The Africa Food Prize (2017) has been awarded to Ruth Oniang’o and Maimouna Sidibe Coulibaly. Oniango’o, the nutrition advocate and Malian entrepreneur, and Maimouna, the agro industrialist will share $100,000 prize money.
The prize money is awarded by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). The award was launched back in 2016 in Accra (Ghana) by Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria. The original Yara Prize was launched back in 2005 and then in the last year, it was by the Africa Food Price. The aim of the Prize is to eradicate hunger and poverty by encouraging the change and progress in Africa’s agricultural sector.
In an appreciation of his brilliant leadership and unmatched advocacy for to help the African smallholder farmers, The first Africa Food Prize (2016) was awarded to Dr Kanayo F.Nwanze (President, Rome-based International Fund for Agricultural Development).
A couple of ladies winning the prize for this year had contributed significantly to facilitate the provision of quality seeds to the farmers in Africa in an attempt to improve the nutrition and food quality for the millions of people living in the continent.
Prof. Oniang’o holds the honour of being Kenya’s first nutrition professor and also holds pride of being sub-Saharan Africa’s first woman nutrition professor. Her main task is the promotion of investment in Africa for nutrition. She is serving at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology as the Professor of Food Science and Nutrition. Her first major achievement was the foundation of African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development (AJFAND) back in 2001. This journal welcomed the research works produced by the scholars in Africa as well as from other regions. The purpose of the journal was to create awareness about food and nutrition in the continent.
In the years 2000, she was entitled as the Woman of the Year by the American Biographical Institute. In the year 2006, she was associated with the International Union of Food Science and Technology, the International Union of Nutritional Science and the World Academy of Science and Art.
Professor Oniang’o expressed her feeling by saying that she felt honoured to work in this field for so many years and anticipated that her quest will be joined by more people from Africa.
Coulibaly is a well know agri-entrepreneur from the West Africa. She is also well known name in African agriculture industry. She made heavy investments in the production of quality seeds as well as the distribution of these seeds. She is the owner of a company named Faso Kaba which produces high-quality seed and distributes across Africa and these seeds have been verified to increase the yield by 40%.
Coulibaly motivates other women to follow her footsteps. She maintains that Africa mainly depends on agriculture and it is the major hope for the people in Africa. She said that the road is not full of roses but the reward of the hard work in this field is tremendous.
Yara International is the co-founder of the Africa Food Prize. The company is a fertilizer manufacturer operating globally. It encourages the innovation and praises the achievements in the field of agriculture across the continent.