Two agricultural entrepreneurs, Dr Emma Naluyima, a smallholder farmer and private veterinarian from Uganda and Mr Baba Dioum, from Senegal, have been announced joint winners of the 2019 Africa Food Prize and both, would share a US$100,000 prize package.
The winners were selected out of more than 200 nominees in recognition of their efforts towards sustainable agricultural practices and promoting innovative and sustainable growth, improved resource use and creating market links towards ensuring food security on the continent.
Former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, who is the Chairperson of the Independent Committee that selected the winners, made the announcement at a news conference at the on-going African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Accra on Wednesday.
The announcement of the prize winners was a high point of the AGRF, which attracted 2,300 delegates in Africa and across the world to discuss policy interventions, programmes and investments towards ensuring sustainable agricultural development in Africa.
Former President Obasanjo said food security was a critical issue in Africa, saying; “And so who feeds you can take you as slave therefore we should make sure Africa is self-reliant in food production”.
He congratulated the award winners for defying the status quo to make an impact in their respective countries and urged them to strive towards making the African green revolution agenda a reality.
Dr Naluyima, one of the award recipient, said she quitted employment to become a farmer by transforming her one-acre plot into a showcase of profitable and environmentally friendly agriculture.
She said the secret for her success was innovative integration of crop and livestock production, based on recycling of farm resources to provide natural fertilizers and pesticides as well as biogas.
She generated US$100,000 a year from her farm and hosted up to 10,000 visiting farmers to share knowledge through her advisory service.
Mr Dioum, another award recipient, said he excelled in the policy sphere and led the crusade for the introduction of key reforms in agricultural sector in his home country.
He said his whole life and career was revolved around markets and trade in agricultural commodities.
Mr Dioum also successfully promoted cross-border agricultural trade in West Africa and helped significantly to advance the trade dimension of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).