The World Food Prize is the foremost 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 recognizes 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. It emphasizes the importance of a nutritious and sustainable food supply for all people. By honoring those who have worked successfully toward this goal, The Prize calls attention to what has been done to improve global food security and to what can be accomplished in the future.
This year’s World Food Prize has been themed, “The Next Borlaug Century: Biotechnology, Sustainability and Climate Volatility,” and will be shared by three distinguished scientists, Dr. Marc Van Montagu of Belgium, and Dr. Mary-Dell Chilton and Dr. Robert T. Fraley of the United States. “The revolutionary biotechnology discoveries of these three individuals -each working in separate facilities on two continents-unlocked the key to plant cell transformation using recombinant DNA. Their work led to the development of a host of genetically enhanced crops, which, by 2012, were grown on more than 170 million hectares around the globe by 17.3 million farmers, over 90 percent of whom were small resource-poor farmers in developing countries.”
To express its appreciation for supporting biotechnology, a coalition of academia, anti-hunger groups, the farming and agribusiness community, and scientific experts have submitted multiple letters commending Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, President of The World Food Prize Foundation.
The letters say, in part, “We are writing to commend you and the World Food Prize Foundation on the theme of this year’s World Food Prize, ‘The Next Borlaug Century: Biotechnology, Sustainability and Climate Volatility.’ The World Food Prize Foundation’s unwavering support of science and its application to agriculture will have a profound impact on global food security in the years ahead.
“Feeding a world population of nine billion people by 2050 in the face of increasingly severe weather and environmental conditions simply cannot be done without the full benefit of modern science and biotechnology.
“The genetically modified seeds that are being released today produce higher yields while using less water and fewer inputs, thus promoting sustainability by placing fewer burdens on the environment. These seeds are critical tools in meeting the challenges of global food security and climate volatility.”
Public opinion surrounding genetically modified organisms (GMOs) seems to be shifting gradually, and this is another step on the road to increasing public knowledge and consideration of the great potential of this technology.
To learn more about the World Food Prize Foundation and The World Food Prize, visit here.