Former WorldFish scientist, Dr. Modadugu V. Gupta is to be awarded the US$250,000 World Food Prize (2005) in recognition of his achievement in helping over 1 million of the world's poorest people better feed themselves.
Dr. Gupta's work helped transform over a million abandoned pools, roadside ditches, seasonally flooded fields and other bodies of water into mini fish farms, creating food and income for landless farmers and poor women.
During his 15 years at WorldFish, Dr. Gupta's pioneering methods of low-cost aquaculture enabled very poor women and farmers in Bangladesh, Laos and other Southeast Asia countries to improve their health and nutrition. Freshwater fish production has risen as much as three to five times in these countries as a direct result. He now works on similar projects in Africa.
The award was announced by US Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, President of the World Food Prize Foundation at a ceremony held at the U.S. State Department. USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios and Acting Undersecretary of State, E. Anthony Wayne presided.
“Through his dedicated and sustained efforts in Bangladesh, Laos and other countries in Southeast Asia, Dr. Gupta made small scale aquaculture a viable means for over one million very poor farmers and women to improve their family's nutrition and well-being”, said Ambassador Quinn.
"Dr. Gupta is truly deserving of receiving the World Food Prize -- the foremost international award for increasing the quality, quantity and availability of food in the world -- for his achievements in bringing the Blue Revolution to those most in need”, he said.
Responding to the announcement, Dr. Gupta said: "Winning the World Food Prize is an honor not only to me but to WorldFish. I am thankful to the many people who supported me in the countries where I have worked. The Prize gives recognition to the aquaculture sector and its potential to contribute to the food and nutritional security of the poor in developing countries".
"When I started working with farmers and NGOs in Bangladesh, I was asked why I was doing development work instead of research. My answer was that science by itself will not help to increase production and improve the lives of rural poor. Science must take into consideration the socio-economic fabric and needs of the societies for whom the research is meant. WorldFish fully supported my work having better understood the wider implications of our research.”
WorldFish Director General, Dr Stephen J. Hall, said: “We are truly delighted that Dr Gupta's lifelong dedication and commitment to making a difference in the lives of poor people has been recognized. This award is a testament to the pivotal role that fisheries and aquaculture can play in improving the lives of the poor".
The World Food Prize will be formally presented to Dr. Gupta at a ceremony on 13 October 2005 in the Iowa State Capitol Building in Des Moines. The ceremony will be held as part of the World Food Prize International Symposium, which this year focuses on the challenges of malnutrition and obesity/over nutrition.
About World Food Prize
The World Food Prize was conceived by1970 Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Norman E. Borlaug. Since 1986, it has honored outstanding individuals who have made vital contributions to improving the quality, quantity or availability of food all over the world. Previous Laureates have included individuals from Bangladesh, China, Cuba, Denmark, India, Mexico, Sierra Leone, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and the United States. In 1990, Des Moines businessman and philanthropist John Ruan assumed sponsorship of the Prize and established the World Food Prize Foundation, located in Des Moines, Iowa.
Further information is available at www.worldfoodprize.org.
WorldFish, a member of the CGIAR Consortium, is an international, nonprofit research organization committed to reducing poverty and hunger through fisheries and aquaculture.
CGIAR is a global agriculture research partnership for a food secure future. Its science is carried out by the 15 research centers who are members of the CGIAR Consortium in collaboration with hundreds of partner organizations.
For more information or request for interview:
World Food Prize Foundation
Contact: Emily Westergaard
Tel: +515- 245-3797
Contact: Toby Johnson, Senior Media Relations Manager
Mobile tel: +60 175 124 606