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Jakaya Kikwete To Chair Africa Food Prize Committee

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Vision Reporter

Former President of Tanzania Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, has been announced as the new Chair of the Africa Food Prize (AFP). He takes over from former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, who has been chair since 2016.

Welcoming the appointee, outgoing Chair, Obasanjo expressed enthusiasm noting that through his work, H.E. Kikwete has shown a genuine passion and dedication towards transforming Africa’s agriculture. the handover took place on Friday on the sidelines of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

“I congratulate Dr. Kikwete on his appointment as Chair of the Africa Food Prize. Through his leadership, I am confident that the continent will continue to explore and implement food systems strategies that lift people from poverty through inclusive growth and sustainable development,” Obasanjo said.

 Kikwete has a track record as a leading contributor to the transformation of Africa’s food systems. As President of Tanzania, he led the implementation of ‘Kilimo Kwanza’ (Swahili for Agriculture First), an initiative that unlocked productivity and profitability for the country’s smallholder farmers.

Upon his retirement, and through the Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete Foundation, Kikwete has been collaborating with farmers and researchers to develop strategic interventions that can increase yield and productivity among smallholder farming and agribusiness.

Nominations for Africa Food Prize Winner Open

Kikwete’s appointment coincides with the 2023 call for nominations for the US$100,000 Africa Food Prize. The Africa Food Prize recognizes extraordinary women, men, and institutions for their contribution towards a new era of sustainable food security and economic opportunity that elevates all Africans.

To kick start the process, this year, Nestlé has partnered with the Africa Food Prize, contributing US$ 108,400 which will go to the main award, and a special category focusing on innovations that advance regenerative food systems.

“We are excited to see how this year’s applicants for the Africa Food Prize are making a difference. Their research and innovation efforts will help drive the transformation of agriculture on the African continent, and we are proud to support this,” said Remy Ejel, Chief Executive Officer of Zone Asia, Oceania and Africa, Nestlé S.A.

Past winners of the Africa Food Prize

In 2022, Eric Yirenkyi Danquah, a Ghanaian plant geneticist, won the award for his outstanding expertise, leadership and skill that  led to development of West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), a world class centre for training plant breeders in Africa for Africa.

Danquah’s innovations led to the creation of more than sixty improved seed varieties, including superior maize hybrid varieties, which continue to boost yield for farmers and contribute towards food and nutritional security in Ghana.

Winners from Uganda,

Dr. Catherine Nakalembe, a Ugandan researcher, has been honored for her dedication to improve the lives of smallholder farmers by using satellite technology to harness data to guide agricultural decision-making.

Dr Emma Naluyima, Rather than pursue a promising institutional career, Dr. Naluyima quit employment to become a farmer, transforming her 1-acre plot into a showcase of profitable and environmentally friendly agriculture.

Eric Kaduru, founder of Kadafrica Uganda,

was recognized for his commitment and effective approach to engaging youth in agriculture as a sustainable livelihood. His work enabled 1,500 girls to build their financial, technical, and entrepreneurial skills and provided them with the self-confidence they needed to start their own commercial passion fruit farms among others.

Organizations, institutions, businesses, and individuals who have created opportunities for Africa’s farmers to gain viable livelihoods from their trade can submit their nominations at before Monday, 16 May 2023.

Winners will be selected by the Africa Food Prize committee and will be announced at the Africa Green Revolution Forum to be held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in September, this year.

About the Africa Food Prize

The US$100,000 Africa Food Prize celebrates Africans who are taking control of Africa’s agricultural agenda. It puts a bright spotlight on bold initiatives and technical innovations that can be replicated across the continent to create a new era of food security and economic opportunity for all Africans.

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