Dr. Akinwumi Adesina won the prize for his work distributing much-needed seeds to rural African farms. 
world food prize winner for 2017
Credit: Courtesy of World Food Prize Foundation

The 2017 World Food Prize Winner, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank and the former Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria, is helping fight hunger in Africa by providing farmers with seeds and fertilizers that will help them increase their crop yields.

According to the BBC, the World Food Prize “aims to recognize efforts to increase the quality and quantity of available food.”

"For me, the award is not just about recognition for me, it is also about putting the wind behind the sails of what still needs to be done in African agriculture," Adesina told the BBC.

the Laureate Dr. Akinwumi Adesina
Credit: Courtesy of World Food Prize Foundation

Adesina helped rural entrepreneurs set up small shops, where they could acquire seeds and fertilizers, which are often not widely available. As Adesina points out, it’s far easier to find sodas like Coca-Cola and Pepsi in Africa, than it is necessities like farm supplies.

A statement from the World Food Prize Foundation said that Adesina’s efforts have helped in “significantly expanding food production in Nigeria.”

The award comes with a $250,000 prize that former U.S. ambassador and current president of the World Food Prize Foundation Kenneth Quinn says he hopes will provide Adesina with “further impetus to his profound vision for enhancing nutrition…and inspiring the next generation of Africans as they confront the challenges of the 21st century.”

Adesina himself grew up in poverty, and therefore has first hand experience with how urgent the food crisis in Africa really is. Since then, he’s dedicated his life to figuring out solutions that will increase food production, boost the continent's economy, and give business opportunities to rural communities.

“My life mission is to lift up millions of people out of poverty, especially farmers in rural areas of Africa,” he said. “We must give hope and turn agriculture into a business all across Africa to create wealth for African economies.”