In Summary
  • Born on November 9, 1946, Prof Oniang’o made her appearance at the forum as the founder and leader of the Rural Outreach Programme, a community based organisation that supports farmer groups in production and agro-processing at the grassroots.
  • She carved a niche for herself as a nominated MP in the ninth parliament.
  • Her grasp of African food and nutrition issues has enabled her to be Africa’s voice at many international forums such as the World Nutrition Conference in 1992 and the World Food Summit in 1996.
  • Her pet subjects, she concedes, are nutrition and food security, wealth creation, women economic empowerment, environment, health and sanitation including HIV/AIDS, housing, education, and poverty.

Prof Ruth Khasaya Oniang’o has jointly won the Africa Food Prize at the just concluded African Green Revolution Forum in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

She won the prize alongside Ms MmeMaimouna Coulibali of Mali.

Born on November 9, 1946, Prof Oniang’o made her appearance at the forum as the founder and leader of the Rural Outreach Programme, a community based organisation that supports farmer groups in production and agro-processing at the grassroots.

The scholar beat 643 other outstanding individuals, projects and institutions nominated for the prize.

Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Mali and Botswana had the highest number of nominees.

The judges found that her desire to feed the continent at the grassroots stood out. She is also the editor-in-chief and founder of the African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, which she started in 2001.

She served as lecturer and professor of food science and nutrition at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology from 1990 to 1996.

A holder of a doctorate in food science and nutrition from the University of Nairobi, she inherits the prize from the former president of the International Fund for Agriculture Development Dr Kanayo Nwanze, who was last year’s winner.

Prof Oniang’o carved a niche for herself as a nominated MP in the ninth parliament from January 2003 to December 2007.

Her contributions on the floor of the House mostly touched on food security, family nutrition as well as innovative ideas on boosting agricultural benefits to the society.

A career tutor, she has taught at tertiary level since 1978 and received her first and second degrees from Washington State University, Pullman, USA in 1972 and 1974.

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