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Communicating for impact

Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu has been awarded the 2013 Yara Prize (© Nils Lund)
Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu has been awarded the 2013 Yara Prize
© Nils Lund

Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu, the executive director of the Smallholders Foundation, has been awarded the 2013 Yara Prize for his entrepreneurial work of using radio to transmit information about sustainable agricultural development and environmental conservation to smallholder farmers in Nigeria's Imo State. "I started the Smallholders Foundation in 2003," Ikegmuonu explains. "The idea was to use radio to educate smallholders because basically everyone has a radio. But the content was not relevant." Today, ten hours of educational radio programmes are broadcast every day to 250,000 listeners in the local Igbo language.

"We believe that one of the best ways to boost agriculture in Nigeria is to deliver information to farmers that will enable them to increase their agricultural yield and their household income," he adds. Since 2007, 65 per cent of his listeners have increased their yields by 50 per cent and their household income by 45 per cent. Through Ikegwuonu's Future Farmers Program, ten school gardens have been established and 4,500 students have also been trained in sustainable agriculture, environmental management, entrepreneurship and finances. "We need to start teaching kids from primary school that agriculture is a business," he says.

The award was also presented to Dr Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, CEO of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) for her policy dialogue and advocacy on agriculture and food security, including a strong focus on women farmers. According to the Yara Prize Committee, Sibanda has played a global leadership role in fostering civil society inputs on agriculture and in 2009 led the 'No Agriculture, No Deal' campaign and mobilised African civil society organisations to push for the inclusion of agriculture in the UN's climate change negotiations.

Date published: September 2013


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