India-born Mexican plant scientist, Sanjaya Rajaram will be honoured with the World Food Prize for the year 2014. It was announced by the World Food Prize Foundation on 18 June 2014. The award will be presented to Rajaram in Des Moines, Iowa in October 2014.
He won the prize for his outstanding work in the improvement of wheat crop. He is credited with increasing 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. It had a far-reaching impact in alleviating world hunger.
Honouring of Dr. Rajaram with World Food Prize coincided with the centennial year of his mentor, Dr. Norman Borlaug and the UN-FAO’s International Year of Family Farming.
The prize was established in 1986 by Dr. Norman Borlaug to focus the world’s attention on hunger and on those whose work has significantly helped efforts to end the hunger. Dr. Charity Kawira Mutegi of Kenya in 2013 and Dr. Aditi Mukherji of India in 2012 received the award.
About Sanjaya Rajaram
• Sanjaya Rajaram was born in 1943 in Uttar Pradesh and is a citizen of Mexico.
• Rajaram was successfull in cross breeding winter and spring wheat varieties which were distinct gene pools that had been isolated from one another for hundreds of years, led to developing of plants that have higher yields and a broad genetic base.
• He bred more than 480 high-yielding wheat varieties that have been released in 51 countries on six continents. Those varieties are adopted by small and large scale farmers alike.
• Rajaram followed Borlaug at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), leading its Wheat Programme from 1976 to 2001.
• An important contribution was his development of aluminum-tolerant wheat that was able to grow successfully in the acidic soils of Brazil.
Who: Sanjaya Rajaram
When: 18 June 2014