The Africa Food Prize is the preeminent award that celebrates Africans who are taking control of the continent’s agriculture agenda with concepts that will change the current reality of farming in Africa.
The award is hosted by Kenya-headquartered AGRA, an African-led institution that puts smallholder farmers at the centre of the continent’s growing economy by transforming agriculture from a solitary struggle to survive into a business that thrives.
Each year, $100,000 is awarded to a uniquely impactful agri-food initiative that can be replicated across the continent to eliminate hunger and poverty, increase food security and spur economic growth and development.
This year, Nestlé has jumped on board, with a CHF 100,000 contribution, a portion of which will go towards a special category focusing on innovations that advance regenerative food systems.
Nestlé’s work in Africa
“Transforming agriculture to be more productive and sustainable is key to reducing hunger and improving livelihoods for the long term,” said Remy Ejel, CEO of Zone Asia, Oceania and Africa, Nestlé SA.
“We aim to support and amplify efforts that spearhead regenerative agriculture and food systems to enable better productivity, better nutrition and better incomes for people in Africa.”
Nestlé’s partnership with the Africa Food Prize builds on the multinational F&B conglomerate’s work in Africa to improve nutrition. One example is its Live Strong with Iron campaign in Central and West Africa to raise people's awareness of the health impact of iron deficiency and provide families with tips to improve their diets.
The Swiss-headquartered has also taken great strides to expand access affordable nutrition, for example, by fortifying Golden Morn cereal with vitamin A and iron. The cereal contains locally-sourced whole grains and even upcycled agricultural ingredients from the production of Nestle’s chocolate-flavoured malted powder Milo. Another example is Cerevita Instant Sour Porridge, which uses locally-sourced sorghum, has a higher fibre and protein content than similar products available in local markets, and costs about 20-25% less.
The Kit Kat and Aero maker is also passionate about closing the living income gap for cocoa-farming communities in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana, eliminating child labour, and helping coffee farmers in Côte d'Ivoire transition to regenerative agriculture.
Focus on UN’s SDG2
“We are happy to be partnering with Nestlé to recognise Africa’s best in food systems,” said Dr Agnes Kalibata, president of AGRA.
“The Africa Food Prize is a great opportunity to shine a bright spotlight on Africa’s outstanding minds, giving the rest of us a chance to learn and replicate their good work that is moving us closer to sustainable, inclusive and resilient food systems and achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2 on Zero Hunger.”
Established in 2005 by Yara International ASA in Norway, the Yara Prize recognised extraordinary women, men and institutions from Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Malawi, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and Mozambique for their success in making African farms more productive, profitable and resilient.
It was rechristened the Africa Food Prize in 2016 to give it a distinctive African ownership and is now open to all countries across the continent.
Building on the values and principles established by the Yara Prize, the Africa Food Prize puts a spotlight on achievements and innovations with transformative power that can be scaled and replicated across the continent to eliminate hunger and poverty and provide a vital new source of employment and income.
The recipient of the 2022 Prize was Dr Eric Yirenkyi Danquah, a plant geneticist from Ghana who established the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), propelling it into a world-class centre for the education of plant breeders in Africa. In 2021, it was awarded to the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) for agriculture research that has improved food security across 13 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
2023 Africa Food Prize
Entries are evaluated by a judging committee comprising some of Africa’s great food system leaders and judged according to the proven results and scalable efforts, directly or indirectly, in improving sustainable agriculture and food and nutrition security in Africa.
Taken into consideration is the nominee’s achievements with regard to visionary thinking, their role as motivator and campaigner, as well as their inclination to share knowledge. It will also acknowledge the circumstances under which the work has been carried out, such as difficulties, hostilities or prejudices encountered.
Submissions for next year’s Africa Food Prize will open in January 2023 and winners will be announced at the AGRF, Africa Food Systems Forum, in September.