An eminent Indian scientist Dr Sanjaya Rajaram on 16 October 2014 received the World Food Prize 2014 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.
Rajaram is credited with developing the Veery lines of wheat in the 1980s which were used to breed locally adapted high-yielding varieties in various wheat-growing countries.
PBW-343, a workhorse wheat variety grown in about 10 million hectares of India was based on the Veery material that was bred at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) under Rajaram.
The Veery lines resulted from a cross between a Russian winter wheat Kavkaz and a Mexican spring wheat Buho. These new lines showed improved resistance to stripe and leaf rust pathogens which helped create a second generation of high-yielding wheat.
• Dr. Rajaram originally belongs to a small farming community in Uttar Pradesh, India where he dedicated his life in making direct improvements for farmers and people who depend on agriculture.
• He has spent much of this early career at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) where he served as Director of the Wheat Breeding Program and worked with the eminent crop scientist Dr Norman E. Borlaug.
• With the help of his research teams, Dr Rajaram has developed some 480 wheat varieties that have been released in 51 countries across six continents and an estimated 58 million hectares. These varieties provide average annual wheat consumption to more than one billion people.
• Dr Rajaram has helped secure a 1.3 percent rise in global wheat production per annum during the last four decades.
• Currently, Dr Rajaram is a senior scientific advisor at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA).
• At ICARDA, Dr Rajaram came up with the experience to help develop strategies that would fundamentally tackle the challenges facing wheat in dry areas including the semi-arid and arid regions of India.
About the World Food Prize
The World Food Prize is the foremost international award recognizing individuals whose achievements have advanced human development by increasing the quality, quantity, or availability of food.
The World Food Prize was created in 1987 by Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr Norman Borlaug. It was sponsored by businessman and philanthropist John Ruan who stepped forward to endow the Prize in 1990. Today John Ruan's son, John Ruan III has succeeded his father as chairman of the World Food Prize
A Selection Committee of experts chaired by Indian Professor MS Swaminathan oversees the nomination and selection process.
The first World Food Prize was awarded to Indian scientist Monkombu Sambasivan Swaminathan in 1987.
The World Food Prize 2013 was awarded to three distinguished scientists Marc Van Montagu of Belgium, Mary-Dell Chilton and Robert T. Fraley of the United States.