Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, was announced yesterday as the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate at a ceremony at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Hon. Sonny Perdue gave keynote remarks and applauded the selection.
Awarded by the World Food Prize Foundation, the $250,000 prize honors Nigerian Dr. Adesina for his leading role over the past two decades in: significantly expanding food production in Nigeria; introducing initiatives to exponentially increase the availability of credit for smallholder farmers across the African continent; and galvanizing the political will to transform African agriculture.
“The selection of President Akinwumi Adesina as the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate reflects both his breakthrough achievements as Minister of Agriculture of Nigeria and his critical role in the development of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). It also gives further impetus to his profound vision for enhancing nutrition, uplifting smallholder farmers, and inspiring the next generation of Africans as they confront the challenges of the 21st century,” said Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, President of the World Food Prize Foundation, in making public President Adesina’s name.
Drawn to action, Dr. Adesina: in his role with the Rockefeller Foundation organized the 2006 Africa Fertilizer Summit; led a major expansion of commercial bank lending to farmers as Vice President of AGRA; and, as Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria, introduced the E-Wallet system, which broke the back of corrupt elements that had controlled the fertilizer distribution system for 40 years.
His policies expanded Nigeria’s food production by 21 million metric tons, and the country attracted $5.6 billion in private sector investments in agriculture – earning him the reputation as the “farmer’s Minister.”
“As someone who grew out of poverty, I know that poverty is not pretty,” said Dr. Adesina. “My life mission is to lift up millions of people out of poverty, especially farmers in rural areas of Africa. We must give hope and turn agriculture into a business all across Africa to create wealth for African economies. The World Food Prize gives me an even greater global platform to make that future happen much faster for Africa.”