AFRICAN Development Bank (AfDB) president, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, has pledged to set up a fund for young farmers using the $250 000 World Food Prize money that he won recently. Dr Adesina has been proclaimed the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate winner by the US State of Iowa in honour of his aggressive push for increased food production on the continent.
In line with the thrust of youth empowerment, Dr Adesina has pledged to devote his $250 000 prize money to a fund in support of young African farmers and agriculture entrepreneurs, or “agripreneurs.”
“And so, even though I don’t have the cash in my hand, I hereby commit my $250 000 as a cash prize for the World Food Prize award to set up a fund fully dedicated to providing financing for the youth of Africa in agriculture to feed Africa,” said Dr Adesina.
“We will arise and feed Africa. The day is coming very soon when all its children will be well-fed, when millions of small-holder farmers will be able to send their kids to school. Then you will hear a new song across Africa: ‘Thank God our lives are better at last.”
The World Food Prize Foundation president Ambassador Kenneth Quinn paid tribute to Dr Adesina, “whose breakthrough achievements have impacted millions of farmers and those living in rural poverty in Nigeria and throughout Africa, and whose leadership holds great promise for uplifting millions and millions more across that continent.”
In a speech at the colourful ceremony, the United States of America Vice President Mr Michael Pence commended the Laureate in a speech read on his behalf by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) administrator Mr Mark Green. “As our global food system is stretched, and the need to feed more people grows, agricultural transformation will require persistence from leaders like you in driving change and capitalizing on public- and private-sector expertise,” said Mr Pence. He described Dr Adesina’s devotion to the cause of fighting global hunger as admirable, and deeply needed, and on behalf of President Donald Trump, extended heartfelt congratulations.
“The United States is and remains committed to food security, and we will continue to work with leaders like you to find innovative ways to end global hunger,” said Pence.
Under Dr Adesina’s leadership, the AfDB is accelerating agricultural development through its Feed Africa Strategy with planned investment of $24 billion over the next 10 years. The World Food Prize also recognises Dr Adesina’s work over the past two decades with the Rockefeller Foundation, at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and as Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.