In recognition of his outstanding work in the improvement of wheat crop

Sanjaya Rajaram, veteran plant scientist, has been chosen for this year’s World Food Prize for his “scientific research that led to a prodigious increase in world wheat production.”

Announcing this here, M.S. Swaminathan, founder of the M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) and chairman, global jury for selection of the Food Prize Laureate, told reporters on Wednesday that Dr Rajaram, now settled in Mexico, was selected for his “outstanding work in the improvement of wheat crop and wheat production in the world.”

Describing Dr. Rajaram as a “worthy successor” to the legacy of Norman Borlaug who was instrumental in instituting the Prize, Dr. Swaminathan said the plant scientist, hailing from rural background in the Varanasi district of Uttar Pradesh, was known for his “genuine concern for farming and farmers,” especially small and marginal farmers. He was still keeping contact with his roots.

Dr. Swaminathan, the first recipient of the Prize in 1987, said the selection of Dr. Rajaram was significant as this year marked the centenary year of Dr. Borlaug as well as the international year of family farming.

Regarded as the most prestigious award in the area of food and agriculture, the Prize, carrying a cash prize of $ 250,000, would be presented during the U.N. World Food Day on October 16.

S. Nagarajan, MSSRF advisor and former Director of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), hailed Dr. Rajaram for being responsible in reorganising Wheat Revolution. P.C. Kesavan, Distinguished Fellow of the MSSRF, recalled the days when he and Dr Rajaram spent together at the Institute. G. Venkataramani, biographer of the awardee, said wheat varieties developed by Dr. Rajaram had been grown on 60 million hectares worldwide.

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