to the world that smallholder agriculture is finally on the path to prosperity in Africa.
The winners are selected by a panel of independent and distinguished leaders in African agriculture, which is now chaired by the former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Launching the award, Olusegun Obasanjo urged African governments to meet the CAADP requirement of investing a minimum of 10% of budgetary allocations.
He observed that threats of food scarcity in various parts of the continent should serve as a wake-up call to increase agricultural production.
Obasango chairs a six-member committee that scrutinises the entrants and awards a winner for the year is awarded at the annual African Green Revolution Forum, which will be held in Nairobi in September.
Nomination for the prize is open until June 10 this year, when the committee starts its selection process.
AGRA and Yara have established a secretariat for the prize and will continue to fund and support the Prize.