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Africa Food Prize awarded to Kanayo F. Nwanze for his dedication to African smallholders

Nairobi, September 07, 2016
The President of the Rome-based International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) was awarded the inaugural Africa Food Prize at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Nairobi.
Dr. Kanayo F. Nwanze
Dr. Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), is the 2016 Africa Food Prize winner.


Nwanze is honored for initiating agricultural reforms, policies and programs which has improved the lives of millions and for his courageous leadership in encouraging solidarity with Africa’s smallholder farmers.

“I would like to dedicate this award to the millions of African women who silently toil to feed their families,” said Dr. Nwanze. “No nation has been able to transform itself without giving women the same rights and opportunities as men. Our hope for future generations rests with African women who bear and raise our young people who will shape the African continent in the years to come,” said Nwanze.

This is the first Africa Food Prize, a prize which began as the Yara Prize in 2005 and has been awarded to extraordinary African women and men every year since. It was moved to Africa and renamed the Africa Food Prize in April 2016. Yara remains a keen supporter of this prestigious award, which honors outstanding efforts to transform African agriculture.

“In honoring Kanayo Nwanze, the Africa Food Prize Committee could not have made a better choice as the former Yara Prize takes on its new and authentic African identity,” said Svein Tore Holsether, CEO of Yara. “The first Africa Food Prize recognizes an outstanding African leader who has dedicated his work to improve the lives for smallholder farmers. With 80 percent of farms run by smallholders, the key to transforming African agriculture lies in empowering the smallholder farmer, enabling rural value creation and providing jobs for rural youth,” said Holsether.

The award ceremony was held at the AGRF in Nairobi on September 7 in a prestigious ceremony hosted by H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya.

Dr. Kanayo Nwanze’s biography

Kanayo F. Nwanze, a Nigerian national, is current President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), which is dedicated to ensuring that agriculture is a central part of the international development agenda, and that governments recognize the concerns of smallholder farmers and other poor rural people.

He has been a member of the WEF’s Global Agenda Council on Food Security since 2010. He served as Director General of the CGIAR Africa Rice Center for a decade, where he was instrumental in introducing and promoting New Rice for Africa, or NERICA, which are high-yielding, drought-tolerant, and pest-resistant varieties developed specifically for African conditions. He has served on various executive boards, has been a member of several scientific associations and has published extensively.

Dr Nwanze is a recipient of honorary degrees from McGill University, Canada, and the University of Warwick, United Kingdom. He has also received honors and awards from numerous governments and national and international institutions.

About the Africa Food Prize

Africa Food Prize

The Africa Food Prize—funded by AGRA, the EcoNet Foundation, and Yara recognizes outstanding individuals or institutions that are leading efforts to change the reality of farming in Africa from a struggle to survive to a business that thrives. The US$100,000 prize celebrates Africans who are taking control of Africa’s agricultural agenda.

The winners are selected by an independent panel of experts in African agriculture, chaired by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo. The Africa Food Prize began as the Yara Prize in 2005. It was moved to Africa and renamed the Africa Food Prize in 2016.

Read more about on the Africa Food Prize website.

Follow the Africa Food Prize on Twitter: @AfriFoodPrize .

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