For more than 20 years, the World Food Prize has rewarded individuals from any country who have made great strides in improving the quantity, quality or availability of food for the world.
The prize represents a dream of Dr. Norman Borlaug. Known as the father of the Green Revolution, Borlaug devoted his life to increasing agriculture productivity. The methods he pioneered provided greater crop yields to feed expanding populations in the developing world. After winning the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize, Borlaug envisioned a similarly prestigious award to focus attention on agriculture and to inspire others to achievement in the field.
Since its 1986 inception, the World Food Prize, a $250,000 award, has recognized scientists and politicians from all world regions for diverse accomplishments. It is sponsored by businessman and philanthropist John Ruan and is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, a city in one of the great U.S. farming regions.
Dr. Gebisa Ejeta, an Ethiopian expert in plant breeding and genetics, won the Food Prize in 2009 for his development of sorghum hybrids that can survive harsh conditions. Sorghum is one of the world’s principal cereal grains, a dietary mainstay in some regions. Ejeta’s achievement will increase crop productivity and enhance food supplies for hundreds of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa.
Other winners have been recognized for making unproductive land suitable for farming, developing new plant hybrids, and designing social programs to feed the poor.