The search is on for the winner of the 2018 Africa Food Prize - the preeminent award that recognizes outstanding individuals or institutions that are leading the effort to change the reality of farming in Africa from a struggle to survive to a business that thrives.
The US $100,000 Prize celebrates Africans who are taking control of Africa’s agriculture agenda. It puts a bright spotlight on bold initiatives and technical innovations that can be replicated across the continent to create a new era of food security and economic opportunity for all Africans.
The 2017 Prize was jointly awarded to Hon. Prof. Ruth Oniang’o, a professor and advocate of nutrition from Kenya, and Mme Maïmouna Sidibe Coulibaly, an entrepreneur and agro industrialist from Mali, for their exemplary efforts in driving Africa’s agriculture transformation.
Hon. Prof Ruth Oniang’o was recognized as the leading voice of nutrition in Africa and for her relentless advocacy for the availability and affordability of diverse and nutritious crops for millions across the continent. Mme Maïmouna Sidibe Coulibaly, on the other hand, was feted for her mission to produce and supply improved and high-yielding seed that have led to improved incomes and nutrition for millions in Mali and other West African countries
The two trailblazers succeeded the 2016 winner - Dr. Kanayo F. Nwanze, the former President of the Rome-based International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Dr. Nwanze received the Prize in its first year for his visionary leadership and passionate advocacy to place African smallholder farmers at the center of the global agricultural agenda and for his demonstrated success in advancing programmes, policies and resources that have improved the lives of millions across the continent.
Now in its third year, the Prize has continually grown in stature and popularity. In 2017, a total of 643 outstanding individuals, projects and institutions were put forward for consideration for the prestigious Prize. This represented a 100 per cent growth in the number of nominees from the previous year when the prize was inaugurated. Nominations came from over 20 African countries in Africa as well as from countries outside the continent. Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Mali and Botswana led with the highest number of nominees per country.
Illustration Photo: The IAEA, in cooperation with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), is using radiation to develop improved cassava varieties that can resist adverse climate conditions and diseases such as the Mosaic Virus and the Brown Streak Disease in the Central African Republic (CAR). (credits: Laura Gil Martinez / IAEA / Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0))