An American working in the African nation of Rwanda is being recognized for his work in sustainability. The World Food Prize Foundation awarded its 2015 Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application to Eric Pohlman, whose work with farmers has made it possible for smallholders in Rwanda and other developing African countries to escape hunger and poverty and improve their livelihoods.
Pohlman will be formally presented with the $10,000 “Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application, Endowed by the Rockefeller Foundation” on October 14, 2015, in a ceremony in Des Moines, Iowa, USA, as part of the 2015 World Food Prize international symposium.
A native of the United States, Pohlman, 33, currently serves as Rwanda Country Director and Senior Partner at the social enterprise One Acre Fund. In developing his vision to help poor farmers better afford modern agricultural technology, Pohlman was inspired by the great agricultural scientist and World Food Prize Founder Norman Borlaug’s desire to expand the Green Revolution. Pohlman recognized a major barrier preventing its spread to Africa was the lack of access to credit for subsistence farmers. To that end, Pohlman was instrumental in framing the implementation of an innovative farm finance model, which currently serves 100,000 farm families in southwest Rwanda.
The announcement was made by C.D. Glin, Associate Director for the Rockefeller Foundation, Africa Regional Office at the Africa Green Revolution Forum in Lusaka, Zambia.
“This work aligns with the Foundation’s current exploration for an integrated approach to reducing post-harvest loss reduction, where we have learned that increasing farmers’ access to technologies and finance helps to increase yields and hence their income, leading to greater food security and a more sustained livelihood. Eric Pohlman and his team are making a tremendous difference in helping to improve the lives of the Africa’s small holder farmer, who is essentially the backbone of the sector,” said Glin.
This is the fourth annual presentation of this award, which recognizes scientists and researchers under the age of 40 who emulate the innovation and dedication to food security demonstrated by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and World Food Prize Founder Dr. Norman E. Borlaug while working in the field with farmers and producers.