The last session of this year’s AGRF virtual summit was the announcement of two prestigious prizes: the GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize, a pan-African competition for innovative young entrepreneurs with pioneering business ventures and the African Food Prize (AFP), the preeminent award recognizing an outstanding individual or institution that is leading the effort to change the reality of farming in Africa.
The ceremony began with Svein Tore Holsether, President and Chief Executive Officer, Yarra International explaining the origin of the GoGettaz prize. He remembered discussing Kofi Anan’s belief that young people were the future with Strive Masiyiwa when he was president at AGRA, how they could be supported. This prize was the result, launched in Davos last year. He marvelled at the effort taken by the judges to whittle 12 contenders from over 300 applicants, of whom two, one male and one female are awarded USD 50,000 each.
Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President of AGRA, announced the additional four Impact Awards:
Elizabeth Gikebe, founder of Mhogo Foods, a cassava processing company in Kenya.
Millicent Agidipo from Achiever Foods Limited in Ghana, who is on a mission to save lives with organic foods that promotes a strong immune system.
Dysmus Kisilu of Solar Freeze, a company that tackles post-harvest losses using solar powered cold storage
Paul Matovu founder of Vertical and Micro Gardening (VMG) a Ugandan company building towers for urban farming.
The overall female winner was Daniella Kwayu whose company, Phema Agris is the first investment platform to use a blended finance approach to enable commercially viable, de-risked agriculture value chains.
The Male winner was 23 year old Moses Katala, owner of MagoFarm, an insect technology startup that focuses on producing organic proteins from insects.
Each will receive USD50,000.
The Africa Food Prize ceremony followed with the Chair, Oludegun Obasanjo, former president of Nigeria announcing the winners. He said he hoped they will contribute to change the reality of farming and food production in Africa and thanked the prize sponsors Yara and AGRA for making it possible.
The first winner was André Bationo, a researcher from Burkina Faso, recognized for his efforts in improving micro-dosing technology. Dr. Bationo also scaled-up an inventory credit system which allows farmers to store grain and receive credit when prices are low, so they can sell when prices rise. He thanked CORAF for his nomination and the IFDC for the role they played in his success.
The female winner was Catherine Nakalembo, a Ugandan researcher honored for her dedication to improving the lives of smallholder farmers by using satellite technology to harness data that guides agricultural decision making. In accepting the award, she said “I yearned for knowledge at every turn. I am here today because of education and a mother determined to keep me in school.”
Dr. Kaliabata commended the winners as the future of Africa and hoped that they would contribute to preventing the current health crisis from becoming a food crisis.