Ugandan smallholder farmer, Dr. Emma Naluyima and Baba Dioum, an agricultural entrepreneur from Senegal, have been announced as the joint winners of the 2019 Africa Food Prize.
The two were recognized for their remarkable achievements in demonstrating and promoting innovative and sustainable growth in Africa´s agriculture through improved resource use and market links.
Rather than pursue a promising institutional career, Dr. Naluyima quit employment to become a farmer, transforming her 1-acre plot into a showcase of profitable and environmentally friendly agriculture.
The secret to her success is innovative integration of crop and livestock production, based on recycling of farm resources to provide natural fertilizers and pesticides as well as biogas.
Dr. Naluyima, who generates $100,000 a year from her farm, also hosts up to 10,000 visiting farmers to share knowledge through her advisory service.
H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria, who chairs the Africa Food Prize Committee, congratulated Dr. Naluyima and Mr. Dioum on behalf of other Committee members, praising them for their courage in defying the status quo to open new pathways toward a more prosperous agriculture and for their solidarity with many others who wish to follow in their footsteps.
“What most strikes me about this year´s winners is how their academic and professional success has gone hand in hand with their success as farmers,” said H.E. President Obasanjo. “Rather than turn away from the countryside like so many others, they have embraced farming, using their talents and knowledge to demonstrate its enormous commercial possibilities. In other words, they practice what they preach, and this lends real credibility to their message about the value of technical and policy innovation in agriculture.”
The 2019 winners, chosen from a total of close to 200 nominees, exemplify the central aim of the Africa Food Prize, which is to put a spotlight on innovations that promise to create a new era of food security and economic opportunity for all Africans. The two winners´ achievements strongly complement one another, showing how both small-scale production and high-level policy reforms can contribute to agricultural transformation.
Not content with the immediate financial rewards of her 1-acre farm – $100,000 per year, Dr. Naluyima has turned it into a platform for sharing knowledge about her innovative model with the 10,000 people who seek her out each year. She and her husband have also set up a primary school – still on their 1-acre plot – that gives special emphasis to science and technology for its close to 300 students. Her experience and achievements speak volume about the importance of this kind of education for enabling rural women and youth to build more appealing livelihoods.
“I am a firm believer that if you take good care of a farm, it will care of you all the way to the bank. This is I know to be true as it is what I do on my 1-acre farm where I practice integrated farming,” said Dr. Naluyima.
“I feel honoured to be a winner of the Africa Food Prize, and hope this connects me with new sources of knowledge to share. A passion to succeed is not enough; you also need knowledge, which I am always in serach.”