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Biofortification Pioneers Win World Food Prize 2016

Farming First Farming First

Drs. Maria Andrade, Robert Mwanga, Jan Low and Howarth Bouis have been announced as the 2016 winners of the World Food Prize, the most prominent global award for individuals whose breakthrough achievements alleviate hunger and promote global food security. The $250,000 prize rewards their work in countering world hunger and malnutrition through biofortification, the process of breeding critical vitamins and micronutrients into staple crops.

Dr. Maria Andrade, Dr. Robert Mwanga and Dr. Jan Low of the International Potato Center (CIP) were honoured for their work developing the single most successful example of biofortification — the orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP). Dr. Andrade and Dr. Mwanga, plant scientists in Mozambique and Uganda, bred the Vitamin A-enriched OFSP using genetic material from CIP and other sources, while Dr. Low structured the nutrition studies and programs that convinced almost two million households in 10 separate African countries to plant, purchase and consume this nutritionally fortified food.


Dr. Howarth Bouis, the founder of HarvestPlus at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), over a 25-year period pioneered the implementation of a multi-institutional approach to biofortification as a global plant breeding strategy. As a result of his leadership, crops such as iron and zinc fortified beans, rice, wheat and pearl millet, along with Vitamin A-enriched cassava, maize and OFSP are being tested or released in over 40 countries.

Thanks to the combined efforts of our four Laureates, over 10 million persons are now positively impacted by biofortified crops, with a potential of several hundred million more in the coming decades

In continuation of Farming First’s partnership with the World Food Prize, we have been working with the four Laureates to make the announcement public this week. Here are some of the coverage highlights where you can read more about their groundbreaking work:

Washington PostDevelopers of fortified food staple awarded World Food Prize

NPRHow the humble sweet potato won researchers the World Food Prize

ReutersSweet potato experts win World Food Prize

National GeographicWorld Food Prize winners – why sweet potato colour matters

Voice of AmericaResearchers win World Food Prize for Combatting Malnutrition

Drs. Andrade, Mwanga, Low and Bouis will receive the World Food Prize at a ceremony on the evening of October 14th 2016, the centrepiece of the annual Borlaug Dialogue.

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