The search is on for the winner of the 2017 Africa Food Prize award. The award recognizes outstanding individuals or institutions that are leading in efforts to change the reality of farming in Africa from a struggle to a business that thrives.
Now in its second year, the US $100,000 prize celebrates Africans who are taking control of Africa's agriculture agenda.
In a statement released by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the award 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.
In 2016, the inaugural prize was awarded to Dr. Kanayo F. Nwanze, the outgoing President of the Rome-based International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), for his outstanding leadership and passionate advocacy in putting Africa´s smallholder farmers at the centre of the global agricultural agenda.
The Prize acknowledged Nwanze´s courage in reminding African leaders to go beyond promising development and change to delivering it.
"It was an honour to be the first recipient of the Africa Food Prize and to be selected from amongst the many agricultural champions across the continent, to help highlight the critical role that smallholder agriculture plays in driving our economies," said Nwanze.
Nwanze added that although much has been achieved, a lot more needs to be done to deliver on Africa's agricultural potential, especially with its youth.
The 2017 winner will be chosen by the Africa Food Prize committee, an independent body of preeminent leaders that is chaired by the former Nigerian President, H. E Olusegun Obasanjo.
The other committee members include Prof. Calestous Juma, Dr. Eleni Z. Gabre-Madhin, Prof. Joachim von Braun and Amb. Sheila Sisulu.
The chair of the committee, Obasanjo said the Africa Food Prize calls attention to individuals who are inspiring and driving innovations that can be replicated across the continent.
"You do not have to be the head of a global organization to be awarded. You just need to be dedicated to African agriculture, be deeply convinced in its transformative power for economies and families, and have made significant contribution towards realizing this dream," he added.
The Africa Food Prize began as the Yara Prize, and was established in 2005 by Yara International ASA in Norway to honour achievements in African agriculture.
The Yara Prize recognized individuals from Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Malawi, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and Mozambique for their success in making African farms more productive, profitable and resilient.
Past winners include Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, now head of the African Development Bank (AfDB); Dr. Agnes Kalibata, former Minister of Agriculture in Rwanda, AGRA's President; and Dr. Ousmane Badiane, Africa Director for the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
The deadline for nominations is June 05, 2017 and the winner will be unveiled at a high-profile gala dinner at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) 2017, September 04-08, 2017 in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire.