The Africa Food Prize has announced the commencement of the search for the 2018 Africa Food Prize Winner. This is a distinguished award that recognises 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.

The 2018 winner will be chosen by the Africa Food Prize Committee, an independent body of preeminent leaders that is chaired by the former Nigerian President, H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo. The other committee members are Dr. Vera Songwe, Dr. Eleni Z. Gabre-Madhin, Prof. Joachim von Braun and Amb. Sheila Sisulu.

“The past two cycles of the Prize show that the continent has strong agricultural leaders in all sectors. We are very grateful to the public for helping us to identify and recognize the best among us by nominating outstanding individuals, institutions and projects. My committee and I look forward to receiving many more nominations this year”, said H.E Obasanjo.

With the acknowledgement that agriculture is Africa’s surest path to inclusive economic growth and development, the Africa Food Prize exists to reward individuals and institutions that are pioneering efforts to create prosperity in Africa. It is hoped that this will encourage others to follow their lead.

The Africa Food Prize began as the Yara Prize, and was established in 2005 by Yara International ASA in Norway to honor achievements in African agriculture. The Yara Prize recognized 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. Past winners include Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, the former Nigerian Agriculture Minister who now heads the African Development Bank (AfDB); Dr. Agnes Kalibata, the former Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources in Rwanda who now serves as AGRA’s President; and Dr. Ousmane Badiane, Africa Director for the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

Moving the Yara Prize to Africa in 2016 and rechristening it the Africa Food Prize gave the award a distinctive African home, African identity and African ownership.

The deadline for nominations is Tuesday 15 May 2018. The winner will be unveiled at a high-profile gala dinner at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) 2018 this September in Kigali, Rwanda.

What you didn’t know about the Africa Food Prize.

The Africa Food Prize—funded by AGRA, the EcoNet Foundation, and Yara International ASA (Yara)—is the preeminent award for recognizing outstanding individuals or institutions that are leading efforts to change the reality of farming in Africa from a struggle to survive to a business that thrives.

The $100,000 prize celebrates Africans who are taking control of Africa’s agricultural 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 winners are selected by an independent panel of distinguished experts in African agriculture, chaired by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo.

The Africa Food Prize began as the Yara Prize, established by Yara in 2005. It was moved to Africa and rechristened the Africa Food Prize in 2016.

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