Wheat Breeder Honored by World Food Prize

Cindy ZimmermanAward, biotechnology, International, wheat, World Food

wfp-rajaramThe selection of wheat breeder Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram as the 2014 World Food Prize Laureate was announced last week during a ceremony at the State Department where Secretary Kerry gave keynote remarks.

“This is the time for a second green revolution,” Kerry said. “That’s why Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram is being honored with the World Food Prize. We are grateful for the hundreds of new species of wheat Dr. Rajaram developed, which deliver 200 million more tons of grain to global markets each year and feed millions across the world.”

In announcing the name of the 2014 Laureate, Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, President of the World Food Prize, noted how appropriate it is to honor Dr. Rajaram during the Borlaug Centennial Year.

“Dr. Rajaram worked closely with Dr. Borlaug, succeeding him as head of the wheat breeding program at (the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center) in Mexico, and then carried forward and expanded upon his work, breaking new ground with his own invaluable achievements,” Quinn said, noting that Dr. Borlaug himself called Dr. Rajaram “the greatest present-day wheat scientist in the world.”

Born in India and now a citizen of Mexico, Dr. Rajaram developed an astounding 480 wheat varieties bred to offer higher yields and resistance to rust disease, that have been released in 51 countries on six continents and have been widely adopted by small- and large-scale farmers alike.