Who are the winners
The two exceptional professionals, are both at the same time successful agricultural producers.
The secret to Dr. Naluyima’s success is innovative integration of crop and livestock production, based on recycling of farm resources to provide natural fertilizers and pesticides as well as biogas. Dr. Naluyima, who reportedly generates $100,000 a year from her farm, also hosts up to 10,000 visiting farmers to share knowledge through her advisory service.
Also a prosperous farmer, Baba Dioum has excelled in the policy sphere, leading the introduction of key reforms in the agriculture sector of his own country, before taking on influential roles in regional and Africa-wide policy development. 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).
“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 former President of Nigeria, who chairs the Africa Food Prize Committee. “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, and this lends real credibility to their message about the value of technical and policy innovation in agriculture.”
The 2019 winners, chosen from a total of close to 200 nominees, exemplify the central aim of the Africa Food Prize, which is to put a spotlight on innovations that promise to create a new era of food security and economic opportunity for all Africans. The two winners´ achievements strongly complement one another, showing how both small-scale production and high-level policy reforms can contribute to agricultural transformation.
“I am a firm believer that if you take good care of a farm, it will care of you all the way to the bank. This is I know to be true as it is what I do on my 1-acre farm where I practice integrated farming,” said Dr. Naluyima.
“I feel honoured to be a winner of the Africa Food Prize, and hope this connects me with new sources of knowledge to share. A passion to succeed is not enough; you also need knowledge, which I am always in serach.”
Baba Dioum´s whole life and career have revolved around markets and trade in agricultural commodities. It thus comes as no surprise that, while pursuing his policy work, he also engaged in the production of vegetables and later potato for export, eventually shifting to mango production for the export market. To help consolidate West Africa´s position in this market, he created a regional network of mango exporters and developed a successful regional brand.
“We Africans are good conservationists, and we also have strong collective traditions,” said Mr. Dioum. “These are important sources of strength, as we organize ourselves to compete in markets, using new technologies, and seek to ensure that our agribusinesses are sustainable. I am humbled to receive this prize and sincerely hope it will draw attention to what Africa´s aspiring entrepreneurs can do when the conditions are right.”
Yara International ASA established the predecessor of the Africa Food Prize and continues to provide support. Svein Tore Holsether, President and Chief Executive Officer of Yara, joined others in congratulating the 2019 recipients: “This years’ winners are great examples of what is possible and what is needed in African agriculture. Knowledge and technology can transform farming and lead to improved livelihoods. But to achieve this, it is crucial that young talents see the opportunities and bring with them their dedication and fearlessness.”
Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), another key supporter of the Africa Food Prize, also expressed her delight with this year´s outcome: “The lives and accomplishments of these winners reinforce my optimism that Africa is on the cusp of a new era of growing prosperity, driven by sustained agricultural transformation. Achievements like theirs can, in turn, leverage digital transformation, which is the focus of this year´s Africa Green Revolution Forum (AGRF).”