6/20/2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Yesterday, the 2013 World Food Prize
— often referred to as the “Nobel Prize for agriculture" — was awarded to three scientists who helped pioneer modern agricultural biotechnology.
Marc Van Montagu of Belgium, and Mary-Dell Chilton and Robert T. Fraley of the United States were announced as the winners in a special ceremony at the U.S. State Department. Announcing the recipients, Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, president of the World Food Prize, emphasized the importance of their work.
“Estimates show the global population growing to 9 billion by 2050,” he said. “Currently, 870 million, or one in eight people, are hungry. Scientific advancements will play a critical role as we face the global challenges of the 21st century of producing more food in a sustainable way, while confronting an increasingly volatile climate.”
Van Montagu is founder and chairman of the Institute of Plant Biotechnology Outreach at Ghent University in Belgium. Mary-Dell Chilton is founder and distinguished fellow of Syngenta Biotechnology. Robert T. Fraley is executive vice president and chief technology officer of Monsanto.
The World Food Prize was created in 1987 by Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Norman Borlaug, and is the foremost international award recognizing individuals whose achievements have advanced human development by increasing the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.