Zee Media Bureau/Salome Phelamei
Des Moines, US: India-born and crop scientist Dr Sanjaya Rajaram has been honoured with the 2014 World Food Prize for his outstanding contribution to global wheat production.
71-year-old Sanjaya Rajaram, who was born in India and is a citizen of Mexico, has won the US$ 250,000 prize for developing hundreds of varieties of disease-resistant wheat, feeding millions across the world.
Dr Rajaram, who worked closely with Dr Norman Borlaug, developed 480 varieties of wheat adaptable to various climates and difficult growing conditions. The wheat varieties have been released in 51 countries in six continents and have been widely adopted by small-and large-scale farmers alike.
“It’s a great honor.” “I’m a very humble person but very honoured that the World Food Prize committee has recognized me for the work I have done, “ said Dr Rajaram, who was born in a small village in Uttar Pradesh.
In announcing the name of the 2014 Laureate, Ambassador Kenneth M Quinn, President of the World Food Prize, noted how highly appropriate it is to honour Dr Rajaram during the Borlaug Centennial Year.
Dr Rajaram succeeded Dr Borlaug as head of the wheat breeding programme at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) in Mexico, and then carried forward and expanded upon his work, breaking new grounds with his own invaluable achievements,” Quinn stated.
Recalling that Dr Borlaug once called Dr Rajaram ‘the greatest present-day wheat scientist in the world’ and ‘a scientist of great vision’, Quinn said his breakthrough breeding technologies have had a far-reaching and significant impact in providing more food around the globe and alleviating world hunger.
Created in 1987 by Dr Norman Borlaug, the World Food Prize would also mark the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation’s International Year of Family Farming. Borlaug, who has been called as the `The Father of the Green Revolution`, was awarded the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his contributions to world peace through increasing food supply. He died on September 12, 2009.