When Dr. Norman Borlaug won the Nobel Peace Prize for his spearheading of the Green Revolution, he decided there should be an annual prize that rewards outstanding contributions to the fight against food insecurity. The World Food Prize was first given in 1987, and the very first winner was Dr. Monkombu Sambasivan Swaminathan, for his work introducing high-yielding wheat and rice varieties to India’s farmers.
Farming First met Dr. Swaminathan at the Borlaug Dialogue in Iowa and asked him how research priorities have changed in the 29 years since he won the Prize.
“When Dr. Borlaug and I started our work, we had a single goal: productivity improvement,” he comments. Yet Dr. Swaminathan explained that agriculture nowadays not just about producing food – it is also a stabilizer of ecological services. It is also very important now to address the role agriculture can play in producing more nutritious food. “If I were to start my work today I would concentrate on the nutritive properties and (combatting) hidden hunger”, he commented.
Watch more interviews on Farming First’s YouTube channel.