SINGAPORE — Olam, in partnership with Agropolis Fondation, is looking for ground-breaking scientific research that can help develop the agricultural industry and receive $75,000 grant offered under the Olam Prize for Innovation in Food Security.
The prize enables the further development and scaling of innovative research that shows clear evidence of its potential impact on the availability, affordability, accessibility and adequacy of food, in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal No. 2: End hunger.
The 2017 Prize went to Durum wheat breeder Dr. Filippo Bassi of ICARDA for his development of a strain of heat-tolerant wheat. Able to withstand the 40°C temperatures of sub-Saharan Africa, the wheat can also grow quickly so farmers can maximize land that lies fallow after the eight-month rice crop, in a country where overall yields are among the lowest in the world. Since receipt of the prize funding, the first 10 tonnes of certified grains have now been produced by two Senegalese farming communities — one being a female cooperative of 50 women. Once fully scaled, the goal to produce 1,000 tonnes of seeds in the next three years.
“Receiving the Olam Prize was first of all a great honor and an outstanding recognition of the hard work we did on the ground,” Dr. Bassi said. “Thanks to the funding, we’ve achieved excellent visibility of this work both with farmers and with the government — the Senegalese Ministry of Agriculture has declared their intention to reach wheat independence in the next five years. Millers and food producers have echoed this interest and are waiting to buy the grains from the farmers for processing.
“Given that Senegal has never produced wheat before, this is potentially life-changing, not only for over one million smallholder farmers in the Senegal Basin, but for all farmers struggling with increasing climatic temperatures. I wish the very best to the next Olam awardee as this prize offers incredible opportunities of development, professional recognition, and linkage with all spheres of key actors along the agriculture sector.”
Sunny Verghese, co-founder and group chief executive officer at Olam said, “The exciting discovery of Dr. Bassi and his team exemplifies the impressive new scientific insights and techniques being developed by research teams around the world. The Olam Prize aims to support breakthrough innovations so that together we can re-imagine agriculture for greater food security.”
Applications are welcomed from academic or research institutions, civil societies and the private sector, and can focus on any region, environment, crop or part of the agricultural supply chain.
The 2019 Prize will be judged by an independent jury of experts and awarded in conjunction with the Agropolis Louis Malassis International Scientific Prizes for Agriculture and Food.
Deadline for application submissions is Feb. 28, 2019.
To learn more or apply, click here.