April 15, 2016

Turning Yara Prize into Africa Food Prize

Building on the Yara Prize, the Africa Food Prize is aimed at helping to move farming in Africa from a struggle to survive to a business that thrives.

When former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in 2004 challenged the world to create an “African Green Revolution,” one of the responses from Yara was to create the Yara Prize in 2005, as well as the African Green Revolution Conference in Oslo in 2006.

“The winners of the Yara Prize this past decade have had one thing in common, a profound impact on African agriculture. For Yara, both the African Green Revolution Forum and the Yara Prize have been important building blocks in what has become our African business agenda and our commitment to the continent,” says CEO and President Svein Tore Holsether.

African ownership

In 2016, however, this work enters a new phase, as the Yara Prize becomes the Africa Food Prize. Yara is still a founding partner, together with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

By moving and renaming the prize, this $100,000 award is given a distinct African home, African identity and also African ownership.

Former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo is chairing the committee screening all the nominees and selecting the winners.

“We want to celebrate individuals and institutions that are changing the reality of farming in Africa, from a grueling struggle to survive to a profitable family business that thrives,” he explains.

The new prize was unveiled in Accra 12 April under the auspices of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) to seek new sources of investment and financing for African farmers and agriculture businesses.

The first winner will be announced at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Nairobi in September 2016.

“Spotlight on bold initiative”

“The Africa Food Prize is another way we can drive a search for solutions to fundamental problems, like a chronic lack of financing, that prevent African farmers from achieving their potential,” says Strive Masiyiwa, Chair and CEO of Econet Wireless International and Board Chair of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). “It can put a bright spotlight on bold initiatives and technical innovations that can be replicated across the continent to eliminate hunger and poverty and provide a vital new source of employment and income.”

“I hope the Africa Food Prize will continue to attract global attention to all the impressive African women and men with a ‘can-do attitude’ and drive - people who play such a vital role in transforming agriculture in Africa,” says Holsether.

Read more on www.africafoodprize.org and follow us on Twitter (@yara, @afrfoodprize, @AGRAAlliance and @TheAGRF).

You can also read more about Yara’s Africa engagement here, including the history of the Yara Prize, our work on the growth corridor SAGCOT and our role in establishing the public-private platform Grow Africa.