World Food Prize Laureate says recognition motivates him to accelerate Africa’s agricultural transformation
The World Food Prize is a great motivation which puts the wind behind the sails of what the African Development Bank is doing with its development priorities − the High 5s – especially Feed Africa, the President of the Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, has said.
He noted how the High 5s were all linked, and pledged the commitment of the Bank to continue its development work in Africa.
Adesina, who spoke at a press conference ahead of the World Food Prize ceremony, also stressed the need to put technology and information in the hands of farmers.
“For me, the World Food Prize is a great honour and recognition for all of the work that I have done for decades of my life. But it also puts wind behind our sail as we now take off to feed Africa, because it is a job that has to be complete,” he stressed.
“Not only must Africa feed itself, it must feed itself with pride. Africa must also unlock the potentials of agriculture, turning agriculture from something that you use for managing poverty, to something that you use for creating wealth.”
He described the mobile phone as the most important tool in the hands of a farmer.
“With it, they will find out information about the market, about weather, and about to access finance,” Adesina said. “They will be able to get information about nutrition for mothers, for instance. That is very important. That was why when I was Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria, we launched this electronic wallet system that allows farmers to access fertilizers, and we reached well over 15 million farmers.”
Awareness and empowerment, he said, could only come through providing information, democratizing the access to information to farmers.
“I have never seen a farmer that wants to be poor,” he said.
In June, the World Food Prize announced African Development Bank President Akinwumi A. Adesina as the 2017 Laureate for his work in improving the availability of seed, fertilizer and financing for African farmers, and for laying the foundation for the youth in Africa to engage in agriculture as a profitable business.
Known as the ‘Nobel Prize for Agriculture’, the World Food Prize was founded by Nobel Peace Prize-winner Norman Borlaug and is considered the foremost international honour recognizing the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. The Prize is presented each October on or around UN World Food Day (October 16) in a ceremony in the Iowa State capital of Des Moines.
Under President Adesina’s leadership, the AfDB is accelerating agricultural development through its Feed Africa Strategy with planned investment of US $24 billion over the next 10 years. The prize also recognizes Adesina’s work over the past two decades with the Rockefeller Foundation, at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and as Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture of Agriculture and Rural Development.