The World Food Prize honors outstanding individuals who make vital contributions to improving the quality, quantity or availability of food throughout the world. Cathy Ism tells us about the sweet vegetable that helped 4 scientists receive worldwide recognition. That story’s ahead on This Land of Ours.
From: The World Food Prize
2016 World Food Prize Laureates
“Let Food Be Thy Medicine,” a quote attributed to Hippocrates approximately 2,400 years ago, best captures the ground-breaking achievement for which the four distinguished 30th Anniversary World Food Prize Laureates are being honored in 2016 – the development and implementation of biofortification, breeding critical vitamins and micronutrients into staple crops, thereby dramatically reducing “hidden hunger” for millions.
The three-person team from the International Potato Center (known by its Spanish acronym CIP) – Dr. Maria Andrade of Cape Verde, Dr. Robert Mwanga of Uganda, and Dr. Jan Low of the United States – is being honored for their achievement in developing the single most successful example of micronutrient and vitamin biofortification – the orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP).
Dr. Andrade and Dr. Mwanga, plant scientists in Mozambique and Uganda, bred the Vitamin A enriched OFSP, while Dr. Low structured nutrition studies and programs that convinced almost two million households in 10 African countries to plant, purchase and consume this nutritionally fortified food.
Dr. Howarth Bouis, the founder of HarvestPlus at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), pioneered the implementation of a multi-institutional approach to biofortification as a global plant breeding strategy. As a result of his leadership, crops such as iron and zinc fortified beans, rice, wheat and pearl millet, and Vitamin A-enriched cassava, maize and OFSP are being tested or released in over 40 countries.
Through the combined efforts of our four Laureates, over 10 million persons are now positively impacted by biofortified crops, with a potential of several hundred million more having their nutrition and health enhanced in the coming decades. As such, they are truly worthy to be named as the recipients of the award that Norman Borlaug created thirty years ago to be seen as the “Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture.”