The eminent plant scientist Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram, born in India and a citizen of Mexico, will be honored as the 2014 World Food Prize Laureate for his scientific research that led to a prodigious increase in world wheat production – by more than 200 million tons – building upon the successes of the Green Revolution.
Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram of India and Mexico worked hand-in-hand with Nobel Laureate Dr. Norman Borlaug and bred an impressive 480 varieties of wheat to provide nutritious grains resistant to rust disease and adaptable in a vast array of climates to feed more people.
Dr. Rajaram worked closely with Dr. Borlaug, succeeding him as head of the wheat breeding program at CIMMYT in Mexico, and then carried forward and expanded upon his work, breaking new ground with his own invaluable achievements. His breakthrough breeding technologies have had a far-reaching and significant impact in providing more food around the globe and alleviating world hunger. “Dr. Borlaug himself called Dr. Rajaram ‘the greatest present-day wheat scientist in the world’ and ‘a scientist of great vision.
Born in a small village in India, Dr. Rajaram worked to be the top in his class as he moved through school, and dedicated his life to making direct improvements for farmers and all people who depend on agriculture. Now a citizen of Mexico, Dr. Rajaram conducted the majority of his research in Mexico at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). His work there led to a prodigious increase in world wheat production – by more than 200 million tons during the 25-year-period known as the “golden years of wheat” – building upon the successes of the Green Revolution.
Dr. Rajaram succeeded Dr. Norman Borlaug in leading CIMMYT’s wheat breeding program, and developed an astounding 480 wheat varieties that have been released in 51 countries on six continents and have been widely adopted by small- and large-scale farmers alike. His crossing of winter and spring wheat varieties, which were distinct gene pools that had been isolated from one another for hundreds of years, led to his development of plants that have higher yields and dependability under a wide range of environments around the world.