Press Release: WorldFish awarded inaugural Seeding The Future Global Food System Challenge grand prize

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Dried fish powder has been successfully introduced in several African and Asian communities. Photo by Kate Bevitt

WorldFish’s innovative nutrition-sensitive approach stood out from an ocean of nearly 900 proposals on ways to transform food systems and improve sustainability 

PENANG, January 27, 2022 – WorldFish received today the inaugural Seeding The Future Global Food System Challenge grand prize of $250,000 for proposing a game-changing innovation in aquatic food systems by preserving nutrient-dense small fish in the form of dried fish powder that forms part of diverse diets, which is healthy and affordable, particularly for consumers who need it most such as young children as well as pregnant and lactating women. 

Aquatic foods -- diverse animals, plants and microorganisms grown and harvested from water -- are considered superfoods. Rich in bioavailable micronutrients and essential fatty acids, aquatic foods offer life-changing benefits for children's cognitive development in their first 1,000 days of life as well as the nutrition and health of their mothers. 

Elaborating on WorldFish’s successful proposal, WorldFish Human Nutrition Specialist Quennie Vi Rizaldo said: 

“We joined this Challenge because we believe that our approach of making small fish -- a nutritional powerhouse -- available and accessible to young children and women, is a solution that can help many communities tackle nutrient deficits especially during a global pandemic; when people have lost their livelihoods, further exacerbating food and nutrition insecurity. To be proclaimed as a grand prize winner after a very competitive selection process is truly rewarding and we can’t wait to continue with our work.” 

The Seeding The Future Global Food System Challenge -- an initiative that seeks to inspire and support innovative, diverse and multidisciplinary teams to create game-changing innovations that will help transform the global food system -- received close to 900 submissions from start-ups, non-profits, universities, research institutions and multi-organization collaborations, from more than 60 countries. 

On the significance of the award, WorldFish Interim Director General and CGIAR Acting Senior Director of Aquatic Food Systems Dr. Essam Yassin Mohammed said: 

“This award is yet another recognition on the global stage that aquatic foods are crucial in achieving sustainable and healthy diets for people and planet. Through our innovations in Myanmar and Zambia, which continue to benefit many vulnerable households, we are well-positioned at the forefront to address the challenges in our food system together with our partners. I congratulate the team for securing this very competitive award that will contribute to WorldFish’s continuous efforts to provide convincing evidence that aquatic foods are essential for a holistic food system transformation.” 

WorldFish has successfully introduced dried small fish powder in several African and Asian communities through various partnerships. Under the USAID-funded Fish for Livelihoods project, WorldFish collaborated with FedWell Foods, a local social enterprise to explore suitable entry points for introducing small fish powder in Myanmar. The winning proposal will see the project being deployed in Zambia as well, another market with significant potential for uptake and impact, apart from Myanmar. 

Commenting on their collaboration with WorldFish, FedWell Foods Project Manager Heather Morris said: 

“FedWell Foods has a great working relationship with WorldFish, making great strides in our first project together. We have an experienced team, an FDA-approved factory for the work needed for collaboration with WorldFish. The dried small fish powder idea initiated by WorldFish adds essential nutrients to the products we produce. In doing so, we now have innovative and enriched products that can support efforts to promote good nutrition among children and women in Myanmar.” 

As millions of people suffer from chronic hunger and obesity, and with the world population expected to surpass 9 billion by 2050, the Seeding The Future Foundation initiated this Challenge with the Institute of Food Technologists to inspire and support highly impactful solutions to make our global food system more sustainable and healthy diets more accessible while empowering consumers to make choices benefitting both personal and planetary health. The Challenge focuses on scalable and high-impact innovations that reside at the intersection of three domains: safe and nutritious food for a healthy diet; produced sustainably and without waste; and accessible, appealing, affordable and trusted by consumers. 

On the immense potential of small fishes, WorldFish Global Lead for Nutrition and World Food Prize Laureate Dr. Shakuntala Thilsted said: 

“This is a great recognition of WorldFish’s work in optimizing aquatic foods in food systems transformation for nourishing people, leaving no one behind -- in particular, vulnerable and poor women and young children. The high nutritional value of small fish products -- in this case, dried fish powder -- and the ease of producing them, make them superfoods that can easily be scaled up to more communities, countries and regions to address hunger and malnutrition, bringing us closer to reaching the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG 2): Zero Hunger.” 

For more information on the Challenge, please visit the link here





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Sean Lee Kuan Shern 

WorldFish Science Communications Specialist 



About WorldFish  

WorldFish is an international, nonprofit research and innovation institution that creates, advances, and translates aquatic food systems science into scalable solutions. We vision an inclusive world of healthy, well-nourished people and a sustainable blue planet, now and in the future. Our mission is to end hunger and advance progress on the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals through science and innovation to transform food, land, and water systems with aquatic foods for healthier people and the planet. 

For over 45 years, WorldFish's data, evidence, and insights have shaped practices, policies, and investments to end hunger and advance sustainable development in low- and middle-income countries.  We have a global presence across 20 countries in Asia, Africa, and the Pacific, with 460 staff of 30 nationalities deployed where the most significant sustainable development challenges can be addressed through holistic aquatic food systems solutions. Embedded in local, national, and international partnerships, our work sets agendas, builds capacities, and supports decision-making for climate action, food and nutrition security, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, blue economy, One Health, and AgriTech, integrating gender, youth, and social inclusion. 

A core element of the 2030 WorldFish Research and Innovation Strategy: Aquatic Foods for Healthy People and Planet is focused on building the resilience of aquatic food systems to shocks, which is critical to COVID-19 response and recovery. 

WorldFish is part of CGIAR, the world's largest agricultural research and innovation network. 

For more information, please visit


About CGIAR  

CGIAR is the world’s largest global agricultural innovation network. We provide evidence to policy makers, innovation to partners, and new tools to harness the economic, environmental and nutritional power of agriculture. 

CGIAR has a wealth of experience and knowledge spanning 50 years that builds on a track-record of innovation and world-class research. Thanks to our funders, CGIAR research has transformed the lives of hundreds of millions of people through tangible research outcomes. 

The 15 CGIAR Research Centers are independent, non-profit research organizations, conducting innovative research. Home to more than 8,000 scientists, researchers, technicians, and staff, CGIAR research works to create a better future for the world’s poor. Each Center has its own charter, board of trustees, director general, and staff. CGIAR Research Centers are responsible for hands-on research programs and operations guided by policies and research directions set by the System Management Board. 

For more information, please visit


About Institute of Food Technologists 

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is a global organization of approximately 12,000 individual members from 95 countries committed to advancing the science of food. Since 1939, IFT has brought together the brightest minds in food science, technology and related professions from academia, government and industry to solve the world's greatest food challenges. Our organization works to ensure that our members have the resources they need to learn, grow and advance the science of food as the population and the world evolve. We believe that science is essential to ensuring a global food supply that is sustainable, safe, nutritious and accessible to all. 

For more information, please visit


About Seeding The Future Foundation 

The Seeding The Future Foundation is a private, non-profit organization, motivated by its core value that everyone should always have equitable access to safe, nutritious, affordable, appealing and trusted food. It seeks to inspire innovative solutions that can help transform the global food system to be more sustainable and benefit the health of people and the environment. The Foundation provides seed-funding and support to promising ideas and high-impact innovations to improve food systems globally, technologies to reduce post-harvest losses in developing regions, as well as foundational work in academia and research. 

For more information, please visit