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Winner of Africa’s inaugural food prize
rewarded for boosting food security

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kanayo Nwanze, President of the Rome-based International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) was on Wednesday unveiled as the winner of the inaugural Africa Food Prize.

The Nigerian scientist with extensive experience in global development was announced the winner of the first Africa Food Prize during the ongoing African green revolution forum in Nairobi.

Former Nigerian President and chair of the Africa Food Prize Committee, Olusegun Obasanjo hailed Nwanze’s contribution to food and nutrition security agenda in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Nwanze is a model of how a leader can make a difference in the lives of people on the ground. His accomplishments on behalf of African smallholders cannot be downplayed,” Obasanjo said.

The African Food Prize is a reward for individuals and institutions who demonstrate outstanding commitment to transform food production systems on the continent.

Winners of the Africa Food Prize are awarded 100,000 U.S. dollars after demonstrating unwavering commitment to change the fortunes of smallholders through home grown initiatives.

Obasanjo lauded Nwanze’s pioneering initiatives to transform livelihoods of African smallholders through advocacy to reform policies and improve access to finance.

“Nwanze has inspired African leaders and policymakers to craft policies and strategies that would transform farming, feed the population and tackle rural poverty,” said Obasanjo.

In the last four decades, Nwanze has worked as a senior researcher and administrator for several international research organizations.

He is credited for introducing high yielding rice varieties in West Africa during his helm at the Africa Rice Centre.

As President of IFAD, Nwanze has initiated programs whose impact on subsistence farming in Africa is profound.

During his acceptance speech, Nwanze said a paradigm shift is an imperative to ensure small scale farming in Africa is profitable and sustainable.

“We need to invest in smallholders and establish conducive policies to enable them thrive against a backdrop of serious threats like climatic stress, distorted value chains and shrinking arable land,” Nwanze said.

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