A vet and a forest engineer win prestigious Africa Food Prize
September 4 2019
Dr. Emma Naluyima’s farm in Entebbe, a 51-minute drive from the Ugandan capital Kampala, is about to receive more visitors than it already does.
Naluyima, a trained veterinary doctor and Senegalese forestry engineer Baba Dioum, are the joint winners of the 2019 Africa Food Prize, a US $100,000 award celebrating Africans who are taking control of the continent’s agricultural agenda. The duo will be officially awarded at a gala dinner on Wednesday 4 September.
Dr. Naluyima was recognized for her role in promoting innovative and sustainable growth in Africa´s agriculture. Through her one-acre farm, on which practices integrated farming, Naluyima has trained thousands of Ugandans to maximize yields from compact pieces of land.
“I have divided the farm into quarters with pigs, cows and fish taking a piece each as matoke and vegetables occupy the last one,” she said.
“But the thing that has distinguished me from the average farmer in my country is that I have been advantaged to implement scientific strategies that optimally use the land.”
The science that Naluyima speaks about is integrated farming, a system combining cultivation methods with natural and chemical pest control.
“From the pigs, I collect manure that I use to fertilize the matoke and vegetable patches. I also use vermiculture on some of the pig and cow dung to create organic pesticides for my crops and to grow maggots that I feed my fish on. This is in addition to generating biogas from the same waste,” she said.
So successful is her enterprise that she rarely has the need to buy food and she generates $100,000 from the sale of surplus produce. Her farm is always open to visitors – up to 10,000 per year – most of whom are youth and women, and who she graciously equips with the knowledge needed to set up working models of their own.
“Young people in Uganda can initially only access small pieces of land, typically quarter-acre parcels, but I show them that they can still practice productive farming,” said Dr. Naluyima.
Co-award winner Baba Dioum has built a name for himself around markets and trade in agricultural commodities. His work has contributed to policy developments promoting cross-border agricultural trade in West Africa.
To help consolidate West Africa´s position in this market, he created a regional network of mango exporters and developed a successful regional brand. He has also engaged in the production of vegetables and potato for export.
“Starting in 1964, I learnt through forestry and civic education that the achievement of short term needs can also be used to meet long-term perspectives,” he said.
Later, his quest for regional integration made him an important pillar in the continent’s policy environment.
Recognizing Dioum’s and Naluyima’s achievements, Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria and chair of the Africa Food Prize Committee hailed the duo as champions of African agriculture.
“The two have shown that agriculture in Africa can be the means to changing livelihoods, both at the practical and policy levels. We celebrate them and we hope they will continue to serve as an inspiration to the continent,” said Obasanjo.
The Africa Food Prize puts a spotlight on bold initiatives and technical innovations that can be replicated across the continent to create a new era of food security and economic opportunity for all Africans.
Previous AFP laureates include the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), chosen in 2018 for their leadership in innovating agricultural research and technologies that have improved food security, nutrition, and incomes for millions of people across Africa, and joint 2017 winners, Kenyan professor Ruth Oniang’o and Malian Mme Maïmouna Sidibe Coulibaly.