Nigerian agricultural economist and African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina wins World Food Prize


Akin Adesina (photo credit: Premium Times Nigeria/CNN).

‘The son of a Nigerian farm laborer who rose out of poverty to earn graduate degrees in agricultural economics and spent his career improving the availability of seed, fertilizer and financing for African farmers is the winner of this year’s World Food Prize announced Monday.

‘Akinwumi Adesina, president of African Development Bank, says the future of global food security relies on making farming in Africa a profitable business and developing local food processing that adds value to agricultural products to help move farmers out of poverty.

‘“I believe that what Africa does with agriculture and how it does it is not only important for Africa but it’s important for how we’re going to feed the world by 2050 because 65 percent of all the uncultivated arable land left in the world is in Africa,” he said.

To help Africa get it right in agriculture

is also going to be a key part of securing food for the world.

—Akin Adesina

‘. . . The award recognizes several of Adesina’s accomplishments including:

  • Negotiating a partnership between commercial banks and development organizations to provide loans to tens of thousands of farmers and agribusinesses in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana and Mozambique.
  • Creating programs to make Nigeria self-sufficient in rice production and to help cassava become a major cash crop while serving as Nigeria’s minister of agriculture from 2011 to 2015.
  • Helping to end more than 40 years of corruption in the fertilizer and seed sectors in Nigeria by launching an electronic wallet system that directly provides farmers with vouchers redeemable for inputs using mobile phones. The resulting increased farm yields have led to the improvement of food security for 40 million people in rural farm households.

‘. . . Adesina grew up in poverty in a rural area of Nigeria and said his father and grandfather walked fields as laborers. After his father was chosen for a government job, Adesina was able to go to college. He earned agriculture economics degrees—both a master’s and a doctorate—from Purdue University in Indiana. . . .’

Read the whole article by David Pitt at AP: World Food Prize goes to African Development Bank president, 27 Jun 2017.