Two leaders who share a vision for African agriculture from opposite sides of the continent have been named the winners of the 2019 African Food Prize, awarded this week at the African Green Revolution Forum in Ghana.
Dr. Emma Naluyima of Uganda, a smallholder farmer and veterinarian, and Baba Dioum of Senegal, also a farmer and leader in agricultural policy and entrepreneurship, will share the US$100,000 prize for their contributions in promoting sustainable agriculture and African economic development.
Naluyima, right, has turned a small plot into a showcase for environmentally friendly and profitable farming, and welcomes some 10,000 people each year to share farming techniques and related information.
Dioum has pressed for reforms in his own West African nation before stepping into influential regional and Africa-wide policy decision and development roles.
“With a knack for fostering dialogue and commitment, Mr. Dioum 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),” the awards organization said.
Olusegun Obasanjo, the former president of Nigeria and chairman of the Africa Food Prize Committee, praised the winners for courage in defying the status quo and opening new agricultural pathways.
“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 Obasanjo. “Rather than turn away from the countryside like so many others, they have embraced farming, using their talents and knowledge to demonstrate its enormous commercial possibilities. In other words, they practice what they preach.”
Image: African Food Prize