Nigeria's Akinwumi Adesina named Forbes African of the Year

 
Nigerian Agriculture Minister Akinwumi Adesina (file photo) Akinwumi Adesina wants to hand out free mobile phones to farmers

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Nigerian Agriculture Minister Akinwumi Adesina has been named Forbes African of the Year for his reforms to the country's farming sector.

"He is a man on a mission to help Africa feed itself," said Forbes Africa editor Chris Bishop.

Analysts say Nigeria's economy has long been dominated by oil, while agriculture has been ignored, even though it supports far more people.

Mr Adesina said he wanted to help people become rich through farming.

"My goal is to make as many millionaires, maybe even billionaires, from agriculture as possible," he said in his acceptance speech.

Aliyu Tanko from BBC Hausa says Mr Adesina has introduced more transparency into the supply and distribution of fertiliser, which had previously been marred by massive corruption.

 A farmer carries a bunch of cassava roots in Nigeria's Osun State on 26 August 2010 Most Nigerians still live in poverty, especially in rural areas

The minister has also urged Nigerians to grow more food crops, especially cassava.

In January, Mr Adesina announced a scheme to hand out 10 million mobile phones to farmers to "drive an agriculture revolution" so they can find out the latest market information.

The phones are also used to get vouchers for seeds and fertiliser.

However, our correspondent says this goal has not yet been achieved, noting there is no mobile network coverage in many rural areas.

The main opposition party criticised the scheme as a "mischievous vote-catching exercise".

Mr Adesina was chosen ahead of some of Africa's most prominent businesspeople: Aliko Dangote and Jim Ovia, also from Nigeria; South Africa's Patrice Motsepe; and Zimbabwe's Strive Masiyiwa.

Although their country is one of the world's biggest oil exporters, most Nigerians live in poverty, especially in rural areas.

Mr Bishop said he hoped the award would "encourage the rest of the continent to grow more of its own food".

 

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 7.

    Any African willing to put corruption aside for a moment to give something to the people can easily become a hero. This can be so easy but only for the clean minded, powerful thinkers. Our development has been stagnated for years because we don't have many with the minds of Akinwumi or Mandela.I salute Akinwumi!

  • rate this
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    Comment number 6.

    Good,congratulations Mr Akinwumi Adesina,please can other Ministers in other economic sectors of our government emulate him,if we have more humble and hard working men like him in our system Nigerai and Africa will excel,he has built a better future for himself,he is not corrupt nor greedy and he is not a noise maker.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 5.

    Congratulations Mr. Adesina! This is a welcome news and a change from the typical negative news about Nigerians and Nigeria. While most Nigerians are brilliant, excel in various fields and are contributing to many countries abroad, unfortunately, it is a handful bad apples that get the most news attention/coverage. Thousands if not millions of unemployed Nigerian youth can be employed in farming

  • rate this
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    Comment number 4.

    Recently a team of scientists from Brazil tested soil samples from North West area. RESULT: Best soil they have ever seen for growing SOYA. Fertilizer Supply in Nigeria (Gov. is the only buyer) : IT continues to make millionaires into Billionaires. The Hon. minister is right. He is definitely NOT making himself rich and that is good enough for me to see him get the Award and recognition. Good Work

  • rate this
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    Comment number 3.

    He deserves this honour because he was able to turn challenges in fertilizer procurement and distribution into opportunities

  • rate this
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    Comment number 2.

    It's a deserved one. His programmes seem to be more proactive. More is needed still. Well done.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 1.

    Having worked for 18 years in the agricultural sector of Nigeria I totally support this award. Soils are poor and fertilizer essential. Farmers deserve to have a ready supply at a reasonable price. Anyone who remembers the nightmare of NITEL will always back the Mobile but the main masts will have to be put in with Government funds initially into the key rural areas to pump prime the business.

 

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