World Food Prize

World Food Prize
Awarded for Outstanding achievement in advancement of human development through improved food quality, quantity, or availability
Location Des Moines, Iowa, United States
Presented by World Food Prize Foundation, with various sponsor companies
First awarded 1987
Official website

The World Food Prize is an international award recognizing the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity, or availability of food in the world. Since 1987, the prize has been awarded annually to recognize contributions in any field involved in the world food supply: food and agriculture science and technology, manufacturing, marketing, nutrition, economics, poverty alleviation, political leadership, and the social sciences. The World Food Prize Foundation is currently run by Kenneth M. Quinn, former U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia.[1]


Conceived by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Norman Borlaug, the prize emphasizes the importance of a nutritious and sustainable food supply for all people. Borlaug saw the prize as a means of establishing role models who would inspire others.

In 1985, Borlaug met with the chief executive of General Foods Corporation, James Fergusen. Norman Borlaug presented his long standing desire for the establishment of a major prize for agriculture. The idea of a prize was met favourably by the Senior General Foods Management, but they expanded the scope of the prize to include all of the links of the food chain - from farm to table. General Foods Corporation organized a prize management structure and in 1986 announced the founding of the General Foods World Food Prize. This prize was funded solely by the General Foods Fund for the first four years of its existence, and partially funded by the General Foods Fund and other contributors in the fifth year.

Since 1990, the World Food Prize has been sponsored by businessman and philanthropist, John Ruan.

Laureates are honoured and officially awarded their prize in Des Moines, Iowa, in a televised award ceremony held in the House Chamber of the Iowa State Capitol. The Award Ceremony coincides with the Norman E. Borlaug International Symposium, known as the Borlaug Dialogue, which addresses an issue related to hunger and food security each year. Past symposia have focused on the promises and challenges presented by biofuels for global development, the dual challenges of malnutrition and obesity, water insecurity and its impact on development and stability in the Middle East, and "The Green Revolution Redux: Can We Replicate the Single Greatest Period of Hunger Reduction in All Human History?".

In 2008, the World Food Prize Foundation received a $5 million contribution from Monsanto[2] to ensure the continuation of the annual World Food Prize International Symposium "Borlaug Dialogue". The funds supported a renewed fundraising campaign to transform the historic and former central Des Moines Public Library building into a public museum, the Hall of Laureates, to honor Norman Borlaug and the work of the World Food Prize laureates.

The 2013 Borlaug Dialogue was held 16–19 October 2013.


The prize was first funded by General Foods. Since 1990, the World Food Prize has been sponsored by the businessman John Ruan.

Primary sponsors of the World Food Prize include the Government of the State of Iowa, The Iowa Economic Development Authority, The John Ruan Foundation Trust, and the Rockefeller Foundation. Other sponsors include over 100 charitable foundations, corporations and individuals, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dupont Pioneer, the Howard G. Buffet Foundation, the John Deere Foundation, the Mathile Institute for the Advancement of Human Nutrition, Monsanto, Ruan Transportation Management Systems, Claudia and Paul Schickler, Kemin Industries, Land O'Lakes and others.[3]


The World Food Prize laureates are formally honoured at the World Food Prize Laureate Award Ceremony annually on or near the World Food Day (16 October). The winners receive 250,000 United States dollars.

The announcement of the World Food Prize laureate or laureates is made in the late spring or early summer prior to her, his or their formal recognition in October.

Year Laureates Nationality Achievement
2016 Dr. Maria Andrade
Dr. Robert Mwanga
Dr. Jan Low
Cape VerdeCape Verde
 United States
Developed the biofortified orange-fleshed sweet potato at the CGIAR International Potato Center
Dr. Howarth Bouis  United States Founded HarvestPlus, a major NGO in the development of biofortified crops primarily use conventional breeding techniques.
2015 Sir Fazle Hasan Abed BangladeshBangladesh Founder of BRAC, the world's largest NGO, which is recognized for substantial work on reducing poverty in Bangladesh and 10 other countries[4]
2014 Dr Sanjaya Rajaram India India
Developed 480 varieties of disease resistant wheat[5]
2013 Dr Mary-Dell Chilton,[lower-alpha 1]
Dr Robert Fraley,[lower-alpha 2]
Dr Marc Van Montagu[lower-alpha 3]
 United States
 United States
Developed science of modern plant biotechnology supporting improved sustainability and global food security[6][7]
2012 Dr Daniel Hillel  Israel Conceiving and implementing micro-irrigation in arid and dry land regions
2011 John Agyekum Kufuor
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
Creating and implementing government policies to alleviate hunger and poverty in their countries
2010 David Beckmann
Jo Luck
 United States Building Bread for the World and Heifer International into two of the world's foremost grassroots organizations leading the charge to end hunger and poverty around the globe.
2009 Gebisa Ejeta  Ethiopia Developing Africa's first sorghum hybrids resistant to drought and the parasitic witchweed.
2008 Bob Dole
George McGovern
 United States Leading and encouraging a global commitment to school feeding, which has enhanced school attendance and nutrition for millions of the world's poorest children, especially young women and girls.
2007 Dr Philip E. Nelson  United States Revolutionizing food processing, packaging, transportation, and distribution by perfecting bulk aseptic packaging technology and spreading the technology worldwide.
2006 Edson Lobato,
His Excellency Alysson Paolinelli,
Dr A. Colin McClung
 United States
Pioneering work in soil science and policy implementation that opened the vast Cerrado region of Brazil to agricultural and food production.
2005 Dr Modadugu Vijay Gupta  India Development and dissemination of low-cost techniques for freshwater fish farming (using tilapia species) by the rural poor.
2004 Prof. Yuan Longping  China Development of hybrid rice varieties
Dr Monty Jones  Sierra Leone Development of New Rice for Africa (NERICA), with the potential to increase rice yields in Africa.
2003 Catherine Bertini  United States /
 United Nations
Transforming the World Food Programme from a development assistance program to the largest and most effective humanitarian food relief organization
2002 Dr Pedro A. Sanchez  United States /
Development of methods to restore fertility to degraded soils in Africa and South America.
2001 Dr Per Pinstrup-Andersen  Denmark Establishment of "Food For Education" programs in which families receive food subsidies when children stay in school.
2000 Dr Evangelina Villegas,
Dr Surinder K. Vasal
Developing high quality protein maize (QPM).
1999 Dr Walter Plowright  United Kingdom Developing a vaccine against the cattle plague rinderpest.
1998 Dr B. R. Barwale  India Founder of independent seed company Mahyco, strengthening seed supply and distribution throughout India.
1997 Dr Ray F. Smith,
Dr Perry Adkisson
 United States
 United States
Developing the concept of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) which employs various techniques to protect crops from insect damage in an environmentally sustainable manner.
1996 Dr Henry Beachell,
Dr Gurdev Khush
 United States
Developing "miracle rice" varieties that doubled rice production in Asia since their development.
1995 Dr Hans Rudolf Herren   Switzerland Developing a pest control program for the cassava mealybug, which could destroy African cassava crop.
1994 Dr Muhammad Yunus  Bangladesh Founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, developed innovative small loan programs for the poor, providing millions of people access to more food and better nutrition.
1993 He Kang  China Initiation of reforms while head of the Ministry of Agriculture which made China self-sufficient for food production.
1992 Dr Edward F. Knipling,
Raymond C. Bushland
 United States
 United States
Developing the sterile insect technique (SIT) to control insect parasites that harm the world's food supply.
1991 Dr Nevin S. Scrimshaw  United States Human nutrition studies that led to the use of protein-rich food products to combat malnutrition in developing countries.
1990 Dr John Niederhauser  United States Discovering a durable resistance to potato late blight.
1989 Dr Verghese Kurien  India Founder of Operation Flood the largest agricultural development program in the world made the farmer the owner of his cooperative, cutting out middlemen. India emerged as the largest producer of milk in 1998 from milk scarcity when he started.
1988 Dr Robert F. Chandler  United States Founding leadership of the International Rice Research Institute and his dedication to developing tropical rice varieties that doubled and tripled the yields of traditional varieties.
1987 Prof. M. S. Swaminathan  India Introducing high-yielding wheat and rice varieties to India starting India's Green Revolution.

Hall of Laureates

The World Food Prize Hall of Laureates is located in the former Central Library on the Principal Riverwalk in downtown Des Moines, Iowa, which was constructed in the early 1900s as part of the City Beautiful movement.

The World Food Prize Hall of Laureates honours the dreams of Norman Borlaug, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 and founder of the World Food Prize, and those of John Ruan, a Des Moines businessman. John Ruan had envisioned Des Moines as the "food capital of the world", and advocated for a World Trade Center to be built in the city in the 1980s. Such a center was never built, but Ruan's endowment of the World Food Prize in 1990 set in motion a goal to secure a home for such an organization. John Ruan III began the fundraising efforts with a donation of $5 million from his family in 2001. Ten years and $30 million later, the renovation was finished in time for the 25th anniversary of the World Food Prize.[8] The original staircase to the east entrance had been removed in 1955 but was restored during the renovation. Also restored was the acroterium which had been destroyed in the mid-1930s.

A portion of project funding was devoted to commissioning dozens of pieces of artwork by artists from Iowa and around the world to be displayed in the building. In addition, a new fountain and statues of John Ruan and Norman Borlaug can be found in the gardens on the west side of the building.[8]


Borlaug-Ruan Internship

The Borlaug-Ruan International Internship provides high school students an opportunity for an eight-week hands-on experience, working with world-renowned scientists and policy makers at leading research centres around the world.

The internship was founded in 1994 and has funded over one hundred Borlaug-Ruan interns who have travelled to Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Trinidad.

Iowa Hunger Summit

The Iowa Hunger Summit has taken place during the week of the World Food Prize events since 2007. The event celebrates the role Iowans play in fighting hunger and advancing food security each year. The activities are open to the public and aim to encourage interaction among leaders in the community, government, schools, places of worship, and organizations.[9]


The 2013 award to the seed biotechnology industry (Monsanto, Syngenta and European Federation of Biotechnology) has drawn criticism from opponents of genetically modified crops.[6][10][11][12] In 2014, three people were arrested who protested the World Food Prize in Des Moines.[13]

See also



  1. "Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn". World Food Prize Foundation. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  2. "World Food Prize Receives $5 Million Pledge". 2008-02-15. Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  3. "Sponsors - The World Food Prize - Improving the Quality, Quantity and Availability of Food in the World". The World Food Prize. Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  4. "Brac's Sir Fazle Hasan Abed wins 2015 World Food prize for reducing poverty". The Guardian. 2 July 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  5. "2014 World Food Prize". Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  6. 1 2 (French) Catherine Morand, "Le prix mondial de l'alimentation à Monsanto et Syngenta ? Une farce",, 16 October 2013 (page visited on 16 October 2013).
  7. "NEWS: 2013 World Food Prize Honors Biotech Pioneers". Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  8. 1 2
  9. "Register Now For Iowa Hunger Summit". Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  10. "Choice of Monsanto Betrays World Food Prize Purpose, Say Global Leaders". Huffington Post. 26 June 2013.
  11. Dan Charles Twitter. "And The Winner Of The World Food Prize Is ... The Man From Monsanto : The Salt". NPR. Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  12. Washington Post
  13. Sharyn Jackson (16 October 2014). "3 arrested protesting World Food Prize". Retrieved 6 October 2016.


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