The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) based in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital in Nigeria, has won the 2018 Africa Food Prize being given out by the African Green Revolution in Agriculture (AGRA).
According to a statement by the research institute, the award will be formally announced during the Award Ceremony and Africa Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) Gala Dinner on Friday in Kigali, Rwanda.
The award recognizes individuals and institutions “leading the effort to change the reality of farming in Africa from a struggle to survive to a business that strives.”
According to the AGRF website, the $100,000-prize “celebrates Africans who are taking control of Africa’s agriculture agenda. It puts a spotlight on bold initiatives and technical innovations that can be replicated across the continent to create a new era of food security and economic opportunity for all Africans”.
Recent awardees include former International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) president Kanayo Nwanze (2016); entrepreneur, founder, and owner of Faso Kaba Sarl Maimouna Sidibe Coulibaly from Mali and academic expert in Food Security and Nutrition Ruth Oniang-o (2017).
The Africa Food Prize began as the Yara Prize, and was established in 2005 by Yara International ASA in Norway to honor achievements in African agriculture. The Yara Prize was moved to Africa in 2016 and renamed the Africa Food Prize.
IITA is the first institution to win the award. The institute is supported by numerous donors, governments, and partners, and focuses on increasing food security and availability, enhancing the profitability of foods, feeds, and other agricultural products, and sustainable management of natural resources.
As a driver of agricultural transformation in Africa, IITA has developed technologies that include improved and high-yielding varieties of major African staples such as banana/plantain, cassava, cowpea, maize, soybean, and yam; good agronomic and farming practices; seed development technologies; innovative applications for better crop, plant health, and soil resources management. It has contributed to improved overall agricultural productivity in the region, and created wealth for farmers and value chain actors, while making significant contributions to national economic development through agriculture and helping the environment become more resilient.
In Nigeria, IITA has been working with the Federal Government on its agricultural transformation agenda, collaborating with the national agricultural research systems, partners, and various partnership platforms.