An Israeli scientist who has reached across political and ethnic boundaries to help dozens of countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and South America improve agriculture with new methods of irrigation will receive the #World Food Prize for 2012.
Daniel Hillel, who is credited with developing drip irrigation methods that conserve water while allowing food to be grown in some of the world’s driest climates, was named the winner of this year’s $250,000 prize during a ceremony in Washington
The system Hillel developed, called micro-irrigation, carries water through narrow plastic pipes to plants, where it drips or trickles onto the roots in a continuous way. It has revolutionized agricultural practices in more than 30 countries over the past 50 to 60 years.
What is World Food Prize?
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.
The prize was created in 1986 by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Norman Borlaug with the help of General Foods, and since 1990 has been sponsored by businessman and philanthropist John Ruan. The prize recognizes contributions in all fields involved in the world food supply — food and agriculture science and technology, manufacturing, marketing, nutrition, economics, poverty alleviation, political leadership and the social sciences. As well as recognizing personal accomplishments, Borlaug saw the prize as a means of establishing role models who would inspire others.
Indian Laureate who won the world food prize
M. S. Swaminathan (1987)
Maankombu Sambasivan Swaminathan is an Indian geneticist and international administrator, renowned for his leading role in India’s “Green Revolution,” a program under which high-yield varieties of wheat and rice seedlings were planted in the fields of poor farmers.
Swaminathan is known as the “Father of the Green Revolution in India“, for his leadership and success in introducing and further developing high-yielding varieties of wheat in India. He is the founder and Chairman of the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation. His stated vision is to rid the world of hunger and poverty. Dr. Swaminathan is an advocate of moving India to sustainable development, especially using environmentally sustainable agriculture, sustainable food security and the preservation of biodiversity, which he calls an “evergreen revolution”
Verghese Kurien (1989)
Verghese Kurien is the founder of the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), an apex cooperative organization that manages the Amul food brand. He is recognised as the man behind the success of the Amul brand.
He is credited with being the architect of Operation Flood—the largest dairy development program in the world. Kurien helped modernise the Anand model of cooperative dairy development and thus engineered the White Revolution in India, and made India the largest milk producer in the world.
Gurdev Khush (1996)
Dr. Gurdev Singh Khush is an agronomist and geneticist who, along with mentor Dr. Henry Beachell, received the 1996 World Food Prize for unparalleled achievements in enlarging and improving the global supply of rice during a time of exponential population growth.
In pursuit of ever-improved rice varieties to nourish the growing developing world and support its agricultural economies, Dr. Khush spent over twenty years directing and participating in genetic research and breeding at IRRI (International Rice Research Institute). Moreover, his work has earned him the legacy of playing a key role in the development of more than 300 innovative rice strains such as Semi-dwarf IR36
Surinder Vasal (2000)
Dr. Surinder Vasal was born In India in 1938 and received a Ph.D. in Genetics and Plant Breeding. He worked with biochemist Dr. Evangelina Villegas for 35 years to develop a protein enriched form of maize in the 1970’s. Quality Protein Maize (QPM) is created by adding protein to low nutrient corn and is prevalent in China, Mexico, parts of Central America, and Africa today and is referenced as “miracle maize” because of its role in alleviating malnourishment. In addition to improving the nutritional value of maize, its productivity was also increased. They were jointly awarded the World Food Prize in 2000 for their development of Quality Protein Maize at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico(CIMMYT).
Modadugu Vijay Gupta (2005)
Dr. Modadugu Vijay Gupta, a biologist from India was the recipient of the World Food Prize in 2005 for development and dissemination of low-cost techniques for freshwater fish farming (using tilapia species) by the rural poor.