Two model farmers who have championed agricultural innovation and sustainable growth within African agriculture have been named the winners of the 2019 Africa Food Prize.
Ugandan smallholder Dr Emma Naluyima and policy advocate Mr Baba Dioum of Senegal were awarded the US$100,000 prize at the African Green Revolution Forum in Accra, Ghana.
The 2019 Laureates, chosen from close to 200 nominees, were recognised for their efforts to promote innovations that drive forward food security and economic opportunity for Africans. Judges said the two winners´ achievements complemented one another, showing how both small-scale production and high-level policy reforms can contribute to agricultural transformation.
Dr Naluyima, who is also a private veterinarian, was recognised for developing her one-acre farm as a self-sufficient model of integrated crop and livestock production, recycling farm resources to provide natural fertilizers and pesticides as well as biogas.
On her farm, which generates US$100,000 a year, Dr Naluyima also hosts up to 10,000 visiting farmers to share her knowledge and best practices. In addition to providing advisory services, Dr Naluyima has also founded a 300-pupil primary school that focuses on science and technology to inspire the next generation.
“Being named Uganda´s best farmer in 2014 created new opportunities for me to share knowledge, which is key for the innovations that farmers need to become more productive and resilient,” said Dr Naluyima. “I feel honoured to be a winner of the Africa Food Prize and hope this connects me with new sources of knowledge to share.”
Mr Dioum was awarded the prize for his work on agricultural policy, having formed regional initiatives such as the national Chambers of Agriculture across West Africa. While building a regional network of mango exporters, Mr Dioum also successfully promoted cross-border agricultural trade in West Africa and helped to advance the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme.
“We Africans are good conservationists, and we also have strong collective traditions,” said Mr Dioum. “These are important sources of strength, as we organize ourselves to compete in markets, using new technologies, and seek to ensure that our agribusinesses are sustainable. I am humbled to receive this prize and sincerely hope it will draw attention to what Africa´s aspiring entrepreneurs can do when the conditions are right.”
The chair of the Africa Food Prize Committee, former President of Nigeria H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, congratulated Dr Naluyima and Mr Dioum. He highlighted their courage in opening new pathways towards more prosperous and sustainable agriculture, and for their solidarity with others who might wish to follow in their footsteps.
“What most strikes me about this year´s winners is how their academic and professional success has gone hand in hand with their success as farmers,” said H.E. President Obasanjo. “They have embraced farming, using their talents and knowledge to demonstrate its enormous commercial possibilities. They practice what they preach, and this lends real credibility to their message about the value of technical and policy innovation in agriculture.”
Dr Agnes Kalibata, President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), another key supporter of the Africa Food Prize, added: “The lives and accomplishments of these winners reinforce my optimism that Africa is on the cusp of a new era of growing prosperity, driven by sustained agricultural transformation.”
More information is available at https://agrf.org/