What’s wrong with the Africa Food Prize?

This week the titans of agribusiness will shine a spotlight on their favorite tech-based approaches to food production by awarding the World Food Prize in Iowa, as they do every year, in the home of Norman Borlaug, credited as the “father of the green revolution.”

When Yara International, the Norwegian fertilizer company, decided that it wanted to expand its markets through a new green revolution for Africa, it started hosting the African Green Revolution Forum – in Norway – with its own Africa Food Prize. The Africa Food Prize (formerly the Yara Prize) supposedly celebrates agricultural innovation “by Africans for Africa,” but its funders have come to include other international promoters of agrochemical and seed companies including AGRA and Cornell University–both of which have received funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

CAGJ’s AGRA Watch campaign researched this year’s Africa Food Prize recipient, Dr. Eric Yirenkyi Danquah, a Ghanaian plant geneticist, as we wanted to demonstrate the stark difference between him and his organization and the 2022 Food Sovereignty Prize winner, Food Sovereignty Ghana.

Notably, Dr. Danquah’s organization–the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI)–is deeply connected with and funded by organizations that serve agribusiness interests. While crop breeding can (and does) help build climate resilience and adaptation to new conditions, it’s clear from the entangled network of connections between agribusiness corporations, philanthropic foundations, and African scientists and institutions that it too often serves international profit motives, rather than African farmers.

Watch a Prezi showing these connections step by step, here!

We are disappointed, though not surprised, that innovations that serve industrial agriculture continue to be celebrated, while the voices of farmers and communities are ignored. Because of this, we must continue to interrogate the structures that uphold our current food system while we celebrate the beautiful alternatives created by our colleagues around the world!

In honor of just and resilient food systems, we invite you to learn more about this year’s Food Sovereignty Prize winners, Food Sovereignty Ghana  (international honoree) and Western Organization of Resource Councils (domestic honoree), who received their prizes from the US Food Sovereignty Alliance last week.


Posted in Agra Watch Blog Posts, Agra Watch News, News, Slider.

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