Okonjo-Iweala, Balogun, Okowa laud Adesina as 2017 World Food Prize Laureate
Nigeria’s Chargé d’Affaires to the U.S. Hakeem Balogun, former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa , have lauded the emergence of Dr Akinwunmi Adesina as the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate. Balogun and Okonjo-Iweala told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent in the U.S. that Adesina’s selection for the prestigious prize was a great honour for Nigeria.
Adesina, who is the current President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), was Minister of Agriculture under President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
He was named winner of the 250,000-dollar World Food Prize, regarded as the equivalent of a Nobel Prize for Agriculture, at a ceremony on Monday at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington D.C.
Balogun described Adesina’s emergence as a great honour to our country.
“It is a manifestation of government’s efforts, past and present, at eradicating poverty and placing food on the tables of all Nigerians.
“Dr Adesina is another show of the numerous Nigerians that are shining examples and who are excelling in their various professions all over the world.
“You will recall that Dr Adesina, while serving as Minister of Agriculture was known as the ‘Farmer’s Minister.”
The Nigerian envoy said Adesina’s policies while serving as Minister, expanded Nigeria’s food production and attracted over five billion dollars in private sector investments in agriculture.
“His (Adesina’s) food policies resulted in close to, if not more than, 20 million metric tonnes.
“For us in the Embassy of Nigeria, we are glad that this is a Nigerian to showcase. I congratulate Dr Akinwumi Adesina,” Balogun said.
On her part, Okonjo-Iweala, who served alongside Adesina, hailed the achievement of her former colleague.
“A proud day for Nigeria; President Akin Adesina, President of the AfDB, is announced as the recipient of the 2017 World Food Prize,” she said.
According to Okonjo-Iweala, Adesina’s feat as the new Laureate is an example and a testimony that about 99 per cent of our citizens are law-abiding and good natured.
Adesina is the 46th person and the sixth African to win the World Food Prize.
While serving as Minister of Agriculture, Adesina birthed the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) under which the E-Wallet system of distribution of agricultural inputs, the first of its kind, was introduced.
For the first time in the history of agriculture in Nigeria, farmers received alerts on their phones to collect their allocation of inputs.
Also, Delta State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa has congratulated Dr. Adesina, on his emergence as the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate.
Governor Okowa recalled how Adesina as a serving Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria, formulated the Agricultural Transformation Agenda under which the E-Wallet system of distribution of agricultural inputs, the first of its kind, was introduced.
“On behalf of the government and people of Delta State, I congratulate Dr Akinwumi Adesina, a former Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and now President of the African Development Bank, ADB on his emergence as the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate for his outstanding contributions to the growth of production and reduction of hunger in the history of Nigeria.
“Under Adesina as Minister of Agriculture, farmers in Nigeria received alerts on their phones to collect their allocation of inputs for the first time in the history of agriculture in Nigeria.
“Our national food production expanded by an additional 21million metric tonnes of food within three years which led to a decline in Nigeria’s food import bill by N466billion from one trillion naira during the Goodluck Jonathan administration”
Governor Okowa further commended Dr Adesina for cleaning up the corrupt fertiliser industry, which for over 40 years was riddled with corruption under the old order.
He said his administration’s SMART Agenda was crafted to harness the gains made by the Agricultural Transformation Agenda as midwifed by the former Minister.
Adesina will be presented with the prize money and Laureate sculpture at a ceremony at the Iowa State Capitol on Oct. 19.
The event in Washington, D.C. was presided over by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue and attended by some U.S. Congressmen, Ambassadors and members of the diplomatic corps.