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Dr. Modadugu V. Gupta awarded the World Food Prize for 2005 in Des Moines

Washington, DC
October 19, 2005

Dr. Modadugu V. Gupta was awarded the prestigious World Food Prize for 2005 at a glittering ceremony held at the majestic Iowa State Capitol building in Des Moines on October 13, 2005. The annual award was created by Nobel Laureate Norman Borlaug in 1986 for outstanding achievements in food and agriculture aimed at reducing hunger, malnutrition and rural poverty, and is funded by the prominent Ohio philanthropist, John Ruan. The award, which is widely regarded as the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in the field of food and agriculture, carries a proclamation by the Governor of Ohio and a citation, an original sculpture created by Saul Bass and a cash award of $ 250,000.

Second row Left to right: Ambassador Kenneth Quinn; Gov. Thomas J. Vilsack; Lt. Gov. Sally Pederson. Front row: Ambassador Sen; Dr. Norman Borlaug; Dr. Gupta; John Ruan

The first World Food Prize was awarded to Dr. M.S. Swaminathan in 1986, and thereafter to four other Indian scientists. Dr. M.V. Gupta was the sixth Indian to get this coveted recognition for his work in improving the nutrition, substantially raising the income and empowering women in over one million poor rural families in Bangladesh, Laos, Vietnam and some African countries by dramatically increasing freshwater fish production. A number of Ambassadors of African countries were present at the ceremony.

Governor Thomas J. Vilsack read out the proclamation honouring Dr. M.V. Gupta. Ambassador Ronen Sen read out a message from Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh felicitating Dr. Gupta for his path-breaking work and for the distinction conferred on him. Sen also recalled the India-US Knowledge Initiative in the field of Agricultural Research launched during the Prime Minister’s visit to the USA, and the role that the eminent Iowan, Dr. Norman Borlaug, and centers of excellence like the Iowa State University would play in taking this initiative forward. The President of the World Food Prize Organisation, Ambassador Quinn, recalled the personal correspondence between George Washington Carver, the former Iowa slave who emerged as a renowned scientist, and Mahatma Gandhi in 1929. Carver had advised his friend, the Mahatma, to augment his vegetarian diet with ingredients like soyabeans to give him the strength to carry out his noble mission.