Kenya’s Prof Ruth Oniang’o and Mme Maimouna Coulibali of Mali, have jointly won the 2017 Africa Food Prize during the 7th African Green Revolution Forum in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. The Chairperson of the Prize Committee, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, who announced the winners yesterday, commended Prof Oniang’o and Mme Coulibaly on behalf of the Committee for their trailblazing efforts that are improving the socio-economic wellbeing of millions in Africa. “It gives me immense pride that this year’s winner are both women. This is a clear demonstration that women in Africa are at the forefront in terms of connecting the rising food needs and the continent’s vision for prosperity that is driven by agriculture and agri-business. He added, “The fact that the winners work at either end of the agriculture value chain, represent both private and public sector and are from different parts of Africa reflects the wide impact agriculture has in transforming economies and reducing poverty, way beyond the field.” Prof. Ruth Oniang’o, a professor , is an advocate of nutrition from Kenya, and Mme Maïmouna Sidibe Coulibaly, an entrepreneur and agro industrialist, from Mali, were awarded for their exemplary efforts in driving Africa’s agriculture transformation. Prof. Ruth Oniang’o is recognized as the leading voice of nutrition in Africa and for her relentless advocacy for the availability and affordability of diverse and nutritious crops for millions across the continent. She pioneered nutrition leadership in academia, research, and policy to improve food security and nutrition. Her groundbreaking work, with farmers’ groups and rural communities connects agriculture and nutrition both in research and practice providing a natural link between agriculture and nutrition. “I believe we are what we eat. I realized early on in my life, when I dreamt of being a doctor, that food is the first medicine,” said Prof. Oniang’o as she received her Prize. “I am humbled to receive this Prize and believe it highlights the work we have done and more importantly, it will contribute towards shaping our continent’s food future. I am a strong believer that Africa shall, one day, feed the world.” said Prof Oniang’o. Speaking after receiving her award, Coulibaly said that the opportunities for Africa agribusinesses are endless. “I am honored and humbled to receive this Prize. It is, in part, a validation of the hard work that I have put into building Faso Kaba with the support of my family and staff. I would like to say that it has been easy. There are many times when I almost gave up as I struggled to raise to finance the business. I am glad I stayed true to my vision, attended many trainings and worked with partners that believed in my vision,” she said.
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