Nnaemeka C. IKEGWUONU (Nigeria)

Nnaemeka’s research focuses on agricultural extension services and solar-powered refrigeration. For his master’s thesis he wrote about the links between poverty reduction and sustainable environmental management.

MSc in Cooperation and Development

Current position: Executive Director Smallholders Foundation and Founder/CEO ColdHubs Ltd., Nigeria

Research focus: solar energy, batteries, inverters, air conditioning, cold room design and refrigeration

After his participation in the forum, Nnaemeka began researching solar-powered cooling with his technical partners, the Institute for Air Handling and Refrigeration in Germany. His research led to the construction of a prototype for a solar-powered cold room, specifically designed for smallholder farmers, wholesalers and retailers. Moreover, Nnaemeka is a farmer, innovator, leading social entrepreneur, and has received more than 20 awards during his professional and academic career.

2013 Laureate of the Yara Prize for Green Revolution, Japan
2012 Niigata International Food Prize Laureate
2011 Nigeria’s Young Person of the Year Award

CV as submitted for the Green Talents award (2011):

The Smallholders Foundation, Owerri, Nigeria

Research focus: communication on sustainable development practices for rural Nigerian farmers

Named a Young Leader by the BMW Foundation in 2011, Nnaemeka Chidiebere Ikegwuonu is committed to helping farmers in southeast Nigeria improve their livelihoods while implementing agricultural practices that, for example, reduce soil degradation and conserve wood resources. He does so through the Smallholders Foundation he directs and with daily radio broadcasts to 250,000 subsistence farmers.

The radio programs in the local Igbo language cover everything from crop production techniques and livestock density management to farm safety and rainwater harvesting. Through his work educating farmers and spreading practical information about sustainable farming techniques, Mr Ikegwuonu says he has helped farmers improve their household income from 1 dollar a day to 1.50 dollars per day. By introducing biodiversity conservation methods, he has also contributed to increased agricultural production of various crops, including maize, cassava and yam.

Mr Ikegwuonu holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Imo State University in Nigeria and a Masters degree in Cooperation and Development from the University of Pavia in Italy, where he wrote his final paper about the link between poverty reduction and sustainable environmental management. Now the executive director of the Smallholders Foundation, he is working to hone his skills in communicating about the subject of sustainability research. His goal is to produce a 20-episode radio serial drama about climate risk management.

Mr Ikegwuonu impressed the jury with his work for the Smallholders Foundation, particularly the gains he has made in fighting poverty while protecting the environment. The jury also noted the large number of people he is able to reach with his educational radio programs in the local language.

Mr Ikegwuonu is confident that his participation in the Green Talents Forum will help him make crucial contacts among sustainability researchers and learn at first-hand about communication techniques that can be used in the radio drama. I expect to gain advanced knowledge that will enable me to adapt scientific research for millions of small farmers who do not understand the science of climate change.