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Nw varieties of sweet potato were developed for Africa with increased productivity and resistance to sweet potato virus disease.
Nw varieties of sweet potato were developed for Africa with increased productivity and resistance to sweet potato virus disease.

Press release -

Kuwait’s 2016 Al-Sumait Food Security Prize for Development in Africa Awarded Jointly To Nigerian and Peruvian Researchers For Tackling Undernourishment Across Africa

Kuwait City, Tuesday October 18, 2016 – The 2016 Al-Sumait Food Security Prize, designed to promote development in Africa, has been awarded jointly to two research organizations, one in Peru and the other in Nigeria, for their ground-breaking studies on the causes of undernourishment and solutions.

The two recipients of the prestigious award are the Sweet Potato for Nutrition Team at the International Potato Centre (CIP), Lima, Peru and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Nigeria. The choices were announced earlier this week at a Kuwait City gathering of Al-Sumait’s Board of Trustees.

Barbara Wells Director General CIP said: “We are very honoured that this work on biofortified sweet potato has been recognised and awarded the Al-Sumait Prize for food security. The contribution this crop has on reducing childhood blindness and stunting across Africa is crucial to health, nutrition and development.”

Dr Sanginga Director General of IITA said: ‘We are proud of this award and we thank the Al-Sumait Prize for recognizing the efforts of IITA and our partners in helping African farmers and communities improve their livelihoods and enhance food and nutrition security through research and development on major food staples.’

Dr. Adnan Shihab-Eldin, Director General of the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS), which administers the awards, said: “Both of the two teams that were awarded the 2016 Al-Sumait Food Security Prize represent innovative, exciting initiatives being done to address the challenges facing Africa.”

Al-Sumait’s Board is chaired by H.E. Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Kuwait’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs. Other board members include Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr. Donald Kaberuka, Former President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Kwaku Aning, Former Deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mr. Abdulatif Alhamad, Director General and Chairman of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, Mr Tareq Al-Mutawa, Executive Member of the Board of Public Gathering Charity Committee and others.

The citation for International Potato Centre noted: “The Sweet Potato for Nutrition Team at the International Potato Centre mobilized funds from interested donors to bring the nutritional benefits of Vitamin A rich orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP) to an estimated nearly 2 million households in countries across Sub-Saharan Africa. The team fast tracked breeding of OFSP varieties in Africa, resulting in release of over 50 nutritious varieties along with increased technical capacity of national research staff in several countries and developing varieties with increased productivity and resistance to sweet potato virus disease.”

The citation for Nigeria IITA, noted: “The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture is a leading African crop center and a member of the CGIAR, focusing on research and development of the key African food crops: banana and plantain, cassava, cowpea, maize, soybean, and yam. The team’s efforts developed and deployed safe and more nutritious food crops such as legumes, cereals (vitamin A maize, with the first released orange maize varieties from it, and tubers (cassava) through bio-fortification, use of efficient and affordable bio control products against aflatoxins, and made these available to smallholder farm families in the region to balance calories, diversify diets, and safeguard health and nutrition.”

Al-Sumait Prizes, which honor individuals or institutions who help advance economic and social development, human resources development and infrastructure in Africa, were instigated on the initiative of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al- Sabah, the Amir of the State of Kuwait.

Al-Sumait awards are administered by the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) and a Board of Trustees who oversee the selection of the recipients. The awards acknowledge the work of the late Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sumait, a Kuwaiti doctor who dedicated his life to addressing the health challenges confronting Africa and established the Direct Aid humanitarian organization.

For more information, please visit or contact the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) at:

P. (+965) 22270465




Kuwait's Al-Sumait Prizes are a set of annual awards designed to honor significant advances in the fields of food security, health and education in Africa. Administered by the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) and a Board of Trustees, the awards celebrate the work and accomplishments of Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sumait, a Kuwaiti physician who spent his lifetime helping the poor in Africa in the field of health and education. The objective of the prizes is to recognize best studies, scientific projects, applied research, and innovative initiatives that have a significant impact and lasting influence on advancing progress to economic and social development in Africa.

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