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Welcome Address by Dr. Akinwumi Adesina at the Inaugural WHFF Hunger-Fighters Dialogues

Remarks given by Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, President, African Development Bank, Patron, World Hunger Fighters Foundation, at the Hunger Fighters Dialogues, organized by the World Hunger Fighters Foundation.

Good morning everyone!

I am so delighted to participate at the Hunger Fighters’ Dialogues organized by the World Hunger Fighters Foundation.

Thank you to the President of the Foundation, my dear wife, Grace, our Chief Operating Officer Ada Osakwe and her team at the Foundation, and all the Borlaug-Adesina Fellows for organizing these dialogues. I am sure they will be very exciting!

Let me warmly welcome Ndidi Nwuneli, who will be speaking with you today. She is one of the Game Changers in Nigeria’s food industry. Thank you Ndidi for sparing time to share your experiences running food businesses with our Borlaug-Adesina Fellows.

There is nothing more important than food — nutritious food. Food business is Africa’s biggest business. By 2030 the size of the food and agriculture business in Africa will be worth $1 trillion.

Yet today, 300 million people in Africa are food insecure. Malnutrition and stunting are pervasive, especially among children. Africa’s best talents, its youth, are denied opportunities to develop mentality and physically. The consequences will be severe on economies. Stunted children today will lead to stunted economies tomorrow. 

So, fighting hunger is all about unlocking Africa’s human and economic potential.

And that economic potential is so immense in Africa. Just think about it: some 65% of the uncultivated arable land left to feed 9 billion people in the world by 2050 is in Africa. What Africa does with food will determine the future of food in the world.

To feed the world, Africa must feed itself. 

To prosper, Africa must unleash wealth from agriculture.

Feeding Africa must start with getting agriculture right: raising agricultural productivity, lowering the cost of food, improving nutritional content of food and improving access to quality and nutritious food. 

And the youth must get into agriculture, as leaders, innovators, and game changers.

Creating wealth in agriculture must start with accelerating access of farmers to agricultural technologies, reducing post-harvest losses, developing and expanding access to markets, adding value to agricultural commodities through greater processing, and improving access of farmers and agribusinesses to finance. 

With the ravaging impacts of climate change, there is also increasing need for improving farmers’ access to climate information and market risk transfer mechanisms, such as crop and livestock insurance, as well as irrigation. 

Equally important are bold policies that support farmers, especially smallholder farmers, women and youth.

The wealth of the food and agricultural sector must not be concentrated in large commercial farms and agribusinesses; they must be shared, with greater wealth opportunities for small and medium sized farms and agribusinesses all across the agricultural value chains — especially those run by the youth. 

Make space for the small. 

That is not just a cache phrase. Let me be more specific. 

For agricultural transformation to create shared wealth and prosperity, as well as decent jobs and wages for millions, we must have much more supportive policies for small and medium sized farmers and businesses.

We must not try to replicate dominant food and agricultural systems in developed economies. Over-concentration on large commercial farms and agribusinesses squeeze out space for small and medium sized farms and businesses. 

Over consolidation leads to monolithic agricultural and food systems that tend to be less resilient and equitable. As you squeeze out the small, you squeeze out jobs, and worsen inequality.

To expand opportunities for small and medium sized farms and businesses, Africa must focus on promoting regional trade in food and agriculture. These regional markets provide vast untapped opportunities in processed and semi-processed commodities and products. 

Africa’s highly diverse and more nutritious foods, buoyed by cultural food habits, create segmented competitive advantage for specialized local foods and businesses.

We must promote disruptive innovations, processing and packaging that favor and promote Africa’s food, not imported foods and agricultural commodities.

Africa’s young entrepreneurs must innovate and help break the continent’s over-dependence on imported foods. Innovate local. Process local. Market regionally. Prosper local and prosper regionally.

The World Hunger Fighters’ Foundation is so proud of you, our Borlaug-Adesina Fellows. You are already leaders, innovators and game changers. As young entrepreneurs, you are making a difference, from research to policy, agribusiness, nutrition, communications, advocacy, and food processing.

You are Africa’s hunger fighters — the generation that is changing the future of food in Africa. You are change makers!

To bring about faster change, you need mentors. Those who inspire you and show you what is possible, and challenge you to go further and drive harder.

The Hunger Fighter’s Dialogues offer unique opportunities for Borlaug-Adesina Fellows to engage with leaders — Game Changers— (like Ada, Ndidi and several others) in the food and agriculture industry, to learn and exchange ideas, gain from their experiences and be inspired. 

And you chose the Game Changers yourselves! 

I know about getting inspired by Game Changers. 

My mentor, Dr. Norman Borlaug, the late Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, showed such passion for ending global hunger. Sharing his experiences with me sparked my passion to end hunger in Africa. 

Today, at the African Development Bank that I lead, our “Feed Africa” strategy has provided 141 million farmers with agricultural technologies for food security, in under five years. And we are just starting…

So, get a spark! Sparks will help you make a bigger and faster difference.

Let the sparks from Game Changers light up your torch. Then run with the torch everywhere, until we end hunger in Africa.

That is a race worth running! 

That is a goal we must achieve!

Thank you very much. God bless you all.

Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina
President
African Development Bank

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina Launches The Hunger-Fighters Dialogues

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina Launches The Hunger-Fighters Dialogues

On Thursday, 17th September, 2020, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina launched the World Hunger Fighters Foundation (WHFF) Hunger-Fighters Dialogues, themed Conversations with Game-Changers. A headline series of events of the Foundation’s Borlaug-Adesina Fellowship, the Hunger-Fighters Dialogues features in-depth interviews, hosted by Borlaug-Adesina Fellows, with renowned contributors to Africa’s food security who the Fellows specifically select for their unique and inspiring journey. 

WHFF Patron, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, in his inspiring welcome address emphasized that “Feeding Africa must start with getting agriculture right: raising agricultural productivity, lowering the cost of food, improving nutritional content of food and improving access to quality and nutritious food.” Staying consistent in his belief in the power of Africa’s youth, he further acknowledged that “the youth must get into agriculture, as leaders, innovators, and game changers.”

Nearly 100 participants from across Africa joined this exclusive event to learn from the titan in African agriculture who went on to share perspectives on the role small and medium sized farming businesses play in ensuring Africa’s inclusive growth ; “For agricultural transformation to create shared wealth and prosperity, as well as decent jobs and wages for millions, we must have much more supportive policies for small and medium sized farmers and businesses…Over-concentration on large commercial farms and agribusinesses squeeze out space for small and medium sized farms and businesses’’. 

The inaugural event was headlined by Mrs. Ndidi Nwuneli, Founder and Managing Director of Sahel Consulting, AACE Foods and Nourishing Africa, and a leading agripreneur, investor, and youth advocate in Africa. For over thirty minutes, questions were posed to her by Victor Mugo, 2020 Borlaug-Adesina Fellow from Kenya who is passionate about agriculture and nutrition. “57% of African households cannot afford a healthy, nutritious diet. We must change this by making nutritious foods more affordable and accessible for all” Ms. Nwuneli stated. 

The Hunger-Fighters Dialogues will play a critical role to help realize the Foundation’s vision to develop a new generation of young food and agribusiness entrepreneurs who will promote agriculture as a business and a viable sector able to create wealth for the continent’s smallholder farmers.

The next edition in the series will hold on Thursday, 24th September 2020. Register at www.worldhungerfighters.org. All sessions will be available to watch on the website.

Read Dr. Adesina’s full speech here.  

How border closure policy turned me to an entrepreneur – Alifa

How border closure policy turned me to an entrepreneur – Alifa

Nicholas Alifa is a 26 year old entrepreneur and a fellow of the Borlaug-Adesina Fellowship. He is also the CEO of Ajaoko Agritech Limited, a platform that provides smart solutions to farmers on complex challenges. It also connects farmers with stakeholders in the food and agricultural education sphere. In this interview, Alifa talked about getting over key challenges in the agriculture business, among other issues.

What was growing up like for you?

I was born and bred in Kogi state. My parents are teachers and growing up was exciting, I spent my early childhood reading books and playing. I play a lot. Sometimes my parents wondered how I performed well in school. I had my first degree on food science and technology at Kogi state University and currently Pursuing my master’s degree at the University of Ibadan.

How did you form the Ajaoko venture?

I was part of the 2016 innovation competition known as Aso Villa Demo Day award where over 4,000 contestants submitted a business proposal across various sectors. We were shortlisted to 30 finalists. In 2017, Growth and Empowerment Project of the federal government awarded a grant to us. Ajaoko started as an online platform that connects different stakeholders in Food and agricultural related issues. It later metamorphosed into an end to end solution for agriculture in Nigeria. The  system provide farmers with easy and fast access to farm inputs, technical support, near and profitable market as well as funding to enhance efficiency. We are working through our agribusiness model with a cluster of farmers in the rice sector thereby helping them gain access to the latest technology in rice farming and processing as well as providing technical support for them.

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?

The policy of the federal government on importation of rice in the country is no longer new. According to National Bureau of Statistics, the amount of money spent on importation of food and drink as at 2015-2017 has increased from $2.1bn to $4.1bn. It is apparent that, when we produce what we eat and drink in our locality, we have high chances of eating healthy. Moreover we have little or no idea of the fertilizers and other chemicals applied on such crops, it may be harmful to our body or even the money used in importation will be diversified into other sectors of the economy. I thought of the benefit attached to it and how it will boost our GDP, this is why I decided to initiate #Ajaokorice, a rice brand produced in the market. I could recall that, I wanted to study biochemistry in the university but my course was changed to Food Science and Technology. I never knew such course existed as at that time. During my third year, I realized that there was little or no citation of African indigenous foods in most International food science textbooks. It became a big concern to me that African indigenous food products couldn’t compete with others on a global scale. Over time that concern translated into passion that led me to start up Afrifood Initiative to promote the African indigenous food products, through awareness and grass-root mobilization for youth involvement in value addition.

You are a fellow of the Borlaug-Adesina Fellowship. Can you tell us more about the programme?

I was selected among the top 10 youths from Africa into the prestigious Borlaug-Adesina Fellowship by the World Hunger Foundation during the World Food Prize event in the United State. The Foundation was founded by the president of the African Development Bank, and 2017 winner of the World Food Prize, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina. He saw the passion in us to fight hunger in our various countries. However, the aim of inaugurating us into the foundation is to proffer lasting solutions hence bridging the gaps between farmers with stakeholder to alleviate hunger and wastage of food produce especially in Africa.

How has technology helped in improving farmers’ performance?

In the course of running this project, I discovered that one of the major challenges in the Nigerian Food System is as a result of the gap between the major players’ that is, farmers and consumers as well as the value chain.  The model focuses on producer networking instead of the conventional product buying from the market. We collect the produce from the farmers, connect to the buyers and deliver at ease to the customer. In that way, we are able to monitor the farmers’ performance and help them to improve yield and maximize profit. Through our agribusiness cluster, we have been able to provide inputs, technical services, funds and an accessible market to our network of farmers. This has improved their yield by up to 45% and profit by 37% over the past four years.

How has it been competing with other brands in the industry?

Like every other solution, we have a unique market segment, value proportion, and business model. For example, our solution is value chain specific, and as we grow, we move into more value chains. Competitions are constant and God is helping us scale through.

Where do you see yourself and Ajaoko in few years?

I see Ajaoko becoming one of the top household names in the food and agriculture business in Nigeria. Likewise I see myself becoming a globally recognized authority in Agribusiness, Especially from the African Perspective. Related

The article was featured in the https://www.dailytrust.com.ng/ By Ibrahim Musa Giginyu & Pebang Danladi, Kano | Published Date Jan 1, 2020 1:50 AM

3 FUTA alumni win Borlaug-Adesina World Food Prize Foundation fellowship EDUCATION

3 FUTA alumni win Borlaug-Adesina World Food Prize Foundation fellowship EDUCATION

THREE alumni of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, have been named among the 10 winners of the 2019 Borlaug-Adesina Foundation Fellowship under the aegis of the current president of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina’s World Food Prize Foundation. The three FUTA alumni are Emmanuel Maduka, who graduated with a first class honors in Agricultural Extension and Communication Technology in 2018; Olufemi Adesina, who also graduated with first class honors in Agricultural Extension and Communication Technology in 2017, and John Agboola who graduated with a degree in Agricultural Extension and Economics in 2015. Other 2019 fellows are Ife Omotayo (Nigeria), Nicholas Alifa (Nigeria), Victor Mugo (Kenya), Adonai Da Matha San’tana (Benin Republic), Lourena Arone Maxwell (Mozambique), Marriane Enow Tabi (Cameroun) and Solomon A Nimako.

In 2017, Dr Akinwumi Adesina won the World Food Prize of $250,000USD and announced that he would donate the money to a foundation and set up a structure to support young people in agriculture. He also won the $500,000USD Sunhak Prize for Peace, which he also donated to the same cause. That decision gave birth to the World Hunger Fighters Foundation in partnership with the World Food Prize Foundation, USA, and led to the establishment of the Borlaug-Adesina Foundation Fellowship as a year-long fellowship programme, presenting an unparalleled opportunity to outstanding African youths between the ages of 21 and 30 years.

Borlaug-Adesina Fellows were announced at the annual World Food Prize Dialogues in Iowa, USA on October 17, 2019. The fellows will be provided with opportunities to gain exposure and experience at any of the International Agricultural Research Centres around the world, or with a select number of global food and agribusiness companies.

The vice chancellor of FUTA, Professor Joseph Fuwape, has described the feat of the three alumni, Emmanuel Maduka, Olufemi Adesina, and John Agboola as commendable.


Climate Change Threatens the World’s Food Supply, United Nations Warns

Climate Change Threatens the World’s Food Supply, United Nations Warns

Cattle grazing outside Sokoto, Nigeria, where large-scale farming is in conflict with local communities. Credit…Luis Tato/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The world’s land and water resources are being exploited at “unprecedented rates,” a new United Nations report warns, which combined with climate change is putting dire pressure on the ability of humanity to feed itself.

The report, prepared by more than 100 experts from 52 countries and released in summary form in Geneva on Thursday, found that the window to address the threat is closing rapidly. A half-billion people already live in places turning into desert, and soil is being lost between 10 and 100 times faster than it is forming, according to the report.

Climate change will make those threats even worse, as floods, drought, storms and other types of extreme weather threaten to disrupt, and over time shrink, the global food supply. Already, more than 10 percent of the world’s population remains undernourished, and some authors of the report warned in interviews that food shortages could lead to an increase in cross-border migration.

A particular danger is that food crises could develop on several continents at once, said Cynthia Rosenzweig, a senior research scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and one of the lead authors of the report. “The potential risk of multi-breadbasket failure is increasing,” she said. “All of these things are happening at the same time.”