The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (Icrisat) has won the 2021 Africa Food Prize Award for work that has improved food security across 13 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Malawi is one of the countries that have benefitted from the crop improvement projects. The other countries are Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
According to a statement released on Wednesday, the non-profit international research organisation that conducts agricultural research in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, said it has developed 266 improved legume varieties.
Reads the statement in part: “These new varieties have helped over 25 million smallholder farmers become more resilient to climate change as well as pest and disease outbreaks.”
The statement notes that the project has also trained 52 scientists to strengthen national agricultural research systems in Africa.
In his congratulatory remarks, Africa Food Prize Committee chairperson Olusegun Obasanjo hailed Icrisat for developing seeds that survive in semi-arid areas.
In her acceptance speech, Icrisat director general Jacqueline d’Arros Hughes said their work spanned the entire cropping system value chain.
“We also empower women and attract youths back to agriculture using the latest tools and technologies available to make farming profitable,” she said.
Hughes dedicated the award to smallholder farmers in the drylands of Africa.
The award includes a $100 000 prize.