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

Related Stories

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".


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    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

    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

    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.


More Africa stories


Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • TravelAround the world

    BBC Travel takes a look at the most striking images from the past seven days


  • A bicycle with a Copenhagen WheelClick Watch

    The wheel giving push bikes an extra boost by turning them into smart electric hybrids

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.