Former Ghana President Dhamani Mahama, held discussions with African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina on ways to attract more young people into farming. PHOTO/GHANA NEWS AGENCY
By ABDULHAKIM SHERMAN
The World Food Prize recognition motivates to accelerate Africa’s agricultural transformation, the bank’s President Akinwumi Adesina, has said.
Dr Adesina, who spoke at a press conference ahead of the World Food Prize ceremony, also stressed the need to put technology and information in the hands of farmers.
“For me, the World Food Prize is a great honour and recognition for all of the work that I have done for decades of my life. But it also puts wind behind our sail as we now take off to feed Africa, because it is a job that has to be complete,” he stressed.
In June, the World Food Prize announced African Development Bank President Akinwumi A. Adesina as the 2017 Laureate for his work in improving the availability of seed, fertilizer and financing for African farmers, and for laying the foundation for the youth in Africa to engage in agriculture as a profitable business.
Known as the ‘Nobel Prize for Agriculture’, the World Food Prize was founded by Nobel Peace Prize-winner Norman Borlaug and is considered the foremost international honour recognizing the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.
The Prize is presented each October on or around UN World Food Day (October 16) in a ceremony in the Iowa State capital of Des Moines.
African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina. PHOTO/COURTESY
Dr Adesina said not only must Africa feed itself, it must feed itself with pride and it must also unlock the potentials of agriculture.
He described the mobile phone as the most important tool in the hands of a farmer.
“With it, they will find out information about the market, about weather, and about to access finance and will be able to get information about nutrition for mothers, for instance,” he said.
Dr Adesina said that is very important and that was why when he was Minister for Agriculture in Nigeria, he launched the electronic wallet system that allows farmers to access fertilizers, and it reached well over 15 million farmers.
“I have never seen a farmer that wants to be poor,” he said.
Under Dr Adesina’s leadership, the AfDB is accelerating agricultural development through its Feed Africa Strategy with planned investment of US $24 billion over the next 10 years.
“Africa must also unlock the potentials of agriculture, turning agriculture from something that you use for managing poverty, to something that you use for creating wealth,” he said.
Dr Adesina said awareness and empowerment could only come through providing information and democratizing the access to information by farmers.
The prize also recognizes Mr Adesina’s work over the past two decades with the Rockefeller Foundation, at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and as Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture of Agriculture and Rural Development.