In 1986, Dr. Norman Borlaug, biologist, humanitarian, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and "father of the Green Revolution", created the World Food Prize. This prize recognizes the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.
Dr. Borlaug worked with wheat, the world’s most widely grown cereal. This year, for the first time since it was created, the World Food Prize was awarded to another scientist whose work helped increased world wheat production: Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram cross-bred wheat varieties from distinct gene pools, and developed heartier plants with higher yields. More than 480 high-yielding wheat varieties bred by Dr. Rajaram are now grown by farmers, large and small, in 51 countries on six continents.
Today, over 840 million people around the world are chronically hungry. And according to recent reports, changing rainfall patterns and more intense weather events could slow the growth of food production by 2 percent every decade for the rest of the century. “When our planet needs to support two billion more people in the next three decades, it’s not hard to figure out that this is the time for a second green revolution,” said Secretary of State John Kerry:
“That’s why Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram is being honored now with the World Food Prize, and we’re grateful for the hundreds of new species of wheat that Dr. Rajaram has developed. These will deliver more than 200 million more tons of grain to global markets each year. And Dr. Rajaram has helped to feed millions of people across the world through his lifetime of research and innovation.”
In the words of Kenneth Quinn, President of the World Food Prize Foundation: “The 2014 World Food Prize Laureate is an individual who worked closely with Dr. Borlaug in Mexico and who then carried forward and extended his work, breaking new ground with his own achievements. As we celebrate the United Nations International Year of Family Farming, it is most fitting that the 2014 World Food Prize Laureate is an individual who has truly fulfilled Dr. Borlaug’s last words: ’Take it to the farmer.’”